Listing Requirements Needed

I thought a topic summarizing the things that sitters and owners feel should be requirements in listings might be good. So here goes…

I have done 27 sits over the past couple of years ranging from a week to a couple of months. All have been in the US or Canada.

Here are some things which would have made for better sits with fewer negative surprises.

Pictures of the living areas for the sitter:
bedroom,
kitchen,
living area/room,
bathroom.

From THS we need the picture captions visible on the website. Currently they are only visible on the app so if we find a sit on the website, then we have to go our phone app to see if there are captions.

Measurment of the bed in inches or centimeters(not just queen or full as many people get that wrong)

The Guide completed before the listing is posted. (Some owners promise to do it later but don’t). Whlle many owners like to provide a paper guide in their home, many times it may not agree with the THS Guide or be out of date, If the HO wants to provide their own Guide, it should be uploaded as a PDF and updated whenever things change. A complete Guide is best for the pets and HO and also helps protect against liability.

Ability to print the Guide as a PDF or on paper with ONE BUTTON. Some sits may not have access online so the Guide info is always needed for the best care of the pets and home.

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Some of this has been mentioned before but owners are all different and there’s no ‘enforcement’. Some owners do an excellent Welcome Guide, some don’t bother with it at all but print their own information off, as for the pics….well!

Hi @Wetravel. You may want to look at this blog post: how to create the perfect owner listing. Sitters repeatedly support the content in that article in terms of what they look for in a pet sit listing.

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I always let a HO know that I need the guide a minimum of two weeks before the sit starts. In the past I’ve found that HO’s add responsibilities & pet “quirks” as a last minute surprise in a last minute guide upload. Each time this happened they were things I would not have agreed to had I known before committing to the sit. It’s a good compass too as HO’s who are happy to do that are more organized, more honest & more trustworthy in my experience.

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Excellent strategy! I really like the idea of checking to see if they are updating anything two weeks in advance.

I’ve also found from my professional life that asking at the end of talking with somone, to finish with asking something like

“Thanks for going over everything. Just to be sure, is there anything else you can think of which might possibly be important for me to know?”

You’ll be amazed at how much more they may say - and very often something VERY important!

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Thank you for that post reference. It has some great info! Seems like it’s only missing putting the bed dimensions in inches or centimeters.

While the post has great ideas, I feel THS need some REQUIREMENTS like those I listed in my first post on this topic that must be in each listing and must enforce that. That would improve consistency and make for better sits with fewer unpleasant surprises.

Why do you think it necessary to give the dimensions of the bed? Single, double or king size is adequate including a pic of the bedroom the sitter will use.

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Not sure if writing the entire welcome guide before you can even upload your listing wouldn’t be a bit discouraging for some HOs who are new and uncertain if they’ll be able to secure a sitter. The basics should already be covered in the listing, though (e.g. certain “quirks” of the animal). I think that if a HO is intentionally “hiding” some important info they wouldn’t put it in the welcome guide either. We like to do a video call beforehand and the HO usually takes us around the flat and we have the opportunity to ask questions (e.g. health, behavior, separation anxiety etc.). We have a list of questions in our mind that is growing with our experience ;).

This has been mentioned in a few places on the forum and here’s why

Some people think they have a queen size bed when it’s actually a full.

We’ve arrived to sleep on a queen bed and learned it was a full but the HOs legitimately thought it was a queen.

I’ve seen a bed size stated as “standard” but there is no such size

Bottom line: How hard is it to take a couple of minutes to measure the bed and eliminate all confusion?

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The video walkthrough is an excellent idea and we plan to implement that ourselves. However, I dont hink that could be a requirement.

The purpose of having the Guide as a requirement at time of posting the lisitng is not to catch HOs who are trying to hide something. It’s to make life easier for everyone.

I actually believe having the complete Guide posted at the time of listing shouldn’t be necessary. It shouldn’t be but I believe it is.

Most people get the info in later, Notice I said “most”. It’s unnecessarily frustrating to have to wait for a Guide and then review it to ask questions or to learn there are things you can’t or aren’t willing to do and you want to cancel the sit. Nobody wins then.

While most HOs do complete the Guide, some delay until the last minute and some never do it at all.

We had one sit where the HO did not have the Guide completed and said things would be simple. Thye had used THS in Europe so we figured they knew what to do.

We were wrong.

We arrived, met the 2 cats and were told about the 4 different foods that needed to be rotated on different days - plus the 3 different treats. Then we were shown the outdoor plants and a very weird and spefic weatering schdule. All this was done verbally! Very stressful for us!

It was only slightly less complicated than building and launching a rocket into space!

We wrote as fast as we could and had to make a spreadsheet to keep track!

All that could have been avoided with a Guide done at time of listing.

If a Guide is required prior to listing, of course it wouldn’t need to be 100% completed with restaurants, grocery stores, local activites, etc.

For everyone’s benefit, simply make it a requrement prior to listing. It actually makes less work for the HO later and better communication!

Remember, unles this is the only sit the HO will ever have, they only have to do the Guide once and then update it easily over time.

If a HO is too lazy to complete the Guide prior to listing, how well do you think the sit will go?

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I have never wanted to know what size a bed is, and I can’t see why I ever would need to know - do you take your own bedding or is it provided?

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If you’re a single sitter it may not be important. As a couple it can be very imortant! We do bring our own sheets but that is just our preference and we can fit any size bed.

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@Smiley Why is the bed measurement relevant? Because, for example, your UK king is smaller than a US queen.

Link from a post by @Vanessa-ForumCMgr earlier this year.

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@Wetravel , thank you for a relevant discussion about the Welcome Guide. As a homeowner, my Welcome Guide is always ready, and I constantly update it, whether a sit is imminent or not, because as we all know, things can change with pets and a home. Your post has prompted me to add a sentence to my listing, such as, "Our Welcome Guide is complete and ready to share with a confirmed sitter. " I want a sitter to know all the ins and outs of my house and pets as soon as they confirm, so that if there were to be any issues, we could work them out, or they could cancel the sit. I am a sitter as well, and I would love to see a statement like that in a homeowner’s listing for which I am applying. I have applied for many sits where the homeowner didn’t even know what the Welcome Guide was. It would be nice, as you suggest, if THS would make the guide more of a requirement of the homeowner.

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Hi @Snowbird what size sheets would you recommend? :wink:

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I don’t know about you but the older I get the more tired I am when I arrive in the evening for a house sit after traveling all day. On our last two sits the homeowners wanted us to arrive the night before and briefed us for an hour or two as soon as we walked in the door. Then they left very early in the morning for their overseas flights. Consequently we could not contact them for at least 24 hours while they were flying to their destinations.
I find it hard to concentrate when I am tired so a comprehensive welcome guide is essential to us!

@huttpl, yes, I’ve had that same problem, so I try to bake an extra day in before and after each sit, where I stay in the area of the sit. That way I show up fresh and on my game, and I have the flexibility to extend the sit should the homeowner’s return be delayed.

To Freya and others—as a HO, I try to keep my Welcome Guide up to date, always have a printed copy of it at my place, plus a short list of “special” instructions for sitters of things that I want them to know that aren’t really included in Welcome Guide topics. For example, expected frequency of communication, cleaning the shower due to severe hard water and use of my pots and pans, how to handle emergencies, etc.

Others on this thread have great ideas about the importance of communicating during the first contact call about pet “quirks”, idiosyncrasies about the home or location, etc. Neither the HO or the sitter should have unpleasant surprises!

I also think the idea of doing a video walk around to show one’s place to a sitter is a super idea!

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This is a global company. Many cultures. A king size bed in the USA is not even available in the Uk. Sizing differs. My partner is 6’3” …. We need to know dimensions! :joy:

Yeah! A bathroom brake & a cup of tea would be nice right?! :joy: