HO: choosing a sitter 'first come, first serve'?

I have already used the search-option and read a few related topics, but none quite covering this.

Hi! When I see a new sit that meets my requirements, I often don’t react immediately, but I let it sink in, consider the place and the pets and take time to write a thoughtful application - much like how you’d apply for a job. However, we’ve been rejected 2 times with the note that as a rule, the home-owners choose the first applicant (which is fair of course, I’m not bitter about it). I have two questions for HO’s regarding this:

1) Do many of you choose sitters ‘first come, first serve’?
2) Do you prefer a lengthy application, or a short-but-sweet one with reference to the sitters profile?

Of course I know everybody will do it differently, but I’m curious to the general views.


Hi @selma2202 you have posed a very interesting set of questions. As a past pet parent, and now pet sitter, I can attest to the fact I did not choose on a “first come, first serve” basis but actually read all the applicant’s messages to determine who I wanted to speak with first. Sometimes that first “interview” was not the right match even though the application sounded perfect. In that case, I moved onto the next one. Not every sitter is right for every situation so it is important to choose wisely.

I think a well thought out application is very important as this is the first impression that is made…making sure you address the needs, call the pet(s) by name, etc., shows them you have actually read their needs and are responding accordingly.

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I agree that before I would check travel costs etc especially if an overseas sit before applying but you can’t do that now as you are likely to miss out. You have to apply then double check about costs etc.

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@selma2202 has asked for help and feedback on crafting her sitter’s application and the how of applying which so many of our community will have great help and advice to give which I am sure she would love to hear and really appreciate.

We have merged some of your replies into the existing conversation about Pausing Applications …

Gentle reminder to please stay on topic as it helps everyone.

Thank you

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@richten1 so true! I always check to see how I will get there and check airfare. By then it’s too late. But I can’t apply honestly if I don’t do this first.

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Homeowner/pet parent here. I’ve had 5 sitters in the past year and a half since joining TH. I’ll be honest that I do tend to start with the first applicant as long as that person has sent me an application that shows that her or she has actually read my profile and references my situation specifically. Sometimes its just easier to start that way. I will say, often its not the first applicant that I end up choosing.


We prefer to consider sitters in the order they apply but that doesn’t mean we will choose the first ones. Once we have interviewed a sitter and we are interested we do not interview other applicants because we know we might then become hesitant. We trust our instincts and it has served us well.


A post was merged into an existing topic: Conclusion Of Pausing Application Test - Updated Post

Makes sense to consider them in the order they come in, because - hey, you have to start somewhere, right? :slight_smile:
Thanks for the insights, everybody!

As a HO, I do not choose on a first come first serve basis, I solo choose based on who I feel will do the best job looking after our cat. I do prefer a longer application letter. I am also a sitter and I send a lengthy application when applying for a sit, letting the HO know why I want to visit their city and how much time I will be spending with their pets (as I know that is important to us as HO). Good luck in the future!

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First of all I respond to sitter applications as soon as I see them. If I have more than one application I will look at all of the and select whichever one seems most fitting for the sit. However, in recent times there have been fewer applications (I do live in a quite semi remote area) so if the first application seems appropriate and if we do a favorable (on both parties views) video meet then, yes, I do take the first sitter. It all depends, then, on the number of applications (as well as my worry that if I don’t move quickly I will lose that first sitter.). Of course, if that first sitter doesn’t seem fitting then I would not select them. I will have to say, however, that all my sitters through THS have been excellent.


Since I have been using THS I have always started with the first applicant. I read their (short-but-sweet application), check their profile, read the reviews and then if I feel comfortable after that I will contact them for a chat. After our initial chat and questions are out of the way I make my decision.
So far, so good!
I just don’t see any point in collecting applicants. The sitters want to get on with it and choose another sit if they don’t work out for me. I want to confirm a sit so I can feel comfortable when I leave.
(Edited for clarification) I will say I have had two different sits where the sitters have communicated that they need to cancel for personal reasons (with the caveat “if I don’t find someone they will come and do the sit”). After someone communicates that they want or need to cancel I won’t have them sit even if I am in a tight spot because if they really don’t want to be here, I don’t feel that they will give my animals 100%.

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@ellenaj that’s a very interesting and rather worrying scenario, they cancel but could still come if necessary? I am pretty sure that is in contravention of the guidelines, sitters are not supposed to cancel unless it is some sort of unavoidable emergency, in which case they couldn’t come.
I agree with your assessment of it, they are obviously not committed to the sit and I wouldn’t want them either. I am wondering if they should be reported to customer services.

Hi @selma2202,

great set of questions! I’m going to give a longer response into our thinking as homeowners and the way we process applicants to help give you the best insight.

As homeowners we do not go by a ‘first come, first serve’ basis. However, often times especially now we will get four applicants almost immediately. When we get the applications we send a quick reply that we have received the application and are taking the next few days to review and set up video interviews with our top 1-2 candidates we think would be best fits for us. It’s really hard choosing 2 sometimes because there are so many great applicants out there but we don’t have time to do video calls with everyone. Since THS is an international community often times it is a bit tricky to set up these calls that works for everyones schedule. We do typically set up the video call with whichever of the top two applied first. If however, and this has been happening more often, the call keeps getting delayed or rescheduled we move on to the next applicant. We cancel anyone that has to reschedule more than a second time - it’s not fair to other applicants to keep them on hold.

We almost always choose our top two candidates based on the application they send us. Profiles do matter to an extent…we have received a two sentence application from a sitter that had over a dozen 5 star reviews but we decided not to pursue them as their application has no heart and didn’t give us any insight into why they would want to sit for us. It means a lot to us when we get an applicant that has thoroughly read our profile and understands the needs of our pet - that doesn’t necessarily mean a super lengthy application it just means they acknowledge the three main things we point out clearly that are most important to us finding the right sitter.

In the nearly four years that we’ve been using only THS for our dog we have had only one sitter that didn’t provide the absolute best care (thankfully it was for a short weekend trip).

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Thank you for pointing out the murkiness of my comment. I edited it.
(Edited for clarification) I will say I have had two different sits where the sitters have communicated that they need to cancel for personal reasons (with the caveat “if I don’t find someone they will come and do the sit”). I hope that is more clear. At that point I just agree to the cancellation because I don’t feel they will want to be here so they won’t give my pets their full attention.