Sitters "shopping" for the best sit

Hi all: I’m new to the Community Forum (and members of TH since last Sept) and would appreciate your advice. We had two strong applicants for our current sit, had Zoom calls with both applicants, and chose the one that felt the best fit. We hit “confirm” for the sit but they didn’t accept it. I checked in several times over the next 48 hours and got responses such as “we’re out running errands” and “we still need to find flights, but will get back ASAP.” But never did. So we cancelled their sit in the hopes of getting the second choice sitters to confirm. By that time the second sitters had accepted another sit. We finally figured out that the first sitters were likely “shopping” for the sit they wanted most. This practice seems unethical to us, but TH has nothing about it in their sitters’ Code of Conduct.

Do you ask sitters to confirm within a certain timeframe? Are there other ways to handle this situation?

Not really. If you do not like it, you can withdraw the offer sooner.

I am now talking with an HO. This for a sit that starts this Friday! There is now a delay in response, I guess because the HO is negotiating with other applicants, if they could take both periods.

It is not a great problem for me, but there is also this social occasion here on Friday that I may need to cancel.


It is usual to have a conversation first before confirming. had you had a conversation with the applicants before you confirmed ?

Yes, we always do Zoom calls with applicants we’re seriously considering. I just added that to my original post. Thank you for mentioning it.

I have noticed this happening with people putting off videos and then the last two sits I offered the sit after the video and after a waiting period were given reasons why they wouldn’t be able to do it after all. The reasons varied and included took another sit but also scheduling issues and family issus. I post very specific times when the sitter would need to arrive by on my before I post it!

The last time this happened to me (my last sit), I reposted and got a respondant ready to talk to me immediately and to accept the sit.

I don’t think it’s against the Terms of Services, but an alternate strategy might be to give sitters a limited amount of time and/or have other video chats and offer it to the person who can accept it the quickest.

Agreed - I’ve appreciated that.

This is very similar to my work. I take short-term contracts. Sometimes they get renewed sometimes they don’t. You can end up ‘looking for work’ multiple times a year. I have learned the following over the years which apply very well to obtaining a sit.
Apply for more than one contract/sit at a time. Keep applying even if you have a call/interview scheduled for something. Nothing is guaranteed until you have it signed.
Don’t apply to anything you wouldn’t accept based on the information in the listing/ad (one thing you don’t like is one too many)
After the call/interview if you get offered something do not play for time in case something you perceive as better is offered. It does not work out. You will likely lose both. Accept what is offered if it is acceptable. Reject it outright if it is not.
This last one was the hardest to learn. It sounds like what your potential sitters were doing. They may learn to regret it. It’s not unethical but it isn’t great for you either.
Avoid this by asking during the call if they have any questions and if they were offered the sit how long they would need to confirm it was suitable and accept. Don’t ask them if they would accept just how long they would need. Putting them on the spot can get a yes they back out of later or a no that would be a yes later. If the time period they come back with is too long let them know you need an answer sooner.

1 Like

@KristaR you assumed they were looking for better sits.

They told you they were busy and would get to looking at it asap - rather than be patient a little longer you made your own decision to cancel and now you vent about it publicly

After the video call it usually takes us a minute to sit down together and look at planes trains visas and fiddly logistics. It’s a delicate balance and we may have to get in touch with other sits to piece things together.

Potentially you came across overly demanding in the video call and displayed some red flags which gave them a moment for pause. A little self reflection would go along way.

Lastly unethical how? You interviewed two sitters why do you think they wouldn’t apply for multiple sits also?

This is how it all works….of course we are trying to get the perfect sit that is most appealing because we are petsitting voluntarily at our own time, effort and expense. If you wanted to cut out the back and forth and matching process then you can hire a sitter on another site and just pay them.

1 Like

The sit isn’t confirmed until both parties have pressed the magic button so there is nothing unethical about it.

The sitters may well have had another sit they wanted slightly more than yours, by making you wait though, at that late stage, they were risking you changing your mind and them ending up with nothing.

I dont blame them for doing it but at that point the power is all in your hands so its a very risky stratagy for the sitters to take.

It doesn’t sound like you’ve given them enough time to organise their flights, because it isn’t just flights, it’s taxi’s, transfers, car hire, or whatever they are doing to get them to and from the airport, or arrange a lift from family or friends.

Think about it, how many times have you yourself managed to arrange everything linked to your flights within 48hrs, including everything I mentioned above?

I think you also expect them to drop everything as soon as you’ve said yes, whereas they may well be pet sitting and have commitments to walk dogs, or work etc.

But also, nothing is confirmed until it is confirmed on both sides. It works both ways. Also did you officially accept them instantly as soon as you had zoomed? It needs to be straight away.

On another note, we wouldn’t be interested in anyone who was zooming with other sitters as well as ourselves. We want to be a pet owners first choice as soon as they see our profile, and a zoom call is just to make sure our/your first instinct is correct, and if it then doesn’t feel right, then you zoom with your second choice. Otherwise your wasting the others sitters time, energy, and potentially building up their hopes.

Go with your instinct, you’ll know when you’ve found the right sitter for you. But just zoom with one at a time, or the sitters will feel like they are being interviewed for job.


Of course sitters are looking for the best sit, just like hosts are looking for the best sitter. Both are hoping to find the best fit. I’m not sure what would be unethical. You were talking with more than one sitter for your sit and it sounds like they were talking with more than one host about a sit. Why would it be okay for you and not for the sitters?

You certainly don’t have to wait for them to accept if you feel like they are taking too long, just like sitters don’t have to wait for hosts if their process is slow. But there is nothing unethical about applying for multiple sits.


@KristaR in most cases theres only a 20% chance that a sitter will get a sit that they apply for .

So it’s reasonable that sitters will apply for more than one at a time if they seem like a good match . If flights are involved then it is good that the sitters take their time to research the logistics before hitting “accept” as there have been homeowners reporting on the forum that they have confirmed a sit only to be let down by a sitter at short notice because they couldn’t afford the flights .

At the end of the zoom call , you could ask if we do offer you this sit , how long will it take for you to confirm / accept ? Then you will both have a clear understanding of each other’s expectations around timeframe for confirming a sit .

1 Like

Next time you might want to reach out to the other sitters before canceling the sit offer.

Right now i have 3 applications out for the same weekend. I have a list of 4 or 5 more for this weekend but these were my top 3. I applied to the 3rd one after the first 2 because it popped up later and the dates are actually better. Today 2 of my applications reached out to me. The first was my second choice on dates. I was already setting up a video call with them when the 2nd one (with better dates) reached out. I told them we were talking to someone else and asked if they like to do a call in the next few days. So what is ethical here? Go with the first people to reach out, who we have a call with tomorrow- even though the dates work better for us on the other application. Or wait to talk to both and pick. I certainly wont leave the first one hanging. But it would have been easier if the better dates contacted us first.

1 Like

Good advice. Thank you.

Appreciate your feedback and advice.

Very helpful (and unbaised). Thank you!

We had separate Zoom calls. The first couple was fine, but their situation rather complicated, so we had a Zoom call with a second couple, who felt like a better fit. We were honest with the first couple and told them we were talking to a couple of applicants. It was, of course, their prerogative to accept another sit, which they did.

You could consider putting a statement in your listing such as, “We expect to complete a video call with a suitable applicant within X days and would like to get a sitter confirmed rapidly. Please apply only if you are ready to make a quick decision.”

Something like that…

I don’t think I have ever seen this sort of statement in a listing, but most sitters would consider it a blessing!