Sitters reviews

I’m sitting here musing about reviews, references and verifications.
As a home owner how much notice do you take of them? Does it differ from country to country, region to region? If a sitter has a total of ten reviews, all five star apart from a two star do you take any notice? Or just put it down to a clash of personalities or some misunderstanding?

Really interested from the pet owners perspective. As a sitter we put such an emphasis on our reviews but are they really worth anything?

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Reviews and feedback are strange animals :laughing:
A week ago I completed an absolutely wonderful sit. It was no question a 5 star and beyond experience and thus the excellent feedback.
Still no review. One has been requested and we even texted that we both wish to keep in touch.
The previous sitter did not leave feedback. I assume they held out waiting for their review. I felt comfortable so I went for it.
I think some people are more attentive to details while others just aren’t.
It is what it is.

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Hi @ElsieDownie it will be interesting to hear from owner’s via this conversation, what I can say is that in all of the surveys we carry out, and they are continuous, owners place TrustedHousesitters reviews at the top of their requirements in the sitter selection process and for new sitter members, those with 3 or more external references have greater success in getting started.

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Thanks Angela. It would be interesting to see the results of these surveys. Do they ever get published?

Hi @ElsieDownie they are only used for internal purposes.

I read each review very carefully (ok, not more than 10-15…) and, because I know that bad reviews usually aren’t given on THS, when I see that there is one only 2 star review among them, I get wary and check the others for hidden meanings. I really find this tiring and would appreciate if everyone simply wrote honest reviews. The system needs to be changed as was already mentioned many times by both sitters and HOs.
I don’t know about verifications. The possible background checks are so different from country to country that it’s really hard to judge if they are worth anything. Somehow its like with advertisements…you think you aren’t influenced by them, but of course you are.

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And this is why the Feedback section needs to be overhauled, too. As mentioned elsewhere, a sitter will almost certainly get a retaliatory bad review if honest feedback is given for less than stellar experience.

Or perhaps that single 2 star review is the only honest review.

I agree, it’s exhausting…

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Exactly why I think the system is quite useless at the moment.
Feedback is very important, not only for HOs to choose a sitter, but also for the sitters and HOs themselves. How do you know if you did a good job without getting an honest review? If the system was different, a sitter who started with not 100% perfect reviews, could show improvement. The same, of course, applies to the HO, even if there are more sitters than possible sits. As it is now, the sitter is expected to be perfect, because even a 4 star review is considered bad and a HO can have lots of flaws and the sitters are expected to cope with many of them.

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As a HO I always read a sitters profile in the following order…

First I read their own profile details, to try and get a sense of the sitter, their situation and reasons for sitting.

Secondly I read any/all their THS reviews…although I do take notice of the star ratings, I am more interested in reading what previous HOs have written…if I saw an anomaly in the reviews, say a 2 star review amongst a load of 5 star ones I would be inclined to put it down to a clash of personalities…… I have also accepted new sitters with no reviews if I feel right about them after a. Zoom meeting, after all everyone starts somewhere!

Lastly I read any other reviews or personal recommendations.

Hope this helps Shows a HOs perspective on reviews

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Thank you. Indeed it does give sitters a look into how applications are viewed.
What would be, I think the phrase used here is “red card” for you to say definitely no at this initial stage?

‘Red flags’ for me would be if several HOs mentioned a problem with the sitter, or if there were more than one low star review, I would have to wonder why and whether it was a problem with the sitter rather than just a clash with one HO… I would be inclined, if there was only a small percentage of low star reviews, to check the sitters feedback on the HOs concerned in order to get a better picture of both sides of the story…

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Agreed. As a sitter I always post feedback immediately but the homeowners have taken a little longer. One took weeks to post a review for me but texted me to apologize as she had been super busy and had simply forgotten to do it. I knew that the homeowners would give me positive reviews so I was not worried about it.

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I think reviews are important and the background check is a must. But I got my first sit with only one external review. I believe I got my second sit before the first review was posted. I think the sitter’s profile is really important. When I first became a sitter, I had 4 dogs of my own and included pics of them on my profile along with me volunteering at my local shelter. I think the fact that I’m a long time advanced volunteer at my local shelter and have fostered over a hundred animals has made me competitive against sitters with lots of reviews. I did sits in my home state to get THS reviews and I recommend new sitters do the same, but I think that crafting a profile that will appeal to HO’s is essential to landing those initial sits. There are a lot of sitters on this site and you have to find a way to stand out if you are getting to have a chance at getting highly desirable sits.

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Several prior sitters with no reviews posted is a red flag for me. Bad reviews are few and far between so I think members may just opt not to leave a bad review so as not to risk a retaliatory bad review. Sometimes you have to read between the lines. There are so many opportunities that I don’t see the sense in pursuing one that gives me pause.

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But why should anybody have to read between the lines? The way reviews are posted on THS is the reason for this and it could be a lot easier for both sides.

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As a HO I agree with your process Foldor13 and follow a similar plan!

I read - but do not completely trust - reviews and focus on reading between the lines and building a picture/drawing conclusions such as you have laid out above. Some times reviews are just distracting to making good decisions (I mean generally and not just TH.)

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Welcome back to the forum @Kerri it’s been a while, we hope you have been keeping well.

Hi @lawyergirl welcome to the forum and I do apologise for the late response.

I absolutely agree with you that experience with animals and in situations which need care, knowledge, patience and training stand sitters in very good stead with owners. When I first started I was able to refer to my volunteering with the BCSPCA (British Columbia) and my equine qualifications.

I’ve been with THS since the very beginning, my first sit was 3 months caring for an ex Army, Springer sniffer dog, I’m privileged to have been owned by 6 of these amazing dogs (no sniffer dogs) the owner and I connected over our love and familiarity of the breed. I had no THS reviews but I did spend a lot of time crafting my profile (still a work in progress even after 11 years) and added quality external references, more important that quantity.

ALso great advice about sitters starting local when they can, the other benefit in that is being able to test drive the lifestyle, as we know it’s not for everyone. Discovering that on a short sit a couple of hours away from home is far better than flying across the world to discover you have made a mistake.

Finally being a good communicator is essential … thank you for contributing to the conversation and once again, welcome.

Hi Angela, Thank you. That was very nice!