We’re new sitters and I really appreciate all the great advice I have gleaned from the well mannered and helpful contributions on the forums here.
We have two sits coming up but neither applications and acceptances involved video calls so I just wonder if I have to include my phone number in the initial application? Does the HO usually initiate the video interview?
Hi @Home after we submit our application and if we are lucky enough to hear back from the homeowner, we then request a video call if they do not mention in their reply, (and also give them our contact number then which we suggest WhatsApp for the video call), but on many occasions the homeowner has also suggested one at this stage, and definitely before the sit is agreed officially.
I am now doing that but in the beginning I did not. Most home owners asked.
And also for accepted sits, it is best to have another communication channel in case the THS system has delays. Internationally, many people use WhatsApp for messages, pet photos, etc.
We as sitters usually suggest a video call in our application. Some homeowners take us up on that others are happy with a phone call or just messaging through the platform . However I would recommend exchanging phone numbers asap to have a more reliable back up way to communicate than just the THS platform.
Have you had your questions answered so far - will you be having a handover when you arrive ? If there are things you’d like to ask or to have a video tour of the house you can request a video call . However since you have already committed to the sit , it may not be necessary or as helpful .
From now on I will include my phone number in the application.
For the first sit, we have had a long phone conversation and for the second sit there have been several conversations with questions and answers.
I’m including this on my applications:
If anything’s not covered in my profile, I’d welcome questions and am available to chat ahead of a pet- and home-sit.
For easy scheduling to chat, this is my calendar: [my Calendly link goes here]. If you block time (it uses your time zone and I’m usually on East Coast U.S. time), it will auto-generate a calendar invitation for both of us and include a Zoom link for us. I’m also on WhatsApp or cell phone at XX. If you’d prefer using other audio or video platforms, please feel free to let me know. I’ve used them all and am flexible.
Note: If you’re unfamiliar with Calendly, it allows you to send a link so anyone can book time on your calendar. Mine is integrated with Google calendar and Zoom, so it’s one stop.
Among the best things about such integrated processes: 1. It changes with your laptop’s or mobile device’s time zone as you travel. 2. You never have to check your calendar and juggle matching with someone else (they can pick from what’s open on your calendar), and it’s seamless to integrate Zoom or another video platform if you like.
I also have my Google calendar set to send me reminders ahead of my meetings. You choose how much warning time you need.
I used to have humans handle my scheduling and the above is seamless and less resource-intensive. Scheduling is detail-oriented work and tedious. Humans have better things to do.
It varies. Each application is different. The dynamics of the pairing, sitter and home and pet owner, is unique in every case so we must adapt. There is no set standard, for any of this really.
What is your comfort level in sharing information in this preliminary introduction?
There is no harm in it if that is what you like.
I have confirmed sits with no video chats and with.
In my application I let it be known that further conversation is welcome and I list the channels which I can be reached if they desire to move forward without the info. For example I will say “I am available via email, WhatsApp…”
I also don’t usually wait for a response before making other applications. If I am offered a sit that I have applied for I accept straight away, then withdraw from the others with overlapping dates. Sometimes I’ll get a message then from someone who had not responded before saying, “ oh we were going to talk with you next week”.
@Home at the end of our application we always say if we are the type of sitters you are looking for we would like to do a video call with you via WhatsApp or Zoom to meet you and your pets and have a tour of your home to ensure we are a good fit for each other. If the home owner isn’t keen on that, we withdraw our application and move on.
I don’t normally include my phone number in my initial application as the owner might not reply. However I do say something like “if you think I’d be a good fit for you I recommend we have a video call” and if they agree to that then exchange phone numbers and email addresses. I’ve had a video call with every owner except one
For safety reasons I always request a video chat and don’t accept sits without one. In addition I no longer provide my phone number until the sit is accepted . I made the mistake once of giving my number to someone who ended up trolling me when I withdrew my application because I determined the sit wasn’t a good fit.
@blackbird you should report the applicant who trolled you to THS member services, with screenshots of the messages. This is very disrespectful behaviour and I am sure that it would be taken very seriously by THS .
We have four sits confirmed, on the third at the time of writing this, and only one requested a video call so I would say it’s the norm not to have video calls.
I wouldn’t worry about it.
We’ve done 31 sits and had video calls for every single one of them. Looking into the whites of someone’s eyes makes all the difference for us. Plus you see the pets, the home and the HOs in situ before you & they both fully commit. Personally we would never say yes to a sit without one.
Have you ever declined after a video call? If so do you do it during the call or write a message?
We have turned down around 12 sits also, due to our lack of ability, and video calls were never mentioned there either.
I won’t decline a video call but won’t ask for one either. It’s all about the individuals, we are all different.
Maybe it may remind us of incessant video calls before we retired !
Yes a few times @Home . Not on the call, we say thanks for the chat, we check we’re both of the same opinion (always) and then we go back to the HO pretty swiftly and say thank you for your time but not for us. On the whole it has been because the home has been dirty or the HO is disinterested in anything other than free pet care from whoever will turn up, which isn’t for us. We want a genuine connection on both sides for the humans and the pets. So far so good as a method in two years of full time sitting
@Hallt64 what works for one doesn’t for another. We all have to find our groove and the right matches of sit and style. If we were all the same it wouldn’t work! (& would be dull)
Same here @Cuttlefish
We always, always, always requested a video call with a potential sitter. This gave us more information than you could imagine when talking to someone face to face. Are they presentable looking for the video (hair combed, dressed, etc.), are the surroundings neat and orderly? Are they attentive to your questions or requests, or is their mind somewhere else? All these things are very important because it will let you know how they will treat your home, pets, requests, etc.
Now that we are sitters, I would also never accept a sit without a video call first. Same holds true about surroundings, pets, etc. No surprises makes for a much happier sit…no matter which side of the table you are sitting at.
These are just my personal preferences and not everyone is the same, but like I said above, surprises can ruin a sit.
I’m doing a sit for the second time for a homeowner and this person never requested a video call. I have yet to meet them, yet I have four dates. One I completed already and the second one starts Friday 8/18-21st. This home has cameras that I was made aware of but I wasn’t really bothered by it at all and the sit’s been positive. Actually I felt quite comfortable.