Where have all the experienced sitters gone?

We listed our sit in Sydney just over a week ago. So far we have had over 50 applicants. 30% are single sitters even though we specified we were looking for an experienced couple. 90% have no reviews and little housesitting experience. And three of them have applied again after being declined.

I realise everyone has to start somewhere and I’m sure they’re all really nice people, it’s just a couple of references from friends and the fact they used to walk their neighbour’s dog occasionally doesn’t inspire confidence. On top of that it’s extremely tedious having to constantly decline applicants to keep the sit listed.

We’ve had some great sitters in the past but we’re wondering if this is the new reality with THS. Just an observation.


It may have something to do with all the media attention THS has been getting lately, under the guise of 'free travel". It may attract a younger demographic that isn’t thinking things through before applying (or reading the listing). The new five application rule also isn’t helping things, as sitters have to submit so quickly in order to get in before the fifth applicant does or risk losing out. Not an ideal situation for anyone.


I had this experience as well.

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That’s really odd that the declined applicants are reapplying.


I am hoping more owners will complain about the 5 app rule. Please make your voices heard. I am an experienced sitter and I am unable to apply to 99% of my favorites because of the 5 app rule. Owners are fully capable of “pausing” their applications. It is an insult to the owner not to have the capability to do this themselves.


We’re all here still @Silverfox - the marketing of “free travel” isn’t helping especially for places with a big draw like Sydney. If you’re a backpacking youngster why not try your luck. If we don’t sit on our phones 24/7 it means that almost always a different time zone sit has gone when we wake up! 5 app rule at play again. Hopefully you’ll get some good ones soon :raised_hands:t3:


There is a post with over 1200 comments on it, most complaining about the 5 application rule Karilil, but it’s locked and you can’t comment on it. TH think it’s a wonderful idea, and won’t be changing it.


They obviously don’t read the listing. They even cut and paste the same application letter

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That sounds really annoying for you.
I’m an experienced sitter and I’m booked until November, with a small gap in September.
A lot of experienced sitters plan quite far ahead, it seems.
A year ago I was new and had no references and still got accepted for sits very quickly. I put a lot of effort into my profile and had video calls or met up with the pet parents and it all went from there.
Perhaps someone new will work out for you after all if you talk to them more?
I agree about thoughtless applications though, I wouldn’t bother with copy and paste letters either.


Hi @Silverfox. I just wanted to say thanks for sharing. It’s rare to see much real data. 50 applicants for one listing sounds amazing! Popularity is like a rose, thorns and all?

You’re obviously very experienced on THS both as sitters and PPs (7 years!), but I wonder how you could tweak your listing to encourage more experienced sitters to apply? I’d offer my two cents, but your forum profile has a link only to your sitter profile.

It is surprising to me that 90% of your 50+ applicants had 0 reviews. I recall the post below by @Ruckusfan.

Their estimate was 31% of sitters had 0 reviews.

Perhaps PPs are writing fewer reviews?

I really have no idea what could be causing such a discrepancy, especially as it sounds like you’ve been able to get sitters with reviews in the past. For example, before the 5-app rule, you might’ve still gotten 50 applicants, but more than 5 would have at least one review?

How does unpausing actually work for you? Do you just decline one and then unpause? Or decline all 5 and then unpause?


When a HO unpauses a listing everyone who has saved it as a favourite is notified that there is a NEW listing -
This causes confusion, leading some members to understand that they can reapply .

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@Silverfox This must be very frustrating- and time consuming- to read through all these unsuitable applications.

I would say that don’t rule out all the sitters that have no reviews- Every sitter has to start somewhere.

We started this year with only references and we are very grateful to the first 4 Home Owners who (after a video chat with us ) invited us to sit .

All of sits were a great experience, all gave us 5 star reviews and have invited us back .

Some have suggested having a key word or phrase in your listing that you ask potential sitters to include in their application ( presumably at the start ) so that you can instantly see if your listing has actually been read


It must be very frustrating for you to not be receiving applications from experienced sitters like yourselves @Silverfox.

Having found your listing for 2 cats and fish, I am a little surprised you have restricted your applicant pool to just couples. I realise it is for a month but experienced single sitters are quite capable of looking after your pets, your home and gardens for that period of time. I am a very experienced, single, Australian sitter currently in the UK for the summer and have been entrusted with pets who require far more attention and care than your two cats plus homes that are rather grand with large grounds. Yet I would not qualify as a suitable applicant for you.


The issue isn’t that there are not experienced sitters, it’s that we can’t apply. I get notifications constantly for sits I would love to apply for, but they are already ‘reviewing’ when I find out about them. I can get a notification, click on it immediately, and I’m already locked out. And those are just the sits I’ve already added to my favorites. THS is not useful at all for obtaining sits in popular locations. Many of us who are experienced have jobs and can’t be on THS constantly. That means HOs in popular locations only get applications from people who happen to be on the site at the same time that the sit is posted. If I were an HO looking to obtain a sitter in a popular destination I would look at other platforms that allow all interested sitters to apply, not just the ones who have time to be searching for sits 24/7.


Great post @temba. I’m a single sitter that has looked after 10, 6 and 4 cats a couple of times sitting. I’d suggest like you it’s about the sitters experience and organisational skills.

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I can’t see your listing , but you say that you have specified couples - does that also extend to families ?

My guess is that the majority of sitters are solo sitters -so wanting a couple narrows down the pool of sitters who meet your criteria . Encouraging families to apply will extend it .

Does anyone know if THS have stats available to show what percentage of sitters are couples / families compared to solo sitters ?


Hi there, I’m curious as to why you like the 5 sit rule? As a sitter i hate it, what am i missing? :smile:


Curious as to why you like the 5 application limit rule?


Are your alerts Saved Searches you’ve set up or are they sits which are your Favourites?

If Saved Searches, as others have said, by the time the daily alert is emailed, many sits are already at the 5 application maximum.

If Favourites, are you on your phone 24/7 in order to receive notification when new sit dates are posted?


Im honestly glad it’s working for you! At least someone is benefitting from it. Personally i have a full time job and no way i can be on my phone all the time, so i find it really frustrating and unfair.