5-Application Rule Workarounds

Not going to argue about “if only they’d stop this madness” because they won’t. For those of us “hosts” in competitive areas, what workarounds to you employ to find the perfect sitter despite only being able to get 5-applicants at a time? If any sitters have managed to find a way to apply to these competitive sits other than getting alerts and applying immediately, what’s in your arsenal? (There are a few things I’ve learned to do as a HO to find the right applicant, but I’m interested in other’s people workarounds, which are probably similar to mine.)

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It might be possible to send invitations f.ex. to all your favourites in addition to your public listing, the ones invited might be able to send applications regardless of the 5 application limit. But I haven’t tried it.

It IS possible! Done that.


I’m a sitter, but if I were a home owner in a highly desirable area, I’d reject any applications straight away that didn’t write a personal message to save on time. The likelihood that they have read your advert must be very slim, there is no way they can know the in’s and out’s of your requirements.

Also, some owners have reached out to us directly with a short message with their future dates prior to placing an advert for their sit, that way it stays completely away from the 5 rule

I always say, if it is common practice for the majority of people to skirt around it, then it is a stupid rule.


Reaching out to favorited and previous sitters for private invites is a good way to avoid the rule. In the case of former sitters, it’s also a great way to increase the chances of things going well since the sitter already did a great job. I always send a group email out to privately invite. However, it won’t always work. Sometimes you just can’t get the dates, and will need to go public.

When I do go public, I haven’t found too many people who haven’t written some kind of application letter, but agree with you that I’d immediately decline. I individualize replies when rejecting applicants, but I try not to spend too much time on it. My criteria has gotten more refined since I know I’ll get a lot of applicants. Sometimes people will write me to correct something I may have assumed or give me more information. And my reply will always be that they should continue to look for other sits but I’ll consider the information and can always invite them privately if something changes.

If I still only have one or two candidates I want to video chat with, but there is some small issue eg there won’t be an in person hand off, or they’ll have to leave earlier than I’d like the last day, etc. and I just want to see if I can find someone that might be better for that sit, then I might very rarely, explain that I’m going to cancel the dates, so I can start again and boost the sit to see five more, but I will reinvite them privately and move forward with the video. This also can give me more favorited sitters for next time! However, it is risky as the good sitter who wasn’t perfect for that sit might turn out to be the best choice and could be gone by then.