Your help needed to improve the Welcome Guide

Hello @Tarheel1 and welcome to our community forum. Apart from this valuable feedback (that will be very helpful information for @ArjunaTHS), we hope you enjoy connecting with other members and contributing to the conversations. I have to agree about UK recycling… it’s the most complicated part of a house sit :slight_smile: Here in France where we are currently they really seem to have recycling well organized! All the best!

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As HO I love the idea posted above to offer an uploaded pdf or doc. I have a small farm, animal care changes through the year. There are a lot of details. The THS guide is a hassle with all the separate boxes for text. It’s often hard to find where I wrote certain details to make updates, and it doesn’t print well, so I have my own google doc I print for the house. This means every change has to be made in at least two places, if I can find them.

My sitters have all said they prefer a printed guide so even just making the online one more print-friendly would be an improvement. A way to upload my own guide would be even better.

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@Shafofo yes, even if I only have two cats, I totally agree! The THS Welcome Guide isn’t practical.

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When I click on the survey link, it says I need permission to view the form. (I.E. - can’t get to the survey.)

Thanks, trying to fix

Speaking of links - it’d be nice to copy & paste from the welcome guide. Wifi passwords, for instance, and several of my hosts have included websites that would be nice to click through to. I certainly can’t through my app. Maybe if it were a downloadable document, these issues would be solved?

Hi everyone,

Thanks for your all your feedback so far.

I have created a short questionnaire on the welcome guide and your experiences of it, if you could spare 5 minutes of your time to fill it in I would be most grateful. All your input is extremely helpful in improving THS and helping us make the improvements you want to see :slightly_smiling_face:

This survey is for sitters only please

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Good points.
As a pet sitter I find the environmental stuff, eg. Restaurants, shops, good walks useless. Half of the fun of visiting a new place is finding out things for yourself about the area.
The sections we use the most are about the home, pet and garden. Please fill in where you turn off the water in an emergency, where all the fuse boxes are, spare light bulbs and fuses and what to do with mail. It goes without saying we need detail in the pets description and all the information you can possibly write about all your animals. Also the vets info and whether or not we can telephone for advice.
We like the information to be available a week to ten days before we start, it makes sure it is up to date and relevant

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If I were doing very long sits, I would have the time to discover the area on my own. Because most of my sits tend to be two weeks or less, I really appreciate the tips from HOs about nice places to walk, good restaurants, markets, attractions, etc.

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Even if I am not a sitter, I love to travel and I don’t think tips from HOs are useless. We would not have found some really nice restaurants and other places. Some you simply don’t find on your own.
@ElsieDownie if you don’t need any tips that’s perfectly fine but others might appreciate them so I think they definitely should be in the welcome guide. Why don’t you just skip reading the section if you don’t need it😉

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I usually want the manual a month or so in advance, but we did find ourselves doing a few week long sits in a row this summer. I had to stop reading the upcoming manuals too far in advance as they were all in danger of getting a bit muddled.

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That’s exactly what I do.

Provide an option to PRINT the guide (convert to a PDF would be ideal…save the file locally/download a PDF).

I do like a hard copy of the info to keep on the counter where I can jot down notes; sketch a simple checklist or calendar for the time there, etc.

Luckily on my first THS sit, the HO provided both the Welcome Guide AND a Word doc.

Many rural locations do not have great cell service. To view the THS Welcome Guide requires the app to have service. The Wi-Fi info is in the app.

Luckily, at my last sit (rural, no cell service), I had taken screenshots of each section and marked up each image with notes. So I could see the Wi-Fi network info without requiring cell service (a photo on my phone).

Timing: As soon as the sit is confirmed.

Please offer an area for Cleaning re: Options for Linens:
do nothing, we/HO will do them when we get home; strip the bed and place linens/towels… (location); please strip & launder all linens and replace.

**** But PLEASE make a note to the HO that the sitter may not have time for all the laundry to be completed on the departure day. As a sitter, if driving, I would prefer to take my own sheets if clean sheets back on the bed is required for checkout. I’d rather know these things before packing for the trip.****

FREQUENCY OF UPDATES: how often and preference of content (cute pics only or detailed account of the day)

throughout the day;
Once daily:
Every few days;
Once per week;
Etc.

SMOKE ALARMS AND CARBON MONOXIDE ALARMS: Where are the batteries and where is the tall ladder (if needed). My own dogs hate that constant low-battery beeping; I’ve had to climb iffy stair rails to change batteries at a sit when no ladder was avail.

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Hello CR38 and welcome to the forum. Thank you for taking the time to give your feedback which I’m sure @ArjunaTHS will find very interesting reading. I particularly like “frequency of updates” as it gives the owners time to really think about this before they leave.

I do believe that the welcome guide can be downloaded as a PDF and printed by the owners but because it may contain passwords or security information it’s within their control as to whether they do this. So I think as a sitter you aren’t able to print… but I’m going to tag @Therese-MembershipService as she’ll be able to confirm this.

We do hope you enjoy your time here connecting with our global community and contributing to the conversations. All the best, Vanessa

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Hi @CR38 Just to confirm what @Vanessa-Admin said, that only homeowners can print the welcome guide due to security reasons. I understand from a sitter’s perspective, that if wifi is not great, then the printed version is always best. I generally ask my homeowners to print a copy for me, so it’s there on arrival and easy to access.

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At a recent sit I took photos of the Welcome Guide. It would be especially helpful if I needed the contact emails and phone numbers and was away from the internet. Even if the homeowners printed it, I’m a minimalist most times when it comes to what I carry with me when I go away from the home.

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If I was a home owner I would definitely feel uncomfortable if you were carrying around access codes etc after the sit was finished. I know you would never do anything illegal with them and no doubt delete the pictures after the sit is finished but……

I understand the security issues. Maybe blocking sensitive data (replace it with **** ) on the printed/PDF option would be a reasonable solution.

Your developers would have to customize the exported format (PDF for printing)…define all sensitive data fields so that their exported data is replaced with ****.

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I do appreciate you mentioning this point. You are correct in that I would never do anything illegal with them. My whole career has been in work that requires a high level of confidentiality and privacy. Allowing for a photocopy of the Welcome Guide gives no more security than me taking a photo, in fact in even less. If someone then photocopies it and does not shred it, it creates a far greater concern.

I have been provided many codes for sits and make sure to delete them from any device I carry after I leave the sit, wether they be in text form or as a photo.

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I don’t see why any access codes (except maybe when you don’t do a personal handover and the house has a alarm with a code) need to be in the welcome guide that is sent before the sit.
Any codes can be on a note in the house.

Yes, certainly could the sitter copy the codes but he/she could also duplicate the keys to the property. So if you don’t trust anybody with the codes, why trust them with your pets and house?

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