Struggling with Finding Sitters

Whilst I know September is still a few weeks away we are also struggling to find sitters this year and wonder if by ‘tweaking’ our listing again it might be more appealing and we would appreciate any suggestions. We’ve had wonderful sitters in the past so not sure what we’re doing wrong this time or is it just sitters have more choice? Perhaps having our horse is putting people off? I’ve invited lots of sitters with a covering message and sadly no one can help. Some say we’re enquiring too far in advance, some are already booked up for the rest of the year, some haven’t updated their calendars etc. I struggle with the search facility when many sitters don’t highlight their availability in green and the search seems to offer all sitters who have put down our pets and prospective dates - am I missing something? I don’t want to be inviting sitters who don’t actually want a sit on those dates. Thanks for everyone’s help in advance.

Welcome @FifiV - have you created a listing or are you only contacting sitters directly ?

If have a listing you can add it to your forum profile . Then you will get some suggestions from forumites on how to get more applications from sitters .

This show you how

Thank you for your response. I hadn’t realised I needed to do this and so hopefully now anyone on the forum can view my listing! Every day is a school day and I appreciate you taking the time to respond.

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@FifiV I see no problem with your listing or your requirements! Your doggy looks lovely and your horse is low maintenance. We’ve just done a sit in SW France where we had 2 horses (and 3 chickens & 2 cats) we had no advance info on the horses and no real experience! But we ended up feeding them, mucking out the stables, poo clearing (a wheelbarrow a day!!) hoof picking, grooming and controlling grazing times! 18 days. Sounds a lot & was quite time consuming but a wonderful experience! Your horse would (in comparison) be easy peasy for us!
The only thing that I didn’t like in your home description was “we don’t allow sitters to use our bedroom” it just sounds a little unfriendly- expressed so bluntly (but that may just be me!). Why not just say “we have two bedrooms available for a maximum of 3 sitters”
Also I would suggest getting rid of the snow pictures - for a September sit!- and replace them with pics of the sitters bedroom and bathroom. We always ask for those pics if not shown.


I would say that there’s still lots of time to find a suitable sitter . Some sitters are only just booking up their August sits . I am sure you will have applications soon .

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Excellent suggestions- thank you so much. I’ll change those and yes I agree it’s a bit blunt although I didn’t mean it to come across as that!
Sounds like you had your work cut out in SW France!! We want our sitters to enjoy lots of free time whilst here and try and make it as easy as possible for them.

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Hi @premtema im in the UK and a new member of TH and am feeling i have wasted my money one application with no reviews so how di you assess if they will be OK ? 15 declines through Find a sitter. Now panicking dates are 12 days in September

Welcome @Skyepie - with dates in September you have plenty of time to find an experienced and suitable sitter .

If you add your listing to your forum profile - you will get suggestions on how to attract more applications from Experienced sitters .

This is how to do it

Hello @Skyepie,

I wouldn’t panic just yet, September is still a couple of months away. :smiling_face:

Until you link your profile here on the forum we cannot really see if possibly your ad needs a bit of tweaking to attract more candidates. However, do the people who have applied have references? I guess we all started with zero reviews and just had a few references on our profiles.

I also think that you can gather quite a bit of a person’s character through a video call, so I highly encourage you to have one with a couple of candidates.

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Hi @Skyepie, I am also feeling that I have wasted my money on TH. If you have one application with no reviews and you are concerned about the sitter, the best you can do is ask for their telephone number. Based on your conversation you should be able to determine some level of comfort. In the end, it will still be a risk.

I have not yet had one booking via TH though I have invited at least 10 on my “Saved your listing” list.

I finally had to use an app we have in the US called Rover. I had some rejections with that service. You have to pay a daily rate with Rover.
Usually $50 per day for overnite. But, I did finally find a good sitter.

Hope this helps.

Edited to comply with posting guidelines.

I believe the shortcomings in TH’s technology are finally coming to bear…at least on the shoulders of those of us seeking a housesitter. I have just signed onto the Forum after being puzzled as to why it requires separate credentials (my TH password, BTW was NOT accepted by the Forum; I had to create a new one. Weird.)
Over the years the site and app–not identical in their functionality–have been klugey. Features of one may not be identical on the other. Navigation is not great; often I will struggle remembering how to find a particular feature. In fact, I just worked with the TH chat and we could not resolve how to find the page that shows how many sits I have hosted, with how many sitters. My best estimate is that over 5 years I have had 29 sits with 24 sitters.
I just had a VERY frustrating time trying to find a sitter. Typically I will get applications within a few hours of posting and have more than enough to book a sitter within a day or so of posting a need. THIS time, very different. I got no applications. After a few days I started sending out invitations. Before pressing the button to send an application, I checked the sitter’s availability. I sent out 71 invitations. Of the 45 people who responded, all but one said they were already booked during that time. Sure, some may not have updated their calendar, and many said they couldn’t figure out how to do so. That may have had something to do with it.
But I think more likely that TH technology has something to do with it OR there is a gross imbalance in sit needs vs. sitters. Either way, I feel TH needs to do something about it.
On the technology side, some of my complaints:

  • many features are not equally functional on the app vs. the website
  • navigation is clunky. A deep dive into the user experience is needed.
  • calendar either doesn’t work or works on UK time. Sorry, I’m just not going to do the math to enter an alert/event if it isn’t in local time. Kid stuff here.
  • the availability calendar is either inaccurate/non-updatable or has a varied method of indication: a slash through the day (I assume this means “unavailable”), no indication (I assume this means “available”) or a blue highlight (what does this mean vs. a slash???)
  • Sit location on map is inaccurate, misleading
  • Sits located quite far away from entry in the search bar are shown before sits that comply with the search parameter entered.
  • invitations to sitters can’t be easily removed
  • the Welcome Guide can’t be formatted for local paper sizes and takes an extraordinary amount of paper to print out.

These are just a few complaints. Given my recent really bad experience trying to find a sitter, I have many, many more that I would like to discuss with TH in a SERIOUS effort to improve a LOT of technology weaknesses. It has been 5 years for me…many of these shortcomings should have been resolved by now.

If TH believes the technology to be bulletproof (it isn’t) then the current imbalance of sits vs. sitters needs to be addressed with a major marketing effort to get more sitters. I have to believe that the platform didn’t suddenly experience a dropoff in sitters. Something has to be going on.

Please, TH, use some of us to everyone’s advantage. I would love to be in a user experience group to get the TH system back up and running as it did prior to…this spring/summer? That’s when I noticed the cracks really starting to show.


That filter “functionality” sounds like weakness TH should address.

@Skyepie and @premtema , Don’t be disheartened yet. I would echo @Silversitters suggestion and encourage you both to add your listings to your forum profile. By doing this you’ll reach more sitters, those who read the forum, and be able to get helpful feedback. You will have a much better chance of success if sitters apply to your listing rather than by sending out invitations. Here are the instructions: How to add your listing or profile to your forum profile


@AnneOak , Your listing shows you don’t have any active dates. Have you found a sitter? That would be great.

Yes, the forum has always been a separate entity that required a different logon. The forum is also open to the general public, whereas the website and app are not.

And yes, the app and website operate differently.

The availability calendar could do for an overhaul but it does provide the most important information. The dates with slashes through them mean the sitter is already booked for a THS sit. If the dates of your listing fall on any of these dates, do not send an invitation as this sitter is already booked. As for any of the other dates, sending an invitation is a crap shoot – the sitter may be available but much more likely, the sitter is busy or may not be interested in your location, pets or some other aspect of the sit.

As for sit location, THS added search parameters. You can sort by recommended, newest or distance. For best proximity, choose distance.

Yes, there are areas THS can improve but in the greater scheme of things, THS is still doing a lot of things right and the comments on the forum do reach the admin.

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I finally got a sitter who could do part of the sit and I will have a friend fill in the rest of the days. This isn’t ideal and isn’t anything I have experienced before. I’ve always been able to fill sits without any sort of problem. Now, not at all the case. Something is amiss.

The Forum requires a different password format than the TH site…that’s a pain. Why not just grant access to the Forum such that the same password may be used as is used for the main TH site. No rocket science here to link the TH membership to the forum such that a member can move seamlessly through it.

Thanks for the info on the sort options. Yes, I did have it set unknowingly on “recommended.” Would suggest that TH add another filter that would allow the sitter to select a distance option–much like one does when wants to see where a product is located and confines the answers to a mileage radius. At least in my location, even just five miles can make a HUGE difference and I am seeing locations suggested that are well over an hour away by car from the city I input as a target.

Undoubtedly the app and site operate differently. This is NOT a good thing. Some features can be seen on both but only really operate on one platform. Super frustrating.

While the slash and the unmarked number on the calendar would seem to be self-explanatory when defining availability (“not available” and “available,” respectively) what does the blue highlight mean??? NOT clear. With one exception when I was operating too fast, all of the 71 invitations were sent to individuals who did not have slashes through the period of time I needed a sit. Yet 45 of the 46 people who responded said they were booked during that time. Yes, some may have not updated their calendars (and some said they didn’t know how to do so) but undoubtedly some were booked through TH.

Yes, I agree, TH has been really good. I have plenty of free months to indicate how I have talked it up to friends. Selfishly, I want TH to be as great a resource as it once was, but for this to happen they have to pay attention to what is going wrong. Right now, my hunch is that my complaints aren’t coming out of left field ,and there are plenty of frustrated TH members. The user experience with TH has always been unstellar–it’s a super-klugey system–but right now it is particularly unrobust. I want to help. I want to provide suggestions that will allow TH to serve me as well as it has up until now. But some things have been issues for SUCH a long time (e.g., the event calendar in the welcome guide) that one wonders what the heck is going on in the TH technology mosh pit. (Hey, if a feature doesn’t work, don’t offer it until it does! “Beta testing:” it’s a thing. So is “UX.” My god, please help with the UX, TrustedHousesitters.)

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As a sittter the benefit of a car is always a plus especially if there is no local transportation and if nothing is within a reasonable walking distance. A sit needs to benefit both parties and if an animal can not be left alone for 5-6 hours then it might not always be an equitable sit. Also, if a sit has alot of extra work then it becomes a job and there is little reason for a person to accept a sit. I myself work with a few different sites throughout the year and I normally choose a sit by my current location or my desire to stay in a location for at least a week.

One observation on the first line of your listing, that you require ‘Fully vaccinated sitters only’. Looking at it from a numbers perspective, as of this week 69.5% of the US population was vaccinated but only 17% have an updated booster. Covid vaccination tracker: See the latest trend and count

Compared to 4 or 5 years ago pre-covid, now 83% of sitters might think that they cannot apply for your sit, if they interpret your requirement of ‘fully vaccinated’ to mean that they are up to date with the current booster (assuming that the THS sitter population is representative of the US stats). It might have been easy in year 3 when you added that requirement and people were on top of getting the new vaccine.

Separate from the technology or the ratio of homes to sitters, your requirement may play into it, just looking purely at the numbers above.

@AnneOak in this post Covid era your need for ‘fully vaccinated sitters’ is rather outdated and could be a turn off for some sitters, myself included. What exactly is your definition of fully vaccinated? How many boosters and how recently the last one? This could be the reason for lack of applicants.

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Hi there. I don’t fully understand the calendar functionality, but from the sitter perspective I can explain a little. I have sits booked through TH until Nov 23rd, and imagine those are blocked off on my calendar. I then want to be home for the holidays through the end of January. I will be considering sits again after that.

I receive many invitation for sits that are local – either in my city (Oakland) or in California more generally. Although I would consider going to places in California if time allowed, I mostly sit for pets in far-away places that I want to travel to. So I reply to those invitations saying that “I am booked,” even if booked means I want to be home for Xmas.

Some day, I hope to have an invitation to sit from someone in Stockholm, Athens, Paris, or Mexico City! With time for planning, and if the sit were at least 2 weeks in duration, I would say yes! I wonder if folks sending invitations have every thought of sending them to far-away sitters?

Good luck. We are all going through a moment of change here on TrustedHousesitters. Let’s get through it togehter–sitters and pet parents alike.


Lockstar, you could be right. I, too, have thought of removing that from my listing. And I will. I have actually booked someone who isn’t vaccinated; she just had to ask! As I mentioned to @uk_american, “fully vaccinated” to me means all boosters have been received. But as I also said to uk_american that may not matter any longer. I also hope you are 100% correct and that by removing that “requirement” I return to an onslaught of applications as I have seen up until now. I doubt it; when I look at sits throughout the site, “Low Applications” is a rampant banner. Maybe a new feature…maybe a new era for TH. hope not.