Sitter's not reading HO Profile and information

Does any other HO have problems with applicants not reading the profile and applying even though the don’t have experience with certain pet? This is clearly stated on the initial information.
Some of the applicants have been lovely but just not suitable for this reason.
Does it look bad to keep declining the applicants because of this?
We never had this problem during the last two years.

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@Coco Maybe the change you have noticed is because sitters feel pressured to apply quickly - because only 5 can apply before your listing is paused.

It certainly doesn’t “look bad” to promptly decline applicants who aren’t suitable- a polite note to say something along the lines of
“Thank you for your application, we are not able to accept you because we need a sitter with experience of xx as stated in our listing “.

By promptly declining unsuitable applicants- you free up space for other sitters to apply - ones who have taken the time to read your listing .


One of the sits I applied for asked the prospective sitter to include a certain phrase in the application to prove they’d read the listing. I thought that was a good idea.
You’re certainly within your rights to decline those people who hadn’t read your listing.


Hi @Coco - I just read your listing and the info about the horses is a little confusing -
in your introduction section, you say - "…various animals including horses.
Please rest assured that this is just feeding and checking twice a day. It does not take long and we have help with the horses.

but then in your responsibilities section, you say “Having past experience with horses is important.”

Why is past experience with horses important if it’s only feeding and checking … and, you have other help with them anyway?

Also, is it true that your insurance demands DBS? I have never heard of that before. DBS have to be paid for so many sitters offering their services for free don’t have one. If you really do need your sitters to have one, you will increase your chances by offering to pay the cost for your sitters getting it if needs be.


@Smiley …I steer well clear of any listings where I see that ‘test’ word - it feels really patronising and makes me think we’ll end up with a home host trying to catch us out throughout the sit.


You are right it is a bit confusing. I will alter it. We had someone last year who had looked after horses but when we got back one of the horses had several cuts on its legs that had not been noticed in the check. The rider came in the morning and this was afternoon. I suppose we have to ask, even if you had help with a pet would you have someone look after your dog if they had never been in contact with a dog before?

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Maybe horses require more experience. I will stay that none of my family members have had any experience with cats but we just had 3 separate cats sits we completed. All of those homeowners hired us knowing we did not have experience. They gave us good instructions and everything was a success. They have all already invited us back for future dates and gave us 5star reviews. If you are low on applicants, perhaps video calling to determine an applicant’s level of detail and whether you think they will be good and going through your instructions to take care of the horses.


The difference with horses when you have never had any experience is that they are big animals and people can be nervous of them. The last thing you want to do is experiment on someone else’s animals and find that out. Some people are frightened of big dogs.

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@Coco As homeowners, we’ve had this occur – sitters apply without reading our listing. When I promptly decline their application, I do let them know why, especially if it’s because they haven’t read our listing.

And no, this does not look bad. The more experience one gains on this platform (as a sitter or HO), you get to know why a homeowner continues to look for the right sitter.

As sitters, we read and re-read the listing before applying. One has to work fast these days, but that’s how we handle it, anyway. :slight_smile:


To each his own I guess.

I have blocked out my availability on the calendar and people either ignore it or are ignorant of the calendar system. I got too many requests for when I was already booked! So I added a “test word” to my sitter profile and received many positive comments and compliments on it being a clever idea.

I have used this technique since back in the day when I posted ads for waitstaff on craigslist. I also used it as a coupon code when I was teaching kids online. if the parent sent me a message with the codeword, I’d know they read the whole class listing & I’d refund $10. Those who didn’t (which was most of them!) I’d know they needed extra handholding.


I’m a sitter and I always make a point of referencing whatever is said so the pet owner can see I’ve read what is required.

I think it only natural to decline someone who didn’t even read your ad properly, they don’t fit what you specifically asked for and therefore wasted your time, and blocked others in the short term who were suitable from potentially applying if you hit 5.


@MissChef - Adults testing children is fine - but adults testing adults in such a clandestine way, in my opinion, is wholly inappropriate. As I said before, I think it is really patronising and devious - neither of which I find to be appealing traits.

I think accepting a sit from a home host that feels the need to give you a test at the very initial contact screams that this is a home host with trust issues.

Having passed the first test, sitters should not be surprised to then turn up to the sit to find cameras to test they are feeding the pets on time, sellotape across doors to test they are not opening doors that they shouldn’t be, bits of paper in the corner of the room to test you are hoovering correctly, neighbours ‘popping in’ to test they are not having parties…it goes on

This is Trusted housesitters. If the home host can’t even trust the sitter enough to read a couple of paragraphs without feeling the need to test them first to prove themselves then, I’m, sorry, but first impressions are important and my first impression is that trusted housesitters is not the platform they should be using…


I have a sit lined up this autumn that required such a test. The text of the listing was quite long and the test word was at the end.

Yes, there were more tests. The video chat was partly a proficiency test of the language. And I felt that I needed to make clear that I was sufficiently fit to walk the dog (I did not need to demonstrate pushups though).

I did not mind. The HO had learned from experiences. And I do not expect any of the devious tests that you mentioned.


@pietkuip -


Good luck, You are far more easygoing than me! - When I replied I would be tempted to ask them to quote ‘not a chance!’ in their following message to prove to me that they had read my reply. :wink:


It is really helpful when like you, you do use your calendar. So far when looking for prospective sitters I have found one other and all the applications I have received, not one of them has used the calendar correctly. This does lead to HO to approach people when we would rather not if this was made clear. We do not want to waste anyones time.

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Just to say I do understand the need for experience with horses as I have had my own horses and ponies and also experienced riding-school ponies who are a different kettle of fish. Owning a horse and observing it every day is quite different from riding once a week at a school. I’ve even had people ask me at riding schools how I knew a horse had a stone in his foot when he was quite obviously in a lot of discomfort! The secret is in the observation skills.
I have my own pet and I am unfortunately unwell at the moment otherwise I would apply for the sit. Good luck! I’m sure you will find the right person.

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Yes, I have had sitters that appeared to have not read my criteria listed in my listing. I think they simply cut and pasted their “standard” application email.

You don’t need to justify declining an applicant for any reason. I’ve declined sitters after interviews during which they only talked about themselves and didn’t seem interested in my cat at all!


Just had another and when I asked a question, it took a day to get back and then said that they did not realise I had horse??? They have all been similar this year. Not renewing my membership this year. Never had applicants like this before.

@Coco Your home looks amazing - very unique . Unfortunately we do not have any experience with horses so would not be the sitters you are looking for .

Just a thought , I notice that you say that you are happy to answer any questions , are you aware that potential sitters cannot ask questions unless they apply ?
Could this be the reason that you are getting unsuitable applicants - it’s people not actually applying but wanting to find out more / ask questions before applying but there’s no other way for them to do this .

Have you tried contacting previous sitters ? They have all given great reviews and clearly enjoyed their stay .

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Hi. I thought about that but they do not ask questions and when I ask they do not reply to the questions.