Why would an owner use a newbie?

Hi, my wife (66) and I (71)are interested in joining but, I suppose, need to know why any owner would use us if we are new house sitters without good TrustedHousesitter’s reviews. Wouldn’t an owner always go for someone with good reviews.
We are Airbnb hosts and users and have excellent reviews from this? Also excellent personal references. I was a teacher and my wife is a nurse.

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I have already written this in another thread.
As nearly each more experienced sitter on the THS site has 5-star reviews, and as it is known that the system keeps people from giving truthful reviews, I decided not to rely much on them.
It simply can’t be that there are only 5-star sitters here.

For our next time away I chose a sitter couple, who don’t have any reviews as sitters yet. But, because they said they own are house and have been HOs on THS before, they know how it feels to have strangers in your home.
Another reason why I confirmed them was, that they had cared for their own diabetic cat, which included giving him insulin shots, until he passed away.
During our video chat I had the chance to see part of their beautifully furnished and decorated house. It was very tidy and clean, which you can’t fake just for a video call.
They also said not to worry in case we can’t travel home, because of an always possible Covid-19 infection. They are flexible and could stay longer.
So all in all I felt very comfortable with them and I think I made the right choice.

There were other applicants, some of them with quite some 5-star reviews, but they didn’t feel right to me.

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We went with sitters that had few reviews even though we also had other applicants with as many as 50 good reviews. The reviews only tell part of the story and we have always relied on our instincts. We weren’t wrong.

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Welcome @brendanxx to the forum. We, as sitters, all had to start at some time and take that risk and I’m sure there would be very few who regret it. You would have no difficulty securing references which are most important when starting out. If you have looked after pets at all, get references from those owners or if you have had pets of your own, that would be highlighted in your profile and photos.
It’s actually a good time to join as there is an imbalance between owners and sitters at present with some owners not receiving applications, even where they had had no difficulty pre-pandemic. Go for it!

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We started as sitters 7 months ago. Our profile had two external (not THS) references and a link to our airbnb reviews that HO’s can click on to see the reviews. That, and our self-introduction paragraphs, was enough to get a string of four offers. Now we have four good THS reviews to add to our profile. Sounds to me like you have some good material to make a case for yourselves. BTW, our friends found that using the THS template for external references made it easy for them. You are allowed to put three on your profile. I think you’ll do fine.

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When I was new to TrustedHousesitters I had tons of experience with cat and dog rescue work and focused my profile on that plus other parts of my background that speak to who I am (homeowner, productive job, etc.). My first sits were local which meant the homeowner could meet me and feel comfortable. After 3 local sits (and great reviews from them) I was able to branch out and start pet sitting in other locations. Owners still put a lot of trust in us, even with all the great reviews. Many go with their guts after reading a profile, checking our reviews and meeting via Zoom. Good luck!

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I agree we all have to get that first sit and it may take a little more applications than if you have reviews. But generally if you list your experience and let yoyr oersonality and reasons for wanting to sit come through I dont see why.
I agree with HO who use instinct more than reviews.

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It’s a perfect time to start as a sitter since the demand seems to be unusually high this year. We started with only our 40+ AirBnb references during Christmas 3 years ago. The sit was in Italy with two crazy, out of control, but lovable and sweet dogs in the countryside. Our first few sits we mostly got because we stood out from other sitters because of our vegan lifestyle (the first family was vegan, the second HO was an omnivore but had a strong preference for ethical vegans). Perhaps you can think of something that makes you stand out as well? Maybe you are volunteering at the local animal shelter or you recently rescued a kitty from the streets of Turkey? It helps that you already have some life experience, a lot of listings call for mature sitters, although there are also a few that demand a young and fit person / couple (mostly for very energetic and challenging dogs). If we were to chose a sitter we wouldn’t be looking at the reviews too much (there are almost only 5 star sitters on THS and HOs usually don’t give bad reviews).

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Hi @brendanxx my husband and I were 60 and 55 when we started as sitters 2.5 years ago with big dreams to sit around the world in our retirement (we are in Australia). Sadly COVID-19 wrecked that plan forva while. We did some local sits at first to get some reviews, our first one was in the neighbouring suburb. When our first HO asked why we wanted to sit a few kilometres from home, we were up front and told them that we wanted to get some good reviews on THS. We also sold the fact that we knew the area well, we were very honest having had police checks for our jobs and that we were very sensible and could follow instructions very well due to our careers as bankers and public servants. We still use this in our profile. So in summary, start local and sell your strengths and you will get off the starting block. Good luck with your sitting journey!

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I guess everyone is different so I can only say what our approach is. References, whether from other HO’s or personal, are helpful. But we are aware that they may not be entirely frank and honest, although sitters getting consistently high ratings are likely to have got them for genuine reasons. Often as important is being able to verify other information. So, for example, we are shortly going to have a new sitter with no experience. She happens to be a lawyer and could prove that because her profile is on her firms website. My wife and I are both regulated professionals and we know that bad (or worse unlawful) behaviour could cost us our careers, the same is true for a lawyer. It is no guarantee of course, but it helps inspire confidence.
We don’t have to worry about whether a sitter is good with animals, our cat pretty well looks after himself. He just prefers staying at home to going to a cattery. What matters to us is that sitters are honest and decent. You’ll probably have lots of ways of demonstrating that without HO references initially.

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Because you are unique and have decades of priceless life experiences and skills.
Go boldly and confidently.
I was in my 6th decade when I started and I remember all too well feeling the same as you.

No regrets and still loving this fab life.
Have fun!

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You tell your own story and hope that something about it might appeal to someone. When I started it took several requests, but my first, second and third sits came before I had my first TH review. I did have 2 references for whom I’d sat who wrote good things.
My second sit, I never even met the HOs - they were leaving before I arrived - a bit ‘scary’ but the key was under the mat, the dogs looked up when I came in and then went back to snoozing.
And my first international sits - I did ask about why I was chosen and was told it seemed I’d be a good fit - 3 weeks in a 19th C grade 2 listed castle in Somerset with a pair of labs and a pair of cats followed right on by a week in Edinburgh with a flat coat.
Go for it.

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Why they would trust you ? If you’ve owned pets in the past, if you begin by local sits, explaining owners could doubt for sure but showing they would be right to select you, insisting about your qualities, giving friends references who have seen you with pets, yours or theirs (insisting upon “everybody must begin one day”) they might trust you.
One pet sitting reference helps for sure but if you “save” somebody who faces a cancellation near your place, jump on it !

When we joined TrustedHousesitters in 2019, we couldn’t quite believe that someone would want a family with 2 children to stay in their house and look after their pets!

We looked for a short sit in an “ordinary” house with relatively easy pets. We had a few rejections before a family with children of a similar age to ours chose us to care for their cat and chickens. We never met them. Perhaps they saw something in our application and photos that resonated with them. We mainly sit for other families. Sometimes we have things in common like similar jobs or hobbies.

Show off your experience and your personality in your application, and there will be homeowners out there who think “They sound like us / our kind of people”.

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The second sitters that we had were new to the site and had no reviews, I tend to go with my instincts based on reading the profile and a video meeting. I do read reviews when people have them, but I don’t automatically rule out people without any, and you two are in the age group I tend to prefer…… (our age!:grin:)so don’t be put off joining.

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brendanxx,
That is such a good question! There must be a level of trust that is there. I used to kennel my dogs when I went on trips and although it was at a vet’s office I didn’t really know who was caring for them. To me this (THS) feels so much better. So much more personal.
I would choose a newbie sitter if it felt comfortable. I suppose I could ask why would anyone choose a HO if it was their first listing. (Lucky for me someone did!)
I can’t wait until I get to be a sitter!

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Hi Brendan, owners don’t always have a huge choice especially at the moment- there seems to be more sits than sitters. We have a sit advertised in June and have had only one application so far which wasn’t suitable as they didn’t have a car- if a newbie contacted me I would be looking at all the things other people have mentioned, talking to them and going very much on gut instinct. I think older couples are very popular with many home owners so you have an advantage in that regard.

We were all “newbies” on here when we started out. My husband and I were in our sixties when we originally joined and were lucky to have been accepted on the very first sit we applied on and received a glowing review. We continued to do local sits to gain reviews and get a feel for it. We all had to start somewhere. It’s not necessarily about the reviews but it may be your profile that attracts a homeowner or as others have mentioned, some homeowners prefer older sitters.

Too many excellent replies to answer all - but thanks to all. You have completely reassured me and my wife and I will be joining soon. Very impressed with how helpful everyone has been. Thank you!

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I got an invitation to sit on the first day I joined, without references or reviews. It was a wonderful surprise for me how positive the reactions to my messages were. I have now completed my first sit and will start another one next week.
I think people who love animals often listen to their instinct/gut feeling more than reviews. That’s what I do anyway…

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