Everything you need to know about making money with Rover

Written by Emma Kansiz

Published 2022-07-05 / 4 min read

Are you a pet lover? Do you dream about cats and dogs? Does a gig working with animals sound too good to be true? Well, it doesn’t have to be. Enter Rover, a well-reputed platform that connects you to adorable animals across your city!

What is Rover?

Rover was founded in 2011 with a mission to empower pet lovers to create their own business using the platform to connect with pet owners. They operate in the U.S, Canada, U.K, and in select European countries. As of 2022 over 2 million pet owners have used Rover’s services to keep their wagging pals happy and safe!

As a Rover pet carer you are empowered to choose the services that you offer, and you can customize your pet preferences, such as age and size, in order to offer the best service. The most popular services are boarding, dog walking, doggy day care, and house visits. This is a great foray into the world of self-employment and entrepreneurialism without all of the initial responsibilities like billing and finding clients that starting out usually entails.

How does Rover's earning structure work?

You can choose your own rates as you are essentially a self-employed contractor when using the Rover app. Boarding overnight at your home typically commands $28 per stay while overnight petsitting at the owner's house commands about $25. Daytime pet care is typically $25 a day as well. Dog sitters can choose their hourly rate, but we suggest seeing what competitors in your area are charging so you can be competitive. It is always a great idea to advertise lower prices when starting out to gain traction and get those trusty little five star ratings! Anecdotes and details from Rover’s website suggest that $1000 is on the high end of monthly earnings. Be aware that when you factor in how many hours an overnight stay is, you might be averaging out at $5-$6 per hour. This is truly a labor of love, not a cash cow. If you go in with that awareness, you’ll enjoy your time with Rover but if you are looking to break minimum wage on an hourly basis this won’t be the most profitable option for you.   

Rover takes a 20% cut from each service booked on the site. Yes, this is high, but consider the backend value of the service: they handle billing and payouts and connect you with pet owners who you wouldn’t otherwise be able to reach. Consider this commission and factor it into the price you charge for your services. Payments are available two days after completing a service through the platform. You can use PayPal or sign up to receive checks. Checks might take up to 20 business days to arrive and you’ll have to pay a $5 fee, so honestly, don’t do that. Sign up with PayPal and you’ll receive the money in 1-4 business days.

What is the time commitment for Rover?

Through Rover you can set your own hours and work when it suits you. You can list your availability on the app. This makes it perfect for busy pet lovers or those who can only commit so much time per week to pet care. You can also work your way up to a fuller schedule with the site. We always recommend accepting part time, occasional work when you’re first starting so you don’t overburden yourself with expectations and get let down. This method also allows you to gauge how much work is available in your area and how much traction your profile is getting. 

It is important to keep in mind that many of the better paying services involve having a pet in your care throughout the work day or overnight. You need to be honest about whether this is practical for you and your life/work situation. It can be ideal if you have a weekend off and want a fuzzy friend to keep you company but will be significantly less practical if you have to work from home or run errands while the pet is in your care.

It is not uncommon for pet lovers to begin working through the platform before gaining enough experience and testimonials to start their own business. So while there might not necessarily be room to grow on Rover, it can definitely be a good entry point for a long term vision of self employment.

How to get started with Rover?

You can use your email, Facebook, Google, or Apple account to sign up with Rover. From there you will be prompted to include basic information, including contact and location details. They will ask you questions like:

- _Why are you becoming a Rover sitter?_ - _How much do you hope to earn each month? _

Rover provides a questionnaire that determines whether you are eligible to be a pet sitter through their platform. This focuses on safety and you are able to watch instructional videos while you answer the questions. They also want photographs of you with animals for your profile. 

Rover conducts general background checks on all prospective applicants, as mentioned. They want to ensure the safety of the pets and ensure the reputation of the platform. You will need to authorize this and pay the $25 fee for a background check (or $35 for an enhanced background check). It can take between 10-20 business days to have your profile approved.  

Once accepted the fun can begin! In the service section of your profile you will include your schedule, pricing, availability, and pet preferences. You can set multiple services here with different price points.  

In the personal description on your profile you will include information of your experience, what kinds of pets you want to work with, and any relevant certifications or personal attributes. Be warm, frank, and helpful. You want to build a rapport with prospective clients and a friendly profile is their first point of contact with you and your services. Perhaps you can offer additional services like grroming or bathing to sweeten the deal, if you will. 

Once you have completed your profile ensure that you have downloaded the Rover app onto your phone. The app allows you to liaise with the pet owner, send photographs while the pet is in your care, and enables GPS services. Be aware that most pet owners will expect you to have GPS turned on so they can track the whereabouts of their pet while it is in your care. They will also expect photos of you with the pet, particularly for overnight or full-day stays.

Rover requirements

Required Resources

While not required, it may be helpful to have a vehicle. To be more profitable you should have the ability to service a larger geographic area. Pet owners are everywhere and you will want to be able to work in rural or suburban areas and conduct house-visits in order to maximize your earnings. A car will enable you to take the pets in your care to parks or nature reserves for their exercise. It is simply more practical to have a vehicle. 

Be mindful of where you live, as well. If you plan to board pets overnight or during the day ensure that your building allows pets. This can be easy to overlook in the general excitement of creating your pet care business. Are your roommates, parents, or family okay with you bringing pets into the home? Get clear on this before offering services. Some housing developments will slap you with a fine or even threaten eviction so never overpromise and underdeliver.

Required Skills

You must be over 18 and pass a criminal background check. Rover takes the safety of everyone on their site seriously and wants to ensure they are maintaining a high ethical standard for their petsitters. 

It is almost redundant to mention, but you must have a passion for pets. Not just the cute and fuzzy parts either. Having animals in your care is a responsibility and you must be prepared to deal with the less glamorous parts of pet care. Tangible experience or a willingness to apply yourself and learn are invaluable. Most pet owners will pass if you don’t have extensive photographs with pets or details of your own pet care or pet ownership experience. You need to focus on building trust - hone in on what you offer to pets. This is more than a financial transaction, it is a relationship built on care. 

Required Documents

While not required, we advise taking any pet safety certifications you can find to boost your own knowledge and to appeal to pet owners. Anything that can differentiate you from the competition will pay dividends. 

Unlike full time, self employed business owners you don’t need to be licensed or bonded, which means there is a lower administrative barrier to entry on Rover. 

Rover will conduct a background check on you.

Other important details

Rover takes the health and safety of the pets on its platform very seriously. They offer a 24/7 vet assistance service and up to $25,000 in vet care reimbursement through the Rover Guarantee. You will be required to pay up to the first $250 in costs incurred. This insurance program offers priceless peace of mind and allows you to work with the confidence that you won’t be on the hook for a sick pet if it is out of your control. That being said, it does not include damages to the pet owner’s property or anything preventable or due to neglect, such as fleas. 

As with most work of this kind, you are classified as an independent contractor. You need to manage your own business expenses and keep track of your profits. Keep receipts for all pet-related care. You can potentially write these off when doing your taxes. Speaking of taxes, try and find a CPA who can help you navigate claiming taxes as a self-employed contractor. Rover does not provide any advice or services for taxes. 

Rover provides tutorials and educational videos on their platform which are immensely helpful for new pet caters. They also have a network of ‘city managers’ who are experienced pet sitters in your area who can help field questions and provide support. They have a fairly good reputation for being responsive to user concerns and complaints, which is always a bonus in the world of the sharing economy.

Our review

Rover is a great side gig for committed and reliable pet lovers but it is hard and not super profitable for a full time gig. We recommend it for people who want to indulge their love of pets a few times a week and who don’t mind having pets at their home or in their vehicle. If you can structure your time off work around a pet's needs and you enjoy doing it then Rover is your dream app.

But for those who love the idea of pets, but not the practical responsibilities involved, this might not be for you. Because you earn more for overnight and day boarding you should be willing to offer these services if you want to be profitable on the app. These longer stays naturally entail more responsibility and attentiveness to the pet’s needs. If you want to make some pocket money walking dogs this is a great option but don’t expect to make a fortune. 

Given that Rover itself quotes $1000 as a high end monthly income we don’t suggest making Rover your main gig, or even your main side gig. If you simply love pets and consider the money a bonus- great. But if you want a profitable side gig, the money you can earn pet boarding is not exactly compelling. Earning $40 to pet sit for six hours for instance is a lot less than you could potentially earn from six hours of DoorDash or Uber. This is where you’ll have to be honest with yourself about your income aspirations and ideal time commitment.  

Our final word is this: if you want the fun and benefits of being a pet owner without the full time commitment then this is a great option because it will feel more like fun than work. But if you want consistent, low-skill and low-effort work on the side, Rover might not offer you the experience you need.