To Rover or Not?


As someone passionate about small business the platform Rover intrigues me. Can working as a dog-walker/dog-sitter pay the bills? Can one create a sustainable income through this platform? As companies like Air BnB, Lyft, Rover, and Uber continue to disrupt conventional industries, they are making it possible for almost anyone to earn a dollar offering essential services.  Each of these platforms carries a significant portion of the overhead costs associated with running a business. They also extend insurance policies that cover some but not all situations an independent contractor may encounter. Each puts the flexibility of when you work in your hands drawing more and more Americans toward these unconventional sources of income.  *This post may contain affiliate links, by clicking on them you are helping to support this sweet little blog of mine (read my disclaimer policy).

I was born addicted to dogs. My obsession is deeply rooted in my soul, and I won’t deny it. I have yet to meet a dog I didn’t instantly fall in love with (the same can’t be said for their owners). I once stopped in the middle of the road during a blizzard in Chicago several winters ago to rescue two golden retrievers who were running around in the snow covered streets. I later found out that the storm had knocked down their fence and they had run over three miles from their home scared in the winter storm. Their mom was worried sick about them but due to the storm couldn’t get her car out of the driveway. Needless to say, all parties were happy to be reunited several hours later. As I said, my obsession with dogs runs deep; even a blizzard won’t stop me.

Curious about Rover and it’s viability as a potential income, I decided to try being a dog-sitter. Here is what I have learned in my first ninety days with Rover. I started by researching Rover and was impressed to find mostly positive reviews and comments. I then logged onto the Rover site and enjoyed the ease of navigation. The most promising lead for me was the overwhelmingly positive reviews and comments from the dog sitters on Rover.

After a fair bit of research, I created my account, paid for my background check (a fee of $10 or $35 depending on which offer you select), and awaited approval from the Rover gods. I didn’t have to wait long and was approved within a few days, once approved; I dove into the Rover 101 course where I learned what Rover expects of me as an independent contractor and all about their policies and procedures. Once I had completed my training, I was finally able to put together my profile, add my services, and set my rates. That’s right, with Rover, I control what I charge clients for the pet sitting services I offer. Something to note is that Rover will retain 20% of every penny earned via their site, so factor that into your pricing. I was pleasantly surprised to discover that Rover allows sitters to donate a portion of their earnings to various charities. To date, I have counted over 50 charitable organizations on their list of approved charities, and it continues to grow. I currently donate a portion of my earnings to two organizations, S.N.A.P. and Dogs for the Deaf.

With my profile set and live I waited for my first potential client. I didn’t have to wait long and within a week had booked my first dog boarding client. My experience was fantastic, the dog and owner were both great and I couldn’t have asked for a better experience. Within days I had my second client booked, this time for a house sitting gig. I was a bit anxious but again, I had a phenomenal experience and have since housesat for this client on three other occasions. I have had wonderful experiences with Rover and have found all of my clients enjoyable.

Will people demand unrealistic services (we only hand feed our dog every morning/night, and we sing songs to our sweetie until she falls asleep) of course, but Rover has a solution for that as well. Meet and Greets are the perfect opportunity for potential dog sitters to meet with interested pet owners before agreeing to services. This is prime time for both parties to ask in-depth questions, interact with both the pet owner and the pet, as well as, observe how the pet owner interacts with their pets. What I love about the meet and greets is it gives both parties a chance to interact and engage before agreeing to pet sitting services and allowing for any potential problems to be addressed before you have agreed to pet sit.

As a dog sitter, if you will be staying at someone’s home, meet and greets can give you the opportunity to survey the neighborhood and home before committing. Important questions to ask yourself before any house sitting gig are, is this an area I am familiar with? If you need help, where is the nearest emergency service? Are the neighbors going to know the pet owner is away? Remember, many homeowners will notify neighbors of your stay and may even ask that they check up on you during the duration of your stay. After all, wouldn’t you take precautions if you had a stranger in your home caring for your pets?

I have had neighbors stop in just to say “hi,” which is always code for, “I am going to tell the homeowner what I see as soon as I return to my house.” I have also sat for homeowners who had video surveillance in and outside of their home. As I rule, I always ask about home security systems during the meet and greets and have a firm understanding of what the homeowner expects. Rover will even tell you that many homeowners will check their home security system to see when you enter or exit their home. You must keep your word and communicate any delays or issues as soon as possible to the homeowner. If this makes you uncomfortable, you can always pass on a client or express your feelings with the homeowner during the meet and greet and see if a compromise can be reached. Personally, I don’t mind the home security systems as I use them for my home and feel a bit safer when the extra level of safety is available.

If dog-walking is more your specialty, meet and greets are still recommended. Again, this is your time to ask in-depth questions and evaluate if this is the right dog and dog owner for you. Nothing will hurt your ability to book clients than a bad review and it could even jeopardize your chance to stay active with Rover.

Overall, I believe that Rover can be a viable source of steady income for those committed to caring for dogs. In my experience, house sitting and dog boarding are the more lucrative and enjoyable services to offer with Rover. They both allow you the flexibility to maintain your day-to-day lifestyle while caring for one or more dogs in a comfortable environment. Dog-walking and drop-in services can be a bit taxing if you have multiple clients in one day, unless they happen to live very close to each other. Then lace up your shoes, hit the pavement and make that money honey!

If you are interested in becoming a Rover sitter, click here to sign up and start your journey. Do you need a dog-sitter or a dog-walker? Use my code here and receive $20.00 toward your very first booking with Rover.


Cheers to Your Success!

Ref J

Would you consider Rover as a source of extra income? Please remember that I am sharing what I have learned in over a decade of helping small businesses grow and succeed. The opinions expressed in this blog are solely that of The Business Ref and should be considered as such. None of the opinions expressed within this blog should be taken as personalized advice. Always consult with your legal counsel prior to making any decisions regarding your business. Remember, sharing is caring. If you have found this blog helpful, please share it with someone.

About The Business Ref

Ref J is a football loving, charismatic, business enthusiast who wants to help you realize the potential of your small business. Ref J has helped several small businesses streamline their business while growing their profits. Please follow me @thebusinessref

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