What Are Your Tips For The Sit Handover?

Handover questions for sitters and owner/pet parents

What is a sit handover?

When members talk about a sit handover, they are referring to a dedicated period of time before the pet parent sets off in which they will welcome the sitter into their home.

Why is the sit handover so important?
What are some of your tips for making sure the handover goes smoothly?
What do you do if there is no “in-person” handover?

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We have learnt that there is no one size fits all approach for a handover - but it is vital to have one .

We have done both in person and video call handovers. Both worked well and were appropriate for the responsibilities of each situation .

I was impressed by how useful the video call was - they gave us a tour of the house, where we would be sleeping - tricky locks, where the pet food was kept etc . When we arrived we felt as though we had already been there because we knew where to find everything .

Other homes have had more responsibilities (farms with fields and electric fencing for example ) for these our handover was in person.

Where it’s has been a local sit - we have had our handover a few days prior to the sit - where we were shown everything we needed to know and given keys - as HOs were leaving very early and did not expect us to arrive until a couple of hours after they have left .

We’ve had handovers where we had a cup of tea and biscuits with the HOs as they showed us the ropes and we meet the pets .
Another handover took place in the evening with some wine and a charcuterie board .

For nearly all of our sits we have done a pre and post-sit handover. Some have been short 30 minutes and some have included lunch and a dog walk.

It really helps for us to get introduced to the pets with the pet parents there and shown around the home in case there is anything we need to be shown or any questions on our end come up. We have housesat in some quite old houses, especially in the UK, which we loved but needed to know some quirks and what to do.

We also like to do a handover at the end of the sit. We like to expand on our communications during the sit and let the owners know how everything went and they can also use it as an opportunity to ask us anything, check that they are happy with how clean the home is etc.
We appreciate that the owner has been travelling and might be tired so a quick one is fine. For us, it is nice to feel like everything is finalised and the home and pet are neatly handed back to the owner.

When we can’t do a handover in person we like to do a video walk-through (we record one and send it to the owner). This has mainly been when the owner is not returning to the home and there will be someone else in the home between us and the owner (for example one where the AuPair would be returning three days before the owners, but we would not get to hand over to her) - That’s more for me as I like to make sure the home is tip top and the pet is settled before we leave!

Here is a topic discussing just that:

Also, it is interesting that in the T&Cs under sitters and owner requirements, it says to complete a pre and post-sit handover. I think it helps the sit go successfully and connects you more with the pet parent, but we equally did one of our best sits with no handover on either end!

What are your handover preferences?


We’ve not done a post- handover as such - although our regular updates throughout the stay have kept HO up to date .

Saying that to date most of our HOs have arrived home exhausted from long haul travel / jet lag and I don’t think they would take in much anyway. If there was a particular issue that we had not want to bother the HO about during their holiday then I guess this would be useful. Although we have so far had HOs who wanted to be kept informed promptly of any issues while they were away .

For us, as both sitters and home owners, it starts before arrival with giving/receiving a detailed Welcome Guide, preferably using the THS template. As sitters we read through the WG to ensure it aligns with what was originally discussed during the video call before we accepted the sit. We make a note of questions or things we want clarified when we arrive at the sit e.g. to be shown how to use the TV as most homes, like ours, has several remote controls!

We love a walk around the home with the owners. We like to be shown exact amounts of pet food/medication to be given out if this is not detailed in the WG. Due to a previous experience, we want to be shown exactly where the mains water shut off tap is and where the main electricity/gas controls are. It may sound weird but I check how the shower taps operate while the owner is still there. We were surprised in the UK how many different controls there were to operate showers, nothing was standard, which is very different to Australia. Ditto for stoves & ovens, particularly an Aga, and fireplaces/wood burners and heating/cooling systems. I always ask if there is anything in the kitchen we are not to use e.g. food, equipment, crockery etc and anywhere in the home the pet is not allowed. We also check,that we can connect to the home wifi. If we get to go on a dog walk with the owner then that’s a bonus.

We ask about what they want done with the sheets and towels on the last day after we strip the bed. We offer to put them in the washing machine so they can be hung out to dry when the owner gets but not all owners want that.

Lastly, we always confirm when the owner is getting home, inlcuding their flight details if flying, so we can track them home as often we have have to leave sits before the owner gets home.

We cover most of this in our very detailed WG and do a walk through with our sitters on arrival which doesn’t take long as we love in an apartment with no pets!

Hopefully the HO gave a thorough Welcome Guide in advance so part of the walk through is confirming what you’ve read and filling in any gaps.
As a sitter, when I enter the home, I say hello to pet parents of course, but first get on the floor and let the pet come to me, sniff me out, and get comfortable with me. I love Crookie’s idea to confirm use of appliances as they change country to country. I’ve done sits with no walk through and honestly the most complicated task was sorting out all the recycle instructions in Switzerland!

As a HO, I leave detailed instructions in my Guide but ask that sitters come and stay the night before so I can do a walk through and if time permits take them to dinner or make them a nice breakfast before I leave the next morning. None of us want to think of what to do in an emergency, be it pet or home, but making those instructions clear is key including payment for the plumber/vet/etc in case you’re not available.