I was going to post this in an existing thread, but since this has been coming up a lot recently and is often shut down due to being off topic, I thought it warranted its own thread.
There seems to be a lot of misconceptions about what THS is. Maybe it’s mostly from new members or potential members that aren’t that familiar with THS. My view of THS is that it is a place for people to connect. People who are looking for in-home pet and house care can connect with people who love pets and are looking for accommodation in a location that they would like to visit. THS is not an agency that provides house sitters. It is just a platform to connect people. It’s up to homeowners and sitters to work out the details in a way that is acceptable to both.
This entire site is based on the concept of mutual exchange. However, recently I’ve seen a lot of homeowners who view it as if they are ‘hiring’ unpaid help. Of course, there are bad sitters and bad HOs out there, but I fully believe those people are a very small percentage of the membership. However, I see even otherwise good homeowners who don’t view this as the mutually beneficial exchange it is supposed to be.
I wanted to give an example of a mutual exchange not related to housesitting to provide an additional perspective.
I’m a statistician. Let’s say I want some legal work done, maybe reviewing contracts and other legal paperwork. I talk with an attorney, and it turns out their firm is looking for a statistician to analyze and interpret data and make data-based recommendations. We decide to just trade services and together we determine a mutually beneficial arrangement based on the scope of work involved on each side. Most people would not view this as an employer/employee relationship in either direction and neither side would be considered ‘the help’. It is two equal sides making an exchange. And, if either side wanted to add on additional work, that would change the terms of the agreement and it would need to be renegotiated.
I view house sitting in exchange for accommodation EXACTLY the same way. I am exchanging a valuable service for accommodation in a location to which I would like to travel. There are expectations on both sides. The HO has expectations about how their pet and home are cared for and I have expectations about the work involved and about the accommodations to be provided. This doesn’t work if both sides are not respected and considered equals.