Win-Win-Win Formula: Should work for All

We have been HO needing sitters for our house, garden, pets, and we have been sitters taking care of homes, gardens, pets.
With literally dozens of experiences (mostly as sitters since we retired!) it seems most people on both sides of the equation understand THS is a win-win-win equation.

HO, Sitters, Pets are all better off!

BUT since this Community Forum was launched, I have read too many commentaries that suggest the balance isn’t obvious to all.

Start with this:

The Homeowner needs security & peace of mind for their home and pets, expecting a reliable person who will be communicative & considerate.

The Sitter also needs a communicative & considerate HO who will make them feel welcomed & their stay pleasant.

Where has it gone off the rails most often?

IMHO when either side thinks that the other side is somehow benefitting more than they, or taking advantage of them.

Well, few things in life are a perfect balance - but within reason…

Our first experience as HO needing sitters was for a 25 day trip abroad.
Friends recommended sitters to us: the alternative? Having a someone we know stop by the house half a dozen times to make sure all was OK while our pets were in kennels at a cost of over USD$2,000 (this was a while ago: I suspect that cost is up 50% now.)
Not ideal by anyone’s measure.
Having sitters meant not inconveniencing a relative with keeping an eye on our house, and not stressing our pets with kenneling - not to mention the cost!

BONUS? Sitters would know immediately if a pipe burst or a fire threatened or a street flooded, etc. And break-ins would be less likely.

Our first sitters weren’t ideal, but our pets were clearly well taken care of and no emergencies happened to the house. They asked to stay a day early & two days after our return (four weeks at our place).
We had a big house and were fine with that.

Now that we’ve done both sides, here are some suggestions:
Communication is critical. As HO or Sitter be clear & honest about what you expect and will provide.
As a Home Owner:
Are you providing a good place for the Sitter? Room for their things? A comfortable bed? Decent WC? Have you cleaned it as you should for any visitor? Have you been clear about how easy/hard it is to spend time away from the home?
Have you been thorough in your description of what care your home, garden, pet(s) need? Have you made sure that there is enough pet food, things for your guest in the kitchen & bathroom? Good contacts for emergencies?
Remember: their presence means your home is safe, your pet(s) & plants cared for saving you both worry & money.
As a Sitter:
Have you made the HO secure that you’re able to arrive when they need you to be there? That you know how to care for the type of pet(s) they have? That you will be communicative so they know all’s well back home?
Remember: they are trusting you with their home and pets and saving you the expense of a place to stay - possibly the adventure of a new experience!

In short: no one is THE winner if ALL sides aren’t benefitting.

We love the people we’ve met through this system, the great peace of mind it gave us as HO and as sitters the fun of exploring places we might not have gone to if it weren’t for a Sit luring us there.
On the other hand: we have been there to take care of sick animals, plumbing near-disasters, and a few very unexpected events!

I’ve written this because I think it is such a shame to learn of either HO or Sitter situations that went sour from inconsiderate behaviour.
Happily for us, 97.5% of our experiences on both sides have been great!

So cheers to all those who “get” the win-win-win equation!


Well written. Communication is a must and realistic expectations voiced before the sit is confirmed. If either party changes any of the points agreed either say no thank you or discuss compromise.
Be straight, no fudging.


I also agree that it is well written.
In my opinion, all members of the Forum will be following all of the guidelines because they are taking the time to read and learn.

It is the THS members who have never joined the Forum, have never read the T & Cs, don’t know about the Code of Conduct, who we should educate.


You know, ItchyFeet, you’ve really hit on something.
Maybe the THS team could tell new members that their membership starts one week from application to give them time to read through the T&C and browse the Forum before becoming active.
We’ve learned a lot through our experiences - but it can’t all be intuitive to everyone.
Good points!


Great post @ASASG. I think things go wrong when communication doesn’t happen. In my video chat I’ve learnt to ask the HO a few important questions. If I don’t get the answer or the HO is non-committal then I decline a sit. If you both lay out your expectations from the off then I get an enjoyable sit and the HO has a committed sitter.

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Agree @Itchyfeet.
I think sitting like most things is a learning curve and the more you know from seasoned sitters the better.
I accepted a couple of sits when I first joined THS that wouldn’t accept now.


Thanks richten1.
Even the ones that didn’t turn out to be ideal were interesting in some way - but yeah, I “read between the lines” a lot more now!


Reading in between the lines! Sure would’ve helped me. My last sit had some serious safety issues, that I dealt with successfully, but…would NEVER have accepted if I had known. The sit before that was a warning light all day long…and I didn’t want to disappoint her, so I did it, much to my chagrin, and just got a 3review as I hadn’t cleaned her immaculate house (she is a actually a self-proclaimed OCD/professoinal cleaning lady) up to her standards, which is really hurtful, as I cleaned daily, (5 animals) and cleaned thoroughly the day before, in 85F weather with no A/C…again warning warning warning… Her pets were all fine and happy and clean litter/food/water, and yet 3 for review…lost all connection with what I was supposed to be doing…it was all about 'hidden’pillows in a closet to give me some room, and 2 eggs and a lemon in her fridge…!! And she is calling her home dirty. Boy do I know better with those warning signs now. Yep, a huge learning curve! It’s sure a lovely time when communication is forthright. Thank you for the fabulous post!!


Lucca - Sounds like you got a truly unreasonable review. Curious whether you found out she was a self-proclaimed OCD/Prof Cleaning Lady before you agreed to the sit? During a video chat? Or once you arrived? In any case, hard to imagine that someone could be so petty given you took care of five pets and I’m sure left the home in good shape. We have been fortunate to do many repeat sits: I wonder if she realizes few Sitters would agree to go back to a 2nd sit for her? BUT - there are all types in the world! I hope your future sits go well and you can put this one in the past.

HI thank you, Once I arrived…she said both her boyfriend and son thought she was nuts. WHIch she is. I washed and cleaned everything so hard, as she was so loo-loo. She hadn’t belonged to TH, and frankly didn’t want to; her friend recommended me, and I said it’s the only way I would do it ha! That’s my rewarding bad behavior…All my other sits are 5* including cleanliness…so it is what it is.

Well, take heart. With only one “clinker” out of your reviews, it won’t do harm. Most people can see when something doesn’t seem right. I’m sure other HO will see that.

@ASASG you have neatly articulated the whole THS ethos which should be their Executive Summary to the T&Cs! It would be great to see your post copied verbatim in a THS newsletter. :clap: :clap: :clap:


Crookie! That’s very kind of you. I truly want to encourage members of THS to benefit from all it offers and at least in my case that means being aware that it is (or should be!) a win for all.

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Since we joined as sitters, we’ve had a marvellous time, and the HO’s we have had the pleasure in sitting for have been really lovely, mutually respectful, with no horror stories, every HO has been great. Most of the ‘issues’ that get posted on here have not been our experience at all, it’s been brilliant, it’s been fantastic, it’s been amazing, and it’s the best thing we have ever done.


I agree communication and some research of the area you’re going to is key to a successful sit.
New to THS I decided to apply for long term sits and chose cats because they are more independent than dogs leaving me time to wander and take photos, my hobby. Though, I’ll sit domestic pets and gardens.
Before the sit, because I am a solo lady, I FTd or phoned the HO to become acquainted and also I went to the village a day or so ahead to get to know where I was staying.
I also give my FB address in replies to HOs it’s my travel photo journal .
THS was suggested to me by friends and I must say, I lucked out completely! I had the privilege of sitting for three months in two gorgeous homes in Yorkshire with beautiful pets. I was made to feel welcome by all. Including pets and neighbours !
Living like a local was my aim and that is why I choose longer sits. I am retired so have the time.
I will continue to apply in 2024 and beyond.
And I will recommend to all my friends HO or sitters.
Many thanks for this forum. Iona


Hello @Travelsit and a very warm welcome to the Community Forum and it’s so lovely to hear that you are enjoying your TrustedHousesitters journey :slightly_smiling_face:

For reference, as a member, you can also add your TrustedHousesitters profile on to your Forum profile by following the attached link, should you wish. This will then enable others to offer you helpful advice and feedback.

If you are unsure how to do this, or if you have any questions at all, do not hesitate to ask, we are all more than happy to help.

Also, remember you can use the spyglass symbol at the top of the page next to the TrustedHousesitters logo and search for any questions that you may have as they have most likely already been answered on here and of course if not then please just ask! :blush:

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What an awesome post! This is exactly why I love THS. The Win-Win.
As a HO I’ve never asked sitters to do a full clean of the house. Simply leave it as you found it. This has worked out pretty well and I’ve even had some sitters go way above and beyond and we were very grateful for that.
I’ve also had sitters do some things like leave soap stains in the bathtub or break something and not mention it. We’re all human, each have a different view of what is acceptable, and things happen. The soap stains were admittedly odd to leave since it was very visible, but I didn’t let it bother me. I’m not expecting a sitter to deep clean by any means, nor am I going to write them a bad review for something so silly.
The broken glass, although I was a bit bummed because it was slightly sentimental, wasn’t a huge issue. I would have preferred the sitter mention it to me when it happened rather than wondering where it was and having to ask about it, but I learned that if I’m worried about something being broken, put it away when sitters are here. That’s on me.

@ASASG is completely right about it all coming down to clear communication.
We also should all be treating each other a bit more kindly and having some grace when something isn’t as we expected. More often than not, I find that I’m actually the one creating my own frustration because I’ve placed unnecessary expectations without properly communicating.
After over a year of sitters, I’ve finally learned that I should specify and ask people more about their dog experience to be sure they’re just as comfortable staying as I am leaving. Our dog is super easy for people who are more in tune with dogs and their behaviors, but for those who might be more comfortable with cats or don’t take the “master role” seriously, sitting for this quirky little guy can be overwhelming and confusing.


Love your perspective and agree with your points.
I will say, when being shown a home, “Please let us know what’s really special to you because even things that aren’t “valuable” can be important and we’d like to know.” And in leaving my home in the care of others, lock up really important stuff in a guest bedroom.


This was so well written, I applaude you for taking the time with such a brilliant way of including both sides of the equation.

I am glad that you have also included that you have been in the both positions to be able to speak from your own experience.

You are absolutely :100: correct. Lead with the best communication and everybody wins!

Thank you for taking the time to write this!


Cecelewis - Thanks so much for the kind words! Don’t you find the mindset going into any situation greatly influences the experience? We go into these arrangements expecting good things - that the benefits vastly outweigh any small things that may be a bother. Happily, we’re almost always proven right!