Only getting applicants with personal references

I posted my listing a few weeks ago. I haven’t had a lot of applications and what I do have for applications are people that just signed up for their accounts after my posting with no THS reviews. I find this concerning. I know as a new THS HO lister I should keep an open mind but I’m not sure how to handle this and I am regretting paying for this membership as I’m likely going to have to kennel my animals which makes me sick.

An experienced friend with THS told. Me to have a video chat with these applicants but I don’t want to give them false hope as I see their date of membership being after my posting as a red flag.

Any thoughts? Should I just pull my posting as this is making me so nervous and uncomfortable?

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Everyone has to start somewhere, so please do keep an open mind and if it’s someone who seems to have a genuine love of and experience with pets, perhaps a link to their linkedin/airbnb profile, etc, go for the video chat! You are not obligated to accept them after the video chat, if your spidey sense is that the person is not responsible or not a good fit, go with your gut and politely decline.

I’m an experienced and in demand sitter now, but that never would happened had someone not given me a first chance!

To add: I believe you can see their last name through linkedin profiles? If so, google is also your friend :wink:


You don’t have any reviews from sitters either.

There are more listings in Edmonton with few applications.


There may be experienced sitters looking at your listing and passing because you also don’t have reviews. I feel more confident applying for sits where the HO has received good reviews and I have a good sense of what I’m getting in to. I’ll always be grateful to the first HO who said yes to my family of five when we had zero reviews. Interview the applicants and see how you feel afterwards. You may find your and their first experience to be terrific


Remember to decline applications that you know are unsuitable, because your listing will get paused when you reach 5 apps

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Hi @Jeng. Please don’t pull your listing, as late Sept is a long way off. Your listing looks good, and your expectations reasonable. It does look like a fairly chill sit. Give your listing more time. Many sitters may not yet be looking that far out.


@Jeng I can understand your nervousness as a first time host but don’t give up yet. As others have said you have no feedback yet either which might put some people off. It works both ways! I see you have two applicants right now- if you like the profiles why not set up a chat? It always feels more real once you connect personally with each other. I’ll always be grateful to our first hosts. They were also first timers- this was 5 years ago before video calls became the norm- we just chatted on the phone and had a great connection. We flew in and they few out so we all took a risk but it worked out perfectly. You do need to be able to trust if you do this type of exchange. Some people are naturally trusting and others need a bit more support and reassurance. Do what feels right for you. Ask any/all questions. Do not confirm a sitter until you feel really sure and comfortable- otherwise you will go on holiday and be anxious the whole time which is not the idea! Make sure to build up a connection with your sitter so that by the time of your trip they will no longer be ‘strangers staying in your house’.
We are very experienced now (over 70 sits all around the world) but we still get occasional new hosts who are still nervous and we try our best to reassure them in whatever way we can. But at the end of the day its all about trust!


I am sorry for this nervous moment you are going through. I hope you will stick with it as there are so many amazing sitters on this platform. Some random thoughts:

Are any of the applicants local so that you might meet in person first?

Do any of the applicants have a wonderful profile and pics? Did they write a thoughtful message? Give them a video conversation. You can let them know how nervous you are to save feelings if you want to decline them.

Remember that sitters from the US have to undergo a more invasive background check than other sitters – if that helps to address some of your nervousness.

Focus on the positive reviews and feedback you are seeing and hearing from others. Many happy hosts invite sitters back again and again and most sitters fall in love with the pets we care for. That is the norm for THS. You will get to be the first for someone.

Good luck and let us know how it all ends up.


@Jeng I would look carefully at what experience the 2 applicants have, especially in relation to caring for an elderly dog. There is no harm in having video chats with them IF you do like what they have written in their application (it calls you and your pets by name, refers to relevant information from your listing) and profile. You are not committing to them and they aren’t to you. Ask why have they applied specifically for your listing.
We all have those initial fears when starting out (I’m both an owner and a sitter) so I do understand how you are feeling. There are MANY new sitters and owners joining so it is inevitable that it will be more likely new sitters applying for your listing. Hang in there!


@Jeng We joined THS this year as sitters - we had experience of house and pet sitting before and we had personal references from people whose homes and pets we had looked after .

We were very grateful to the first four THS members who invited us to sit for them based only on our personal references . We were local so offered to met them in person or have a video chat before they confirmed us. After the video chat they were all confident enough to confirm the sit .

These first four stays went very well and afterwards all the homeowners gave us :star::star::star::star::star:reviews and all of them invited us back to house sit for them again.

In fact we’re back on a a repeat sit right now .

So don’t let personal references put you off- it’s about what those references say in relation to what you are looking for in your sitter.

You have plenty of time to find a sitter- you can also search for sitters and send them invitations directly.


Hi @Jeng - Organise a video call with both of your applicants so far. You are committing to nothing at this stage so you have nothing to lose and everything to gain.

You will be able to get a much better initial judgement on them by meeting them face to face.

Every single experienced sitter was new at one time.

Do the calls, then come back to this post and let us know how you feel afterwards

Good Luck!


You have had some great responses and the theme that is coming through is that everyone has to start with no reviews.
Many of us started house sitting before sophisticated sites were founded, no reviews, hardly any photos, video calls never existed, even phone calls were rare. We took a chance and nothing terrible happened.
Please take up everyone’s recommendations and good luck.


Hi, I am not fully registered yet as deciding on my plan but I had some initial thoughts like that as well. I am new to sitting and would choose my assignments very carefully. I thought it was odd myself that no references are required. At the end of the day pet owners are trusting their pets with a stranger, letting them into their home. On the flipside sitters are in a new situation. When I have decided my membership and book and hopefully am accepted for a sit, I would be more than happy to have calls, Facetime, Zoom etc with potential customers. It would also make me feel more secure.

Edited to correct wording.

Hi @Tempsec - To be clear, we are talking about reviews, not references.

References are required from new sitters. These can be provided by a friend, family member or someone you may have done a pet sit for in the past.

Reviews can only be given to you by someone that you have done a pet sit for via the Trusted house sitter site. This is why all sitters start with no reviews and then gradually increase the number they have on their profile as they complete more sits via trusted housesitters.


Hi @Tempsec personal references are highly recommended to help get started as a sitter when you don’t yet have any THS reviews. When I joined it was obligatory to have 2 personal references and then at some point that requirement was dropped. No idea why.

Your use if the word ‘customer’ is not really appropriate in this context. HO & sitters are offering each other an exchange of services so terminology should reflect that equality :blush:


@Tempsec all sitters have an ID check In addition they can add personal references and once they have completed a THS they can be given reviews by homeowner

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You have posted this a few times, but I believe this is not completely accurate.

I thought that only sitters who reside the US have background checks.

And nobody is doing any background checks on homeowners, so sitter’s going to it blind no matter where they are in the world.

Can someone please confirm this?

@MissChef you are correct.

Here’s the Criminal Background Check Policy. Currently only sitters who reside in the US are required to have criminal background checks.

As the article @Silversitters referenced, "… house & pet sitters registered with TrustedHousesitters can complete different forms of verifications. A sitter’s verifications can be easily identified by the Trust Badge that appears below their profile picture in relevant search results via the website and the app. Whilst viewing profiles on the website, you will see the relevant verifications listed to the right underneath their heading.

Verifications include:

  • An email and phone number verification
  • At least one external reference
  • An ID and document check completed by a third-party verification provider, Evident ID."
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I’ve take a chance on several “first timers” here on THS, and they’ve all worked out. Everyone has to start somewhere. I do video calls with ALL confirmed sitters, and I think that helps both of us. As a matter of fact, my next sitter is a young man who is a first timer. We’ve been messaging and will video chat in a few days. Good luck!