Should be common sense for pet owners

Due to recent sits…felt I needed to write this (sigh). Maybe another pet sitter could use this prior to a sit since there is no contract on THS anymore.

I can’t believe I have to explain this stuff but…writing this for a blog (and because I’m fed up!) Got the info part done…working on the contract next…

Information & Contract for Upcoming Pet Sit

Pet sitters do this because they love animals and take great pride in keeping them healthy and happy while their parents are away. They go out of their way to accommodate and respect the pets and their homes. Finding someone who is dedicated to this and is willing to not get paid for their service or reimbursed for travel is a great help to pet owners/homeowners. And when a sitter agrees to come back for a return sit, it helps ease the anxiety of the pet and usually the pet’s family.

However, there are a few things to keep in mind:

This is an unpaid service.
The pet sitter/home sitter does not charge for this service. If they did like other pet services, the cost would be high. We travel at our own expense paying for :
• Flights
• Taxis/Ubers
• Hotel/Airbnbs (for before or after the sit)
• Tipping, Additional Fees
• Food
• Etc.
…and receive nothing from the pet owners/homeowners. It all comes out of the sitter’s pockets.

Sitters are not at the same stage in their lives as you might be…
Sitters are not all retired people who want to get out more and travel. Many work from wherever this is wi-fi and are not financially set. Keep in mind that during work hours, the sitter must be free to work and interact with their clients.

Sitters often don’t have retirement income, investment income, social security, or disposable income they can depend on. Every dollar they earn is income they live on.

Changing start/end dates after dates are agreed upon severely affects the sitter…
Deciding to come home a couple days early or late or even wanting to “pop in” for a day or 2 is against THS regulations. It puts the sitter in an awkward position of either finding alternate accommodations or being asked to live with the pet owner/homeowner.

If the pet owners/homeowners want to change the dates, the regulations listed below must be met and agreed upon.

We are here for the pets…
Often, homeowners will be in the middle of a remodeling job, finishing a home project, replacing hot water heaters, etc. and will decide that the pet sitter is responsible for any work in progress. In addition, they will request that the pet sitter supervise work, coordinate with workers, and sign off on work done and/or video chat to show work for the owner to sign off on.

Again, pet sitters don’t get paid, and their only job is the welfare of the pet. Also, this takes time away from being able to bill clients/work resulting in lost income. Anything above the care of the pet must be agreed upon before the sit and the pet sitter will track time lost and report it to the pet owner/homeowner.

Additional work…
Taking in mail, accepting packages, taking out trash/recycling, watering lawns, etc. are all work that is often expected of a pet sitter. Basic upkeep of the home is normal. However, ALL expectations should be written out for the pet sitter and agreed upon by both parties. If a sitter does not feel comfortable doing a requested task, alternate plans should be in place.

Covering costs by pet sitter…
Sometimes pet owners/homeowners will forget to buy enough treats or litter. Or a pet must be taken to the vet or a groomer. Have either cash on hand for the sitter or a credit card on file so that the costs can be covered. Again, pet sitters are not all set with money and even a few bucks can affect their income. Some pet owners/homeowners will leave some cash or a gift card as a small thank you and to cover pop-up costs.

TrustedHousesitters have the sitters’ backs…
With the start of their insurance policy which the sitter pays for in their membership, THS has upped their game in protecting sitters. They will support a sitter for leaving a sit for a valid reason which could result in you having to return early. If the problem is big enough or breaks the rules of the THS agreement agreed upon by the pet owner/homeowner when they signed up for the service, your profile could be terminated.

Show appreciation if possible…
Giving a great detailed review is gold to a sitter. They get booked based on reviews and when you decided to book them, you probably did your research by reading reviews. List what they did above and beyond what was expected of them. Tell a story of something that happened that made you feel good about them.

Giving gift cards is a plus! Since they will probably be traveling to a new sit, chain restaurants like Starbucks, Chipotle, etc. are great. Or simply a VISA gift card that they can use and recharge as needed. Or an Uber card to get them to and from the sit

The bottom line:
The pet sitter is getting to enjoy your home and your pets and do what they love best. All that is asked is that the pet owner/homeowner put themselves in the sitter’s shoes. Think about what you are getting out of this arrangement at no cost to you and be mindful of your sitter’s time and what is being asked of them.

If this is done, all parties will enjoy the sit and hopefully feel good about returning!


Well said!

@mpagejones Much of what you said is true. We are homeowners and sitters, and agree 100%. Except…

What is NOT true is your statement “…and receive nothing from the pet owners/homeowners.”

You (and all sitters, including my husband and I) receive so much! We get free accommodations during which you/we do not pay rent, mortgage, utilities, taxes, upkeep, etc. for the homes where we pet/house sit.

Just want to keep that fact up front, as well.

Otherwise, yes, we hear your pain from some of your recent sits and are so sorry you’ve had those experiences.


My apologies…I should have stated “no monetary recompense” is offered.


If I received that from a potential sitter, I would decline them. There is too much reference to money and how much the petsitter is doing (and spending) for the HO, with no acknowledgment of what the sitter receives in return.

I’m a sitter and HO here, and I think the exchange is more equal than you describe. Any sitter that hints at wanting gift cards, cash tips, etc, is too demanding for me. I provide a spotless modern home, sometimes a car, in a major US city with an easy cat that doesn’t even use a litterbox (because he goes outside). I leave gifts for my sitters. Some sits are more difficult, but I have never done one where I felt exploited or unappreciated.

I don’t feel that your costs in getting to the sit are my concern. If you specifically ask to come to my house, you have voluntarily incurred the travel costs. As for mentioning “food” as an expense of the sit - wouldn’t you be eating even if you weren’t on a sit?


You can edit your post by clicking on the … below your post.

A bit long winded imho

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I’m sorry but to me, the whole thing is far too passive-aggressive. It’s a ‘no’ from me.


This is such an excellent post. I wish it were a part of the introduction for any HO to this platform.

I noticed the marketing from HO is too focused on the HO’s needs and entitlement to getting free services from a stranger as a selling point.

In my opinion, it should’ve come from a different angle of appreciation for those willing to do something for free that should actually and legally be paid fully for bc there are real risks in taking on the responsibility, including being sued if anything goes wrong. Those risks shouldn’t be minimised.

I personally have my own template I ask an owner to fill out which gives me info about the sit, home, and pet/s and includes my requirements: all pet requirements pre-paid for, owner must leave payment method with vet (no loans), basic food supplied to begin if a long sit, bills paid, no visitors/trades people or cameras indoors, no additional requirements other than those already pre-agreed, emergency funds and numbers. I also encourage tips. It’s not a demanding template, but a professional one. Since then, owners have done this and left sometimes a few hundred dollars as a tip.

For me, this is respect and then I do an excellent job for them. Everyone is happy.

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@Starsitter I love how professional your requirements are. I have included some of what you notated but clearly need to include the rest

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Some petsits we have done has been rewarding because the homeowners were thankful. A couple of them I have felt like the help. I just hope that for future sits we get more of the good homeowners. What makes up for the entitled behaviors from certain HOs is that we fall in love with their pets.


All true - but the OP wasn’t sending that to a HO: stated it was a blog post.
And as a HO/Sitter I agree with her that it’s inconsiderate to expect a sitter to take on a long list of tasks not mentioned before arrival.
The reality is that some people are simply inconsiderate.
We have had people change dates on us front-end / back-end with little or no notice. So far it hasn’t been a big deal - except the one time the home owner announced they were coming back a day early - because of a storm - and required that we leave in the middle of the storm. Seriously? Luckily there was a hotel within 20 minutes.
We have been asked several times to stay around a home for a day while work was being done. Have no problem with that BUT one home owner expected us to negotiate with the worker and be “on call” for the worker while they figured out which day they would come. In reality the worker didn’t turn up on Day 1 we were told he’d arrive… or Day 2 we were told he’d arrive, finally came 1/2 way into Day 3 & announced they had to come back on Day 4: effectively we were house-bound for four days. That’s ridiculous.
By contrast one home owner asked if we could take their pet to the vet for a treatment that easily could be done at home so we suggested we do it. EVERYONE was happier. Pet hated the vet. HO didn’t have to pay a ridiculous fee to vet. We loved the pet and had no prob doing it. Often it’s just about expectations.


Great post. While hopefully most HOs would be thoughtful of these things, there are people who could step into the sitter’s shoes and be mindful of what they’re asking. I think pet care, bringing mail in, and other basics would be expected of a house sitter, but being expected to live in and manage construction is not cool.


From my perspective as a HO and sitter, might be OK for a blog but not as correspondence between sitter and HO, it’s way over the top for me


@ASASG - I got the impression that they intended this to be the basis of a contract.

" Maybe another pet sitter could use this prior to a sit since there is no contract on THS anymore…
Got the info part done…working on the contract next…"

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100%. As both a sitter and an owner, it’s totally over the top. I would never send it to an owner and if a sitter sent it to me I would decline them.


I think the OP’s purpose is ambiguous: it’s a blog post but also will be “ Information & Contract for Upcoming Pet Sit” so maybe it’s both?
Either way, massive overkill IMO. That’s not to say most of it isn’t true but far too much like a regimen than an enjoyable quid pro quo.


As a HO, I found this post very eye-opening!

I can imagine some of the situations sitters find themselves in! I haven’t had more than two experiences - with the same wonderful sitter- but it does take a leap of faith on both sides.

I, for one, would appreciate a “contract” from a sitter - I would consider it very positive that besides loving travel and animals, the sitter takes themselves and their time seriously. We would both have a firmer picture of what the sit entails and could relax knowing what to expect.

I do enjoy sharing our home with others and I trust people in general-which are two reasons I joined THS; having this forum of thoughtful responses from serious people gives me another.