What questions do you ask on a video call?

I would love some suggestions from sitters as to what your ‘must ask’ questions are when on a video call with a potential house sit.

The responses you will most likely get here will vary based on what is important to them.
Some want to know about safety and comfort, amenities in the home, specific location details, access to transportation, shops, any additional duties or requirements they may have, any particulars about pet care, health needs are just a few examples.
Ask yourself what is important to you? What are the key things you need to know or must have to create the ideal experience for you as well as for them?
Remember also to phrase your questions in a manner that demonstrates interest in meeting their needs as well as yours.
Have a pawsome time!

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HI @PawsomePetsitters there are conversations on the Forum on this subject you can search using the spy glass and key words also on the website blog where again you can search using key words, articles such as: and you also have excellent advice from @Amparo

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@PawsomePetsitters welcome to the forum where you will find so many helpful answers to questions and insights into what is happening around the globe!

I was a homeowner prior to becoming a sitter, and I usually let the petsitter start the conversation. I wanted to hear them refer to my baby, comment on her cuteness and then comment on our home. It shows they have a true interest and have actually read the requirements/profile, which is so important when entrusting someone with your precious cargo! I also paid a great deal of attention to their surroundings on the video call…were they dressed, hair combed, etc., and if you could see any of their home…was it neat and tidy. These were important items since you want to make sure they will take care of your home and keep it neat and tidy as well.

After that, they typically asked more in detail about responsibilities involved in the sit…I was pretty precise in my listing, but there was always more room for questions and answers to be had.

I always finished up with my questions about them…sits they enjoyed the most, where all they had traveled, etc. All this info really lets you get to know that person before deciding if they are right for you. Most of our calls led to immediate acceptance of the application. Only a few were ever dismissed and moved onto another potential sitter.

Good luck, and remember, you can always ask any of the TrustedHousesitters team questions and someone will reach back out to you. More often than not though, you will have your questions answered by other members, who are the most experienced!

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Just a mention to HO. When you have a video chat with a prospective sitter, make sure you
are ready should they request a video tour of your home and the rooms they would be using. The HOs on my last two calls were taken by surprise when I asked, they showed me around but had not tidied up beforehand.

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We ask:

  1. Tell us what a typical day looks like for the pet. That usually covers sleeping, eating, exercise, medication. depending on what they say, I ask about dog’s behaviour when meeting people or dogs. Recall reliability. Where to walk.

  2. How long pet can be left alone. We are clear that we are homebodies, but we do want to have the freedom to go out for half a day at least once during a week long sit.

  3. We ask what size the bed is.

  4. We ask about location, walking distance to certain things. We prefer not to be isolated so if I can’t figure out the house location before we apply, I ask about it. (T be honest, this is rare because we can almost always figure out the house location before we apply.)

  5. We ask always ask for the dates/times they are actually leaving and returning, as well as the dates/times they want us to arrive/leave.

  6. What kind of yard work is necessary - watering, cutting lawn etc

I think #1 and #5 should definitely be asked, the other 4 are just things that are important to us, not to everyone.

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We also ask:
• Where does your pet sleep? (We won’t do sits where the pet sleeps on our bed)
• Is your dog/cat spayed or neutered - especially with dogs and more so if the male and female are in the same home as this WILL become extremely problematic for sitters caring for your dogs.
• Do any of the pets have separation anxiety/are unable to adjust easily to new people?
• How far away from home is your vet?
• If we have no car, how will we get the pet/s to the vet in an emergency?
• Is your home smoking free?
• WiFi and mobile phone coverage?
• Will you have any scheduled cleaners and gardeners during the sit?
• Will there be any other people staying at the property or visiting during the sit?
• What are the neighbours like? Helpful?
• Are there any cameras on the property (inside and outside)?
• If a house/pet sit did not go well in the past, what about it went wrong?
• Have you got a Welcome Guide containing all this type of information that you can share prior to the start of the sit?

During the video call we also like to meet the pets and have a tour of the home so we preposition this in our application and the HO usually then does this during the call without us having to ask.

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Wow, thank you. Some great tips :smiley:

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Thanks, it is always great to hear a home owners perspective.

Crookie. This is very thorough. Such a great idea to be much more specific up front so there are not surprises during the sit. Thanks for sharing. :slight_smile:

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Other questions I like to ask:

*** If dog walking ***

  1. How do your dogs do on a leash?
  2. Do you have a specific route that you take them on? If so, how long is it?
  3. Are there any specific houses/properties that you avoid with problematic/aggressive animals?
  4. Do you have doggy mess bags for me to do pick up on walks and do you have a can for me to dispose of them?

*** General Pet ***

  1. Some people’s pets are their babies and if they are gone for any length of time, I ask if they would like to do vid chats for check ins or have me send them pics of their pets walking/playing/etc?

*** General House/Travel Info ***

  1. Where will I be sleeping? Guest room?
  2. Will you be in cell range in case I need to call you?
  3. Will we be able to use the kitchen for preparing meals? We are also homebodies typically, so need to know if this is an option.

These are on top of the excellent suggestions that people made above.

Hi @Jerome and welcome to the community forum and to TrustedHousesitters. I’m puzzled as to why you feel the need to ask if a kitchen is available to you. This should be a basic requirement, except in the rare countries where indoor kitchens may not be standard. If any homeowner said the kitchen was out-of-bounds I would suggest the sitter should contact membership services. Keep in mind a photo of the kitchen is now included in the basic requirements of all new owners joining TrustedHousesitters.

Francine
Volunteer moderator :canada:

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Didn’t realize that was a requirement. I added the question to double check on homeowner boundaries because that would be a consideration for whether or not I accepted the sit.