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My sister, Loretta, is an absolute animal lover and she has found a way to monetize that.
She has been pet-sitting through Rover part-time for a few years now and below is her experience and review of Rover as a side hustle.
If you’re interested in signing up, use her referral link for $20 to start!! You can also use her code LORETTAK20 to get $20 off your first booking!
Basically, Rover is an app based program that connects people with a pet sitter. There are options from doggy daycare, in house boarding, drop-in visits, dog walking, over night stays, etc.
You can set your rates for each of those items and then Rover deducts fees (20%). Keep in mind that you are using their platform, so that’s kind of the trade off.
I would suggest doing a search for other pet sitters in your area to look at their fees. You obviously want to be pretty competitive with your rates.
I have stuck with 30 minute drop-in visits. You can earn the most money if you do daycare, boarding, or over night stays, but those are not something I can do at this time. So, you have to find what works best for you.
Once you set up your profile and calendar, people can book you as their petsitter. It will come in as a request.
If they don’t provide extra details in the request, I generally will ask a few questions such as:
- Is there a specific time you need the visit?
- What will the visit include? (Feeding, potty break, play time, medicine, etc.)
If it’s a first time client, you typically want to set up a meet and greet. I highly suggest this because you want to make sure their pet(s) will be comfortable with you.
Additionally, you will need to see where things like food and leashes are kept and receive a key if needed. There have been times where the owner booked fairly last minute, so they just provided me instructions via the app, so it’s not required by Rover to do a meet and greet.
The Meet and Greet
Some things to think about while at the meet and greet:
- Ask about access to the house (keys, garage openers, do certain doors stay unlocked, alarm codes, key codes)
- Details on the visit
Where do they go potty? How much do they eat? Is there a fenced in yard or do you need to use a leash? Do they go in a crate after your visit or stay loose in the house?
- Are neighbors aware that you will be there?
I didn’t think of this before until I had a client say she was informing her neighbors she was out of town and she wanted to make sure she told them what car I had. That way, they wouldn’t think anything was suspicious when I was showing up at her house. I’ve also had some neighbors looking at me oddly or watching me- which I understand, but can be dangerous. So you may want to ask people especially if it’s going to be a late or dark visit.
- Ask about any quirks the pet may have.
Some dogs don’t want their ears touched. Some dogs may need to eat in separate rooms. A lot of times people get so used to their pets that they don’t think of those things to tell someone else. So it helps if you ask just to be sure you are making the pet comfortable and have a safe visit.
- Confirm what to do in case of an emergency such as the pet getting sick. Clients can put their vet information in Rover for you to access, but if they don’t you may want to ask.
- Get their contact information.
Rover sets you up with a “fake” phone number through their app along with the client. Even though most of my communication is through the app, it helps to have their cell number as well just in case. You can also ask for emergency contact for a family member or friend.
- Are there any rules for the pet?
Sometimes I forget to ask this, but you can generally get a feel for what is allowed versus not allowed when doing a meet and greet. For example, some people don’t allow dogs on the couch, so you don’t want to encourage that behavior during your visit if that’s the case.
For the Visit
Now, I can only speak in regard to a drop-in visit currently, but when you arrive at the client’s house, you start the visit on the app in your phone. You will see the timer begin and a little Rover report card pop up. This is where you indicate if the pet went potty, ate, or drank.
You also are required to attach a photo during your visit. If there are multiple pets in the household, Rover will have you indicate which pets did what action.
There is also a spot to add any notes. I don’t usually fill this in for most clients unless I need to inform them of something. Mainly I will use it to explain something such as, “We only stayed outside 10 minutes due to pouring rain”.
Once the timer is at 30 minutes, you can officially finish the visit. You will have a chance to review your Rover card before it’s finally sent to the client.
Rover will remind you if you haven’t attached a picture or if you are finishing the visit before 30 minutes is up. Then the owner will receive the Rover card to review.
Be very mindful of the owner’s household and instructions. Double check that you did everything you needed to for the visit. Ensure you lock any necessary doors.
How Do You Get Paid?
Assuming you completed your requested visits, you will receive your payment two days after the final visit.
On the Rover website you can actually see your pending earnings and your earnings that are ready to be withdrawn. I have PayPal set up so that I can withdraw my earnings that way.
If you didn’t complete a visit, then you will receive an email from Rover asking you to confirm that you skipped a visit so they can refund the owner. This sometimes occurs because the client has a change in plans.
If there was an issue with the Rover app (bad service or a glitch), contact customer support ASAP so they are aware. I would also be upfront with the client and give them details that they would have received in the Rover card.
Remember there will be Rover fees deducted from the overall fee. One thing you can also do is select a non-profit organization to donate a portion of your earnings to. This will also show up as a badge on your profile.
After the Visit
Your client receives an email after the visit to review your services.
Therefore, it’s a great idea to ensure you are providing wonderful service so you can continue to receive bookings. Plus, that’s how you get repeat bookings which are even better.
It’s great when you can have those clients because you don’t need meet and greets again. Plus, you are already familiar with the pet and client, so it’s more comfortable for everyone. I like to think of how I would want someone to be in my house with my fur babies.
Additionally, it’s very important to be honest. If they didn’t go potty, don’t mark it just to look good. Reviews can really help you rank in the search on Rover for your particular area.
Right now when I search for a drop in visit using my zip code, I show as 3rd on the list with 27 five star reviews and 11 repeat clients. That will vary from time to time as it’s not always going to put people with the highest amounts first, but it does help you get seen more.
Most of my clients just review for the initial visit, but I do have some who come back and review each time. I’m not a huge stickler about asking them to review me since Rover sends the email reminder, but that’s totally up to you.
You could keep in touch with your client afterwards for holidays, especially if you are in another business like I am (real estate). This past holiday season I printed pictures I had of my client’s pets and made a magnetic photo frame so they could put it on their refrigerator.
Who doesn’t love pictures of their pets? This helps build the relationship more and reminds them of you in case they need help again.
Pros and Cons
- It’s safer for both parties
Since you have to have a background check on Rover to be a petsitter, clients can feel a little more secure with who they are selecting around their house and fur babies.
As a petsitter I feel safer because everything is logged in the app. Plus, I like knowing that Rover is there in case I need some support. If you just do private petsitting you are kind of on your own in that sense.
- It provides peace of mind for pet owners
I know when people first start using the service, they are nervous about a “stranger” coming into their house which I totally understand. However, I think them seeing reviews, knowing it’s done through a professional company, and that they will receive updates is reassuring.
- There is an emergency hotline
If there’s an emergency while petsitting, you can call the Rover hotline (the number is always within the app) 24/7. It helps to know you have that just in case.
- It’s fairly easy to obtain clients without doing any promoting
I don’t promote myself on any platforms currently, so I only really get bookings from searches people do through Rover and based on my ratings.
- Rover has responsive customer support
I have had to email customer support a few times for glitches with the app or needing to make changes that I couldn’t figure out. They are quick to respond and helpful each time.
- It doesn’t cost anything to get started
All you really need for Rover is a smart phone to download the Rover app and a form of transportation. So, there is very little in regard to expenses which allows for a larger profit margin.
- There can be app glitches
The app has improved since I first started petsitting, so that’s great news. However, just like any technology, things can be glitchy at times. It can be frustrating when it happens, but the good news is Rover has good customer support.
- Booking can sometimes be complicated
For example, if a client wants you to visit two times for Saturday, but one time for Sunday, it sometimes can be confusing in the app to select that. It does seem like Rover has begun to work on some of those issues though.
- There’s not an option for shorter visits
There are some situations where 30 minutes isn’t really necessary. For example, I was petsitting three outdoor cats. Sometimes the cats would be around for a little bit, but then they’d run off and do their own thing. So really, I only needed to come in to feed them, give water, and clean the litter boxes. I think it would be good to have a 15 minute visit option as well.
- Taxes are not withdrawn from your earnings
This is something you may want to talk to a tax professional about in regards to taxes. Rover keeps up with the total amount you earned for the year so I’d bring that information with you when you file your taxes to see if you need to report the earnings.
Overall, Rover is a great place for animal lovers to earn extra money. Most of the time it doesn’t even feel like working to me!
Loretta’s review was originally published on her blog, LokalLifestyle.com.