Hi Doug and welcome to THS and to the forum. Lots of us here are seasoned sitters so maybe we can give you some pointers on beefing up your profile.
My first suggestion would be to add some pictures of you with pets you have owned or looked after in the past. Home owners always like to see pics of us enjoying animals.
My second suggestion would be to add more info about yourself, particularly in relation to your experience with animals. If you check out my profile, you can get an idea of what “over the top”(admittedly) looks like, but adding in some of those kinds of things should help get you more attention.
Third - the ease/difficulty of finding that first sit, sometimes depends on where you are applying. There are very popular places (warm, sunny, posh homes etc) that will have a lot of competition. We often encourage new sitters to do a few short sits locally so that they can build up a few good 5 star reviews before applying to the more popular sits/locations.
Fourth - the UK has a ton of sits that are currently having a hard time finding sitters right now so if you’ve ever thought about travelling to England, now might be a good time.
Once you get those first 1-2 sits done, it does get a lot easier. Good luck!
Hi @ArtistDoug welcome to our community forum and to TrustedHousesitters …
I’m sorry that your first post relates to a disappointing start and I’ve added your profile link to your forum profile that way other members can view and offer feedback and suggestion, often a little help with a profile and other tips go a long way to helping with success, we all started in the same place …
Hi @ArtistDoug getting your first sit is always a challenge. We had about 20-25 rejections before securing a sit, after that it gets much easier. Since you currently don’t have any reviews please add some external references/referrals. Here is how to:
Hi @ArtistDoug - Don’t despair! - The first couple are always the hardest to get accepted for, after that, once you have a couple of great reviews under your belt then it gets much easier.
The best/quickest way to do this is to apply for some local, shorter sits - you can see how much ‘competition’ you have as it tells you on each listing how many applications they already have. As a start go for the listings that show 0-3 . As you gain a reputation with your growing list of reviews then you can be a bit more picky and will stand a better chance when applying for sits that are long distance and/or already have multiple applications.
Your application is important, have a look at this thread for some good tips on what to include.
We would recommend making your profile a lot more detailed. Especially the “my experience section” is way too short. There are also no external references or photos of you with pets. Perhaps I would also include a picture of your family if you are traveling with them. Then I would start with local sits to get reviews, only later I would apply to sits in other countries. PS: An exception might be the UK, you should be able to find a sit there rather easily right now (especially after you have improved your profile). It might also help that you write in your application that you have studied the rules for entry and checked prices for flights (both of which is a problem right now).
Doug, as a homeowner, the advice I would give you is to add more details of exactly what you have done to care for animals: have you had to administer meds, dog walking for difficult or large dogs, etc. Also, the message you send when applying is critical for me. I only ask sitters that I feel are really into the care of my cat. Also make sure your application message is detailed and explains how long per day you intend to be gone from the pets and make sure the home owner knows your main concern is the wellbeing of the pets. Keep trying and would suggest doing some sits locally first. Oh yeah, I couldn’t tell if you would be sitting alone or with your family from your profile.
I was so very grateful when I got my first sit and you really should take the advice given by others above.
Once you’ve followed their advice make sure that when you apply for sits you show that you’ve read their ‘ad’ for a sitter thoroughly, and personalise your application, just as you would when applying for a job….sits are jobs after all. Mention how much you like the look of the pets etc and name the pets.
If you follow the advice given you’ll get sits. Do not be disheartened as this really is a great community. Good luck!
Hi @ArtistDoug and welcome to the forum. You’ve had some great advice from forum members so far. Setting up your profile does take some initial work, but it’s important to try to anticipate and answer questions pet owners are likely to have. Many sitters do, and so without that information owners may just choose someone else who does provide more details in their profile.
I’ll just add that I notice you’ve updated your calendar, which is great, but only show a block of about six weeks where you’re available. Given the calendar format confuses some members, I’m wondering if you’ve interpreted the colour system in reverse. If you are only available for that short period, then that also limits your selection. I hope all goes well for you.
Hi @ArtistDoug feeling exactly the same as you! We joined almost two weeks ago and I have applied for quite a few sits locally and up to 2 hours away (which isn’t so convenient but willing to do it to get the first sit) and the majority of the HOs haven’t even been bothered to read them let alone respond, even a couple of last minute ones with 0-3 applications which is so surprising. And yet I consistently read that apparently sitters are rare at the moment… It’s very disappointing. I even posted on the forum a few days back and asked people to look at our profile in case we were doing something wrong and I got some good advice plus very positive comments which we were grateful for and gave us hope. (You have lots of great advice here too.)
I was contemplating today calling in the refund as we’ve had no luck, so thanks for the heads up there, I should have guessed that the ‘guarantee’ would be one sided.
We’re just two very responsible people who love animals (ran a business together for 12 years, pet owner most of my 40 years on this planet and I worked with a major UK cat welfare charity for 9 years) but apparently all that isn’t enough We thought our ability to pet sit on weekdays especially would be useful as home workers. We also have three external references.
Our dreams of doing house sits in Europe this summer are slowly fading away… Here’s hoping that someone takes us for one soon - good luck to you with it!
That’s really sad to hear We hope that you’ll be able to secure your first sit soon and after that it should get easier and easier. It still happens to us that HOs don’t react at all but most HOs are considerate.
Hi @Lina_and_Tom First I must say thank you for considering and implementing changes that forum members have suggested. It’s so encouraging, as after all members are volunteering their time, trying to help others. It’s nice to be appreciated.
I can suggest one minor tweak to yours. In the first ‘About’ section, I would mention something about your love of animals. I realize so much comes after on that topic, but someone might stop at the first section, thinking your focus is on travel and not on pets as well. It can’t hurt to try anyway.
Although I always believe in honesty, you may want to consider removing any reference to your work timeframes, as you may be being judged based on your full disclosure of your work hours. Instead, if you review listings with the idea of whether you and your work schedule can be a fit, then you avoid being perhaps unfairly rejected. Provided you are truly assessing whether you are a good fit for the owner’s needs, before you apply, then you are still being honest. You can discuss it in detail, if and when you get a positive response from an owner. That’s my personal opinion anyway.
Hi to the few folks who seem discouraged, I want to encourage you to not give up. When I first joined THS as a sitter about a year ago I spent a LOT of time making sure my profile was reassuring to homeowners who are trusting you with their home and loved critters by detailing my prior housesitting and pet experience, making sure I had good photos with pets and getting many external references. I was also declined from many sits at first and was discouraged until a HO was willing to take a gamble and video chat with me and I got the sit! From there everything got easier.
I strongly suggest in your application you explain you are new to THS and understand why a HO may be weary, but you would like to meet them in person (if practical only of course) or offer a video chat. At first, I also offered to connect HO to prior folks I have housesat for off-site as references to make a HO more comfortable. I tried to put myself in the HO shoes as to why would I trust this person who has no reviews, and make them as comfortable as possible. I would also seek out sits that may be less attractive to folks to start out (maybe the odd one-night sits in your city.) I have now completed 8 sits and have 3 more lined up. THS is not perfect but is has been an amazing experience for me and in my humble opinion worth every dime. Just remember every sitter on this site started with zero reviews. Putting myself into a HO shoes really helped me get into the mindset of why someone would take a chance on a new sitter and it worked! Best of luck!!
That all rings true what Freebird says and takes me back a few years when we first started out. We actually got invited on a different platform because of our vegan lifestyle (which we just mentioned casually so a HO wouldn’t buy us milk etc.). It might help to think of what really separates you from other people and to find your niche. E.g. Lina and Tom sound like amazing people for cats and it might help to mention the work at the Cat protection agency already in the “About” section. Snowbird’s suggestions also sound like a great way to improve your listing. Perhaps I would also not mention AirBnb although it does resonate with me personally (I remember some HOs in a different thread didn’t like that).
I’ve had the opposite experience. I haven’t even hit the 4 month mark with my membership yet and have had 4 sits already, including one in Europe and a fifth sit in a resort town in Florida coming up next month. (I live in the U.S.)
I invested a lot of time on my profile and got an invite shortly out of the gate from a wonderful lady who was willing to take a chance on me who lived about 2.5 hours from me. I jumped at it and had a great sit. I applied for another sit about the same distance away and had another great sit. Neither sit was a destination point for me, but just like the time that I put into completing my profile, the sits were investments.
I looked at your profile and immediately see what may be a red flag for owners. Your tag line right now doesn’t mention your love of pets, only your passion for travel. Owners need to know that you prioritize taking care of their pets over everything else.
Your profile also says you just want to go their house and paint.
Doug, we have sitters coming in the morning to stay with our pets for a week. In screening applicants I selected who I thought best met our needs based, of course, or their many great references and testimonials and also their range of experience with animals, but an applicant I didn’t select wrote me back to ask why I selected the sitters that I did. She asked if I could give her some suggestions on how to improve her profile. I thought that indicated her sincerity in becoming a great sitter, so I gave her some honest feedback. She had no photos of her with pets - it could be her past pets, clients’ pet, whatever. I also suggested she try to get testimonials from people she had sat for in the past, didn’t have to be through THS, could be neighbors, friends etc. maybe you could use the “declines” to your benefit to learn how to punch up your profile