Owners: Would you choose a sitter with a 4-star review among 95% 5 stars?

I am sorry, that sucks and is a fear of mine, that I might make one little miss while cleaning and somehow be deducted a star. It makes it stressful!

I think if it were me I would leave a positive reply with something like “Thank you for the lovely review XXXX, I enjoyed sitting for you! I always strive to leave a place as clean as I found it, so I’m sorry to hear I may have missed something? If you could send me a private message to let me know what it is that will help me make sure I’m doing a great job in the future. thank you!”

you don’t want to come across as defensive, as I think that would be off putting to homeowners. But reasonable, kind, and just… curious what the issue was? That makes you look good and them look like they might just be a bit persnickity. At least to me.


The fact that most sitters have nothing but 5* reviews makes the system meaningless. I don’t mind a 4* review if there’s a real reason for it, and I hardly think it is interpreted as ‘bad’. I just finished 2 and a half months for a challenging owner and in her review of 4* complained I was not in the flat 24/7 to receive a few random deliveries. I replied to her review but think she made herself look bad without my saying anything. And I left feedback, so future sitters are warned.

Edited to meet posting guidelines


I’m a sitter but I’ll answer from my perspective. If one sitter had left a bad review and all the others were good, and the listing was good, I wouldn’t pay much attention to that bad review. It wouldn’t even matter if the rating was as low as one or two stars, because if all others were good, the problem was probably specific to the person who wrote the review. And people aren’t always truthful either when things don’t go well.

I received my first 4 star for cleanliness recently which annoyed me as I left the house very clean. I think I felt better when the next sitters got 3 stars for cleanliness.

Yes, then you actually did pretty well. A savvy owner who knows to check these things should realize that that owner is like those teachers who say they don’t give out A’s.

Totally agree. I think people feel pressure to not share negative impressions fearing retaliation. Seems a simple fix for THS.

Sorry that happened. They may have accidentally clicked 4 instead of 5, who knows. But I do hope you posted a reply to address it.

I would have to disagree with reviews/feedback being more important to sitters than to hosts. It really depends upon the sitters and the hosts. It was not the only factor, but after recently interviewing one sitter, she decided to withdraw her application partially because we have only one sitter feedback showing on our profile and so she deemed our situation “somewhat of a mystery” (her words). Fortunately, she had not yet been offered the sit as we were both in “considering” mode at that point. The somewhat amusing aspect of the situation is that she only had one review as a sitter as well, but she apparently thought that “mystery” was not as important. No problem… we just moved on to the next applicants.

We’ve had five sitters come in so far over the years with no issues, but I’m not sure what happened to any earlier feedback that may have been there at one point. Perhaps they were just replies to the reviews we gave to our sitters, or perhaps they were lost when we changed our subscription. I don’t recall if the feedback function to review sits/hosts has always been there or not. It’s hard to remember, as we reluctantly took a few years off from travel due to Covid. But my main point is, the feedback on the sit/host can be just as important. My daughter and her husband have been traveling around and sitting for years and they do carefully read the feedback on the sit/host. We were disappointed that we didn’t get feedback from our most recent sitters, but they were house hunting and preparing to welcome a new little one a couple months later, and apparently they never got around to it, even after we requested it.

And from the host perspective regarding the one 4-star review among many 5-star reviews, that alone would not deter us from considering a sitter. We look at what has been said as well as how many stars are posted. The review may have been tainted by the host arriving home tired, jetlagged, and having had a bad travel experience. Sure, that’s not supposed to play into it, but we are all human and unfortunately, some people are just overly critical by nature.

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Hi @SiobhanFL! Welcome to the forum!

I don’t think reviews and feedback were instituted until something like 2016 (someone, correct me if I’m wrong). When I see older sits with no reviews or feedback, I realize there was no way to leave them back then. And THS keeps reviews and feedback for two years after your membership has lapsed. So if you were gone longer than that, those reviews would have disappeared.

Another idea is, if you’re so inclined, to contact those past sitters and ask if they would submit “belated” feedback. If you don’t want to do that, it’s still OK, as long as you make sure all of your sitters from this point forward leave feedback. With enough good recent feedback the sits that are missing feedback will be less important.

just a quick update on this, in case it happens to another member.
Membership services confirmed there is nothing they can do because of the no tamper policy on review, except in cases of breaching the code of conduct.
He suggested I follow up with the owner, which we did back then, but gave up, as I believe in his mind, he must have felt like he did leave a review (and I understand).
We let it go after this and focused on future sits.
Thanks for the suggestion though, I think it is important to contact Memberships services even if we 99% know nothing can be done. Nothing lost to try!


Yes to all you say above, but mostly I’m excoited to hear that work on the review system is currently underway! Hoping and trusting that sitters’ and home owners’ feedback has been taken into consideration.

I agree that feedback and reviews should be given in a timely manner, and I can see a potential snag too: as many have mentioned, sometimes the best option is to write nothing. If this isn’t going to be possible any more, the reasons it’s sometimes the best option also need to be fixed. I may be stating the obvious here!

I truly hope the disparity between HOs and sitters is addressed so that either sitters can also commoent on certain categories - or home owners can’t.


We too have received 4* - twice - for cleanliness and tidiness. Although it stung, I can see why in one case: we were unusually rushed and stressed, and left a couple of things undone that we would normally do, so fair enough. In the other case, the home owner said ‘I thought it would look a bit strange if I gave you 5* for everything’ from which I gathered she either felt too uncomfortable to tell me the reason, or didn’t know the system very well! Anyway, she invited us back…

I make a point now of telling HOs they may find a few items in different places. If I get out e.g. a utensil at the beginning of the sit and leave it out for frequent use, I don’t always remember where I got it from… and sometimes, people leave a few things in the dishwasher that I have no idea where they live, so I often guess.

As Elke said, home owners (and sitters) are endlessly diverse, and it’s good when there’s a match of values/priorities. Discerning this from listings comes with practice!

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Always the ones.


This is what concerns me the retaliatory nature of reviews - how can one get good reliable sitters if you fear giving honest reviews and fear receiving a bad review in retaliation

Hi Angela - As homeowners, we always try to leave honest reviews. Fortunately, in the past we have been able to thoroughly vet sitters before inviting them to a sit - and we have very good ‘radars’. Therefore, we have always been able to give the coveted 5 star review. My big fear is FORGETTING to leave a review! I usually write a review immediately, but I know that on at least one occasion, I forgot, and my sitter had to send me a reminder! How embarrassing!! Of course, I immediately wrote one, but now I worry about forgetting, and I hope that if I do, I’ll be reminded again! Things get hectic when returning from a trip. I think that sometimes it’s not a matter of blanking someone, it is simply a matter of having time to sit down and write a good and thoughtful review that is more than just clicking stars and saying, “Yep, everything was fine.”

There was only one time that I wish I had waited a week or so to write a review - and that was because it took a few days to discover a couple of breakages. We wouldn’t mark down a sitter because of an accident. We aren’t ogres, and accidents happen, but when they do, the homeowner should be notified. The fact that we weren’t would have cost these sitters a star. The fact that they didn’t admit to the accident when asked would have cost them another one. (And I wish there was a way I could ‘edit’, but I understand why we can’t.) I know this doesn’t usually happen with sitters - we’ve been with THS for a long time, and we travel frequently. It has never happened before or since this one isolated incident, but it was a learning experience. I don’t know what other homeowners base their ratings on, but honesty is our big thing. It would be nice to think that all the five star reviews are simply because we are perfect and everyone we come into contact is, too! I hate the thought that people are leaving five star reviews only because they are afraid of retaliation if they don’t!


You have hit the nail on the head here, Elke! I agree that very few people pick the sitter based just on their star rating. I also read the comments carefully and make my choice based on those that “speak” to me. I would also read the the listing, where the sitters might have got a four star rating, to see if I would consider the home owner “more housework-focussed” than I am! :slight_smile:

Yes I would. People’s idea of clean and tidy varies greatly.

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If someone doesn’t pick me because I score “only” 4 stars in one category, it’s probably a good thing because I don’t think I’d like to pet sit for this kind of person!!


We haven’t had too many sitters having just started last October but I have to say it’s been a brilliant experience all round. What I can’t really understand all this clean and tidy stuff. As pet owners who are relaxed enough to accept a stranger into their home surely there must be some give and take around where things are moved to (not the furniture!). On longer sits in particular how could anyone remember exactly where things go. As for cleanliness, yes please leave it clean or as you found it, but personally we have cats whose main pleasure seems to be shedding hair! I dust, it re-appears within seconds…


Thank you for your post, what a refreshing read. I hope that most owners think that way. I’m a sitter and I always leave places clean and tidy but definitely wouldn’t remember where every little thing was exactly when I arrived, haha.

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