HO: do you decline sitters with too many reviews?

I prefer sitters with 4 to 6 reviews. There are many reasons.

  1. I don’t take fulltime sitters. It’s just not my mentality and I prefer sitters with a similar background.

  2. I had two bad experiences with 30+ 5* sitters. I don’t trust anymore this system. 5* can be good and can mean nothing.

  3. Generally I saw a demanding behaviour of 20+ sitters that I didn’t like.

  4. I allways look how long the sits have been of an applying sitter, how big has been the property (apartment or big house with garden) they cared for, when has been the last sit, how did they review the host.

And unfortunately the thing hosts can’t see and would be the most important information for hosts ist: How many sits have not been reviewed by hosts.
Every experienced sitter know exactly about this problem for hosts.

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Interesting, do you communicate these preferences in your listing? It would save everyone some time if this kind of thing is made clear from the start (like the couple or single preference).

On the question of how many HOs have not left feedback you could always ask. Sitters can scroll back in their profile and check - I for example know that of the handful that haven’t for me most were actually repeat sits who, after leaving their first review I didn’t bother chasing for the later ones. Being asked back is in my opinion the greatest sign of a good experience anyway.

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That’s interesting, because 20+ sits could be accumulated as a result of very frequent sitting (not sure that makes sitters more demanding??!), OR as the results of many years of sitting.

I’ve been on this platform for 9 years, so even though I only did 3 sits last year, obviously after so many years I’m in the 20+ sits range. That doesn’t make me demanding though…

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I am a HO. I have one cat, who is super easy to look after. As long as she is fed, watered, and her litter tray emptied, she is happy. When advertising shorter sits (5-10 days) I have sometimes prioritised sitters with no/limited reviews over ones with more experience, because I feel that ours is a great “beginner’s sit”, and I understand how important it is for sitters to obtain those first few reviews.

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Woke up to more helpful feedbacks. And as TH suggested, will address multiple comments.

@Maggie8K I like to hike but not lengthy and I do indicate, I spend most of my daylight hours inside, working from laptop, caring for their pets/home, due to UV sensitivity. So usually only am out for an hour or 2 before high UV hours and then another two or so in the evening.

@Coclico your response answers is what I was looking for! It all makes sense. But now I’m in the same situation as when I first started if many owners have your criteria.

“How many sits have not been reviewed by hosts.” I know before COVID, the review/feedback was more casual. One owner took over a half year to leave a review - some people seem to be too busy, and I’m guilty of not leaving feedback. Recently, had to go on a hectic family trip after a sit and didn’t get my feedback in time - but this was when they were changing the system to 2-week policy. But with the new Airbnb-like system, I expect to be more active both ways.

(Also @Breev) I couldn’t get any sits first year, and now it sounds like I passed the sweet spot! And I started doing this 7 years to be more sustainable, as well as a mechanism to cope the loss of my cat.

@B1anca I feel I put clear details in my app and profile - have been modifying with time, learning from each sits.

Hi Laptop, I don’t think they do discriminate if too many reviews. I have over 50 but has been ovr a few years. i definitely do not do it full time. I am frequently contacted by owners inviting me to sit due to the reviews they have read, They have also liked my written profile, as have been told some only write one line that they find off putting. I quite often end up doing repeat sits also, although am not always available to do all I am invited back to. I am also in the older age bracket but am fit and active and can walk a dog all day if in the right location and they are up to it. I had never comsidered that too many reviews could actually go against me before.

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If you’ve got 70ish sits and great reviews, you’re doing lots well and don’t need to care about hosts even if they’re biased against very experienced sitters. There are plenty of other hosts who’d love to have you, LOL.

I just accepted a sit in a popular location, one that’s resort-like. The host was quick to offer me the sit and said they did so because of my reviews. I’ve got 11 so far and am happily on my way to 20ish, because I’ve got sits booked through October, via THS and Nomador. (I don’t sit during year-end holidays.)

I’m just coming up on a year of joining THS and find that there are plenty of great sits and hosts, so sitters can happily be selective, too.

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I do think sitters need to go into applications with the thought they may get declined and not take it personally. If someone has 5 applicants, you have a 1 in a 5 chance of being chosen, so I would never assume I’m going to get a pet sitting opportunity for that reason. And, I know if I was a homeowner, I might choose someone I vibed with over more 5 star reviews, there is no way of knowing why they chose who they chose, just move on to the next application.

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Ultimately you can’t know why you weren’t chosen for a sit. It is all too easy to make assumptions. I think in most cases, it was just a matter of the person they chose being a really good fit for some reason and not that there was anything ‘wrong’ with you.

While someone stated here earlier that they specifically don’t choose people with a lot of reviews for various reasons, I suspect that it is a rare HO who would find lots of experience a turn-off rather than a huge draw so I wouldn’t worry too much about that becoming some big liability for you.

I sit full-time and have almost 80 reviews here. Our reviews have been in the ‘dozens’ for awhile now and many HOs have specifically said all of our experience is one of the main reasons they chose us. So again, I think for the most part, this will be an advantage not a disadvantage.

I haven’t tracked our statistics the whole 10 years we have been applying for sits on this site, but since 2021, we have gotten offered all the sits to which we have applied except two. One was last year and the HO hadn’t even read our application. The second was back in 2021 and the HO traveled regularly for work and had an applicant who was looking to be in that area frequently so she could probably count on her to do repeat sits–naturally that made her the better choice.

And if there was someone who has any negative judgement about my husband and I due to our lifestyle choice or thinks we wouldn’t follow their instructions because we think we ‘know better’ or whatever else, can’t control that. If someone had a bad experience with more experienced sitters and believed that had something to do with the problem, and they choose to avoid such people in the future, that is their right to do so. But we personally don’t seem to have run into anyone who thinks these sorts of things based on our track record.

In the grand scheme of things, your experience will be an advantage without a doubt.

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It can be easier for hosts to micromanage some sitters who are more easily influenced, including folks who are new(er) to sitting and some who are younger. That’s one reason some hosts might prefer such sitters. Not all, of course.

The more someone sits, the more they’ll tend to know what they’re doing. That doesn’t mean do whatever you feel like, without regard to a host’s preferences, of course. But seasoned folks won’t tend to take kindly to hosts who treat them like staff and they’re more likely to have and uphold boundaries, to some hosts’ dismay.

Older folks also are more likely to own nice homes, so they don’t need to risk being exploited by bad hosts to stay somewhere pleasant.

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That is a narrow range!

Some HOs are looking for specific experience, for example when their pet has behavioural issues or medical problems. I don’t feel qualified at all for such sits and I would not enjoy it.

I now have ten reviews. I do not feel not much more experienced than when I started a year ago (I learned some things by reading this forum though). Quite possibly my daughter (zero reviews) would be better at it than me. I would not be surprised if they chose her instead of me if the HO had gotten applications from both of us: the fresh young nursing student against an old coot.

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@Maggie8K Maggie8K wow, that’s impressive with 1 yr membership!
When I joined about 8 years ago, I couldn’t get any sits the first year, in spite of my 300+ Airbnb reviews - as a super host and guest, professional website and ref. Second yr, I took a local weekend sit just to get a review, then it was pretty smooth sailing afterwards. Now I feel similar uphill as 8 yrs ago. My nickname used to be a doormat and I’m still subservient. Only make suggestions if the owners are open to it. Otherwise, I try to accommodate the owners’ requests - driving the day ahead and pay for a hotel… but felt used after few times so I try to avoid owners that act like I’m a hired sitter.**

@KC1102 thanks for your invaluable reply :slight_smile:

I just been declined today for another sit - that’s 2 out of 4 now. 50%, and I was enjoying 90% success. But I understand the community has so many more members now so I would have less success. I’m not bothered. This nomadic journey has made me calmer and at peace with most situations. I’ve selected the answer to my question from the responses. Was out of curiosity, rather than disappointment.

Absolutely not! What we look for are a sitter with a strong, complete profile and whose reviews are really positive. Positive for us is not just that they get 5 stars, but it’s important to us to read what other HO actually say. Are they raving? Do they mention examples of why they really liked the sitter? Are they hoping the sitter will return for the third time? Did the sitter do something above and beyond? Were the linens in the washing laundry, and the kitchen spotless?

(We also look for red flags such as if several of their reviews mention the same issue such as house not clean or pet appeared needy on return, or they got very little communication during the sit. When only one homeowners left a horrible review, we ignore it, if the others are glowing. But if the others all leave all 5 stars but only say something like “Cat was fine upon our return. Dishwasher was run”, we’d probably pass them by.)

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More power to you and resisting being taken advantage of.

Thanks, but my first year of sits isn’t that unusual nowadays. I’ve seen other first-year sitters on the forum who’ve done similar or more. The biggest thing in our favor is the ratio of sitters vs. sits. That might not have been the case when you started sitting years ago.

Nowadays, there are many good sits available, unless a sitter is fixated on popular locations. (I’m not.) Of course, THS is a marketplace, so supply and demand can evolve over time.

It also seems easier for older folks, especially women, to break in. Many hosts give us greater benefit of doubt. Plus, I’m a telecommuter and some in my cohort are retired — we have a lot of flexibility vs. sitters who are constrained by their jobs.

Personally, I’ve enjoyed sitting, but I don’t know that I’ll do it for as long as you have. And I love nesting way too much to want a nomadic lifestyle. Sitting on THS has helped me realize that.

Sitters are more vulnerable at early stage, when they’re striving to build their reviews. It can make them more compliant and give hosts more control over them.

With 10 reviews, the stronger they are, the less likely you have to bend to an unreasonable host.

But the most compliant sitters would be those that do this for extended periods, hopping from sit to sit, when their own home is far away and/or rented out.

For them, it is not always possible to avoid demanding or overly anxious or unreasonable owners. They must have excellent people skills to keep a straight record of dozens of 5-star reviews.

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I don’t think so, because amassing more and more good reviews helps make you less vulnerable to the occasional weak one. You’ll often see sitters posting about that, saying how they’re more selective now that they’ve gotten more experience, and how they’re less willing to be taken advantage of. And various sitters and hosts noting such when some sitters have gotten bad reviews.

More experienced sitters are more appealing to more hosts, so they have more leverage.

It mirrors hiring in the work world. Some employers prefer to hire green folks, because they’re not only cheaper, but also more easily influenced. Not saying that everyone who hires young talent does it for bad reasons, but greener talent is more vulnerable. The more reputation and credibility they acquire, the more they can uphold boundaries.

For sitters who are better established financially (typically older), they also have more flexibility to rent hotel rooms, Airbnb, etc. More seasoned sitters also get more repeat requests — they have greater optionality. Full-time nomads typically are doing it out of choice, not because of financial constraints. They’re also more likely to have backup plans.

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I don’t discriminate - I think being a full-time sitter is a great way to see the world and get your cat or dog “fix” at the same time - when we travel we really miss a cat, for example. I always read a sitter’s reviews and very much go with my gut when choosing.

I have a theory that HOs like to choose sitters that reflect them and their lifestyle. So young couple like young couples etc. This may work in terms of what the pets are used to but I think it’s more about how the HOs see themselves reflected in the sitters.
Also, I’ve ve found more declines without a message recently. I guess, as others have said, because of the increased numbers of people so it’s less like a community and much more like big business.
It seems a shame to discriminate against those who have many sits as we can have a lot of experience while still catering to the very individual needs of pets and homes but I guess that’s a HOs choice. When I joined THS I didn’t do any sits in my first year, i think one in my second and then many more since covid, as my work moved online so it’s unfortunate that this would prejudice me getting sits. I have never not had a review, even for repeat sits as I will ask them to review still as I think somehow it does look bad. I always reply to every invitation (except one when I was in a crash and hospital) thanking them and politly declining. If I was a HO I would thank each person applying (also you never know if you may need to contact them if the chosen sitter falls through)but not everyone does. We can’t help but be a little hurt by rejection but it comes with the territory. Good luck in future ones :blush:

Who cares… It’s like dating. If they aren’t your people move on to the next. There are 1000s of others that are your people.