Do you love dogs? Are you looking for an extra source of income? If you answered “yes” to both questions, dog sitting with Rover could be a great way to earn some extra money. Rover makes it easy and profitable and gives you full control of your business. This is one of the coolest ways to bring in a few extra bucks and it does not feel one bit like work.
I’ll walk you through the process step by step and let you know what I’ve learned along the way. These tips will help you keep your customers happy, generate return business, and make this fun source of extra income something you’ll look forward to.
It’s been pretty easy for me to earn over $1000 a month with a side job that doesn’t even seem like work. You can do it too!
In this post:
- My Rover Story: How I Got Started and Got to $1000/Month
- How to Start Dog Sitting with Rover?
- How Does the Booking Process Work?
- During the Stay
- Getting Paid
- What to Expect While Working as a Dog Sitter
- Dog Sitting Problems
My Rover Story: How I Got Started and Got to $1000/Month
I was looking for a dog sitter so I could go on vacation and the website I was using had an option to apply to become a dog sitter. I applied and started watching dogs. Many people prefer leaving their dog in a home with a loving family to placing a dog in a kennel where they don’t get as much attention and get left alone for large parts of the day.
The company wasn’t that great. They took a huge cut and had to call me every time they had a dog for me to watch. There was virtually no use of technology. That was 7 years ago. I didn’t watch very many dogs and I only made a small amount of money. About a year later, Rover bought the company and my experience watching the pups became easier and much more profitable.
I wasn’t even thinking about the money, but I quickly realized that I was often making $1000 a month. That is something that can be achieved in just a few months, especially if you live in an area that can support higher prices. Certain times are busier, such as summer and holidays where people tend to travel, but after a while, the stream of dogs I was watching was steady and the money was flowing in.
I may have been so successful because when I started, I would have done this for free. I never concentrated on the money part of it.
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How to Start Dog Sitting with Rover?
Joining Rover as a dog sitter is easy and convenient. Here’s a step-by-step guide on what you need to do to get started.
What Qualifications Do You Need?
You don’t need any special qualifications to start dog sitting with Rover. It’s important to be responsible and to have a good work ethic. It helps if you love dogs and you have some experience caring for them!
Rover has no requirements for the amount of indoor or yard space and no restriction on the number of dogs you can take at one time. Some dogs need a yard and someone to be home most of the time, but not all. This should work out in any situation as long as you are upfront and explain what type of home you live in.
You get to choose what types of dogs you take or don’t take.
One dog sitter friend watched dogs while going to college and didn’t even have a yard. She would watch dogs that could stay in her room while she was in class and then she would walk them after class.
I work from home, and I have a cat. My kids were in the house when I started. I let the customers know my constraints: I don’t take dogs that bark excessively because I’m on work calls all day and I can only care for dogs that are friendly with kids and won’t attack my cat.
💡 You can also walk dogs or do drop in dog care if you’re not in a situation where you can have dogs at your home.
🤔 You may be wondering:
What does the poor cat do with all those dogs around?
The cat usually hides when the dogs are here, but she gets used to them eventually. Most of the dogs I watch are returning customers, so they usually just call it a truce after a while.
How Does the Sign Up Process Work?
To sign up, go to www.rover.com and take a look around to get a feel for the site. Browsing the site will give you ideas on how to set up your profile and what prices you can charge.
The first step is to choose which service you are going to provide. You can select dog boarding, house sitting, drop-in visits, doggy day care or dog walking. If you can’t have dogs stay at your house, you can go to their homes, or walk dogs and get paid to exercise!
If you select dog boarding you then go to dog boarding settings. You will answer additional questions about your rates, availability, pet preferences, home and cancellation policy. You’ll decide which services you will provide. You can limit the number of dogs you’ll take at one time and the weight of the dogs you’ll take. You can always update your availability later on.
🤔 Common Question:
How to set your rate?
Select your zip code and service you’re interested in and look through the profiles of the people that have a large number of 5-star reviews. Once you look through those and read the reviews, set up your profile, then set your prices. You can set them just under the average to start so you can get some business and adjust them up or down anytime.
The next step is to create your Rover profile. Be sure to include details about you, your home and why you’re qualified to take care of their furry friend. Include details in your description letting people know what type of experience you have with dogs. It can be anywhere from, “I’ve been around dogs and love to spoil them”, to “I used to be a dog trainer”. I had no experience except having a dog and I’ve had a successful side business for years.
I’d recommend including photos of the inside of your home, your yard if you have one, and any photos you have with dogs. If you have cute family pictures with animals and are comfortable doing so, include those as well. If you have any pictures of you walking or snuggling with dogs, go ahead and include them.
You can also add details about any pets you have (cat/dog, breed, age, sex, weight) to make sure you get requests from people that are not only a good match for you but for your pet also.
You’ll request a reference as a testimonial on your profile. You can send request emails through Rover and they will display the responses. If you don’t have any former clients you can always ask your friends and family members.
You’ll also need to pass the pet safety quiz. This consists of watching two instructional videos and answering questions related to them.
The last step is to authorize a background check. The background check costs $25 for the basic and $35 for a more comprehensive check. Rover will not request the background check until they review and pre-approve your profile.
The approval process typically takes 5-10 days with a background check. Once Rover accepts you and your profile is complete, you’ll start getting requests.
How Does the Booking Process Work?
Once your profile is live on Rover, dog owners can start sending you requests via the app or the website. Both the app and the website are user friendly. You can either message back and forth, or as I prefer, have a quick chat and make sure you both sound like a good fit for each other.
I have my notifications turned on for the app and respond to the text message as soon as possible. Sometimes dog owners are messaging more than one person, so a prompt response is important.
I recommend a “Meet & Greet”, where the client brings the dog to your home to make sure they like you and you like them and there are no red flags.
☝️ You may have certain criteria that are important to you, so make sure you ask all important questions beforehand. I ask whether the dog barks excessively, is house trained and is friendly.
Meet & Greet
When prospective clients stop by, I introduce myself to them in the front yard and spend a few minutes with them and the dog. I then bring my golden retriever, Blake, to meet them and they are typically happy to see that their dog will have a friend to hang out with. I bring them in my house and show them my home and the backyard.
If I like them and would like to watch the dog, I start asking assumptive questions where I assume they will use me as their dog sitter. I first make an honest statement such as “your dog seems like the perfect fit for our family“. You want to let them know you care about the dog being happy and comfortable.
I ask potential customers to tell me a little about the dog’s habits and preferences. Some examples:
- Where do they sleep when they’re at home?
- Do you allow them on furniture?
- What is their eating schedule?
- How often and how long do they walk?
- Do they like lots of belly rubs?
- If the dog is large, I also ask if it’s ok to take them on a hike since that is something I do on a regular basis.
🛋 If you allow or don’t allow dogs on furniture and beds, be sure to let them know. Also, find out what the customers allow at home. I once sent a cute photo of a giant lab that jumped on my lap on the couch. The client told me her dog was not allowed on the couch. Lesson learned. I now ask upfront if they are allowed on the furniture.
Booking the Stay
Once there are no more questions and you are pretty sure they will book with you, you can pull out your phone, open the Rover app and let them know you would love to watch their dog and are accepting them. You click the accept button on the phone and they can just pay through the app.
Ask them what time they would like to drop off and pick up and put it in your calendar.
I ask them to use the Rover app to fill out the information about the dog including how much and when to feed them, vet information and anything else I would need to know. It’s very easy to have all of this information in one place. You can also sync up the Rover calendar to the calendar on your phone to make your life easier.
During the Stay
While the dog is with you, you can send clients text messages, photos, videos or call them right through the Rover app. If it is their first stay, I recommend sending at least one photo and update a day. You can find something funny, sweet or cute to say about the dog along with a few pics. Some people like many pictures of their dog and some don’t. You’ll get a feel for what each client wants.
What Happens During a Dog Sitting Visit?
During a typical day, I feed the dogs in the morning. It’s usually easier to feed each dog separately unless you know they are all ok eating together. Some dogs will eat each other’s food, so I watch them while they eat. I take them for a walk before I start work.
I have dog beds in my bedroom, home office and living room so they can be comfortable wherever they feel like flopping around. Most dogs just sleep in my office while I’m working.
😂 If I’m watching a lot of dogs at once, and I walk to the kitchen to get water or walk out of my home office, I will have a trail of dogs following me. It’s pretty funny and they usually get quite attached to me. The rest of the family calls me the dog mom and that title makes me smile.
If it’s a weekend or I have the day off work, I just have a typical day. If I’m at home, they hang out with me. I’ll usually take energetic dogs on a longer walk or a hike on weekends than I would during the week because I have extra time.
I feed the dogs again in the evening. Most dogs eat twice a day, but I follow whatever schedule the client specifies.
Depending on the age and energy level of the dog, I usually take a break from work every 2 hours or so and go in the backyard with them so they can play and do their business. It’s always an added bonus if one of the dogs likes to play fetch or if they like to chase each other around in the yard, because that’s fun for me too.
Food, Medicine and Other Personal Dog Items
You will not typically have any expenses. The dog mom or dad will bring over any food, medicine and sometimes their dog bed, crate or any toys they want to play with.
I knew nothing about administering medicine when I started, but it’s actually easy. They will give you instructions and you just follow them.
You really only need to provide fresh water. You’ll need poop bags for their walks, but many customers provide those as well.
Rover will pay you 1-4 days after the dog is picked up if you use PayPal. You can receive money through PayPal or check but I prefer PayPal. Receiving a check takes longer and they have an additional fee for sending a check.
Rover’s fees have changed over the years, but are now 15% or 20% of the dog sitter’s earnings. If you opened a profile before March 1, 2016 you will get charged 15% and if you opened your profile after that date it will be 20%.
Rover provides a fantastic app and website and a lot of marketing assistance so I think the fee is justified. By the time someone contacts me, they have quite a bit of information from my profile, pictures and reviews so that saves a lot of time.
Puppies and Holiday Rates
The Rover app lets you adjust your rates for puppies and holiday stays. This will be up to you. I charge extra both for holidays and puppies.
Puppies are super cute and fun, but they are a lot more work and require more time and energy than older dogs.
I don’t work at my day job on holidays, so if I’m watching dogs, I’m not able to take a vacation. The higher price also helps limit the number of dogs. I have had up to 12 dogs during the holidays, but now limit it to 4. If I have a dog that is a repeat customer, especially if it is an easy one, I adjust from the holiday rate to the regular one to give them a break.
You always have the option to change your rates at any time.
Tips and Bonuses
Some people will tip you or give you a bonus, but many will not. Don’t assume that you’ll get tips. Set your prices to reflect what you want to receive.
Sometimes you will get a souvenir from a client’s trip and that’s always a nice surprise, unless it’s tempting chocolate treats and you’re working on dropping a few pounds.
The Benefits of Repeat Clients
Some of my repeat clients use me only a couple of times a year when they go on vacation. Some use my services every month. The stays typically range from 1 day up to 3 weeks, but the average is about 3-7 days. The longer stays are nice because the money is good and the dog just fits right into your home like part of the family.
One of the benefits of being a Rover sitter is getting to know the dogs. Most of the dogs feel like part of the family and it’s a bonus to have the same ones over the years. It’s much easier to watch dogs you know and you save time by not having to meet them.
Rover makes it very easy for your old clients to check your calendar for availability and book another stay for their pup. Most people tell me their dogs get excited when they start driving down my street and that puts them at ease.
The longer I work with Rover, the more flexible I have become. Adaptability provides a better experience for your customers and keeps them coming back. The rates are for a 24 hour period, but since most stays are multiple days, I don’t stick to the 24 hour rule.
I ask them to let me know the drop off and pick up time, but if it goes a little over or they are running late, I let them know not to worry about it. Usually they are late returning due to traffic or a flight delay, so they are already stressed out and I don’t want to add to it.
I also do not charge anything if they need to cancel. It’s usually because someone is sick or something else that went wrong and it doesn’t happen that often, so a little extra customer service goes a long way.
If I’m not sure what to do in a new or unusual situation, I put myself in their shoes and ask myself what I would want. If it’s reasonable, I do that or maybe go one step further.
What to Expect While Working as a Dog Sitter
Setting up a business dog sitting with Rover is easy enough, but what about actually caring for a group of unfamiliar dogs? There can be some complications but most of them are manageable. Here are some things I’ve learned from experience.
Mixing Different Dogs
You will need to be careful with certain dogs to make sure they get along with other ones. Most of the dogs I watch get along with most other dogs. Some of them don’t like certain types of dogs. After a while you’ll get to know which ones don’t mix well.
💡 You can keep them in different rooms if they are there at the same time or decline certain dogs that you know won’t get along with the others.
Crazy Food Stories
Dogs and owners have unique personalities, and I’ve had many unusual experiences. Every dog comes with its own habits and needs, just like different people.
🍖 One of the dogs I watch is a raw food dog. I didn’t know what that meant, but quickly learned that feeding the dog meant putting a raw slab of ribs or raw chicken on the grass and letting the dog eat it, bones and all.
🍠 A favorite dog that I’ve watched for years eats sweet potatoes, chicken and eggs. She stays with me for extended periods of time while her owner is off working, so I cook for her. Her food sometimes looks better than mine!
🥦 Another funny one was a dog that ate dog food with carrots, broccoli, chicken broth, green beans and whipped cream.
Unusual Dog Stories
Watching dogs leaves you with some funny or unusual stories. This is where it gets entertaining and it’s time to enjoy the moment and take some photos.
💒 I had two dogs that were dropped off because their owners were getting married at a ranch near my house. In the middle of the wedding, the dog sitter (me) walked in so they could walk down the aisle with them and then we left. They didn’t live anywhere near me, so it was the only time I saw the dogs, but I’ll never forget that one.
😂 I used to watch a Boxer that would walk over to my dog, sit on his face and then lie down on top of him. He was using my dog as a dog bed. It made for one of the best pictures and gave us lots of laughs.
🧣 You can dress up the dog if it’s a holiday and send some silly photos. Have some fun with this and share the love through photos.
Most dogs sleep in a dog bed on the floor or sometimes the couch. Some sleep in bed with me. This is not something you would have to do as a dog sitter unless you’re comfortable with it.
One little dog I used to watch would go all the way under the covers and sleep at my feet. I woke up the first time she did that looking for her and didn’t realize she was under the covers. The dogs really make themselves at home.
This is a Business
Watching dogs is a blast and sometimes I can’t believe I get paid to love a dog. It’s still important to remember that it is a business and you need to treat it as one. As in any business, being reliable, having great communication and doing a good job is important.
Make sure you communicate with the owner as much or as little as they want. Be sure to send photos, messages and maybe videos. I had one dog that I nicknamed the Olympic dog that could go out for a long pass and catch a baseball, soccer ball or football mid-air while jumping. Those were some of the best videos and we both had fun playing.
Dog Sitting Problems
I haven’t had too many problems come up, but over the years a few things have happened. When something happens, make sure you contact the owner and let them know what’s going on. Rover has a hotline you can call if you have questions, an emergency or are not sure what to do.
I had a dog run away when I first started watching dogs and luckily we were able to chase him down and get him back. After that happened, I made sure to secure the gates and make sure the door was always closed. I’ve had dogs get sick, run out of food or nip at another dog.
☝ Most of the time you can use your best judgment and take care of any situation, but make sure to do what you need to correct it.
Dog sitting with Rover has been one of my favorite ways to make extra money while working from home at my regular job. It’s a way to bring in a few extra bucks or even make it a full time income. Like anything else, you will get out of this what you put into it.
For me, it not only keeps me from getting more dogs, but I’m getting paid instead of paying to have extra dogs around. If you’re on the fence, give it a try. If you’re like me, you will fall in love with them and miss them when they are picked up. Look up Rover and get started!