Harder to find a sitter this year than last?

We are looking for a sitter for a week in mid-late December in a desirable, walkable location on the San Francisco Bay. I am surprised that we have only gotten a couple of applicants who both went with other sits.

We have one 15 lb dog and this is a really easy sit. Last year, we had many applicants, but maybe closer than the date?

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Hi @Cali and welcome to the forum
Without seeing your sit it’s hard to comment but over the christmas period it may be that it just isn’t long enough for most or it ends just before christmas or just after? Personally I would avoid any sit that didn’t cover both christmas and new year or had me travelling too close to either. I would want 2 weeks and at least a couple of days clear before and after. That’s my personal preference but maybe it’s a fairly common desire amongst sitters.
You could try asking the applicants who went with other sits what it was that pushed them that way?

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THS has put so many limitations on applicants now, that it is getting to the point that most sitters just don’t bother to apply.


Hi @Cali Just wondering, did you keep the 2 applicants waiting giving them the time to go for other sits? If so, I recommend you act swiftly and set up a video call with any you think would be a good fit.
It would also be a good idea if you added your listing here so that other members can give you any tips to make it more desirable if it’s lacking in some way. Here’s how to do that:

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@Cali we have always done Bay area sits for the holidays, but not this year. The crime, especially car break-ins are just out of control. A lot of HOs also ask for sitters to leave on Christmas or the 31st. That’s very inconvenient for sitters to be cleaning all day and then driving on NY. Finally with all the new THS restrictions for sitters, we decided we will just stay at home this year and don’t bother with sits.


@Cali I just ran a search for dog sits only, from Dec 16-31, which I realize is more than a week but you weren’t more specific. I came up with 20 active listings specifically for San Francisco, and 60 overall if I include what the system picks up when I searched ‘San Francisco’. This may be part of the issue. I suggest you follow @Smiley’s suggestion and link your listing to your forum profile. It’s important to give your best marketing pitch when you’re up against that much competition.

Some reasons: (1) Airfare is super expensive, so casaul sitters who would view Christmas in San Franscisco as a treat, may be looking closer to home (2) Push back to return to the office – so even near Christmas some workers may now be “hybrid” and have more trouble getting away. I wouldn’t book a kennel yet – unless it was 100% refundable. Give it time.

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@Cali I suggest you add to your listing:

  • photos of the living room and dining/eating area - these are now required for all listings
  • how many hours can Felicity be left alone?
  • how long (time or distance) are the 3 to 4 walks a day?
  • where does Felicity sleep?

Well, I have now put the listing in my profile. The listing is tied to my husband’s email, and he didn’t notice the first application for a few days. We should have interviewed her and offered a sit but life got in the way. I ended up in urgent care for something now resolved. She went with another offer because it came in and I don’t blame her!

The second applicant did not get an adjacent sit in Northern CA so she decided to pursue sits in Southern CA. We did interview her and offer right away.

I am not familiar with the THS restrictions on sitters, and would like to know more.

At this point we wonder if we should pursue a different option than THS. We are just surprised as we had such great luck last year for the same time.

We live in a nice, relatively safe but still urban town, walking distance to
BART, Berkeley, and world-class restaurants. Thanks for looking!

Edited to comply with posting guidelines

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@Cali do you realize your listing shows one applicant now?

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Hi @Cali , in addition to the suggestions from @snowbird, I suggest you remove all the extraneous items from your kitchen counter and take a new picture that shows more of the kitchen, including the stove, refrigerator and table/chairs.

You should also make the bed look more inviting. Put a nice quilt, duvet or comforter and pillows on the bed. What kind of seating is in the TV room? Chairs? A sofa?

How long does it take to get to San Francisco on public transit and how frequently does the train/bus run?

What kind of office space/table can you provide for sitters who need to work from home?

And is there any way you could include use of a car?

All of these additions will make your listing much more competitive.


That applicant is no longer coming to this area! Her decision.

If I were an HO, I would have checked my inbox on the THS interface from time to time after posting new dates.

It is also a good idea to to install the app on one’s phone. That will give a notification when a new message comes in.

But yes, maybe fewer than last year. Many people have less money to spend in real terms. THS members may be starting to take paid sits or dogwalking gigs close to home with a different agency.

It would be interesting to see data for sits comparing this year to last year.

I am not applying for sits right now. The cost of flights and rental cars has skyrocketed. When a domestic flight is 1200 USD and a rental car 1000 USD for a week, it’s probably not worth it to me.

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I just looked up your listing. There is no picture of the kitchen and no pictures of the living room. The bedroom doesn’t look very inviting and it may be clear to you, but not to a sitter if it’s the bedroom they are going to use.
Two pictures of your dog, cute as it is, are actually enough. Rather post more pictures of the areas the sitter may use? To me, even if I am not a sitter, a picture from the outside of the house would be important.
Also you might want to try a more catching title.

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There are a lot of sits available for the holiday season and the Bay Area has a good number of sits all year long. This listing doesn’t look competitive, and I say that as someone who regularly compares Bay Area sits, because I have roots and plenty of friends and family there.

The listing info is skimpy and the home doesn’t look as inviting as some sits that are available in the Bay Area. You’ve received good feedback on how to better your odds.

With any marketplace offerings, it’s best to check out your competition. Just because you got a bunch applicants last year doesn’t mean you’ll automatically get them every year. With sits, hosts are competing for sitters, especially good ones, and the bar can keep rising. Like if you look at various listings, some hosts make much more effort to make their listings appealing.

Airfares might also be too high for some folks or from some locations, which might narrow your pool of applicants. Or there might be affordable airfares going elsewhere. For instance, I just checked prices from the U.S. to Scotland for December, for a sit. For less than 700 bucks, I can fly round trip and see Scotland decorated for the holidays.


I agree with what everyone has said above. Your listing and pictures definitely could use a refresh. One thing that will be a deal breaker for me personally is this:

In your responsibilities you ask that the sitter : Take the dog for three or four walks a day.

but in your previous sitter’s review you mention:

Our dog is a very skittish one & she doesn’t walk with strangers.

If there are any behavioral issues you should be honest and mention these in the listing.


I suggest you then decline this applicant so that you can delete the dates and re-post the sit so that it shows as new.

Besides the advice of posting photos of your home under a better light, I would also change the heading emphasizing that it’s a sit in the San Francisco Bay Area. Now ‘San Fran…’ gets cut off and the previous words don’t really say much.
Also, I second the importance of disclosing behavioural issues.
Does Felicity really have to be walked 3-4 times a day? I’m not sure if many people will be up to that.
How long can she be left alone for? Sitters will want to know all that.


The pics of the house don’t make it look very inviting - unmade bed, bike under the TV. No pics of the living area or outside of the house etc. I’d move on to the next listing if I were browsing for a sit in the area.