Author Topic: Have you used trustedhousesitters.com as a home/pet owner?  (Read 3625 times)

Unique User

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Have you used trustedhousesitters.com as a home/pet owner?
« on: February 07, 2019, 05:22:30 AM »
We're going away for a week in June and our kennel just raised their prices to $48 per day.  Since we have to do a day on either side, a week will be around $450.  We'd like to pet/house sit once we are living in an RV, so I thought it might be good to test out trustedhousesitters.com from the home/pet owner side.  Any horror stories?  Any advice on what to ask, how to set up?  As far as asking someone we know, I've thought about that and we don't have any family nearby and all our friends have busy lives.   

SKL-HOU

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Re: Have you used trustedhousesitters.com as a home/pet owner?
« Reply #1 on: February 07, 2019, 10:17:46 AM »
Not that site but I have found my current pet sitter from Rover.com. She comes and stays in my house so technically house and pet sitting. I have never heard of the site you mentioned but I haven't had issues with Rover.

sailinlight

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Re: Have you used trustedhousesitters.com as a home/pet owner?
« Reply #2 on: February 07, 2019, 10:22:25 AM »
We used it about a year ago to find a young couple to stay in our house and watch our two dogs for about three weeks. It worked out well. We Skyped with each other beforehand to get to know them and show them the house and dogs. I'm not sure I'd use it for a short trip of just a week, since it was quite a bit of effort to handle messages and weed through people who didn't seem like we'd want them staying at our house, but for longer trips I would use it again.
To save $450 at the kennel, maybe. Did you try asking the kennel for a weekly discount?

jamaicaspanish

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Re: Have you used trustedhousesitters.com as a home/pet owner?
« Reply #3 on: February 07, 2019, 10:46:20 AM »
We have been on trustedhousesitters for three years as sitters.
All of our experiences have been lovely (or at least acceptable).
Several homeowners (pet owners) have contacted us directly for follow-up sits; those are very positive relationships.
Agree with the skype / phone conversation recommendations:  you can learn a lot from that personal contact.
If previous reviews of sitters and your own gut feeling after personal contact are all positive, then go for it.

bacchi

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Re: Have you used trustedhousesitters.com as a home/pet owner?
« Reply #4 on: February 07, 2019, 10:52:21 AM »
We used that site for 2 months. It worked...ok. They ruined some nice pots and we woke up one day at 9am with a call from an emergency vet wondering how we were going to pay. That was pretty shocking. As it turned out, they took a cat in because of an animal attack. That was cool. The downside is that the cat was mostly blind and shouldn't have been outside at night, when the attack happened. That was uncool.

It saved us a lot of money but we should've been more selective.

Mtngrl

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Re: Have you used trustedhousesitters.com as a home/pet owner?
« Reply #5 on: February 07, 2019, 01:09:56 PM »
I've used HousesittersAmerica.com for several years -- and most of the people we have used with them are also listed with Trusted Housesitters. We have had four different couples stay about 7 times over the past three years, as long as five weeks and as little as one week. We have two dogs, a big house and a big garden and greenhouse. Everyone we have had has done a great job. Two of the couples were especially good with our dogs and they have been repeats -- one is coming back to sit for us for five weeks this fall.

I think these services are a win/win on both sides -- the sitters get to come stay at my nice house in a beautiful area, and I have someone looking after my place and my pets while I'm away. I'd say ask questions about their previous experience and go with your gut. Usually when I post an ad I get several replies and there are invariably one or two which don't appeal to me at all. Call and talk  in person and ask for references if you're uncomfortable. Also, I leave detailed instructions for everything I can think of. Sitters have told  me they appreciate this. Especially when it comes to pets -- I tell them everything I can think of about their schedules, habits and idiosyncracies. Don't assume anything.

Linea_Norway

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Re: Have you used trustedhousesitters.com as a home/pet owner?
« Reply #6 on: February 08, 2019, 12:55:04 AM »
When I was a student, I was asked to pet sit a friend's cat. I was to let it out of the house in the morning and let it back inside in the evening. And feed it. I did it for free, as they were good friends.

Maybe you can find a young person in your neighbourhood who wants to feed your pet, and walk it, if it is a dog? A teenager might work, but it has to be a responsible one.

Unique User

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Re: Have you used trustedhousesitters.com as a home/pet owner?
« Reply #7 on: February 11, 2019, 05:16:01 AM »
@SKL-HOU - Thanks for the point to Rover, I'll check it out. 

@sailinlight - Unfortunately our kennel doesn't do discounts.  I've asked in the past for a ten day trip.  We could switch, but all here seem to be in the $45 to $50 per day.  We could pay the $450 and it wouldn't hurt our budget, I like the point about the hassle may not be worth the time. 

@bacchi , @jamaicaspanish , @Mtngrl  - Thanks for all the tips.  We've had rental properties for years and DH had a pretty darn good bs radar.  I tend to believe everyone.  I like the idea of leaving detailed instructions for everything. 

@Linda_Norway  - I thought about the idea of paying a teenager to come over to the house and walk and feed her, but I work from home and our dog is used to us being around as I work from home full time and DH is usually in his home office at least 2 days a week.  I'd be concerned about her being alone for a week with just a couple daily stop ins. 

JanetJackson

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Re: Have you used trustedhousesitters.com as a home/pet owner?
« Reply #8 on: February 11, 2019, 10:58:33 AM »
Hi there!

I know a few people who have used Trusted House Sitter, but more who have used Rover.  I work through Rover.  Well, I own a dog walking business and I use Rover to onboard new clients and then move them over to my platform, but long story short- I use Rover.  Ha.

There's an option on there for house sitters and also one for boarding, if you wanted your pup to stay in someone else's home.  I'd opt for the house-sitting as it's generally more cost effective, plus your dog gets to stay somewhere she is comfortable.

You'd generally schedule a Meet-And-Greet with the sitter prior to make sure that ALL expectations are very clear and that they have any emergency information, etc.  If you have a hard time matching up times for a meet and greet, do it via Zoom or Skype or FaceTime.   
Check their reviews, testimonials, and background check.  All of that is on Rover.

Be sure they are very clear on what is expected of them, that you know when they will/won't be in the home (roughly) and let them know what amenities they can use.  You will have to pay for their services, but generally, if you offer great amenities, they will be willing to trim their prices back depending on what they have going on.
Questions to ask:
Roughly when will you be home and away?
Have you house-sat before?  Tell me about that experience.
Are you insured?
How long have you been caring for pets?


Things to discuss:
Amenities - can they eat your food?  Can they use your Netflix account?  Can they do laundry while there?  Where will they sleep? Etc.
Expectations - do they need to bring in the mail?  Mow the lawn?  Can they have guests?  Do they have a contact sheet for a nearby neighbor just in case and ALL of the local emergency numbers (including the nearest emergency vet and your pets local vet too)?


I know that in the next year or two I will be trying to schedule a "Vacation" Pet Sitting somewhere warm or coastal so that I can get away, and any extra I'd make for taking care of the house would be a bonus.  Generally, during the rest of my work year I'd charge normal rates, but in a home with a pool or free food or a hot tub, etc I'd probably be willing to cut my rates in half so that I could have some small respite during my stay.



Just some thoughts! 

LateToTheParty

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Re: Have you used trustedhousesitters.com as a home/pet owner?
« Reply #9 on: February 11, 2019, 09:36:24 PM »
I am a sitter thru Rover, as well as a sitter thru TrustedHousesitter.
I have used TrustedHousesitter to arrange to have sitters come and stay in my home with excellent success.

My advice:
1.  Be selective. Interview the person as if you were hiring them for a job. Read their reviews. If you aren’t feeling it, move on. I have used Skype to do my interviews and it works well.
2. Detail everything out in a contract. Will they be using your car?  Pulling mail?  What to do in event of pet illness?... TrustedHousesitter has templates that are good starting points.
3.  Don’t expect them to mow the lawn unless you have clearly outlined that in advance. That is beyond the typical scope.

TrustedHousesitter has saved me thousands of dollars in pet boarding and I have not had a single bad experience. Maybe I have just been lucky, but I have found it to be a win/win.

GreenSheep

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Re: Have you used trustedhousesitters.com as a home/pet owner?
« Reply #10 on: December 28, 2022, 02:07:59 PM »
Bumping this to ask a few questions of those who have used Trusted Housesitters (or similar organizations -- suggestions welcome!)...

Is it difficult to find someone if you don't live in a highly desirable area? Our house is fantastic, and the weather is nice, but the area is... not that exciting. We're about an hour from a very large city, not near water or mountains, etc. We do want someone who will be in the house most of the time (like we are), but I imagine they might be bored.

Is it difficult to find someone willing to care for large dogs? We have two who are 75-100 pounds each, plus a tiny sidekick. They're all well-behaved and very friendly to strangers, but some people aren't comfortable with large dogs.

Is it difficult to find someone who doesn't need/want to use your car?

Thanks! We adore our dogs, and we've only ever taken the larger two to their breeder for boarding, but he's 4 hours away and charges over $100 per night, so we're considering other options.

uniwelder

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Re: Have you used trustedhousesitters.com as a home/pet owner?
« Reply #11 on: December 28, 2022, 03:08:35 PM »
Bumping this to ask a few questions of those who have used Trusted Housesitters (or similar organizations -- suggestions welcome!)...

Is it difficult to find someone if you don't live in a highly desirable area? Our house is fantastic, and the weather is nice, but the area is... not that exciting. We're about an hour from a very large city, not near water or mountains, etc. We do want someone who will be in the house most of the time (like we are), but I imagine they might be bored.

Is it difficult to find someone willing to care for large dogs? We have two who are 75-100 pounds each, plus a tiny sidekick. They're all well-behaved and very friendly to strangers, but some people aren't comfortable with large dogs.

Is it difficult to find someone who doesn't need/want to use your car?

Thanks! We adore our dogs, and we've only ever taken the larger two to their breeder for boarding, but he's 4 hours away and charges over $100 per night, so we're considering other options.

We've had someone stay once at our house with TrustedHouseSitters.com, but advertised it for two different occasions, so 1 for 2.  I live in a college town with outdoorsy stuff nearby, but I don't think many college parents are looking to stay for long periods of time, so my location might not be that much more exciting than yours.  The house sitter that did stay, came because she grew up here but moved away from the area, and wanted to visit her mom who is now in a nursing home.  You might run into a case such as that.  Otherwise, I understand there are some people that seek serial housesitting jobs so they can work nomadically and not keep a permanent home location.  Your house could potentially be convenient for a case like that, but you might need to list your place months in advance so proper scheduling can be figured out.

We had signed up for both sitting and having sitters, so the $200 we paid was worth it regardless of we could find someone to stay at our house.  We got to stay at someone's house in Quebec for a week, so that already made the fee a good deal.

uk_american1

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Re: Have you used trustedhousesitters.com as a home/pet owner?
« Reply #12 on: December 29, 2022, 03:48:50 AM »
I'm a sitter with TrustedHouseSitters.com, I sit for 100 ish days/year. Just a few thoughts from what I've seen from the sitter side.

A non highly desirable area will still get sitters, especially if you are offering one week or longer. 'Exciting' is subjective. I've stayed in locations that might not be tourist destinations but it's interesting to me to see somewhere new, especially when it's outside of my usual experiences. So mountains may appeal to a city person, small town America may appeal to someone from a different environment.

I only sit for cats, others prefer dogs or large dogs. It's definitely possible. Just be clear in your listing about their weight and how they behave on leads and when they encounter other dogs, children, etc.

I teach online so I am home more than many. I know some sitters are writers or they live off grid so they're happy to enjoy the creature comforts of staying at home mostly. Others are more into doing tourist stuff. I've seen lots of dog sitters who take the dogs out on long walks (so car access may be useful for that, if there's a place that is further away from your home) but if your dog walking area is walkable from your home, just say that in your profile. You can usually tell from the sitter's profile (and especially photos!) how they like to spend their time. My profile is mostly photos of me wearing my teaching headphones with cats on my lap. 'Dog people' often have lovely photos of them out walking dogs in all sorts of weather.

I travel by train/bus/uber and while I have a license I never go for sits offering cars, even if it's a more remote or unconnected area. Sometimes owners will offer to pick someone up from the nearest transport point and to take them somewhere for grocery shopping for a week. Others will manage just fine with uber and an Amazon prime delivery of food but may appreciate being dropped back at a bus or train station. Others have their own car and will manage fine on their own. On the TrustedHouseitters forum it's often debated when owners say 'needs a car' but sitters think otherwise. If you put details like, 'am near xyz point' or 'intersection of x and y' sitters will decide for themselves if they can manage without a car in your area.

Similar to what @uniwelder mentioned, I often take 'uninteresting' sits in the suburbs which are close to my family. I get the convenience of visiting my family for short pop in visits over a week but I still get my own space and the excuse, 'gotta get home to the spend time with the cat' which is the best of both worlds for me.  ;-)
« Last Edit: December 29, 2022, 01:21:26 PM by uk_american1 »

Tass

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Re: Have you used trustedhousesitters.com as a home/pet owner?
« Reply #13 on: December 29, 2022, 07:46:20 AM »
I'm interested in doing exactly what you just said @uk_american1: having private space while visiting family for 2 weeks to 2 months at a time. Any tips (from sitters or sitting-seekers) for appealing to people, or any jobs you would recommend not taking?

GilesMM

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Re: Have you used trustedhousesitters.com as a home/pet owner?
« Reply #14 on: December 29, 2022, 07:59:34 AM »
If you are looking for a sitter you can also try your local FB group. I see requests periodically and there appear to be people who like doing this in our area, which is semi-rural.  The advantage is they are local, know the area, maybe know the vet, live not far away, and are likely to work out better than someone coming all the way from the city (which is 45 minutes for us).

We've never done it because a) our dog is autistic and doesn't like strangers (growls and barks at them), and b) spouse is anal about anyone less perfectly clean and tidy living in the house unsupervised.

GreenSheep

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Re: Have you used trustedhousesitters.com as a home/pet owner?
« Reply #15 on: December 29, 2022, 08:48:29 AM »
Thanks, everyone, for your replies. We're weighing the pros and cons of a local sitter versus Trusted HouseSitters, but I do like the fact that the latter does background checks, etc. I'd love to rely on word of mouth locally, but we've only lived here for a couple of years and don't have a huge friend group, so I worry that a recommendation on our local FB group might just be someone recommending a friend/relative who isn't really that great. We've already had a neighbor warn us never to hire another neighbor's (adult) daughter after she caught her on her back porch camera kicking her Huskies. :-(

Archipelago

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Re: Have you used trustedhousesitters.com as a home/pet owner?
« Reply #16 on: December 29, 2022, 09:33:54 AM »
I know this is an almost 4-year-old topic, but I'm interested in pet sitting as a side hustle. I grew up with dogs and started to really like cats too as I've gotten older. I'm self-employed, home pretty much all the time, and have hiking and trails close by which we already use all the time.

I was looking at Trusted Housesitters and can't believe they want $12/month just to join the site lol. Are most sites like this?

I'm thinking of just setting up a basic website, Google business page, and insurance policy. I'd keep cats and dogs at my house or client houses, and I'd take on one family's pet(s) at a time. Basically, get paid to have people's pets around, do basic home sitting, and provide courtesy services for people traveling. I like animals so it seems like a simple and enjoyable way to earn $50+ per day.

uk_american1

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Re: Have you used trustedhousesitters.com as a home/pet owner?
« Reply #17 on: December 29, 2022, 01:19:50 PM »
I'm interested in doing exactly what you just said @uk_american1: having private space while visiting family for 2 weeks to 2 months at a time. Any tips (from sitters or sitting-seekers) for appealing to people, or any jobs you would recommend not taking?

Just be honest. Some pet owners appreciate that you have a local connection and reason to visit the area. I usually update my profile when I am applying for gigs to say, 'I grew up in anytown, state and I'm looking to stay locally in the area where I can visit my family and friends occasionally (but mostly they're working so I'd be at home with Fluffy most of the time while I also work from home teaching online).'

Read the owner profiles, some say that they usually work out of the home for 8 hours per day so their pet is used to being alone and tourist sites X and Y are recommended, others say that they work at home or are retired so home a lot and would prefer someone in a similar position. So I only apply to ones that match my travel wishes.

Sometimes people have very social dogs and they'd be happy if your local family and friends also do, that you all can get together and the dogs can have fun too.

The key is honest communication.

Sibley

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Re: Have you used trustedhousesitters.com as a home/pet owner?
« Reply #18 on: December 29, 2022, 07:24:55 PM »
The resurgence of this thread is timely. My family is going on a trip for about 2.5 weeks this spring, and I have to figure out cat care. I have 2 kittens, my parents currently have a cat, and we're going to try to put all 3 into one house. None of my friends can handle that length of time. I will check both sites, see what I can find.

And for any of you who are one those sites and want to be nearish Chicago, pm me. We can chat.

Dreamer40

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Re: Have you used trustedhousesitters.com as a home/pet owner?
« Reply #19 on: December 30, 2022, 01:23:31 PM »
I had a nightmare experience with a Rover sitter. I could tell from my security system that she didn’t actually sleep at our house at all the weekend she was supposed to be there. When I got home in the early afternoon, there was poop all over the house and the dogs were starving with no water access. She was passed out asleep on my bed with makeup dripping down her face like she’d been clubbing. She also had fantastic Rover reviews. The only red flag in our initial meetup was that she was late and seemed to have initially forgotten about it. But she was recovering from a cold so I chalked it up to that. Screen people well!

Sibley

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Re: Have you used trustedhousesitters.com as a home/pet owner?
« Reply #20 on: December 30, 2022, 10:06:08 PM »
I had a nightmare experience with a Rover sitter. I could tell from my security system that she didn’t actually sleep at our house at all the weekend she was supposed to be there. When I got home in the early afternoon, there was poop all over the house and the dogs were starving with no water access. She was passed out asleep on my bed with makeup dripping down her face like she’d been clubbing. She also had fantastic Rover reviews. The only red flag in our initial meetup was that she was late and seemed to have initially forgotten about it. But she was recovering from a cold so I chalked it up to that. Screen people well!

We will be gone long enough to kill the cats if neglected. I don't trust anyone I don't personally know, but all of those people can't provide the cat care needed for such a long period (ie, fed + clean + interaction). But they CAN stop by and check on the cats. As a backup, my neighbor could (and would) stop by to feed the cats and do basic care, but he can't spend the time with them for interaction. So, if whoever I hire flakes, my neighbor will step in to keep the cats fed and clean.