Sitters Need a Phone/Video Call Before we are Booked!

Hi, I expect most owners on the forum will know, but newbies might not.

One of two things happens:

  1. The owner likes a sitter’s profile. So they contact the sitter and invite them to apply for the sit.

Some owners assume the word APPLY means the sitter definitely wants the sit, and that if they apply, they are automatically booked. So the owner confirms the booking.

Or

  1. The sitter is interested in the sit, so clicks APPLY because the site offers no other way to contact the owner to ask questions or arrange a phone call or video call.

Either way, the owner is assuming the sitter doesn’t have to make their mind up. And that they have already agreed to sit. This is not the case.

The sitter cannot make up their mind until they have spoken to you. I prefer a video call, as it’s the next best thing to meeting you. And if they’re local, I will go and meet them first before committing.

But I’ve now had my fourth homeowner book me without first having a chat or video call.

I even stated twice on the Message page that I will need to have a video call first to make sure everyone is happy. But they still confirmed me.

So many owners think that a call is not needed, because they like the sitter’s profile. Or that the call is only for the owner to interview the sitter, and not the other way around. But like you, we need to ask questions and to have a gut feeling that we are all a good fit.

I believe this misunderstanding is happening because the site does not let homeowners know the procedure for booking sits.

And because sitters have to APPLY for sits just to ask questions.

So please don’t book or confirm us until we have at least talked to you on a call!

Thank you

Mods: Please don’t merge this with another topic. No other topic is this exact issue (in the title). It will get buried at the bottom of a long unrelated thread and it is an important issue. The site is failing sitters and owners need to know this. Thank you.

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As a sitter, I love it when a homeowner can trust my glowing reviews and confirm without a video chat as I personally hate them! I know I’ve mentioned before that I’ve done over 30 sits without doing a video chat and just recently did a couple of chats and got the sits so I will do them if asked. I do like to have a phone call though and I usually ask for that just to make sure we have a good connection prior to the sit. I also go out of my way to meet homeowners in person if it’s a local sit. I don’t quite understand the need for the video chat vs a phone call. The last video chat I did the homeowners declined me - I got the feeling they just didn’t like the look of me or were looking for a younger person despite the fact I’m an extremely active senior! It makes me feel like I’m applying for a paid position which I am not. I know many sitters and homeowners will feel differently than me on this. I personally applaud homeowners who can feel comfortable with confirming a sitter without the need for the dreaded video chat :slight_smile:

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Lesson learned from our one and only disappointing sit (out of 16)…. Not only do we want a video chat, but we want a video ‘tour’ of the house. We got caught out with the HO using photos from a real estate listing which in no way reflected the current scenario of the home.

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Hi,
We are new to trusted house sitters too, and as an owner looking for someone to sit, I would never pick a sitter based just on their profile. We always interview them first. A persons profile may look great, but until you see them and chat with them you never know for sure. So I totally agree with your thinking.

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I’ve done a sit before where they had pics of the real estate listing and when we arrived the place looked totally different but so be it - I’m not fussy.

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So if you don’t mind me asking Joyce1 - what are you looking for in the video chat/interview that you don’t think you will see in the sitter’s profile?

@Joyce1 I don’t like the use of the word ‘interview’ in this context. As a sitter I am not applying for a paid job. I prefer thinking of the video call as an opportunity to get to know each other better to see if its a fit. If an HO ‘interviews’ a sitter it does not feel like an equal exchange- unless the term is also used for sitters to ‘interview’ hosts! @BillyBonnieBenji I agree - it defintely goes both ways. Sitters are just as keen to check out the hosts as vice versa. Perhaps even more so as many hosts post very few pictures and write very little in their listing whereas most sitters provide very detailed profiles with lots of pictures.
When a host sends a ‘Confirm Sit’ request it does not mean the sit is confirmed from the sitter side. The sitter still has to ‘Accept’ from their side. We’ve had this happen a number of times, often with new hosts, and we usually message back saying we’d like a call first before confirming. But sometimes if its a short easy looking sit we have accepted without a call. It varies a lot

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I have just completed a house sit where i never had a phone call or a video chat. Just texts and emails. It went well so no problem.

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Yes a voice-only call is fine. I meant the forward slash in the title to mean OR. I got my very first sit on THS from just a phone call. I understand if you don’t like video calls. If the owner didn’t like the look of me from a video call, they’re not going to like the look of me in real life either. So I would consider it a blessing they don’t want me!

For me, it’s a step closer to meeting them in person and I can get a better gut feeling about them. You can see their body language etc. And I always ask for a tour of the house if it’s convenient for the owner.

Having said that, I have had one less than pleasant sit from what I thought was a wonderful video chat, so they’re not perfect.

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I’m with @Lokstar on this one in regards the word “interview”. I am not going to be “interviewed” by someone for a mutually convenient housesit. I will have a chat, or a meet and greet, or a discussion etc etc about a housesit, but I will NOT have an interview. If asked for such, sorry, no longer available. I know many will disagree but I simply detest such a connotation as “interview”, makes me feel almost like I need the sit - I don’t. This is an unpaid situation and both homeowners and sitters benefit, not just one.

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Everyone is *different * with their own needs and what is acceptable to the individual.

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Hi Lokstar,
I totally agree. It is definitely a two way street. Both parties have to agree to make sure it is a good fit. When I said interview, it means setting up a FaceTime or Zoom call or a face to face visit.

That is a good question. I feel I want to see them and meet them, to see and introduce ourselves and give the sitter an opportunity to ask questions and for us to ask questions that are not in the profile. But mostly to say hello face to face. It is a very important step for me, as I am leaving my pets in their care.

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