Owners, how many of a sitter’s reviews do you read? There are, broadly speaking, three groups of sitters, so in the top & mid-range categories how many satisfy you enough to shortlist or choose? The 3 groups I mean are the newbies, just a couple of reviews; the mid-range in double figures and then the full-timers with 50 or more into the hundreds. Are the most recent ones only those worth looking at? If you read the last 3, or 5 is that enough? There’s a body of opinion that believes the review system isn’t fit for purpose but do you read them all regardless?
A very interesting question
@Saltrams - Great question!
My last sitters had no reviews, but they did have two personal references from people whose pets they cared for off of THS, and one of them linked to their Rover account where they had a couple reviews.
I’m not so concerned about reviews, per se, but I feel more comfortable if a potential sitter has someone who is willing to vouch for them.
Gosh, @GardenCat, I didn’t anticipate anyone preferring references to reviews, that’s interesting indeed and could possibly be a good counter to the 5* review problems. I have 3 referees, just because THS advise getting 3 so that’s what I did when I started here. Makes me wonder if I should add to that now.
Thanks for answering!
Oh, I don’t prefer references to reviews! But if someone has no reviews, the references are definitely better than nothing!
Gosh, if the applicant has over 12 I don’t read them all and TBH if even if they have 12 reviews I only skim them. Reviews are important-ish for us. Really it’s more a matter of how well we gel with the applicant if we choose to do a video interview and how well they answer our questions and what sort of questions they ask us. We have had a lot of newbies lately that didn’t have a single review and maybe only one or two references but we could tell from the video interview their knowledge about dogs/training and pet sitting in general. They also had their linkedIn and Airbnb links on their profile and those also helped inform us as to what sort of people they are. So if i’m really honest and think about it I probably only read the last 2-3 reviews. What i’ve found is that a newbie can have just as much experience as someone that have 20+ reviews on THS…as sometimes the newbie has been a sitter for a very long time but is just new to THS.
If a sitter has about 10 or fewer reviews, I’ll read them all. Beyond that, I’ll read the most recent ones, focusing on reviews where they sat for cats (which is what I have) and skim through the others to see if anything negative shows up.
I’ve read here that some HOs are deterred by sitters with 40+ reviews. I can’t remember the specific number, but a HO commented that they would be concerned that such a sitter would think they knew more than the HO about caring for the pets. It’s an interesting perspective.
Ditto. What a great question @Saltrams - thanks for asking!
Oh that’s an interesting perspective!! I always thought more was better! My hubby and I have almost 60 reviews now. We’ve been consciously building up our reviews in order to strengthen our profile. Our intention is to be able to offer reassurance to our hosts that we are very experienced, competent and reliable. But we would never ever presume to know more about a hosts pet & its care needs than the host themselves!
As a HO, I don’t need any reviews. I can generally tell by how well they wrote their profile and application whether I want to talk to them. Then I use the video or phone call and follow my gut.
Out of all the sitters I’ve had, the one with the most reviews (well over 30 plus 5 * reviews) fell into the I know better catergory.
Something I’m a little wary of now.
Don’t judge us all by that one sitter, will you @Manunited? We may have many 5* reviews but we do it for our love of animals not because we think we know better than an owner, which we certainly don’t when it comes to their own pets.
I am perfectly fine with zero reviews. Unless there are specific factors making a sitter non-viable (for example wishing to sit with more family members than we have space for), in which case I decline right away, I have a video call with those who apply, then shortlist, and then select (it may come down to choosing the one who applied the earliest, or using a random number generator, if they are all great matches).
Successful housesitting is about making sure that both sitter and host are happy with what the other has to offer. For me, a good video call is the best method to sort that out. Zero-reviews sitter may very well had very grumpy cats like our Pancetta, or live in a quirky old house like ours, and be the best match among those applying. I would never want to miss that just for being excessively biased toward past experiences. My goal is completing - not entering - a house sitting with two big smiles, a strong new friendship, and 5 nice stars to exchange with each other!
I am a HO , I like to go with how I feel about the sitters profile. Then for the reviews I will look at the people leaving reviews to see if they have dogs. We have 2 large dogs and I like to see that they have sat for big dogs before.
We have gone with sitters who only have references but relevant experience.
I do read reviews, and I enjoy reading them, but knowing how the THS review system works I take them with a grain of salt. To me, a sitter doesn’t need to have a ton of reviews, a well written profile that conveys a sense of you who are is much more important. I get a much better feel for the person from their writing style in their profile and application, and then a video call.
Anecdotally, we’ve worked with three sitters so far and our best experience by a long shot was with a fantastic couple who were brand new to the site and had no reviews.
I appreciate being reviewed and have lots of them now.
But I also appreciate the first folks who offered me sits - in Va Beach, VA (a mastiff and a cat) and Santa Fe, NM (2 dogs and 3 cats) and the folks in the UK who offered me my 3rd and 4th sits - a grade 3 listed castle with 2 labs and 2 cats and a townhouse in Edinburgh with a flat and when I only had references and not reviews.