External References for Sitters

Hi, I need a bit of guidance from sitters who have external reviews.
I sent an external reference request to someone for whom I have dog sat in the past. She received the link to write the review but responded that she can’t submit it without first becoming a member of THS. Is this correct? If not, what does she need to do to submit the review? Thanks!

Yeah, my friends said the same thing.

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We had three friends provide external references for us when we first joined THS and none of our friends were members of the site.

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Hi @Mary-Kay - I’m not aware that someone has to be a member to provide an external reference. Ours didn’t but that was many years ago. I will check this with membership services in the morning and get back to you.


@Katie @Globetrotter thanks for sharing your experiences with external references.

@Vanessa-Admin it does seem a bit odd that a THS membership would be required for “external” references. From what my referee wrote to me, it seems as if there may have been a pop-up or something that prevented her from submitting the reference without first joining THS.

Thanks for your assistance! I look forward to hearing what membership services says.


Update: My referee must have figured out how to post the reference without joining THS because it’s now visible on my profile. Once I hear from them, I’ll post any tips they share in this thread in case someone else’s referees experience the same issue.


That’s good news. I’ve also just had a reply this morning to confirm that a membership or email signup isn’t required as we thought. Will be interesting to hear your referee feedback. Thanks for updating us and for your patience. Enjoy the rest of your weekend :slight_smile:


Hi @Provence ,
I didn’t have any external references for the longest time (I had probably 15 reviews at that point) but was asked for one before a sit a year ago. I think it has something to do with the verification process? Anyway, I’ve got one now and everyone seems happy…

Yes, our reference is someone we sat for but on another platform.

Hi @Provence, Thanks to all the information I’ve gathered from reading this forum, there are a couple of reasons why I asked for an external reference.

One was to complete the sitter verification process and get the 2nd ribbon on the THS sitter badge indicating that I’m fully verified. To do that, sitters are required to have an external reference.

The other reason for the external reference is that I wanted to show that I have experience dog sitting. Currently, I only have THS reviews for cat sitting.

Some sitters post character references. I didn’t do that because I included the link for my Airbnb profile. Since the Airbnb reviews are written by strangers, I thought those reviews would be more meaningful to a HO than a reference written by a friend.

The external references are marked with *** and the THS reviews are marked with stars.

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First …
I’m working on increasing my External References.
I will soon make sure ALL my photos include “me” with a dog or a cat.
I don’t have that criminal background check mark at the top of my profile, which I would like to have but I don’t want to pay more. What are your opinions about this matter? Should I pay to get it?
Also I have mentioned in the “about” area of my profile I worked State Government of Utah where I had a yearly criminal background check. But that dose not seem as good as the criminal background check mark that could be seen at the very top of my profile. What are you opinions about this?
Of course the more reviews the better from actual THS sits desired.
Also I may not be descriptive enough and too short on words?
I’m open to all Ideas and criticisms.

Hi All,

I still confused on how to get external references. Can we upload a PDF of a reference? Or does it have to go through the link, directly from THS? Seems like no matter how many reviews you have, owners still want references. Thank you.

@evag008 External references do have to go through the link directly from THS. Good luck.

I will try it. Thank you.

Hello @evag008 - as @temba helpfully confirms, external references do need to be applied for via the link within THS. Here’s a little more information from the help desk with the link to the correct place from which to do this (you’ll need to be logged in for the link to work).

@PamelaGoguen It sounds like you are working well on your profile to make it the best it can be. This extra effort really does help to increase your success when applying for sits.

Mentioning your work with the government will help with trust. We haven’t ever had a criminal background check (made hard because we’re nomadic) and it hasn’t hindered us, but I think if I were sitting long term in the USA it would be something we’d consider. I believe as part of the STANDARD upgrade US members can now get a CBC but as you say it will involve a small upgrade fee. I’d weigh that up against how much you might have to pay to get a CBC through a third party… you might find that along with the other benefits including the liability insurance, the upgrade is worth the small extra amount. Hope that helps, Vanessa

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Hello again,
Thank you all for your tips on ‘external References’. I got one uploaded, and working on another b/c I am not a pet owner. I hope there will be HOs out there who recall when they were newbies. More rejections, than likes. Excited to get started with new experiences.

You will be fine. Allow the natural order and process to do its thing. When I started I had zero reviews and no references imagine that!
We all begin at the beginning, from nothing, nada zip and yet gradually it all unfolds.
I only have one reference. I, like you, just wanted to get one uploaded. I had only ever done a sit with one person through another company. She was not a member nor is she now. That reference is 4 years old now. The feedback just came as I got more sits. Not everyone gave me a review even though they never expressed any concerns. I didn’t pursue it either. I just keep going without looking back.
As has been said, just focus on accentuating those qualities about yourself that demonstrate that you are reliable, trustworthy and capable of loving and caring for people’s homes and pets. You will get one. Then two. Then three…

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Since I posted, I have gotten another sit, possibly a return. My problem is that I hate the wait. I have already changed my profile twice to convince people to try me. I really do want my freedom to travel. Need to chill. Thank you for the encouragement.


It will come. You have already started. Enjoy :dancer: