When “very good” is not good enough

I thought I clearly stated that was what I do for retail shopping :woman_shrugging:

Do what works for you. There is no mandatory guide that must be followed when giving a rating.


In the world of online reviews, “five stars” means

  • excellent
  • good
  • average

Four stars means

  • terrible
  • Dogs left out in the rain
  • Cats were never fed.
  • sink full of dirty dishes

Three stars means the sitter will never get another assignment.

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It’s not just here. It’s Uber, it’s Amazon, it’s Thumbtack, and Rover! Review inflation is a thing. The numbers are actually meaningless, and clearly sometimes a sitter and homeowner just don’t “click”. No animals are harmed, but FEELINGS are hurt and something happens that has to be broadcast to the world. It would be outstanding if THS could come up with an alternative to the “star” system!


Our very first sit the house was not clean and as they walked us through, they pointed out a cabinet where mice come out into the home. We did see one during our 6 week stay but it was in a trap, dead.
We kept doing sits and most homes are spotless!


I like this, very similar to the Airbnb approach would be good. And it is basically what I’ve been doing with my last 2 sitters. I privately give them constructive feedback or express my disappointment in a respectful manner. Maybe it’s all the years in working in customer service / experience, where you can still be honest without being a jerk. I find that people that have worked in service industries are very aware of providing honest information up front and not wanting to let your partners down, because to me THS is ultimately a partnership between the sitters and HO.


Yep! I use similar metrics at work with our customer experience surveys on tech support and customer service. There are 3 questions that basically feed into the final rating:

CustomerExperience- did the agent make it easier to do business with? Yes or No
THS can use: was the place found clean? yes or no. (Leave room for comment) or use agree/disagree (with somewhat/strongly)

First call resolution: did the agent resolve your issue? Agree/disagree (same as above) or yes or no. THS can use something like, was the HO honest about the pet’s behavioral habits/wellbeing and clear instructions for sitters and did the sitter followed instructions/took good care of the pet? For HO.

And the last question is net promoter score from 1-10 how likely are you to recommend this agent? (Sitter/Homeowner)

Any additional comments in the final as to why you chose that Net Promoter score/rating.


I agree about current system. I’m currently on a sit where house is nice but grubby. It clearly wasn’t cleaned before we arrived, and with the amount of debris and fluff in corners and around/ under sofas clearly hadn’t been done in a while. It looks ok on surface but when you start to look closer you see that it isn’t. Owner didn’t tell us until we arrived that dog sleeps on their bed. Which is what we are using and the dog also has growling issues if you try to remove her or take anything from her. She is also a chewer so you can’t leave anything out. Which is a problem as no draw space etc has been made for us and means we live out of our suitcases.

I really want to warn sitters about this but would prefer a private review system in which only the sitters saw it.


I don’t think that’s the way to go. This is membership. I hate the idea of one set of members talking about another set of members. If the sit is over, and you’re not going back to that sit, and you already have your review, why not address it? You aren’t telling the owner what to do, you’re just offering feedback about what a sitter should know. It might even start a dialogue. I don’t think owners are necessarily witholding information. They are living with this stuff all the time. It’s normal for them. They aren’t thinking about it. I just recently realized that the littler box I have in my bedroom – where I sleep – might be a problem for some sitters. I am now going to mention it in video calls and also offer the option of the pull out in the living room. I’d rather a sitter say no, than have a bad time in my apartment.

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@Stilgoingstrong , during the video or phone call I ask where the pet sleeps and if there is anything that causes the dog to act aggressively. I might ask about chewing if it’s a puppy but more often just assume it’s the case.

I am living out of my suitcase now on this 10-day sit as there is no closet or drawer space. I’ve done it before and it doesn’t bother me at all. I have all my bags and stuff opened at the ready in a second room. I guess it could be more of a problem if you’re a couple and you need space for two sets of bags.

Sorry the place isn’t cleaner. It happens. When this is the case, I do cleaning at the beginning and am more comfortable after that.

Stay tuned. The new review system will be here soon.


Its simple to resolve…simply make it that until both parties have written their reviews/ feedback they are not published.
The present system does not work due to the tit for tat opportunity. Another way to do it is to just put “Not willing to review”…speaks a thousand words??


Hi @Nickjs , we shall see what they have come up with. I have a feeling it’s late for suggestions but my feeling is that if you need a review from the HO and feedback from the sitter before anything is published, there will end up being a lot more blank reviews and absent feedback. Your suggestion of putting, “Not willing to review” is intriguing! Wow, interesting! I like it.

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Question for you, wendy_chicago… After you have left private constructive feedback, do you then ALSO leave honest public feedback? I left some constructive feedback privately to a homeowner who is relatively new to the site (we were the second sitters). I told her that I would not leave public feedback as I did not want to damage their reputation so early into their use of the THS platform. I am second guessing whether I did the right thing in not making a public post for the consideration of future housesitters.

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I completely agree with your comments, in fact I was about to suggest myself that the star sytem is abolished. The feedback is far more useful and could easily stand alone

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I completely understand your struggle and I actually didn’t post a review for months on a sitter that had really disappointed me, but I did end up writing a review that pointed out the positives as well as why we didn’t give the person 5 stars in taking care of our dog. As for others who basically didn’t even seem to have read our profile/instructions or maybe it was the language barrier, I privately gave them feedback of maybe asking questions or clarify, or tell them what I wish they had done and then only mention in the review that some things got lost in translation and recommend which homes they might be a better fit for.

Editing because I forgot to add. I wanted to mention that the person I almost didn’t leave a review for also didn’t leave one for me, even though we decided not to cancel because we had 3 days left in our trip and the person very apologetic, I could have written a complaint against the sitter but decided not to. The reason I then decided to leave a review was because the only reviews on the sitter was of cats, which is very different than caring for a dog. And the sitter also had 5 reviews previous to sitting for me. In your situation they only had two, I would probably just try to be as diplomatic as possible on the review while still mentioning why they didn’t get the 5 stars but if you told them you wouldn’t write a review then I wouldn’t.

When I am looking at an application I only give the stars a cursory glance. What is important to me is the words - both theirs and those who have left reviews. I’ve had to “read between the lines” before in reviews and should have gone with my gut (gone with someone else), but in general, the star system gets ignored.


How I see it is this site for the owners, by only having to give good reviews when if you’re not satisfied with for example how the sitter has left your property or looked after your pet it would give a bad impression for future sitters/owners. Similar procedure to Airbnb. I suppose the only option is if you’re not happy then not to leave a review!?

Geoff, you’re right, and I think it’s part of the increasing trend to polarisation, driven largely by social media. It’s robbed us of meaningful distonctions, honest balance and subtle nuance, leaving us in a place of ‘goodies’ and ‘baddies’ we thought we’d left behind many years ago!

This is a great dialog and helpful to hear the input from sitters. I recently left my sitter feedback. She was amazing. My comments reflected my gratitude, and she exceeded my expectations. I hesitated as I considering the stars. It’s hard to be true to yourself without providing that context for others. 5 stars use to indicate perfection and I’m not sure anything is perfect. It’s not a reliable system when everyone looks through a different lens or has an experience that influences their actions, or feels obligated to give 5 stars.

For example, my experience; a website asked for feedback and called me out for not giving the experience 5 stars, it asked what was wrong and why didn’t I give 5 stars? There was nothing wrong. It was good enough. Sadly I went back and gave it 5 stars because I didn’t want to engage further. Then I wrestled with that decision if people were relying on ratings.


@Islandchel this is a very good perspective for looking at star ratings…it’s more than just the stars, it’s what may or may not come later…meaning asking “why”. I must agree with you that I don’t want to have to write a book on why I chose a certain star rating…on any site, not just THS. I find this when doing a survey for a restaurant, store, etc. It is time consuming when all you want to do is answer the question.

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