Stand out elements in sitter applications?

For#6 : I think it is when the owner publishes new dates and you can apply again.


Ah, of course… I’m a little low on caffeine this morning :laughing:


@Flora Yes, that’s exactly what I meant!

After applying for HUNDREDS of sits over nearly 5 years we’ve learned one key thing. We can’t make a round peg fit into a square hole, and we might not always know we’re the round peg.

A house sit might look great, have animals with quirks we’re perfectly matched to, have requirements and expectations that work with out lifestyle, etc. But that doesn’t mean we’re the right fit. There’s so much we don’t know. Many times we’re turned down for reasons we don’t know, but sometimes it’s because we’re so detailed, a couple, local, not local, have tons of experience, have family in the area… and so on.

We’ve learned over the years that it’s a mutual relationship between an owner and a sitter. We interview them just as much as they do us. And being turned down for a sit (or us turning one down), might be the best thing. For example, we had this amazing Upper East Side, high rise NYC house sit that was nearly ours. We spoke with the owner and were just about set, we just wanted to ask our typical ‘pre commit’ questions that let us make sure we’re a good fit for the homeowner, the home and the pet. The morning after sending the questions, we were declined and told that it was just too much for the owner and she accepted someone who didn’t ask questions. We were disappointed at first, but quickly realized that it would have been an incredibly poor fit and were glad we were turned down.

So, we generally make the assumption that if we’re turned down it’s for the better. However, as @NOmtnClowns mentions, if it seemed like a good fit and we’re turned down the first time, if the sit comes back up on our radar, we apply again. We’ve had many sits work out the second time! :slight_smile:

Just remember, be kind and reply back to a decline wishing the owner a good holiday and to keep you in mind next time.


For us, it’s a matter of having a partner to sit with. We are out in the middle of nowhere and if one were to get hurt or sick, no one would know. Also there is a large work load, with chickens, ducks, cats, and 3 Chocolate Labs that are high maintenance! We would just feel more comfortable if there were two people.

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On point, really well put.

Wow, thanks to everyone who chimed in on my inquiry. There are lots of great tips here, several of which I’ve already applied. And I just got a sit! Margie


Congratulations Margie, that’s fabulous news, the forum and community working it’s special kind of magic in helping and supporting one another. No matter how many sits we do when that invitation lands in our inbox it’s always a special feeling … thanks for sharing. :heart_eyes:

Where is your sit and what pets will you be caring for?

Los Angeles, and I’ll be caring for two cats. Looking forward to it!


I’ve been a member for almost 4 years though the first year, I was not able to get any sits, in spite of my hundreds of stellar Airbnb reviews, links to customer feedback from my profession, references… These days, my application rarely get declined. Recently, I applied for a sit that I didn’t get before. And they said, they chose whoever applied first -to be fair - and that was not the first time an owner responded with that reason. They did invite me for a future sit.

Another owner said their cat preferred male :smile_cat:.

And as few mentioned, some owners prefer a local and or who they can meet in person. If I’m able, I always offer to visit. I feel it also gains trust with the pet when you are in the same space with their owner.
One time, I was driving to LAX airport to catch a flight for a sit in Australia, and stopped in Santa Cruz for a sit scheduled after my return from Down Under. And it all worked out.


Hi Margie,

Here’s a valuable lesson I learned from a workshop decades ago, that changed my life and was subsequently, extremely helpful in a career I had in Pharmaceutical Sales. It’s called the Ontology of a Request:

Anyone has the right to make a request. In this case you are requesting a HO to consider you as a prospective sitter. Inherent in your right to make a request, is the other person’s right to:

  1. Accept
  2. Decline
  3. Counter offer

That’s really all that’s going on. For me, once I “got” that, it simplified both my personal life and my work life. Before that, I always tended to take things personally or to feel I didn’t have the right to make certain requests.

Much like a cover letter on a resume, if you take notes before you respond and use the HO and pet names in the body, as well as sincerely matching your skills or experience with what they have stated as their needs, your chances improve. I know this sounds formal and obviously I make sure my personality and enthusiasm show through, but it’s been mostly successful for me. If I’m not chosen I just chock it up to a “decline” and move on.

As both a HO and a TH I know that often people go with a gut feeling and that’s ok. Hope that helps and I wish you great success. It’s an addicting way to travel and I’ve only met wonderful people who have stayed in my home with my dog.


That is definitely one thing we would never do, play one pet parent against another. Yes, we apply for multiple sits with approximately the same dates and yes we always have our preferred but who ever asks us to sit for them first is our choice. It is very bad manners to leave them hanging around just in case there’s something better comes along.


I use Google Chrome and I found a really good free program/extension called “Grammarly for Chrome” that mentions:

“From grammar and spelling to style and tone, Grammarly helps you eliminate writing errors and find the perfect words to express yourself. You’ll get real-time feedback from Grammarly on Gmail, Google Docs, Twitter, LinkedIn, and nearly everywhere else you find yourself writing. Grammarly is a writing assistant that offers you specific suggestions to help you improve your writing — and it goes way beyond grammar. You can be confident that your writing is not only correct, but clear and concise, too. Be sure to register your account to receive a personalized writing report each week to help you track your progress and identify improvement areas.”
Any time I’m writing something, including this comment, I immediately will know if I’ve misspelled a word or missed a comma or need to add a question mark instead of a period. I love Grammarly and while they have a paid version that offers so much more, I’m happy with the free version.
And Grammarly has over 10 million users and you can check it out here:


Hi @MichaelinVA02 a very warm welcome to our Community Forum, thank you for your great contribution to the conversation and you Grammarly link, I’m sure this will come in very handy for many.

Enjoy the conversations and connecting with members from around the world, we look forward to sharing in your TrustedHousesitters journey.

Angela and the Team

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My daughter used Grammarly a few years ago when she was in high school. It’s useful for students.

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This is a great extension for writing assistance. Have used it for years from anything to academic papers to just posting a blurb on social media.

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I’ve recently added a few outside references to my HS Profile. I can keep requesting more but wonder how many are sufficient?

Hi @lmhale it’s great that you are considering your profile a “work in progress” … mine is too even after 11 years, refreshing and updating from time to time is good.

I’ve looked at your profile you have both great TrustedHousesitters reviews and external references and I would suggest that you have added just the right amount.

Quality is far more valuable than quantity and with external references it is the opportunity to get additional related experience on you profile for example, from organisations/shelters that members may have volunteered with, other pet and house sitting experience etc.

Reviews and references are part of the whole, a “complete” profile is what is important.


I don’t play one sitter against the other as soon as someone applies, who I think suitable, but I do wait until this one applies. I don’t decline the ones that are not “perfect” right away, but I tell them to feel free to move on while I wait for more applications.

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Not entirely on topic, but… when a sitter gets a straight decline from a HO with no other communication, how do we know if something about us put them off, or it was just a question of someone else being a better fit for other reasons (proximity, previous experience with the HO, etc.)? Should we apply again for future dates, and how do we present ourselves the second time around? Thanks!

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