Feedback Disappointing applications

Hi all
When I first joined TH 3 years ago I was very happy with the results and all the wonderful sitters.
Now we are headed on a long trip overseas and after many applications and reviewing we still have not found a suitable person.

I would appreciate your feedback but am finding that many of the people want a place to stay for a month. It seems that many people with no experience or budget, are simply signing up to TH
*Although I **specifically request experience with our cats needs, the responses do not work at all.
I have had;-

  • An entire family wanting to sit
  • An experienced sitter who is wondering if her son (who is not registered or has experience) coming to town to look for work.
  • applicants who have owned a pet growing up
  • applicants who want to have friends stay over

While I fully understand this is a reciprocal arrangement, in my humble opinion, it’s the owners who have more at stake than a sitter… we have a lovely home and love our cat so much, it’s becoming harder to trust.

My membership renewal is almost due but am really debating whether to renew.
I wonder if there should or could be some form of verification. House sitting is a brilliant idea but with so many sitters who sign up daily, it may be getting out of hand.

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Everyone is verified on THS if they are a member. You may want to post your listing here so perhaps experienced sitters on the forum can review and offer some advice? If you have received an application for an entire family, you should indicate the type of sitter you want in your listing and specifically state that it’s not suitable for families so that they do not apply. You can also say that no one is allowed on the sit except the pet sitter, which would eliminate the applications asking for a friend or family member to join them.

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I am both a sitter and a pet parent. As a sitter I feel like there are fewer sits to choose from and fewer sits in desirable locations, but that may be the effect of the 5 application limit. I do believe the high cost of travel (airfare, car rental) is decreasing the number of sitters but I have no evidence. It is hard to know what specific trends may be affecting your application pool without knowing more details. I wish I could be more helpful. Good luck.

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There are loads of new sitters @RKL and yes, some of them are looking for a free place to stay or a holiday, nothing more. That’s the fault of THS and it’s misleading marketing rather than the sitter. They’ve been sold a duff! The other challenge is that because of the huge membership growth there are way more sits than sitters so you have to stand out more now than ever before. Things that seem to really swing in an HOs favour are use of a car, flexibility on taking a single, couple or family, great photos and top comms! As @Voyager says, add your listing to your profile and members can offer feedback. It’s more competitive but trust us, there are still tonnes of brilliant sitters out there that don’t want anything more than nice pets, comfy home, clear comms and some time to explore or chill on their house sitting adventure :raised_hands:t3:

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I hear you. In our listing, I now specify exactly the experience I’m looking for, that we’re not suitable for families, or sitters travelling with pets, that sitters need to be non smokers, and that no guests will be allowed etc etc. It sounds a bit po faced writing it out like this, but in making my position incredibly clear, I’m answering a bunch of common sitter questions up front!

If you can prevent even one or two people from making contact to ask basic questions, everyone saves time. I would therefore totally recommend this approach. The only possible downside is that you’ll come across as very particular, but that’s not really a downside if, like me, you actually are particular! :joy:

EDIT: I’m also a sitter and appreciate a listing that includes this sort of info too. It gives me a better sense of the host and the home.

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@RKL

Honestly, I think you may be missing out on great sitters by not being flexible and trusting enough.

Why else would a sitter be offering to give up a month of their life to come to care for your cat for free?

How do you know the financial situation of those who apply to sit for you?

1 - We don’t know your home but if you have the space, families make great sitters

2- This sounds like a perfect exchange to me, you get an experienced sitter, the sitter gets company, and the son gets help with accommodation whilst looking for work, win-win-win

3 - I presume this is a typo? every single day someone, somewhere gets a pet for the very first time and copes perfectly well - we all have to start somewhere and to be honest looking after a cat for a month is not that difficult

4 - This depends on the circumstances - If a solo sitter applies and has a friend visit for a night or weekend, they get some company and you get two for the price of one for a short period. Every year my mother-in-law joins us and stays over on our sits, in no way does it affect our responsibility or reliability towards our sitting duties.

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@RKL were your previous trips for shorter stays 1-2 weeks perhaps ?

For a month long sit you will get a different type of sitter applying than for a shorter duration - that doesn’t mean that you won’t find a suitable sitter.

Many of the sitters that do long sits do them back to back and have 100+ 5 star reviews .

A sitter who wants a long sit may also be working remotely during their stay rather than using it as a vacation. Do you have desk space and good wi-fi ?

Other reasons for sitters to want to stay for a month are because they are relocating for work and whilst looking for permanent accommodation in the area they are house sitting as a stop gap . Or someone having major renovations done at their own home so they need to move out for a month. All of these are genuine reasons for wanting a long stay and if they love pets they can be great sitters .

Don’t give up - I am sure that you will be able to find a great sitter who is a good match for you.

We sit full-time as a couple and prefer longer sits - in 2023 we had an eight week sit and a six week one .

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It’s the 5 rule that may be your problem. The way I see it is the people that have applied so far are simply looking for a petsit, there’s nothing wrong with them per say, your real issue is that not one of the sitters that applied possessed the qualities you really wanted (100% of them had things you didn’t want), so it could be a numbers game for you. So simply reject those that don’t suit you straight away, so you can receive 5 more applicants quicker, and mention the ‘no friends’ thing in your ad but word it in a nice way so you still look friendly and approachable, same with no families, but mention couples and singles are welcome so no-one misreads it.

Maybe adding your profile link and creating a post on here to ask for feedback as to why you don’t seem to be getting what you prefer may be a good thing, what worked a few years ago may not be working for you now.

We sit as a couple, and if you take your 4 bullet points above, none of them apply to us. and there will be plenty more like us.

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Try rejecting “unsuitable” applicants right away so that more people can apply. Maybe you’ll find the perfect match. Not all pet parents have the same views though. You see families, friends staying over, experienced sitters with a son, and people with their own pets as negatives. You may want to ask yourself what’s in it for the sitter to sign up for a service like this. Surely it’s not just to spend time, energy, and money watching people’s pets. We sitters have our own reasons. I signed up for this service because my daughter really missed having pets as both of our dogs are in doggie heaven. But we are a full-time traveling family. So instead of traveling via our motorhome, we tried petsitting as a family of 5 and it worked out beautifully. If an experienced sitter has a son, I’m not sure why it makes a difference if the son is in town to look for work. If the sitter is doing a terrific job with the petsit, isn’t that what you want? I’ve never needed a friend to stay over, but I did have a couple of petsits where the pet parents stated friends were welcomed because they wanted it to be comfortable as possible. My only point is that what is a negative for 1 pet parent might be a bonus for another. During the middle of one of our petsits, I had extreme vertigo and was very ill for awhile. If I was a solo sitter, I would not have been able to carry out the rest of the sit. Luckily, my children and husband were able to carry on with the petsit with zero issues. Can’t speak about the other points, but here’s what family sitting looks like. My kids spoil the pets rotten with affection, love, and fun.




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Hi @RKL picking up a bit on @Colin and others, the THsitters you listed seem fine for many listings / HO’s in the network.

As a cat mom of 2…I am perfectly capable of taking care of cats…you would miss out on me as a sitter since it was only my and my friends cats I have cared for.

And we are definitely using THS to travel and to take care of pets and to be part of this shared community…so I would be looking for a balanced sit…not one that says their cats must be feed 5 small meals a day and treats throughout the day, for example.

You mentioned your cat has needs…depending on that I may not apply due to experience needed for what that entails and it may inhibit one’s ability to “sight see.”

I do think that your listing should “weed” out those that don’t fit criteria but not always.

My listing says no pets / no kids / no visitors / no smoking and must sleep in the home each night.
People with kids and pets have saved my listing…?

I agree that adding your listing would allow more customized feedback.

And I do agree that in the back of my mind…I will be screening more closely due to THS’ marketing and shall we say…lack of response to “situations” that come up for THsitters and HO’s.

THsitters have just as much risk in trusting a HO. It’s is infact an equal *ish exchange. (I think situationally sometimes either party gets a bit more or less depending on the listing / responsibilities/ experience.)

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I am confused about this one. How is that a bad thing?

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If the applicant never had a pet since they were a kid, then that is not much in the way of experience…

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Right, but unless there is a typo she is saying the opposite.

The implication is there that the person’s only experience with a pet was from their childhood.

At the end of the day “it’s your home, your rules, your needs” it sounds like you would like someone who can keep to the routine of your home and that’s good.
IDK your listing, if you are in a desirable area then this might be why you are getting “everyone apply” for the sitters who have been honest and asked straight up the Son can stay or guest a couple of weekends, that is really good that they have been honest about it, there would be nothing worse than finding out later that they had guest stay and you didn’t know about it. I always in my application list who is with us, sometimes my Husband joins us, sometimes he does not, Last year my Dad came over to the UK from Australia to spend time with us and he joined us on a few sits, I was honest in the application that he would also be with us and completely understood if they were not okay with it and declined the application. He is coming this Year now too (making up for 16yrs without having them in his life) and again any applications I am being honest and asking politely if he can join us (My Husband is not on most as he has a lot of work to do) and again I understand if they are not okay with it, because at the end of the day, it’s their home, their rules.
There is nothing wrong with being clear, Solo Sitter, No Guests, Non Smoking, Work from Home, etc etc, it will weed out the sitters that do not fit your needs again especially if you are in a desirable location.
I have applied for Sits over the Years as a Family and unless they physically did not have the room for us, they have always said yes, my Dad being with us, is not a negative for the Pets, they get even more fuss and usually even longer walks (he walks 20klms every morning)
THS are trying to grow a business in existing Countries and New Countries, they are signing up new HO and Sitters daily and the advertising leads people (sitters) who have never even heard of “house/pet sitting” before to believe it’s just a Holiday with putting some food out and maybe walking the dog once each day and it’s not that, there’s so much more to it and it’s not a Holiday, you as a sitter are entirely responsible for someone else beloved Pets, happiness, health, wellbeing and the HO’s home and belongings and Car if using their Car.
However if they tried to advertise like that, they are not going to get people signing up to sit or HO either. It’s a tricky situation they are in atm.
For yourself, I would make it very clear what you are looking for and expect to reduce the unsuitable applications, hopefully this makes the process more streamlined for you.
Wishing you all the best.

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Well it depends playing devil’s advocate. If the sitter is 22 and they had pet cats from the age of 2 to age 18 at home then that’s plenty of cat experience and then probably university and then back to taking care of cats…. @pietkuip #foodforthought

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Wow wow. So appreciative of all your replies. We are in Vancouver, Canada.
So yes it’s a popular destination. It’s a 2 to 3 bedroom home.in one of the best n.
Have had applications from all over the world. New Zealand, UK, Australia, Europe etc… and hate to have to decline anyone.
(I always add a nice message)

To answer someone’s question- yes. It’s a first long sit.
All others have been fine except for the occasional one where my cat lets me know he missed me. :joy:
It’s hard to make the actual decision!
And yes TH is ok but certainly room for new companies to sprout!
Thank you all.

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@RKL since you are in a high demand area it might be beneficial if in your listing you spell out exactly what your ideal pet sitters qualifications should be. The more details you add the better. That should reduce the number of unsuitable sitters. Good luck!

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I don’t understand why you wouldn’t be ok with guests? It has to be a win win. Many home owners pay to have someone in their house so you really have to provide something that the sitter is getting if you are not paying them. I find many HO are expecting free labor
And not reciprocating. They don’t want to pay to have their pets looked after but act like they are paying. The sits I’ve done I felt the HO got the best deal by far. Of course I’m looking for a vacation as a sitter, if I was looking for a job you would be paying me. When people come and stay at my house and look after my pets I’m so appreciative. I clean for days, empty closets , clean kitchen cupboards and appliances. I wouldn’t have the sort of people stay that I wouldn’t trust with their friends or family. This has to be win win. You should treat sitters as guests in your home. Prepare your home, make them feel welcome. Treat them as your peers not produce a list of no’s. Of course you need to carefully screen for the appropriate sitter. It’s possible there is no one appropriate available. Your list of no’s will not make an inappropriate sitter better.

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You might want to send this feedback directly to member support, and if you get what looks like a bot reply, you should reply again until it goes to a human being. I feel like this forum has allowed people to let off steam a bit more than in the past, but it may not be the best way to get in touch with the powers that be which only adds to a sense of frustration.

I had a slightly different experience with my last published listing. I had many unsuitable applicants but also found I was actively competing for more experienced sitters with other homeowners in my area. Three people I offered the sit to went to other sits that were longer or better fit their schedules. That’s their absolute right! But I agree with you that while there are many sitters, there are an awful lot of new sitters who not only lack experience, but come with various red flags. I have full faith in the person I finally chose but it took a while for her to click on time and get to my listing!

In my opinion, THS probably needs to market differently – maybe more towards adventurous retirees – new to petsitting outside of the family, but experienced with pets and taking care of their own homes rather than wanna be influencers and people looking for something cheaper than airbnb. They could also be doing more to push homeowners into exploring sitting as this is a group of people with lots of experience.

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