Withdrawing application after video call

You write in your listing “collect a cleaning fee before your arrival” ???

I get why you’d want to know whether someone will have time to interact with your pet. I don’t think my hobbies are a HO’s business unless I volunteer them or ask for input. Not because I have any weird hobbies, but because sitters are entitled to privacy.

As for asking someone to voluntarily pay a cleaner AND sit a highly reactive dog, that doesn’t seem reasonable to me. Why I say that: I have a highly reactive dog and pay professionals to look after him — they cost more than normal, because he can’t be mixed in with other pets and he has to be taken care of differently. That’s above and beyond normal pet care. And paying a cleaner seems like a reasonable cost for you, if you’re going to get a skilled sitter and avoid what professional pet care would cost you.


My experience has been that most of the sitters I consider will usually tell me how they spend their time and why they’re visiting Chicago. I don’t ask about their hobbies, unless they start telling me about them.

If they’ve never been to Chicago and want to explore, I ask how often they’re doing that because if they plan to explore every day of their stay, they might not be the best fit for us (our dog is small and needs to go out every 4 hrs, 5 hrs. is pushing it, but he’s usually okay).
I always ask because most people need to realize that in cities like Chicago and NYC, though they have excellent public transportation, there are construction or snowstorms, which create lots of traffic. Commuting from one place to another, even for 5 miles (8km), can take 30-45 minutes by car or train, depending on the time - if they want to go to museums and to eat, those places also have traffic or a waiting time unless you have reservations.

As for cleaning, I’ve thought about hiring people to come clean before and after, but I’d feel entirely out of place for charging the sitter for something like that, plus it’s against the TC of THS? I’m not sure because I’ve read here about sitters being asked to cover utility bills during long sits - I’ve never been gone that long, and when we have, we take our dog with us.

I’ve never ever withdrew my application after video’ing. I would have known I wanted-wanted the sit before video’ing, as (would I hope) the owner did with us too.

Would you expect a video call with the owner to be with them or somebody else?
Yesterday we withdrew from an application due to the video call not being with the owner but with their EA (Executive Assistant). She introduced herself saying she had been instructed to ask a few questions before we would be allowed to schedule another call with the owner who was terribly busy! (he is a first timer)
We politely informed her that we would only speak to the owners themselves because we are trusted house sitters and don’t need to be pre-interviewed by someone else who doesn’t own the house or dogs.
She apologised and understood, the call ended quickly and we withdrew.


@Goodboyjakey if it’s their first time they won’t understand the feel-good nature of this platform, where it’s not about employing someones services, that’s a paid sitter, it’s about connecting on a totally different friendly level. As they spend time more time with THS they will realise how naturally friendly they become with their sitters.

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@Goodboyjakey - well that is a first! I would love to have been a fly on the wall. :face_with_hand_over_mouth:

@bakindoki I’ve just read your profile and
I think its good you state at the beginning sitters should read your whole profile as, having done that, it is extremely clear- to me at least- the type of sitter/s you are looking for. I do believe that ONLY those feeling really suited would apply (assuming they do indeed read everything)
Therefore I do think its a little invasive of a sitters privacy to ask too much about their hobbies and details of how they will spend their day. It should be enough that they show enough interest and enthusiasm for your dog and confidence in handling him and giving him love and attention. That’s surely the most important thing for you?
We’ve been practically ‘interrogated’ during a couple of video calls - and asked personal questions not at all relevant to the sit. It felt very intense- much more like a job interview than a friendly ‘get to know you’ chat.
We withdrew in both cases.

We know what we are capable of and what we are able & willing to handle etc
e.g If we are told a dog is very reactive or pulls excessively on the lead, or is generally too demanding, we don’t apply.
Or if we read that a pet needs a super calm environment or is extremely scared of, or highly reactive, to noise we probably won’t apply as my husband likes to play loud electric guitar! (But so far no pet has been traumatised by it! :rofl:) etc
We are not time wasters- ours or anyone elses.

The other point that jumped out at me is about cleaning. You request that the sitter leaves your place ‘in the condition you found it - or better’! Why better? As you left it should be enough. Sitters are not your cleaners!
And then you go on to say ‘if you know you are not the best housekeeper please let us know and we will schedule a cleaner and collect a cleaning fee before your arrival’!!!
Frankly most self respecting sitters will find this rather insulting to read!
For me it was an instant turn off.
Most sitters pride themselves on leaving a home super clean.
Your request sounds like the airbnb option to clean up after yourself or pay extra for a cleaning service. But this is not airbnb and you are getting a caring sitter to take care of your high needs dog & home for free.
Its also against the THS t&cs to ask for a cleaning fee.
Words are important. Sitters need to feel that this is an equal exchange, and to feel valued.
Just my two cents worth…


And this was not made clear before the video call?

Weird people. But I guess it was a nice property.

I have a client whom I never speak to, I only deal with his assistant (non-housesitting related business). It suits me 100%! I have told his assistant, if she ever leaves, I will definitely leave too, the client is just too “all over the place” - I can deal with her, but not him! I can definitely see this situation playing out if that client ever needed housesitters. These types rely heavily on their EA’s for good reason.

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Yes, the only circumstance under which I’d agree to this would be if the PP/HO had had a professional cleaner in just prior to the sit, for the same level of cleaning, and I do the same upon leaving (or just before) before PP/HO gets home. Even then, that doesn’t take into account that at least some of the cleaning is likely to be pet-related!


No when she appeared on the screen we assumed she was one of the owners.

I’m pretty sure I’ve written that if you know you won’t be able to return the house as it’s given, I.e. clean or at least reasonably clean, then let me know and a cleaner can be employed.

I don’t charge a cleaning fee but due to previous experience, I let sitters know that if we come home to a messy house, this is something we would potentially request.

Case in point, I had a sitter that my dog loved and the sitter was great, but we returned to a house with sticky flora, a sink full of dishes, and all surfaces were grimy. The bathroom also needed a deep clean and it took me about 3 hours to reset the house. This was beyond a normal clean.

It’s only happened once and I assume this to be an extreme case but I don’t want there to be any opacity in expectations.


And to your point, above everything, the dog comes first. So as mentioned above, I don’t collect a fee unless the mess is extensive. A little dirt? It’s whatever, if you’ve kept my dog alive and happy. He’s the top priority.

I responded to the cleaning point in other poster’s comment, but re:hobbies, I’m not about to probe. Typically, they come up naturally in conversation as we get to know each other in orientation or on the video chat.

But again, if there’s something novel that’s going to be happening in the house or there will be regular intervals where someone may be leaving the house, that would be good to know so that I can set them up for success with how best to leave the dog alone, what info may be beneficial re:transport and customising their welcome guides, etc. (al of the above reasoning which is disclosed and discussed openly on the first touch points). Past that, I don’t really care about details for ppl’s personal lives. To reiterate the sentiments across all my responses, it’s about setting them up for success so that they and the dog have the best time possible and clear expectations set.

Thanks for the feedback. I’ll reflect on it.

I’ve responded to other posters regarding this and it’s written this way due to past experiences, but there’s always room to improve and adjust. :+1:t4:

That being said, the app is called trusted housesitters, not petsitters, which means sitter are responsible for the home as well as the beings and things in it; it sounds like you’re a very reliable sitter….I just haven’t always had that or even people that fully read our postings, hence why ours is now written to try to make sure there’s clarity. Our dog always comes first and if a few things are amiss in the house, no big deal, but if I’ve had to spend 2-3 hours cleaning up after a housesitter after their stay when the house was given to them in pristine condition? That’s where I’d take issue and where the sentiment of that messaging came from.

Wow. That’s wild!


We do a full deep clean before handing over keys. I also will typically also do a full groom of my dog as well so the sitters get him clean and fresh.

Our expectation would be to get it back clean, understanding that dogs cause dirt…but dogs don’t create sinks full of dishes or dirty bathrooms. If I come home and then have to spend 2-3 hours cleaning up after a sitter, that’s a lot.

The app is called Trusted HOUSEsitters. That means we come into the homes of other people and take care of the whole property, their pets, their plants,…when I sit for someone, this is the standard that I set for myself. The pet is first priority but that doesn’t discount that a sitter shouldn’t take care of the house as well, which has not always been my experience, unfortunately.

@bakindoki I understand more now where you are coming from and I’m sorry you’ve experienced coming back to a messy/dirty home. That’s not nice. I would hope that is really an exception. I love it to arrive at a beautiful clean home- as you describe yours- and we would take the greatest pride to present it back to you like that!
Unfortunately we have arrived at homes that needed a deep clean on arrival which we find super disrespectful- so it goes both ways…
Currently on our 76th sit with THS and I can say the vast majority of homes have been left clean and tidy for us and we’ve returned them the same way, and those dirty ones were returned better than found!
Therefore as your bad experience is (hopefully!) the exception I would suggest you remove that paragraph about cleaning fees. It grates. Mention your past experience in the video call if you feel to but …if you vet your sitters really well, and choose only those who have reviews where hosts mention how super clean the sitters left the house, then you won’t go wrong!


Already updated. X

But yea, totally hear you and def goes both ways. We are both HO/HS so I empathise with both sides and don’t play around with cleanliness/respecting the other party, as our reviews/feedback reflect.

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These types also should not be on mutual exchange sites!