How on earth do you get started as a sitter?

Ahh yes indeed, I get your drift and is what I suspected. It rather takes me back to my original post where I asked how to get the experience required to bag a sit or two if i didnt have it and somebody suggested volunteering in an animal sanctuary, which isn’t feasible for me atm!

I think we will just need to be sensible about what we go for, communicative and enquiring about what we take on and honest about it all from the outset and if it doesnt work out, then it doesn’t, but very useful insights here. Much appreciated.

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Agree completely, it is difficult to get experience if you are required to have experience! I had a quick look at your amended profile and it seems you have plenty of experience to get the ball rolling! Wishing you the best of luck.


I did my first house-pet sit after joining THS eight years ago. Last time I looked I had more five star ratings in my State. In other words I’ve done a lot of sits including the same ones multiple times and in different countries. When I first started I did one regionally since it was close to a National Park that we had not visited. That was followed by one in Switzerland. Fortunately for us the pet owner was a professional basketball player in Europe who happened to be from my area so I think that he found that favorable and relatable. After these two sits I realized that THS was what I had been looking for in retirement. I followed these two sits with a few local sits so that I had good references from sits done through THS. Personally I think that that was the key. Eight years ago there was far far less competition than today so it does take some patience and not feeling down from resections since in some cases there is far far more completion and lots of members also being rejected. It’s just my wife and I so after talking with many pet owners do understand that in most cases you may be passed over by a single applicant or a couple. You will notice that occasionally homeowners will mention that they are looking for a single female. I obviously don’t apply fr those and I feel that with great references the pet owner will see that I am reliable and and Aways leave their home neat. So hang in there and I recommend trying to get excellent references from local sits. Good luck.


Thanks @Dennis very inspiring!


I 100% agree with you. I have a cat and would only like to have solo travelers as sitters. I would venture to say that the OP’s will be better candidates for dogs than for cats.

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We just signed up about a week ago with intentions to travel overseas with the app, we have already found a few local sits here in Australia to build up our resume so definitely start local, rejections are just part of the process and it’s just a numbers game.

Just have a pretty profile and a personalised application, I put the sitters and pets names in the application and write in a couple things with mentions to their Sit Request so it shows I have read it.

Hope this helps


Hi @JoniqueLife. Welcome to TrustedHousesitters and the community forum. Thanks for adding your advice from one new sitter to another. And of course, congratulations on getting some local sits already!

@Karen-Moderator thank you Karen

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Hi @JoniqueLife I will echo @Karen-Moderator words in welcoming you to the forum and to TrustedHousesitters, congratulations on your sits and such good advice

When surveyed pet parents/owners will say a personalised application is high on their list of ticked boxes when making their selections, it shows interest, intent and that they have thoroughly read the listing … with new sitter member applications, references are also high on the list.

Congratulations again … what furry friends will you be keeping company?

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When we started sitting we were told to do some local sits first. This works well if you are working/school etc. If you have friends that have animals you can watch/walk, do that have them write you an external reference. My partner actually did a few that allowed them to finish an academic paper in peace and quiet!
We make a point of leaving the house immaculate, offering to wash sheets, garden, etc. Even if the people have a cleaner coming, clean the toilet :slight_smile:
When writing to folks, I talk about how much we all love animals, a bit about us and our love of travel. “Saoirse, 11, loves reading, cello, and exploring outdoors. She is also the house spider/slug/snail rescuer.”
Yes apply for ones that have more applicants, say that you know they have many applicants but you thought their listing looked perfect you. Also let them know that if they don’t pick you this time to keep you in mind for a future sit.
If you find a sit you adore and they adore you, keep the communication open. We have repeat sits that are lovely. We still love going to new places but the ones that we know allow us to relax more.
We started house sitting when my son was 3, he’s now 16 and has a younger sister. Both kids think staying in hotel now would be “weird.”
I hope this helps.


I signed up a few months ago and I’ve made many applications which have never been acknowledged. I was starting to get frustrated with the time and effort I was puttng in, and also the fact that noone was replying to me. I’ve just managed to get my first sit. I think it’s just a matter of being resilient and keep putting the applications in. The right sit is out there for everyone.


How annoying that your applications didn’t get acknowledged! I make sure I at least send something to let them know I’ve seen it. When I first signed up I was a little overwhelmed with applications but I soon realised I could put a hold on for a bit until I caught up! I hope you enjoy your first sit :blush:


@DanielleClay I wish my 11 year old was as helpful with spiders as Saoirse!

On our last sit a big spider wandered across the living room floor one evening. I lifted up my feet to let it pass under my chair and it stopped right underneath. I had a short stubby pencil in my hand so I leant down towards it to give it a gentle nudge with the pencil to encourage it on its way so I could put my feet down. My 11 year old son waited until I had the very short pencil about half an inch from the spider and then threw a soft squishy ball that landed a couple of inches away. I’m not sure who jumped the highest, me or the spider!

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@pip206 that’s great you acknowledge applicants. As a sitter I really appreciate a quick note with any declined sit saying why I wasn’t successful. I know this was a pain for HO’s before if you got 10’s of applicants but for most HO it should only be 4 sitters now.


Hi! I see you’re in Bristol. Some friends plan to move there early next year! Sadly they don’t have a pet to watch yet. =)

I’m new here, but I’m guessing it can’t hurt to have a couple TH sits under your belt. So I’d try to do local+holidays a couple times. Here in the U.S., that’s Thanksgiving and Christmas especially. So you could just plan to have those holidays as pet sitters locally, like a staycation. You’ll be doing a big favor to those you help out, and maybe you’ll see your hometown from another perspective!

Or keep trying for those last-minute sits, also locally (however you want to define that) because that’s probably just simpler. Don’t let one bad data point cloud your view!

And I would keep applying for sits with applicants, at least if they’re local. If it’s still taking applicants, then the pet parent hasn’t chosen yet. Maybe they’d like a local, esp. as you can meet in person before offering/confirming. In my case, my first sit will be for a couple that had another applicant, but they said the other applicant had stopped replying. So if there are only 1–2 other applicants for a listing, maybe something similar is happening.

Also, once you get your first sit, don’t quit there, no matter what! Again, even if it’s not ideal, it’s only one data point.


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I would never entrust my house to a family. I don’t want parents who are primarily concerned with taking care of children. In addition, my cat would not enjoy children. I would also only take sitters who have a lot of experience with cats. I do not make myself available as an experiment to gain experience with animals. In addition, only sitters who have read my profile carefully, know what I am looking for and respond to it in their post are an option for me.

About your profile: I would change the first picture, it just looks unfriendly. I would also omit any pictures with alcohol.

I didn’t even notice the beer :smiley: not a big deal in my opinion, but I love what you have done with your profile, it is definitely much better now. Happy sitting!


Hi Freebz!

Welcome! I will admit that I was exceptionally lucky getting my first sit. It was the first sit that I applied for. I’ve been rejected tons of times since then. It isn’t personal. When 6 sitters apply, 5 are disappointed.
As I’m sure others have suggested, look for a first sit that is close to home. Offered to come by and visit before the sit. I still do that. I often visit with a prospective sit while I’m on another. Be as flexible as you can possibly be. People love that! Include an assortment of pictures on your profile, you with your pets, your friends pets.
If you haven’t already, get a friend or two to write a reference for you.
Also when you do get that first sit think of it like a job where you’d like to get promoted. Do everything you can to make a good impression. It helps for getting future sits.
Be patient. It will happen.
Hope this helps.

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@Freebs I think you got a lot of good advice here but just wanted to mention that since you are a family, make sure you apply only for family friendly sits, in other words, a large home that will obviously have the capacity, not a condo, etc. Look for those pet sits that have more animals and require more than one person, they will usually say if they prefer a couple. Most of the pet sits that I apply for are geared towards a solo sitter such as myself. In your case, look for pet sits similar to your family situation with kids and you’ll have better luck. Lastly, although applying locally makes sense, don’t rule out applying for sits out of town. I would stay away from any popular destinations for now, such as Hawaii or NYC, those are the first to go. I recommend applying for the sits that just “sit” there and you notice no one has applied for. If they seem to have trouble finding a sitter and are located in the middle of nowhere and not a tourist destination, those are the ones you want, at least to get experience and get the great reviews that will start you on your pet sitting path. Best of luck!


I totally agree with your comment. I am a HO and would never have a child here. I even say this in my details but still get families applying. The house is not setup for children and liability would be a great concern.