What to do when you get a bad star rating?

Hi everyone,

I need your advice on what to do with a low review rating.

The review itself was short and sweet but fine however I got the worst star rating I’ve ever had - 4 stars for four categories and 3 stars for 1 category. I usually get 5 stars for everything!!

On face value it does not look good! I know I wouldn’t choose someone with a review like this!

I contacted the pet parent to discuss what I had done wrong.

Besides her finding some crumbs in between the couch (which was embarrassing) and not mopping the floor after I vacuumed she said she was happy with everything.

She doesn’t like giving reviews and doesn’t believe in giving ANYONE 5 stars as she thinks its ridiculous and no one ever does an excellent job of anything.

I tried to explain to her that with her low star rating this looks bad for me and it could make things extremley difficult for me to get more sits.

I even asked if she would reconsider the star rating.

She was surprised that I was upset about this as she said it was a good review!.

She was extremely irratable that I had approached her about this, stating “see this is why I don’t do reviews”.

Im extremely worried that as a full time sitter I will now have an extremely difficult time getting more sits.

I totally own the fact that I didn’t mop the floor. I usually do and did hesitate with that during the clean. In hindsight I should have mopped regardless.

I can reply to the review but don’t know what to say.

What can I do to off set this?

I wish I had never asked her for a review if I knew she would do this.

Can I try and explain this to suport services and ask them to take this down? I doubt that they would.

Please help as I really need some advice.

Cat Lover :heart:


Sounds like teachers I have had!
You can write a response to her review but best to keep it free of emotion. In fact, she has given you an out. I would consider something along the line of …“Although I was initially disappointed with this review it all made sense when the homeowner shared with me that she did give me a good review but does not believe in giving 5 stars. I fully respect her stance and will continue to provide the excellent care acknowledged in my other reviews”. BTW, she cannot write back after this.


Someone who “doesn’t do reviews” shouldn’t really be on THS, as this is the way it works. It’s not a terrible review, it’s just an average one. She obviously doesn’t understand how house sitting works. If all your other reviews are 5 star, I think HOs will overlook it . Say you are disappointed in her review, as you think you were worth more. As a sitter, if I saw that, I would not apply.


It isn’t a terrible review and that’s her “system” so nothing to be done on that side. I don’t think it will affect your overall profile as much as you believe it will, your response will influence people though. Write a balanced response and as @MaggieUU says, mention that you were a little disappointed but on discussion with the HO discovered she never gives 5 stars out. You appreciate the honesty etc and move on. Also see other threads and comments on similar situations, @pietkuip will say the same as it happened to him.


@MaggieUU Thank you so much this is great advice. I had such a great sit and she is actually a really nice person and we got on well so it was all a bit of a shock. I would definitely sit for her again but tell her not to write a review

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Thank you @Chrissie. She really is a lovely lady. Maybe I caught her at a bad moment. I appreciate you writing back with the advice. Thank you :pray:

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Thank you so much @Cuttlefish it is quite overwhelming to receive a star rating like that. I so appreciate your advice on this and will look for the other thread that you mentioned. :pray:

Wow I’d be heartbroken @Cat_Lover I’m really sorry :pensive:

We do make a point of explaining how important 5* reviews are to sitters in our initial phone call with any HO. It’s not like reviewing a restaurant or a case of nobody is perfect - it can be really damaging and like you we do this full time and put a lot of effort in.

I really think a balanced reply to the review from your side will be the best option but maybe give it a few days to let the emotion pass.

The reasons they gave are disgraceful to be honest. They would likely never get a sitter again.


Thanks so much for your reply @Enjaybee . I am quite heartbroken especially as i was hoping to have a long relationship with the PP. I will wait a couple of days to reply given that I am quite emotional about this.

With the new 14 day review policy does this also include replying to reviews?? Does anyone know?? Id hate to miss out on replying to this.


@Cat_Lover , with the new review system you can reply to a review anytime. I would say, I am disappointed to receive less than 5 stars for the first time in __sits. ____(owner) tells me this is a good review. She does not believe in giving 5 stars to any sitter as she thinks it’s impossible to be perfect. (And leave it at that. No additional explanation, e.g. crumbs and not mopping) is necessary.

Were you her first sitter? If so, this will be a warning to others sitters. She did herself no favor.


Thanks so much for your reply @mars. No I wasn’t her first sitter. She didnt review her previous sitter. She genuinely felt that the review she gave me was good. I think she ment that she doesn’t do reviews for anything not just this. She is a really nice person which made it even harder to read.

Then I would also include that info in your reply:

I am disappointed to receive less than 5 stars for the first time in __sits. ____(owner) tells me this is a good review. She does not believe in giving reviews but when she does, she does not award 5 stars to any sitter as she thinks it’s impossible to be perfect.

The fact that she did not review her last sitter was a red flag. It would have been a good idea to ask her about that before accepting the sit.


Thanks heaps @mars :pray:

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I like the new blind review system.

In my initial call with HS, I discuss the review process. This time, I specifically mentioned that if there are any concerns during the sit to please be in touch during the sit and not wait for the review. I want a chance to address an issue, if possible/reasonable and to help the HS have an enjoyable stay.

I will also as a HO, try to discuss anything with a HS before I post a review, as to be able give the best review possible.

I think it is great that you reached out to her and I do think mentioning specifics about your conversation in your reply is key. And when another HO reads that you followed up with the HO to discuss the review and sees that you have a measure/mature response to the review…That is impressive!


Thanks so much for your advice @HelloOutThere I also agree about communicating any issues that may arise within the sit before coming to the review stage. I do find that this is overlooked a lot.

There is no need to worry. I had a three-star review this autumn and as @Cuttlefish said I have no problem of getting sits. The two applications that I did after that review were accepted, they did not even ask about it. My present sit (three weeks with a super-easy cat in Stockholm) was accepted within hours, no video chat or anything. And it is going great!


Thanks for posting @Cat_Lover – I’ve learned a lot from the responses. As @mars said, this owner has done herself no favor. I always check the reviews left by homeowners of their previous sitters and if I saw one like hers of you, I definitely would not sit for her. @MaggieUU and others have given you the perfect words to use in your reply and if this ever happens to me, I’ll come back here and use the words myself :slight_smile:


If you have a lot of reviews and you don’t go overboard in your response, you’ll be fine. You probably already have more sits booked and you’ll get five star ratings again.

Write a response but one that doesn’t sound bitter or like you are going to support to get it taken down. Mention your previous reviews and how mortified you were to see the HO felt you did less than five star work in some areas. Talk briefly about the area you legit feel were five star and why – pet care, organization, etc. Admit short comings about missing the couch crumbs and (gasp) apologize. Also if mopping the floor wasn’t in the Welcome Guide you could mention you vacuumed and it looked clean. If it was in the Welcome Guide, simply apologize and take responsibility.

Most people understand – without your telling them – that some people don’t give five star reviews. The absolute worst move you can make is a response that in any way criticizes the HO. That’s the type of drama HOs will avoid.


I think @MaggieUU has the best response here. Keep it light, no leaning heavy on the disappointment, no defensiveness, and no digs at the HO. I also wouldn’t cop to the minor issues like mopping (I’m sorry but who expects their sitter to MOP?!? I’m an HO and I DO NOT want my sitters mopping my home). This is about the HO’s rating system and beliefs, and anyone interested can look to see that she has not left other reviews (or, eventually, that her reviews are all skewed this way).


Absolutely agree with this - if the reason for docking a star was because the sitter had not mopped the floor, I would never go near this HO.