Sitters w/o Reviews or References

Hi! new to the site, just signed up on THS and posted for an upcoming need for pet/house sitter in a few weeks (for a 3 week period). would really love to find a great sitter but recognize the time crunch. i’ve seen some of the posts about ‘local sitter’ issues, with its plus and minuses. some concerns i have are, so far applicants (3: 2 local, 1 a couple hours away) have neither reviews nor references posted. also, one has one pic of themselves (no pets), another has numerous pics of themselves (no pets). all say they have ‘years of experience’ pet sitting.
So questions are, is it common to ask directly for references in this situation? also, directly request some form of ID or home address (2 have no ID verification on their site, all have a local home base)? is it possible to determine how long these sitters have been on THS (absent any badges/reviews)?
How long is an appropriate time to wait to receive applicants (would prefer ones who have posted reviews/references) from interested sitters before being a bit more proactive (ie inviting sitters)?
Thanks in advance for any suggestions/advice!


Hi @TailsUp and welcome! I have a couple HO friends who are new to THS and have run into the same issue. Speaking for myself only (I’m a sitter), I would only consider people whose ID’s had been verified and who had at least some references published on their profiles. I would expect their profile to reflect their values, character and experience with your type of pet. I do not think it should be your responsibility to ask them for references. If a sitter has no reviews or references, I would figure they had just signed on to THS. If you find someone whose profile and references look good to you but they have no reviews, you can consider them because we all have to start somewhere – to get a first review. You would set up a video call or if they are closeby, an in-person meeting with someone you were seriously considering. As for sending invitations, I hate to wait until the last minute, I would be inviting people three to four weeks ahead of my trip. I would suggest inviting people who are not in your immediate area but are three to seven hours driving distance away.
Sitters are interested in seeing areas other than those they are familiar with. Also, make sure your listing looks appealing to prospective sitters. We want to see the kitchen, bathroom, the room we will be sleeping in and other living areas, plus pics of your pets.
And include information about attractions in your area .Best of luck!

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Hi @TailsUp and welcome to TrustedHousesitters and to our community forum thank you for joining us.

I’ve looked at your listing there are some lovely pixs but perhaps include some more details about you and the family, also about your home and location for instance are there amenities close by and “Dog” is lovely does he have a name?

Your listing has only just gone live and has many great aspects attached, the length is one which sitters like and most importantly dog is adorable, friendly and obviously easy to care for, wait a week or so although you can reach out and invite sitters as soon as you like.

Consider sitters, both local and those further afield, with ID checks & verifications, external references and if they have THS reviews as well even better. There are new members joining all of the time and even sitter members with many reviews began their THS journey at the very beginning their lack of THS experiences doesn’t always equate with a lack of sitter experience. Read profiles fully, it is all in the detail.

As a new owner member it can be a little daunting to begin with but you’ll find lots of support, help and advice here. and on the website blog, there are many informational and educational articles to help guide you through the process.

The most important thing is to have plenty of communication with prospective sitters who apply. Messages, video calls and ask the questions you need to to make you feel 100% comfortable with your choice and sitters will help you in the process and you will know when a sitter is right for you, your pet and home … it’s not just about getting a sitter it’s about getting the right one, the same as it is for the sitter to get the right sit.

Membership Services are another member resource … we are here to support and help you have the very best experience possible.

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Although I agree with many points made by @mars, I don’t think you should discount those who are within your local area. I’m an experienced sitter on THS (7 yrs) but I’m currently on my first sit since the pandemic, and it’s just 1 ½ hrs away from my home. I wanted a current review on my profile, and wanted to be cautious about travel.

I would have some concern about new people with no reviews. Before I had my first sit I approached many people, explaining THS and asking for relevant references. You want sitters who show some initiative and will put some thought into creating an inviting profile.

As for an appropriate time, what was normal before the pandemic has gone out the window. We are still seeing travel concerns and conditions continually changing, so unfortunately there is no normal these days.


Thanks for your reply! I think I am ruling out the SAs (sitter applicants) received so far. Aside from none having any reviews, this does not bother me so much as lack of any references. This is quite bothersome, particularly since ALL claim to have ‘years’ of experience. (How difficult is it to reach out to friends/family even for a character reference and to post on THS?) One SA said they would have multiple 24 hr periods away, (i do not want to test my senior dog’s bladder that much), another said they have a full time job (has not yet responded to my Q on how much time away) and profile says they come with multi generational family and a pet (has not responded to a Q seeking clarification on why this would be the case if they are truly local), and yet another SA’s message literally just said: ‘I’m available, let me know.’ None had any details about their life experiences, very generic, basic listings. None even mentioned my pet (several pics posted). I will go back and revise my listing to include area attractions as you suggest. My initial thoughts on that were that sitters have a general idea of places they would like to go/sit, and given Delta concerns and the tight timeframe (3 weeks away), it’s really in country sitters who would be applying. I wasn’t certain what is a reasonable timeframe to ascertain if there simply isn’t any interest in my posting (1 day, 3 days, 1 week?), so that I should start being more proactive in inviting potential candidates. Again, THANK YOU!

Thank you Angela for your valued feedback! I have not included a lot of detail about our family in our posting, mainly for the reason we are actually fairly private (I do not do social media, and signing up for THS was actually a very Big step for me! insert laughing emoji here if i knew how :)) Also, from my HO POV, I’m looking for more comfort in a sitters profile for whom I would be handing over the keys to my house and entrusting the care of our pet. I’ve posted a pic each of all the living spaces and guest room/bath, but reticent to post the additional guest rooms/baths, master, etc. I will add more info about location and amenities nearby as you suggest - we actually have the most amazing neighbors and neighborhood! We are known for our neighborhood porch parties (we managed social distance happy hours in our front yard on our block during the toughest times last year)! Thank you again - what a great TH support community!!


I stand corrected. I was speaking for myself. @Snowbird is a top notch sitter. Anyone would be lucky to get her.

Hi @TailsUp , you can also state in your listing you require sitters with references and/ or at least a couple of THS reviews and that they have ID accreditation.


Tailsup - welcome. I understand your wanting some kind of verification from your applicants, but we all had to start somewhere.
When I started I did have a pair of references from friends who I’d sat for outside of TH. I now have 30+ 5 star reviews after 2 years.
But my first 3 sits, people took a chance on me - including someone who took me on for a 1 week sit with a pair of dogs and 3 cats in Santa Fe - and we never met. We talked by phone and since my flight was arriving after they needed to leave (and the same at the other end) they left the key under the mat.
The dogs and I had a great time and the cats hid the whole time I was there but I’d be forewarned.

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Thanks temba! you would think at this day and age, people (sitters) would appreciate the need for references, but I should probably make it explicit! right now, i think i’m going to have a glass of wine and explain to our little fella, that he’s becoming a problem (another laughing emoji here!!). what we wouldn’t do for our furry peeps…
Thanks again for your helpful suggestion!


Thanks @Snowbird!. I’m not discounting more local sitters - actually that would be terrific for shorter trips that are last minute (in normal times, we would hop off to europe from the us last minute for a 3 night jaunt). as for sitters who have applied, it is the combination of profiles (seriously lacking), ‘application’ emails, and no bother to even obtain references to post. from what i understand, sitters have the ability to send out requests to friends/family/others, to provide references on the THS. we moved to our current city a bit over two years ago. in our previous locale, we had a standby sitter in our neighborhood who would always have us covered from a few days to a month. just haven’t found that yet here…i’m testing the waters on THS for this first upcoming trip, since we have two more trips we hope to do in the fall…maybe with a bit more advance notice?

Hi. I don’t think there is any need for you to post photos of the rooms that will not be used by the sitter. It’s reasonable to want to balance privacy with sharing sufficient information.

When I look at a sit, information about the family is a low priority for me. It is interesting, but you are leaving and it’s the pet(s) I’m more interested in. I can’t see your listing, but for me I’d want to know how much exercise you expect for the pets, if there are any medication requirements, and any special needs. I need to know that I have the ability to do what’s being asked of me.

As for telling me about the area, it’s helpful but I can search online and get a good idea of what to expect.

Your reasons for rejecting the applications so far are valid, in my opinion. Don’t settle for anyone where you get a sense it’s not a good fit. Gut feelings are usually correct.

As for emojis, look for the happy face that’s along the top of the text box you’re typing in. Click on the happy face and a whole range appears. :slightly_smiling_face:


I have a question re reviews/references. We’ve been sitters for five years now but just recently completed our first house sit in a couple of years since COVID. I know how to request a review/reference from a homeowner but trying to recall something. Does THS prompt or email the homeowner to provide the review/reference for the sitter? I haven’t actually sent my request to the homeowner as yet.

There’s been a glitch with this happening for some time and I don’t think it has been fixed as I certainly didn’t receive one after my last sit and nor did the HO.

I’ve not been getting my email reminders all summer, 5 or 6 sits, but they keep assuring me the HO will have been getting theirs! I however have had to ask, or do every review first so I’m not convinced!

@JackieX @Globetrotter @temba Just to update, there is still a glitch on the reminder for some sitters with ongoing multiple sits that’s proving difficult to reproduce and still being worked on. We’ve been assured the owners emails are going out, as it’s possible for the team to see these as “sent” within the system. Unfortunately if the owner has unsubscribed from emails, newsletters etc… then they won’t get the reminder in this case. As soon as we have an update on the sitter reminders we will let everyone know here. Thanks again for everyone’s patience on this.

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Hi TailsUp and welcome,
I cannot see why sitters would have any interest in areas of your home that they do not need to be in. They should just need to see where they sleep,wash, prepare a meal and area area where they would sit with your pet. As for your privacy, do you realise that drones can fly around your bedroom window while you are sleeping and that you can have trackers every time you use a website?I have already had 18 trackers from this website alone so you have to trust your gut feeling about everything

With me the review thing has been fine. Tho there is 1 sitI have had problems with. The HO had changed the dates before she left me a review so I can not ask for one and she can not give me one. I am hoping the team is working on it.