Striking out as a new sitter

I signed up on a whim and thought that this would be awesome to help animals as well as save us some money when we travel but alas we are striking out. It has been months and I can’t seem to find a house to house sit. Feel like I might have waisted a membership fee …

A very warm welcome to the forum. I am so sorry you have not yet found a house sit.

You can also add your listing to your forum profile here so other members can see it, and offer you some advice and guidance.

The way to add your listing link is here >>

These other threads will help give some insight as well into your search for landing your first sit.

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Hey Sophie

Sorry to hear you aren’t having any luck. It is basically impossible to assess why someone isn’t getting house sits without seeing someone’s profile (which is one thing you can actually show people by linking to it in your forum profile) the application messages they are sending, the types of sits they are applying for, how they are communicating with HO’s if contact has been established in any case,etc…

So the best people can do here is just give some general advice that you may or may not already be following. And just take careful note of what you read and see if any of it may apply to you…

1.Personalize the message. Address the homeowner by name, address the pets by name. Address specific things in the listing that show you actually read it. If a HO notes something is important to them, let them know you can meet that preference or need.

For example, if they state their pet likes to sleep on the bed with them, and you are okay with that, make sure you say you are okay with that. If they say that a certain task may require a certain skill and you have that skill, say so. If experience with a certain dog breed is required, and you have that experience, say so.

So many homeowner’s note the generic messages they receive that are clearly cut and pasted. Sometimes they don’t even get a message at all beyond simply requesting they look at the profile because the sitter is interested.

These sorts of messages do not give a good first impression, and I imagine most HO’s aren’t interested in asking a person like this a bunch of questions to find out more about them and if they are appropriate or not.

2.Make sure you are reading the full message to ensure it is appropriate you apply. Many people don’t fully read the listings and end up applying when they aren’t the type of sitter the HO prefers. The 20 year old is applying for a listing requesting someone at least in their 40’s. The single person is applying for the sit that is clearly designated for a couple.

3.Sitters vary in their profile as far as length. My husband and I have one that is quite detailed and we have gotten a lot of positive feedback on it, and therefore we don’t write long application messages. Some sitters have ones that are less detailed and then write longer application messages.

As a sitter who doesn’t have experience, you may do well with a more detailed profile that lets them know more about you as a person in general that focuses a lot on habits, skills, preferences,etc… you may have that would make you a good house and pet sitter.

For example, my husband and I aren’t big sightseers so while we enjoy exploring new areas, we have no desire to be out all day every day doing things–highlighting our more homebody nature has served us well since HO’s know their pets won’t be left alone for long periods on a regular basis.

Make sure you proofread your profile. Use proper capitalization. Use appropriate punctuation. Break content down into paragraphs with spaces in between. I have seen some really poorly crafted profiles and it just doesn’t give a good impression.

While some initial assessments of people we don’t know based on their grammar, personal characteristics,etc…may not seem fair, when evaluating perfect strangers for such an important task, these snap judgments are almost impossible to avoid. We may not be able to control some of these things–like our age or gender–but we can run spell check and make sure we capitalize the first word in a sentence.


I signed up last year specifically to apply to a sit in Texas and didn’t really occur to me that it would get declined. I went 6 months without even thinking about this platform. Then I decided to give it another try and sure I received lots of rejections but now our family is on our 13th sit and we have 3 more lined up and one of them is international. So don’t give up just yet. Can you put a link to your profile so that the experienced members here can give you good advice?


Welcome @sophied
If you link your profile I’m sure others will help you tweak it! However when I started 14 months ago it took me 23 applications to get my first sit. It was a local sit. I’ve since done 15 sits. Patience is the key at the start.
Can I suggest you look at local and/or last minute sits to begin with. Once you’ve built your feedback then apply to the more popular sit locations.

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Hi, @sophied - you need some reviews on your profile to give home hosts confidence in your abilities.

To get your initial reviews look at listings localish to you, and apply for as many as possible, preferably due to start soon, and if possible for short periods. By doing these you will quickly be able to gain your first few reviews.

Once you have a few under your belt, then you will be in a much better position to be able to apply to the sits that you really want to do.

Good Luck!

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Try applying for more local sits firstly to get some reviews, as they may be more likely to say yes as they may like the idea of someone local who could potentially do future re-sits for them, to save them hunting for someone new. Then after you’ve got reviews try for further afield if that’s what you want. Also, try and focus on pets you have already had, as again the chances are higher.

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Thanks Colin. This is a really good suggestion. Already looking to see if we can book some around where we live.

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@HappyDeb, yes, super helpful, thank you. Looking for something local now.


Thank you @richten1. How do I link my profile here?

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Hi @sophied. Here’s a link -

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@sophied, in addition to local sits, apply for shorter sits in less-desired places/at high-need times that are easy drives for you. My first sits were in York, PA; West Lafayette, IN; Cleveland; and Cincinnati. If you’re willing to sit over a holiday, that’s a great time to get a sit so you can get some reviews.

Another suggestion @sophied - apply for last minute sits … this was suggested to another newbie on here and in less than a week they went from 0 sits to 3 confirmed sits .

As others have said once you get the first 1 or 2 reviews it all helps to get more opportunities and also helps to you know what to look for in a listing .