How To Become A Dog Sitter On Rover & Pet Sitting Business Tips

To sustain this free service, we receive affiliate commissions via some of our links. This doesn’t affect rankings. Our review process.

Girl on floor with dogDog sitting can be fun and rewarding. You get all the benefits of having a dog (and a little extra money too) without the commitment. I’ve been dog sitting for friends and family since 2008, so when I discovered there was an app that matches dog owners with the perfect dog sitter, I had to try it out! Since I work from home, I have a lot of flexibility that allows me to dog sit for busy, office-working dog moms and dads. Plus, having a furry co-woofer is also appreciated since I’m alone most of the day.

I signed up for Rover (formerly Dog Vacay) in early 2016 and have been using it ever since. Seeing that I have some experience, I wanted to share some dog sitting tips and tricks on using the tool from a sitter’s perspective. I hope it will help and inspire other dog lovers to sign up to make money dog sitting and dog owners to consider seeking out sitters on Rover.

How To Start A Dog Sitting Business

Dog sitting and other pet services are growing businesses. According to the American Pet Products Association (APPA), spending on pet services grew 11.8 percent from 2014 to 2015, with pet owners spending $5.41 billion on pet-related services.

Wonder how you can become a dog sitter? Whether it’s just to fill a void and make a little extra spending money or to have a full-fledged making the big bucks, it’s super easy to get started thanks to Rover (a popular dog sitting website). The Rover.com database is filled with dogs who are looking for happy pet sitting homes and need a place to “vacation” while their parents are away. Dogs get the luxury of not having to get boarded at a kennel, and sitters get a little extra money for doing what they love. A win-win! Getting started is super easy, and you can host a pup in no time with a few simple steps.

How To Create A Rover Account

Get Started on Rover

It’s completely free to sign up, and you can do it on the Rover.com website or through the mobile app. You’ll be asked a series of questions to set up your profile. This will help Rover pair you with the perfect pet (yes, cats and other animals too!). In addition to providing your location and uploading a profile photo, they’ll also verify your identity and run a background check to ensure that you are a reliable, trustworthy sitter.

Once approved, you’ll be provided with some resources and training materials to set you up for success. The service is only as good as its users, so they go above and beyond to make sure you have the tools and skills needed to be a high-quality sitter. From videos to tutorials, you can get any questions you have answered. Rover can even put you in touch with a city manager in your area who is an experienced sitter to answer any questions you have along the way.

Set Your Schedule And Select Your Preferences

You can select what size dogs you allow and how many at a time (depending on the size of your place), your location (with distance radius) and what services you’re willing to offer. You will also want to set up your schedule to let potential customers know what days of the week, times, weekends, etc. you are available for sitting. In addition to day visits or overnight stays, you can provide additional perks like grooming, bathing and dog walking too.

Once you’re ready to start sitting, you’ll be contacted by potential pet parents asking for a booking. You can accept right away or arrange a meet and greet first to get more comfortable before committing. After you accept, it updates your schedule accordingly to show you are no longer available (similar to Airbnb for vacation rentals). While sitting, Rover’s app allows you to send photos to the pet owner securely and can even track your walks using GPS. In fact, they encourage you to do so (which we’ll get into more later).

How Much Can You Make Pet Sitting?

How much pet sitters make depends on a variety of factors. Since you can set your rate, you can make as much as customers are willing to pay and for as many dogs as you’re willing to take on in any given week or day. Rover recommends a suggested price for each service, so you have a baseline, but the price range can vary based on location and experience level. For instance, a seasoned dog sitter in the SoHo neighborhood of New York City can charge more than a novice in Nebraska. Keep in mind that Rover takes 20% off your total booking fee which is a nominal price to pay for the convenience of having them manage the reservations and market your services to a larger audience. Just be sure you price your services to cover this cost (i.e. if you charge $25 for one day of doggy daycare, then you will take home $20). However, there is no fee to withdraw the funds and you can transfer directly into your PayPal account the same day (once a booking is complete). If you get enough good reviews, have enough demand in your area and have enough time, room and bandwidth, you could earn a decent daily income from Rover. However, if you do it in your spare time, it will probably only account to a little extra spending money.

Ready to get started? Visit Rover’s website or keep reading for more pro tips to maximize your dog sitting business opportunity.

Pet Sitting Business Tips

As I’ve dog sat over the years, here are some tips that I’ve learned over the years as a  dog sitter that are sure to help you succeed as well!

Make Sure Your House Is Always Pet-Ready

Sometimes I get a last minute call from a regular family for a last minute booking and I need to be ready. This doesn’t mean that you need to have a water bowl sitting out all the time, but at least have a dog-friendly bowl available and plenty of treats on hand to reward extra good doggy behavior. Leashes and food should be provided by the dog’s owner, but it’s nice to have a few other dog toys and machine-washable blankets that are pup-approved on hand. Most importantly, make sure your trash is emptied (or unreachable for dogs), doors and fences are secure, and there are no cords, shoes or other items and hazards that may invite canine chewing.

TIP: It might sound ridiculous, but crawling around on your floor helps you to see potential pup problems that you wouldn’t normally notice.

Ask the Pet Owner About Any Special Instructions or Behaviors You Should Be Aware Of

Ask the pet parent what the dog’s favorite toys are or if there are any tricks they know to help keep them entertained. Find out what behaviors are acceptable, and what’s not, to ensure good doggy habits (i.e., being on furniture, eating table food, etc.). Inquire about which commands and terminology the dog responds to (i.e. you might say “drop it,” but they are accustomed to hearing “let go”). It might be tempting to let Fido get away with things while in your hands, but their parents will appreciate you sticking to their rules. It also might be fun to help with training if the dog is learning any new tricks so be sure to ask about that too! If you are a pet parent, check out tips to ensure the best care possible while you are away.

Send Photo Updates

Sending pictures of your day with the pup is especially important for dogs who are new to staying with you as it builds trust with their parents. It can also give peace of mind to parents who have left their dog with you have for an extended period of time. As you get repeat bookings, it’s not quite as necessary but always appreciated by their parents (bonus: you can send videos too). The app makes it easy to upload and share without showing your phone number or email address for privacy reasons. Be sure to read these pro photography tips to help you better capture the dog’s best angles.

Communication Is Key

You should be prepared to provide a report upon pick up so they know how attentive you were to their beloved pet. You will also want to alert the owner to any issues that arise while they are away. Potty accidents, appetite problems and other milestones are all important pieces of information to relay to the dog’s parent(s) since, well, dogs can’t talk (although they do bark). Luckily, dogs have limited covered under Rover’s insurance policy to protect both you and the other party too. If you want more comprehensive insurance for your dog’s life at home in addition to with the sitter, you will want to consider pet insurance.

Keep Records Of Your Income (and Expenses) For Tax Purposes

Rover is good about providing the documents you will need come tax time. This info should be used to file your taxes, if necessary (earnings less than $600 do not need to be reported, according to the IRS). You will also want to keep a running total for your budget purposes and/or in the case Rover’s income reporting is different from your own. Additionally, any purchases you make (toys, treats, etc.) and mileage you put on your car (for pick-ups/drop-offs or errands) are tax deductible, so long as you keep receipts and good records. Dog sitting is fun, yes, but it’s also a business. So you should treat it as such (not in front of the dogs though).

Video: Tips For Introducing Yourself To New Dogs

Here’s one of the many training videos that Rover.com provides. This one shows how to go about meeting a dog for the first time.

A Furry Home Is A Happy Home

There are endless benefits to having a dog in your life, even if it’s just temporary. Dog sitting has brought my husband and me so much joy! We’ve gotten to bond with many dogs over the years and feel like pup parents to numerous furry friends. However, having dogs around the house makes for quite the mess, and we often find ourselves covered in hair. If you do too, be sure to check out our best vacuum for pet hair review to discover our top choices. If you’re new to dog sitting, we have lots more training articles including our top pick for online dog training courses. Above all, have fun and experience the joys of pet sitting for dogs. I know I do. 🙂

Why are you considering pet sitting with Rover.com?

Disclaimer: This website contains reviews, opinions and information regarding products and services manufactured or provided by third parties. We are not responsible in any way for such products and services, and nothing contained here should be construed as a guarantee of the functionality, utility, safety or reliability of any product or services reviewed or discussed. Please follow the directions provided by the manufacturer or service provider when using any product or service reviewed or discussed on this website.

Sadie graduated from the Moody School of Communications at the University of Texas at Austin with a Bachelors in Advertising and minor in Business. Her love of pets started from an early age with her childhood cocker spaniel, Peanut, and cats Lucy and Tabby. She is currently dog mom to Lexie, a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel.

As a professional dog sitter for more than a decade, Sadie has cared for dozens of canines of various breeds, sizes and temperaments. The responsibility of caring for others' pets has helped her understand the importance of giving animals a loving home. She has experience potty and house training as well as teaching dogs tricks such as sit and shake. Sadie is passionate about canine well-being so she feeds her pup all-natural meals and no table scraps. Carrots and sweet potatoes are her picks for healthy treat alternatives.

Sadie and her husband live in Washington DC and enjoy walking Lexie to nearby dog parks or patios and taking her canine companion on trips. Having an adventurous, long-haired Blenheim means frequent baths and home grooming to maintain a clean coat. A small dog also requires more frequent dental care and Sadie is proactive with Lexie's oral hygiene.

She has been covering dog-related topics since 2012 and is proud to share her latest personal experience, resources and information with fellow pet parents.

9
Leave a Reply

avatar
newest oldest most voted
Rosemarie
Ha! 5-7%, that’s laughable. It’s 20%. Where are you getting your information from? Not credible at all. Rover gladly takes over $100-$200 from my paycheck when I have big sittings. I wish there was a limit. What are your sources?
Carol Schulz
I’m a sitter with Rover and to clarify they take 25% often exceeding $25.00
Autumn Gaultney
I’ve been a Dog Sitter for over a year. I haven’t had much luck with Rover. I’ve had customers lie about how many pets they had. And recently got contacted by a scammer. I’m using other sites to advertise. I’ve helped other dogsitting companies with lower rates and really want to expand my own business Full-time.
Kelly Solano
I work Monday thru Friday but have weekends free to dog sit. I also have my own dog he is a German shepherd 1 yr 2 months old. He loves to play with other dogs. Do you think there would be much interest in other pet parents wanting to have me sit for them? I can do it during the week if they don’t mind there pet being kenneled during my work hours. My dog is perfectly happy and healthy and has been doing it this way since he was 10 weeks old.
Kimberly Alt (Admin)
It sounds like you’d be an excellent candidate for pet sitting. Many people need dog sitters on weekends and you have experience caring for your own dog.
Sadie
Kelly, I would recommend being descriptive about your schedule in your profile so people are clear up front that you have a full-time job as well as discussing your situation with the potential pet owner first and making sure they are comfortable with you kenneling them during the day. I personally work from home and have had success from dog parents who want full-time attention for their pup. For that reason I also look for sitters who have flexible schedules and are home during the day since that is what my dog is accustomed to. Hope that helps!
Kelly PT
I’m a dog sitter and it’s so much fun and a great way to test out if you want to get a dog or not and try out various breeds. I love it because it’s low commitment, you can set your own hours, rates, times etc and the dogs are all so sweet, probably because their owners are so caring!