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Q & A

Answers to commonly asked questions from the experts on Thumbtack.

What is house sitting?

A house sitter watches your house while you are away for work or vacation, or if you have to be away for an extended period. House sitters can also provide pet-sitting services, staying in your home and caring for your pet while you are away. The house sitter can say overnight in your home while you’re gone, or stop by once a day to ensure everything is in order if your pet doesn’t need overnight supervision. Reptiles and most cats are just fine with daily visits and feeding.

House sitting provides major advantages to the homeowner. A regular presence in your house deters break-ins and theft. Home safety issues such as water leaks get noticed and dealt with right away, so you don’t come home to big problems. A house sitter can bring in your mail daily, care for your houseplants, and provide home safety and peace of mind.

What’s the best way to set up a consultation or an appointment with a handyman during the COVID-19 pandemic?

Setting up a safe consultation or appointment with a handyman during the COVID-19 pandemic starts with comparing local professionals online. Message or call the handyman to ask about performing a consultation over the phone or, better yet, a video call. This will allow the handyman to assess the problem without increasing the risk of transmission by visiting your home. If the service is essential and the handyman needs to enter your home, you’ll need to take stringent safety measures for the visit. Discuss temporary fixes if possible, and come up with a plan for safety and digital payment.

What’s the best way to set up a consultation or an appointment with a general contractor during the COVID-19 pandemic?

To set up a consultation or appointment with a general contractor during the COVID-19 pandemic, start by performing an online search for local professionals near you.

Message the contractor, and see if they are willing to set up a video consultation call instead of an in-person site visit. With video chat, the contractor may be able to assess the scale of the project, give you better information on what needs to be done and perhaps provide an estimate. Be sure to discuss virtual payments, as well as general strategies for staying safe.

What’s the best way to set up a consultation or an appointment with a landscaper or lawn care professional during the COVID-19 pandemic?

To set up an appointment or consultation call with a lawn care professional or landscaper during the COVID-19 pandemic, take advantage of digital technologies to avoid face-to-face exposure. When searching for lawn mowing, landscaping and lawn care companies online, ask if they’ll do a video call to assess the job and give you an estimate. You can also go over strategies for completing the job and conducting virtual payments to stay safe.

How can I find out if a general contractor is considered an essential COVID-19 service provider?

To find out whether a general contractor is considered essential in your area during the current coronavirus pandemic, visit your city or state’s government website, which will have information on essential services.

Find information on national recommendations by visiting CISA’s Identifying Critical Infrastructure During COVID-19 webpage. However, not all jurisdictions follow CISA’s definitions of critical infrastructure. 

What’s the best way to set up a consultation or an appointment with a house cleaner during the COVID-19 pandemic?

The best way to set up a consultation with a house cleaner during the COVID-19 pandemic is by using virtual, online tools. Start by performing an online search for local house cleaners. Message them to set up either a phone call or video call to perform a consultation. During this call, they can give you recommendations and may be able to estimate the cost of their services. Be sure to discuss whether they accept virtual payments and any precautions they can take to perform the job safely.

How can I find out if a landscaper or lawn care professional is considered an essential COVID-19 service provider?

To consult national guidelines on essential COVID-19 service providers and see whether a lawn care professional qualifies, visit a page on CISA’s website called Identifying Critical Infrastructure During COVID-19. This website contains 16 categories of critical infrastructure sectors that you can search through. However, not all jurisdictions follow CISA’s definitions of critical infrastructure so you should also check your city or state’s government website.  

How can I find out if a house cleaner is considered an essential COVID-19 service provider?

A house cleaner is generally not considered an essential service sector during the coronavirus pandemic. To find out which services are considered essential, visit your city and state government, and read their guidelines. A national list of essential service providers can be found on CISA’s Identifying Critical Infrastructure During COVID-19 site. This webpage lists 16 different infrastructure sectors considered to be essential. However, not all jurisdictions follow CISA’s definitions of critical infrastructure.

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