In the past, pet owners were in charge of vetting their own dog-sitters. This usually involved calling around to referrals and interviewing dozens of people in search of someone trustworthy.
Luckily, the days of finding and vetting pet-sitters are behind us. These days, you can hire a dog walker or pet sitter straight from your phone. No more long interviews. No more favors. Just use Rover to find a pet sitter, fast.
It’s as easy as ordering a pizza or calling for an Uber ride.
Interested in learning to use Rover or even getting a job with them? Read on to find out more about the dog sitting startup.
What is Rover, Exactly?
Rover is an application that connects pet owners with people who can watch or walk their pets. Or, as the company puts it, they’re “the world’s largest network of 5-star pet sitters and dog walkers.”
It helps to think of it kind of like Postmates or Uber. The same way that those apps connect you with a delivery person or car driver, this app connects you with a person in your area who can take care of your pet when you’re not home.
Rover contractors offer all kinds of services from pet-sitting and dog-boarding to dog walking and daycare. If you simply want to hire someone to pop in and check on your dog or cat (or hamster or fish) during the day, you can do that, too.
Some contractors even offer house sitting services. So, if you’re looking for someone to take care of your home and water your plants while you’re away, this could be a great place to find them.
Currently, the company employs more than 200,000 independent contractors in more than 14,000 cities. So no matter where you live, it’s likely that there’s a Rover sitter near you who would be thrilled to watch, walk, or check in on your pet.
How Much Does It Cost to Use Rover?
Every sitter sets their own rate, so prices vary from person to person. Because sitters want to remain competitive, the prices are generally pretty fair. It’s not hard to find someone who will take care of your pet for a low rate.
Pricing varies depending on which service you choose. Rover currently offers these services:
- Drop-in visits
- 30-minute walks
- House-sitting (overnight)
- Pet-boarding (overnight in Rover contractor’s house)
- Pet Daycare
Most walkers set their rate between $20 and $30 per walk. If you’re looking for an inexpensive dog walker, there are plenty of people who operate on the lower end of that scale.
There are a few folks who charge upwards of $100. But these people tend to get a lot less work than someone who charges $25.
Typically, a walker’s rate applies to one pet. The more pets you have, the higher the price will be.
Sitters, who come to your house to watch your pet, and boarders, who let your pet stay at their house, charge per night. Usually, rates range from $30 to $150 per night, depending on the amenities that they offer.
If you need a dog boarder to come to your house and pick your dog up, for example, you’re likely to pay a bit extra.
Like dog walkers, sitter and boarder rates usually apply to just one pet. Rates increase as you add more pets into the mix.
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No matter which service you book, Rover tacks on a 5-7% service fee to cover operation costs. So, if you spend $100 on a booking, the company charges an extra $5 to $7.
The service fee varies from location to location. Secure payments are made directly through the app, so you don’t have to worry about cash.
One nice thing is that the service fee caps off at $25. So, no matter how much your booking costs, your fees won’t exceed $25.
Of course, you’re always welcome to leave a tip, too (independent contractors LOVE tips). The easiest way to leave a tip is to hand them cash when you pick up your animal. The Rover app currently does not have an option for in-app tipping.
How Do I Use It to Find a Dog Walker or Sitter?
The Rover app is super easy to use. All you have to do is download it to your phone, log on and type your zip code into the search bar.
If you’d prefer to browse for sitters from your a laptop or desktop, you can go to Rover.com and use the search feature on the homepage to browse for sitters.
Their search feature allows you to browse by service, location, price, date, and pet size.
For example, if you have a 40 lb dog and you need someone to watch them between October 1st and October 7th, just go to the site and plug in that info. Once you click “Search,” they’ll pull up a list of contractors in your area who can accommodate your needs.
You can easily select a sitter’s profile and read about them, view pictures of their home, and read reviews from other Rover users.
Most sitter specialists are real dog lovers and describe what they’ll do with your animal while watching them. For instance, some contractors will promise to take your dog to the dog park and send photo updates every 4-6 hours.
Once you find a sitter you like, you can sign up for the service. It’s easy to do this on either their website or in the app. If you have a Facebook account, you can choose to “Continue with Facebook” for an expedited signup process.
It’s free to browse for sitters, but you’ll have to enter a valid credit card or debit card number before you’re able to hire anyone.
How Do I Find the Best Rover Sitter for Me?
There are currently 200,000+ employees on the app. So, it’s likely that you’re going to have a lot of options when you go to hire someone.
With all of those options, it can be difficult to find the right sitter for you. Therefore, you should consider a few factors when searching for a sitter.
First, you should look for someone who can accommodate your pet. If you have a very large dog, for example, make sure that note that in the search app.
Not all Rover employees are willing to care for large animals, so you’ll need to find someone who is.
Obviously, you also need to find someone who can accommodate your budget. The app allows you to adjust your search by price so that you can find a sitter in your price range.
Remember, low rates sometimes signify bad service. Some Rover employees drop their prices to make up for a bad rating. When that’s the case, you’ll have to weigh your options and figure out whether a low rate is worth less-than-stellar service.
The last thing you should do when choosing a sitter is read reviews. Rover’s rating system allows customers to share feedback on their experience.
Take a look at your potential sitter’s rating, read what other customers say about them, and use that information to determine whether or not the sitter is right for you. Ultimately, this is the best way to find the best person.
Once you’ve selected a sitter, you can send them a message through the app. Rover suggests scheduling a meet & greet so you can see the contractor interact with your dog first-hand.
We suggest you schedule a meet and greet no matter what service you’re looking for.
During this time, make sure to ask important questions like:
- Are there any other cats/dogs in the house?
- How often will you let the dogs out?
- Will my animal be left alone
- Can you send photo updates while I’m away
By asking these questions, you should be able to get a good idea as to whether the Rover contractor will be a good fit. If at any time you feel uncomfortable with leaving your animal in their car, look for another sitter.
It’s better to find someone you trust than to be on edge while you’re away.
What Happens While I’m Away
Rover makes it really easy to keep tabs on your animal while you’re away. You can easily message sitters directly through the app if you want updates. Rover also encourages sitters and dog walkers to send photos.
If you hired a dog walker, you can rest assured that Fido was actually walked. Dog walkers are required to turn on GPS tracking so you can see where they went on the walk. They also can mark if your dog went pee/poo.
Can I Trust a Stranger to Walk My Dog?
We understand that it may be unnerving to leave your pets with a stranger. It can also be uncomfortable to allow them into your house to retrieve your pet.
Fortunately, Rover takes extensive precautions to ensure that they only hire trustworthy folks. When applicants apply to work with the company, they consent to a background check. The company researches the applicant to ensure that they don’t have a criminal history. Any applicant with a criminal record is disqualified from the hiring process.
According to the About Us page on their site, Rover hires less than 20% of the people who apply.
Furthermore, they offer ongoing training to their sitters. This helps them to make sure that every employee knows how to do their job properly.
If you are still unsure about hiring a Rover sitter, make sure to read the sitters reviews. If your sitter has dozens or hundreds of perfect 5-star ratings, they are probably trustworthy.
If you see some negative ratings, you might want to move onto the next profile.
Despite Rover’s due diligence, we highly suggest meeting your dog sitter or walker before booking their service. This will help provide some peace of mind while your pet is in their care.
Does Rover Handle Other Animals Beside Dogs and Cats?
Sitters care for a lot of different animals. However, there are some animals that are prohibited under Rover’s Terms of Service.
At the moment, the company prohibits customers from arranging for the care:
- Non-domesticated cats
- Venomous or constricting reptiles
- Wolves and wolf hybrids
They also refuse to care for any animal that has attacked a person or another animal in the past.
So, unfortunately, they can’t take responsibility for your pet alligator. But they do a great job caring for everything else from dogs and cats to hamsters, ferrets, and even non-poisonous tarantulas (if you can find a sitter who’s up for it).