I have three back to back pet sitters while we are traveling for a couple of months. Since it was not possible to do an in person walk thru of the house with any of them, I decided to do broken up videos of different parts of our home. The sitters really liked the video because they can refer back to it and it allows for a no contact exchange. It saved me a lot of time from having to do 3 separate virtual tours. Tip… if video is too long, can be challenging to send. Note, we have a cat not a dog.
Since we will not be home to provide them a welcome meal, I asked if they have dietary restrictions and provided meal choices. I am having meals delivered to the house. They all seemed very appreciative of this gesture.
We are also able to provide a car and I believe this attracts full time sitters with a lot of experience and a passion for house/pet sitting. As home/pet sitters as well as home owners with THS, I know how important vehicles are for extended sits unless you are in an urban city.
We have had owners leave us gift cards or money for groceries or a meal out which I felt was very thoughtful. We always tell sitters to help themselves to any food in our kitchen and it has always been extended to us when sitting.
We appreciate our sitters so much and have always felt appreciated by home/pet owners. It truly is a win/win experience for us on both sides and we feel we are making wonderful new friends with like minded people in the process.
That’s a great system you have worked out, @claudinekent . Where are you located? Did you take all the videos with your phone and how did you send them, by text or email?
In my experience, I have had many homeowners due video recordings or live video walk-throughs using WhatsApp. I do the same when sending updates so they can actually see live interactions and goings on at home.
The videos on WhatsApp can be saved and repurposed for other sitters.
Personally I enjoy creating and editing videos and find that video increases the comfort level, trust and relationship between the HO and sitter, besides it is a lot of fun.
Nice feedback. These are the little things that work.
I am in Portland, OR. Yes, I took them with my phone. I sent them to all the sitters via Whatsapp.
@claudinekent I’m interested in how you do a review for these sitters when you do not physically see how your sitters have left your home and how your cat is. Do you have a friend who checks your property at changeover times?
I am going to assume you are new to THS based on your question and haven’t had a lot of pet sitters yet. I am happy to share my experience and expectations with you. Others can reply if there’s differ from mine.
I am trusting the other sitters to let me know if something is not right when they arrive. The current sitters are sending videos of our cat so I know they are doing a great job with him and I can tell the house looks clean. I leave a very clean home and based on the reviews of the sitters I choose, I have every confidence they will leave it clean for the next sitters. My experience is that sitters leave houses how they find them if not cleaner than they were left.
I usually do a deep clean for homeowners as my gift to them. I can’t believe the dust and clutter that a lot of people live with in their homes. Since I do both sides, I believe pet sitters are the ones taking the greater risk of trusting the home owners. We have a lovely home in a beautiful neighborhood, provide a car and only have one cat. I have sitters with a long history of reviews applying. Most of them are full time pet sitters and have sold their homes. These aren’t young and irresponsible kids.
If I was concerned about the sitters that I selected, I should not be using this site. Communication via texts, videos and the next pet sitter’s feedback is ample information to write a review. I build a rapport with my sitters before I leave. I am sending my current, past and future sitters pictures of the animals I am taking care of and they do the same with me. Friendships and a mutual respect emerges.
Thank you @claudinekent for your lengthy response from both an owner and sitter perspective which I am too, although I don’t require sitters now. Far from being new to THS I have been a sitter since 2016 and have many 5* reviews under my belt, both here in Australia and in the UK. I agree with much of what you have written about good communication and trust being key to successful sits.
There’s only been one sit a few years ago in England which I agreed to where I was taking over from a previous sitter and, unlike your positive experiences, this sitter did not leave the home clean and tidy. Fortunately the neighbour next door was on hand to see the state of the home. I do know the owner did not give that sitter a review. We learn a lot from our experiences and this owner was relatively new to having sitters so it was a learning experience for her.
We are very fortunate we now have this forum to share experiences, ask questions and receive advice. There was none of this when I joined so, like many others, we have just worked things out along the way.
I like the idea of broken up videos showing different parts of the home, especially to facilitate a non-contact handover. We’ve also had HOs do little videos to show how they handle a task that they might not be able to show us (how they handle doggie dental care or medications, for example), which are great resources and can be reused.
I tend not to think of doing videos in favor of photos, but you’re right that they are a great way to show interactions, how the pets are adapting, etc. Thank you for the reminder of their value!
Going back to my coffee addiction, I had a HO send me a video of how to use their massive expresso machine.
It was brilliant.
@Amparo You’ve just reminded me of a house sit we did in England where the owner (as well as doing a standard handover) sent us a video tour of the house, the cats, feeding routines, how to for TV, etc). It was so good to have to refer to as it was a quick handover, and it prompted us to video more complicated procedures like back-washing a pool, which varies slightly depending on the equipment)
Yes, it is most helpful, especially if the handover is not in person. I had a young lady make a complete virtual walking tour that included the arrival, finding the key, all the rooms, where pet food, toys supplies were and what food and kitchen appliances were available for my use. It truly was brilliant as not only did it increase my comfort level, I felt so very welcome it was literally made just for me and it felt like I was right there with her.
We did get to meet and it was yet again, another one of those lovely sits.
I now do this, with permission, when on a long term sit and a HO needs to explain to how to troubleshoot something, like you said, back-washing a pool. Extremely helpful.
That is such a fabulous idea.
With my first sit, I took photos of how the place was upon arrival. Then, I made sure I matched it before departing. I knew not to go into the ensuite.
This is something I hadnt thought of doing, but it’s an excellent idea.
Im going to have a go at doing one showing me preparing my rabbit’s medication (not complicated but easier shown than written - although I’d do that too!) and me giving it to him.
I’m hoping any prospective sitter will want to do a video call so happy to do a full house tour then (ideally with enough notice that I tidy up first… I dont want to put them off :D)
i’ve enjoyed staying in some LOVELY homes with SO MANY decorative things in the kitchens… kitchens where I teach cooking classes over video… and have to rearrange things so I can work, so this has been a useful technique for me too.
Video works … Where do most people go for tutorials on any and everything? You Tube …
Having in home video guides and “tutorials” makes sense.
My biggest issue with homes today? Media systems (note I did not say TV oh for an ON/OFF button or switch) & some kitchen appliances (coffee machines etc)
I’m not a big TV watcher, even streamer, but love my music. Integrated systems are often complicated (they told me there are speakers in every room but how … ??) I go into "What If … " mode when trying to navigate an owner’s complicated and high value system …
A simple video can easily take the guess work out of the process while written instructions can often amount to even more confusion and I’m not about to ask the owner who might be relaxing in the sun, with their happy hour cocktail, how to access Netflix or a Jazz station.
My equivalent was a gas fireplace, where I was convinced that I would not need it as it was beautiful fall weather … and then it turned cold. I wished I had paid more attention, but it was my own fault and I wasn’t about to take any chances, or bother the homeowner. Instead I chose a cozy blanket on the sofa. A video of the fireplace controls would have been handy then.
You’ve reminded me - I must tell sitters where to find the heated throw!
We always ask for video tours of the home. It gives us a reality check as to how clean/organized the home owner is. Photos are limited and usually get the nicest parts of the home. Needless to say, we dont like surprises!
Once we are at the sit and going over the rules & regs, we video instructions by the home owner for things like washing machine, coffee machines, etc. It seems to work well for us.
Update: I made this video at the weekend. Oh, the horror of watching/listening to yourself A friend of mine described my video as “strangely mesmerising”…