Never picking first-time sitters (or young sitters)?

Hello,

I’m Elisa and I’m writing here to get some advice and insight from owners and sitters. I recently joined TrustedHousesitters and I’m starting to get discouraged with my experience here, since no matter how much detail I add in my profile or when I send applications, I don’t even get a response back and get immediately declined.

I understand that when it comes to picking for sitters, people prefer getting someone that has reviews from this website, but if homeowners always pick people that have tons of sits, it doesn’t give much wiggle room for newcomers, no matter how much effort we put on our profile and how open we are with dates, communication and fast with replies.

I’ve been a housesitter before, just not through here. Sometimes I wonder if age is a big factor in this. I’m a 23 year old girl that also travels with her 24 year old partner, and even though we have our own jobs and are well-spoken, have good outside reviews, and have owned pets our whole lives we just get declined over and over again. Maybe it’s because people think we will be irresponsible?

We have been applying on local sits in NYC because my partner is from there and even offer to meet in person or have video calls to answer any questions, but still nothing :// Do you guys have any advice? Is something wrong with our profile?

Thank you!

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Hello Elisa @elisaserra

I would like to wish you a very warm welcome to TrustedHousesitters and to the community forum. You have come to the right place for your question as we have lots of experienced members that can give you tips and advice on how to get started on your sitting adventures.

I can see that you have added your sitters profile link to your forum profile which is great. This way members can view it and give you direct feedback and help you towards success.

I am also currently based near NYC and wanted to give you some support as this is a very popular location and even though I have good reviews from sitting on the site, I still do not always get accepted for all of the sits that I apply to (this is the case in other locations too) So please do not be too disheartened. The right sit and owners are out there, even in NYC, you just need to keep applying. Could you consider sits outside of NYC to get started?

Also do you have a main profile photo with both of you with a pet? This can make your profile pop a little more and look more pet centric? As you want to care for different types of pets and your photos only show a cat, adding more photos of different types of pets that you have cared for/owned will also help.

I am sure that other members on here will also check out your profile and give you some great feedback and tips.

Best wishes Carla

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@elisaserra If you search ‘Find a Pet Sitter’, you’ll see that each sitter profile only has a small space for their first photo. When I searched for sitters, most used headshots. When I look at yours in a search, because your photo is at a distance, it’s difficult to see your faces. You want people to connect with you, so I’d do a closer photo as your first one.

Your paragraph about experience with diabetic cats and specific diets is important, but doesn’t fit under why you want to house sit. That information is better suited under the next section, showing your experience.

Although this is a debated topic, I suggest you complete your calendar. Although many sitters do not, many owners appreciate it, especially when they are looking to invite a sitter.

Perhaps if you apply for sits where the owners are also younger, you may get a better response. It may not seem fair, but your goal is to be selected for a sit. You are also up against stiff competition if you are applying for sits in NYC, so you may want to consider other areas.

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Hi Elisa
I would say your main issue is that you are applying for sits in NYC which is one of the hardest places to get a sit. Definitely better to apply for other less popular places and build up your reviews first.
Also maybe add some pictures of you both with some different animals, there are none with dogs if you are applying for dog sits.
Good luck.

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Welcome Elisa,

I don’t know much about applying for a NYC sit because that’s not an area we would care for. I can though, give you ideas about your young age:) My husband and I are 61 years old and have owned our home for 30 years. We have a heat pump, wood stove, well pump, etc…things that most 23 year olds don’t have experience with. If we lived in a condo or in an apartment, you could call the super. With us though, it’s helpful if sitters have some “years” of experience on them. Personally we would not consider a sitter under the age of 40 just because we feel more comfortable with folks who have a good deal of experience. Those are just our thoughts and our preferences. As someone mentioned, I think applying for sits for younger folks may be your best bet.
Keep plugging away though. It does become easier after a couple of sits. Best of luck!

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Hi @elisaserra. As a relatively new sitter myself (I joined mid May last year) I know how difficult getting your first sit can be. It took me 23 applications to get mine (currently on my 10th sit!) so don’t get disheartened. I do agree that to get your first sit and hopefully a glowing review I’d look at local sits to you and last minute sits.

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There’s definitely a huge bias against younger people for house sitting (but also against single men or people over a certain age). We often see ads that would exclude us as well even though we are a bit older than you. But there is also a shortage of sitters in some areas, I don’t think that NYC is one of them. Eventually you’ll get your first sit and after that it will just get easier and easier. PS: Just as a footnote: We actually have all the experience with an old house that CindyLou mentions while e.g. my parents would probably not be able to adapt to that kind of lifestyle. I have also read some posts on the forum where older people have been discounted because they are supposedly not tech-savvy enough and wouldn’t be able to live in a “smart” house or send updates via WhatsApp

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I can’t see your profile for some reason so can’t help there but make sure you list all the things you can do right up the top plus your experience and also mention you’re working as that gives HOs confidence in the responsibility of younger sitters. Don’t dwell on the age thing. Add your other site sitting references in there if you haven’t already. Head out of NYC to start as lots of people said and you will hit a yes! We’re late 40s/early 50s and have been turned down for sits because we’re too old for the young HOs so honestly, everyone has a match. Good luck :raised_hands:

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Hi @elisaserra this is a historical thread discussing this very question, I opened the conversation with my own experience … the thread has some helpful feedback
https://forum.trustedhousesitters.com/t/does-age-matter-do-owners-pay-attention-to-a-sitters-age/

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I agree with others on changing the profile pics. Given your youth and the lack of home maintenance experience, I suggest applying for short sits in apartments (not in highly-competitive NYC) to get started.

Good luck!

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Hey all,

Thank you for taking your time and your kind replies! I’ve definitely received some good advice and as of now I’m updating my profile to make it the best that it can be. I really want to show that we are a responsible and caring couple and that we’ll do the best we can to ensure that everything goes smoothly :slight_smile: I know NYC is hard but since it’s what we have close-by, for last minute sits it’s currently the only place we’re able to apply in. Hopefully soon we find our match!

I will keep you posted, meanwhile, I am really enjoying reading the responses and perspectives shared here, so newcomers to the conversation feel free to add even more advice or share your opinion.

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Hi Elisa,

You have done everything right. You have photos of you with pets. You have 5 external references. And you listed your previous experience with pets.

When I first joined, because I didn’t have any reviews, I only picked owners who also had no reviews.

And I picked people my age, because although we’re not supposed to discriminate, people will naturally have more in common with their own age group.

And I only looked at sits that were local to me, so I could visit the owners first. And I was very lucky. I got a great first sit, and once I got my first good review I was able to get other ones quickly. And you have more personal references than I had, so I think you will be fine.

There’s just one line I would personally change in your description. It might not make a difference, but it might. Instead of saying “my cat is not the easiest to look after” you could just say “I am used to giving pets medication as my own cat needs extra medical care”.

My other tip would be to pick people who need someone at short notice!

Good luck!

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