Requesting reference contact

Just had a screener for a sit. Was just asked for the personal contact of someone I’d sat for previously (phone, not email), with similar parameters. Given that the sit is not particularly complicated, and I have a number of reviews and character references, in addition to the screening call, I’m likely to withdraw my application.

I have a profile on other platforms, and few or no reviews on those. If cross-referencing my THS profile wasn’t enough, then I’d be fine (and might even offer) with suggesting an additional contact.

A less invasive option might be to ask for the person’s full name or to click through if they’ve listed any other profiles, like AirBNB. This is something I always do for prospective sitters.

Even as a new sitter…I would not supply an external referece. I would politely say that if what I have provided on the THS profile is not adequate…I’m not a good fit for THEIR needs.


This is a tricky one, and I don’t want to open a can of worms (or be moved to a dreaded locked thread!!!), but is anyone else feeling like HOs/PPs are starting from a much less trusting place than before?

I have had several screening calls and video chats which feel like not particularly welcoming job interviews. My finances, my personal life, my work life, my travel plans, my lifestyle, etc. have all been asked about to a level of detail that I find more than a bit off-putting. I have also been asked for contact information for former HOs, which seems like overkill.

While I could perhaps understand this if I were new to sitting or the platform, or were a recent graduate/drifter type, I am an established working professional and homeowner. All of this is abundantly clear in my profile and in my application emails.

Is this just a bad run of luck, or are others feeling the same?


Wow that is way too intrusive. As you say the concept of THS should be based on mutual trust and details of finances, travel etc should be of no concern to HO’s other than ensuring that your lifestyle would enable you to take care of whatever pets are being entrusted to you. Personally if I experienced any video call that felt like an “unwelcoming interview” or was asked these type of questions I would politely decline the potential sit.


Just like an “unwelcoming interview”, I would very graciously thank them for their time, explaining that I don’t feel this would be a right fit for me, and exit the interview.

Out of curiosity, are these new HOs who are embarking on their first sit through THS? Maybe before the “exit” explanation, I might ask why they are asking such questions? If experienced HOs, they may have had some past bad sitter experiences.


It could be that they filtered for low reviews on Trustpilot. There are some horrendous stories there, especially more recently.

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All three were new to the platform, and new to the concept of unpaid house sitters as well. At least one HO had never left the pet before, full stop, which seems more common in this post-pandemic world.

But the (many) questions weren’t about my fitness for providing pet care, they were about me and my background/travel plans/lifestyle.

I wrote a succinct and polite email declining in each case. I think I will be more proactive during the actual “interviews” from now on, and simply cut them short when they start down this path. Much better to let them know they would be better off with another “candidate” in this case.

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Definitely not that, but it’s something I do lately as well!

As the HO are new to the whole concept, they want reassurance and a certain comfort level. I recently spoke with a HO, new to THS. She wanted to know a little about me – more than what appeared in my profile or my application letter, so I told her about my background, my family, my motivation for being a traveling sitter, and we forged a nice relationship. She, in turn, told me more about herself. It’s important to understand the reason behind these questions.

I think if we were asked this then we’d likely decline as, as a few others have said, it’s not really fair on a previous HO to get contacted to provide another reference and if done for one HO then how many other times would this have to be done if others requested?

I wonder what a HO would say if a sitter asked for a reference from one of their previous sitters?

Works both ways; HO could be a complete nightmare to deal with!

Sure, and I’m wholly sympathetic to that. But I’ve dealt with new HOs before, and new pet owners as well. I am willing to go above and beyond what’s on my profile, to tell them what to expect, to answer any and all questions about pet care, communications, and anything else.

Bit these weren’t a back and forth, get to know you better kind of thing. These were a flat-out interrogations about how I spend my days hour-by-hour, and very one-sided.

@pitcherplant I had one video meet last year that asked how I spend my time , interests, and hobbies to a point I didn’t care for. The questions kept coming! They took a few days to get back and I canceled my applications before they did. It was a one off and if it happens again I plan to exit the video meet if it heads in that direction. Otherwise I feel like I’ve lucked into HOs I connect with.


@TheNomads yes I wouldn’t give out previous HOs’ info or ask a HO to give me a reference. THS isn’t set up to work this way and I plan to stick to the format.


@mars I’m open to this kind of conversation and happy to talk about my experiences pet sitting. I had only one couple that made me feel like I was talking to a therapist!. Lol. So definitely not what you are talking about here.

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I tend to not apply to sits where I don’t feel like I’d vibe with the HOs. It seems a waste of everyone’s time. Usually, I’m always seeking a point of contact and connection, and I’m not a reserved person…I’ll talk about myself and my love of animals and travel as much as you like.

A day in the life of my remote working day? Sure. A breakdown of what I want to do while in the area? Fine. Starting from a downright accusatory, “How do you plan on paying for your accommodation in case we have to cancel”? Thanks, I’ll pass.

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Yes it’s really about trust on THS . When people ask me about what I’m doing I say its not like a pet sitting job. It’s animal lovers that like to travel helping each other out. It takes a lot of trust on both sides for it to work.


@pitcherplant We had one of ‘those’ interviews last year - i’ll call it more an interogation. It felt very uncomfortable and invasive. It was mainly the husband asking the Qs- i got the sense he held regular job interviews. So this made us feel like staff from the outset. As you too experienced he questioned way beyond what was necessary to establish our suitability as their housesitters. The call was also much too long- they took an hour of our time. Somehow at the end we did all agree on the sit and they said they’d send the Invite to Sit. But it never came. The next morning we still felt uncomfortable and so cancelled our application telling them we didn’t feel like a good match after all. This message went unread. Two days later they sent the Invitation to Sit! which we declined it immediately, having already withdrawn anyway! Our decline message went unread and the listing renained open for another 2 months! The whole time we worried that they may have thought the’d booked us when they hadn’t!and then finally the listing closed!- phew! Don’t know what happened there but all very strange!

I’ve never been asked, but I would not be bothered by anyone asking. I also think many (not all) of my references would be happy to give an additional reference. However, some of the owners I don’t really meet, because it’s just 10-15 minutes on the way in and out. There are many whom I do not have an email address for because we’ve communicated through THS. So that could be challenging. But again, I would not be bothered by the question and I have lots of references on and off THS.

If anyone asked us for extra references from anyone we would refuse. If our 58 reviews and refs, our detailed profile and multiple pics with animals and a video call to meet each other…if all this is not enough for the host to trust us we would cancel the application and move on.


I’d be very worried sitting for someone who didn’t seem really comfortable with the idea that this is based on trust. I would hope that anyone who had decided to give THS a try, would be open-minded and trust the process. To me, the ‘interview’ is to some extent determining your qualifications for their particular circumstances, but, primarily its more just see how the connection is between the two parties. If the owner is asking for additional references, or, to contact your references, or, grilling you about issues not related to taking of their pets and house, it seems to me they don’t really trust the process. To me, that would be a red flag and I would pass.