Welcome Guide, Please Provide One!

This is getting to be an unwelcome trend. I have four sits in October and none of them has provided me a Welcome Guide even though I have sent requests to all of them. Homeowners, please take the time to complete this for your sitter. Once it’s done, with a few minor edits you can also use it for all your future sitters. We won’t have to bother you with questions while you are on your vacation, and it would make getting acclimated much less stressful for us.
Thank you!

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If they don’t have a House Manual that they can email to you before you arrive, maybe “gently” ask them for the Welcome Guide explaining you want them to have a relaxing Holiday and you don’t want to ask 50 Q’s.
We have had quite a few who have half a dozen lines written down on a piece of paper…

It takes more than a few minutes to complete but yes the investment and effort the pet parents take to fill it in is well worth it. We love the fact that all the information is in one place and is easy found. It’s so easy to lose scribbled notes that are left all over the house.

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The HOs I will see in two days have not even sent back the list of questions I emailed them a couple weeks ago. I also understand people do not want to send sensitive info (passwords, contact info, etc) over the internet.

HI @mars have you exchanged other means of communicating? A telephone number, external email addresses? I always ask for alternative ways once a sit is confirmed so that I have a back up outside of the website.

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Yes, @Angela. I interviewed him over the phone right before I accepted. He provided some info so I am not going in there blind, but I would really appreciate something written down. It’s not a big deal and it’s happened before but lately it just seems to more of a trend.

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When I apply for a sit and I am accepted,I ask how and when I will receive their house instructions. Once I am happy with their reply, I confirm the sitting. I remind them very early on if I have still not received it.

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Excellent suggestion @Itchyfeet. I have started doing that - got another sit yesterday and she sent the WG over directly. And what’s more, the sit I have that starts tomorrow, just sent me their WG. A lot of info is missing (nice walks, restaurants, pet(s) temperament, feeding schedule, etc.), but at least I have one.They can tell me the rest when I get there.

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As a HO, I always tell my sitters that I’ll send the Welcome Guide out 2 weeks before the sit. This is mainly due to the fluid world that we’re living in at the moment. For example, our vet (hopefully never needed) has only just started letting people enter the surgery. I just find it easier, rather than have to send further updates or leave notes around the house if things change. I also have two folders in the house, one for useful house info and gadget instructions and one for places to visit including local restaurants. Of course, if a sitter had any questions further out than two weeks or asked for the guide I’d respond.

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Hi Mars - I am glad you make use of the WG. We have had several Sitters who, from their questions, obviously have not looked at the WG. What a waste of my time! We send our WG appx 2 weeks before the sit. Any earlier means it, more than likely, will have to be up dated & I would be concerned the HS may not notice the changes. After confirming a HS I ask them about their main interests so I can tailor the guide. For instance if they are not interested in eating out I will inc less info about restaurants. If they are interested in NT properties I will inc this info. If they don’t want to put our dog in their car to drive to walks I will inc more local walks etc etc. It is not a 5 minute job to produce a worthwhile guide!

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Excellent and well thought out.
I like the welcome guide to be issued about a week before the sit starts. I know it’s a long document for pet parents to fill out but he information is critical to the success of the sit.
I like your style.

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That’s exactly the way I do it.
I send all informations two weeks before the sitter(s) arrive and they can take notes for further questions. I tell them that it doesn’t have to be printed, because I have a copy of it in the house.

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Everytime an owner tells me he has his own notes waiting for me in his home, I insist, explaining if I read his homebook online first, it helps me a lot and it gives me the opportunity to ask more questions before my arrival, some details I need to know

It has worked most of the time (not always), I’ve always been obliged to send a request. The home book has never been sent to me automatically… But with the help of the forum i send myself a list of questions (only once I’m confirmed)

As an owner, I always send it, i know how important it is, but i’m not sure it is read (although I have a more detailed home book at homewith all explanations on amenities, "modes d’emploi" etc.)

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We have had a couple of occasions where the listing and initially video call were positive and we confirmed the sit but then when we have received the written info/welcome guide at a later date there were way more responsibilities/ expectations and details on some more challenging pet behaviours than had initially been discussed.
The sit’s ended up being fine but it has made me think that if the homeowners have written up documents for previous sitters I would like to see them before confirming a sit as they can give some important details.

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I put everything in my profile (responsibilities), not as detailed as in the welcome guide, but for example that both my cats need their medication at certain times and that they will want to sleep in bed with the sitters.

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That’s great, Margaret, you take the time to personalise your WG for your sitters. I hope they appreciate it. Don’t be too hard on your sitters as sometimes we do forget what we may have read a few weeks earlier. I know I always re-read a WG just prior to starting a sit but I still may ask to be shown something, like where the fuse box or water meter is. I’m a visual person so I like to see where things are, not just read about them.

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16 posts were split to a new topic: Your help needed to improve the Welcome Guide

These posts made me wonder if my welcome guide is getting to the sitters. (I’m away right now so I texted the sitters to see whether they got it). She just sent me a reply that she doesn’t see one posted. So…how do I get one to her?

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Just got updated text and she did find it! Hooray.

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Our first sitter gave us a list of questions (her “requirements”!) and we dutifully completed that and have built on it since. I prefer to do it on word as I can print it out and leave it for people. I think having to log onto the THS when you are figuring out dustbins, passwords etc a bit fiddly (having done housesits). Our housesitters have liked our doc and the additional info on restaurants, supermarkets etc. It’s not perfect, no doubt, but comprehensive. I update it each time. I now no longer email it, and have excluded some of the very detailed info that the initial sitter required as I’m on what’s app if necessary. (e.g. name of electricity company!). No doubt that had been useful to her in other sits.

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