“How can you trust a stranger in your home?”
It’s a question received by Airbnb hosts, SpareRoom users, and members of TrustedHousesitters too. So what’s the answer?
For our owner members, the answer is simple: they don’t need to trust a stranger in their home, because their chosen house and pet sitter is never a stranger by the time they arrive. In fact, having shared so much before meeting in person, owners often know their pet’s new best friend better than those they live next-door to.
From perfect strangers to your pet’s perfect sitter
While TrustedHousesitters members are already bonded by a shared love of pets, owner and sitters are of course strangers when they first connect. But like most special relationships, they start communicating, get to know each other, and don’t stay strangers for long.
“Through the applications you receive, the reviews and ratings of the sitters, and communication with the sitter, a rapport develops and you actually look forward to meeting them and welcoming them into your home.”
- Lucy Buckler, owner member
Getting to know a sitter and bonding before you decide they’re the right person to care for your home and pets is a key part of the process, and it involves these steps:
1. The first impression: reading a sitter’s application
All sits start when a sitter applies to care for an owner’s home and pet while they’re away. Similar to a job application, what a sitter writes in this initial message will inform the owner’s all-important first impression of them. If an owner likes what they read, they’ll then explore the sitter’s profile.
2. Getting to know them: reading a sitter’s profile
A sitter’s profile is the place to find out about their personality and pet sitting experience. This is also where owners can see their sitter ID verifications, and even read external references and reviews left by other owners.
While their profile provides a great sneak peek into a sitter’s personality, the best way to get to know them is to talk — which leads us onto step number three.
3. Create the connection: message through the platform
So that owners and sitters don’t have to share any personal contact details too soon, they communicate with each other through the TrustedHousesitters app and website. This is a safe and secure place to ask each other questions and decide whether they’re right for one another. Then, when they’re ready, most members schedule a face-to-face chat.
4. See each other’s smiles: video call or meet in person
Members usually arrange at least one face-to-face meeting before confirming a sit. While most people find that a video chat is enough to feel completely comfortable with one another, we recommend meeting in person whenever possible. In fact, many members see it as a nice opportunity for the sitter to earn the pet’s sniff of approval too. Plus when there’s a pet in the room, people don’t stay strangers for long.
5. Don’t be a stranger: communicate until you’re comfortable
By now, the sitter is certainly not a stranger. So when both parties feel relaxed and ready to start planning the sit, they must make it official by confirming it on the platform. And if either the owner or sitter doesn’t feel comfortable, they simply don’t confirm the sit.
It’s by following these steps that owners are able to travel with true peace of mind knowing their sitter is a like-minded person who’ll love and care for their home and pets like they do.
Supporting you through every step
Members have a range of trusted tools to connect and communicate securely and enjoy safe and successful sits. These include sitter ID verifications, a private messaging platform, and a shared code of conduct that all members agree to.
But the tool that members tell us gives them real confidence — especially when they make their first connection — is our Membership Services team. Made up of both owner and sitter members, they’re an experienced pack offering round-the-clock support that helps members through every step of the journey.
To learn even more about how we help our members connect and share with confidence, take a look at our trust and safety page.
Want to know more? Don’t be a stranger...
Just get in touch today. Whatever your question, our Membership Services team will be happy to help.