Good morning guys! I hope your Tuesday is off to a good start! It is pretty gloomy with a lot of rain in the forecast here so I will be spending my time inside and staying nice and dry.
I have received a lot of questions about why we always have so many dogs at our house. My husband and I only have two dogs, Riley and Callie, but we always seem to have a full house (have you guys been watching Fuller House on netflix?) of pups at all times. While we wish we could have 10 dogs of our own (yes, we are those people), our house right now is not fitting to accommodate that many. 🙂 But, don’t worry, we have found the perfect solution for our desire to have many dogs around at all times. (Don’t get me wrong, we absolutely adore our two pups, but one is scared of everything, including toys, and the other can usually be found sleeping underneath our bed ignoring us when we call him to go out). While we love our low energy dogs, sometimes we just want to play with pups who actually play fetch and enjoy the dog park. (Our pups don’t hate the dog park, but they don’t do much interacting or playing either).
Mom, please don’t interupt our nap time. It is very important to us.
So this is where Rover comes into play. Have you guys ever heard of/used this site? I had never heard of Rover before I moved to Dallas. We usually take Riley (the small, white furball) with us on trips, but Callie is too big to fly on an airplane (and way too scared) so we have leave her in good hands when we go out of town. While my sister and her boyfriend usually watch Callie (or both dogs), once in a while, they go out of town with us so we have to find another sitter for Callie. With Callie being so timid, she does much better in a home environment versus a kennel and I feel better about leaving her with a sitter too.
We first started using Rover to find a sitter for Callie (we found an amazing girl who watches her) before we ever thought about dog sitting. We loved the concept so much that my husband urged me to make a profile and start dog sitting in my spare time. I finally agreed and I am so happy I did. My husband works from home and I work early part time hours so we have a lot of flexibility in our schedules, which is really great for dog sitting (owners can drop off their dogs anytime, dogs get a lot of walks/potty breaks, and the dogs are never left alone for long periods of time). Why not watch sweet pups while making some extra money too? It’s a win win in my eyes!
Today I thought I would give you some insight into how to start the process of becoming a dog sitter and the ways to increase your incoming requests.
First, you start by making a profile with a tag line. It doesn’t have to be something crazy, just something that will catch peoples’ eyes. Mine is “Lover of all dogs, big or small!” It is important to put photos on your profile so people know you are who you say you are. And since this is a dog sitting site, I think it is important to include pictures of you with your dogs or any dog.
Next, you can set your preferences. For example, I said no aggressive dogs, must be potty trained, no females in heat, must be spayed or neutered, and I will take dogs who weigh up to 100lbs. At this point, you also set what services you wish to offer (dog sitting in your house, dog sitting in the owner’s house, dog walking, doggy day care just for the day).
You can also add additional details such as: experience with senior dogs, experience administering medication, fenced yard, etc.
Even if you do not plan on using Rover to find a sitter for your own dogs, it is important to create a profile for each of them so clients can see what types of dogs you have that will be interacting with their dog.
Set your price. Rover gives you a good starting point of where to set your rate based on others in your area. You can always increase it once you gain clients. You can also charge more for puppies, give a discount for sibling dogs, and increase your rate for holiday weekends. Rover takes 15% of your total for each dog stay so keep that in mind when setting your rate. My rate for dog sitting at my house is currently $25/night. This is the price Rover recommeded I start at when I started dog sitting back in November. I will probably raise it soon as I currently get more requests than I can accept. (My husband said I wasn’t allowed to watch 8 labs during one weekend). 😉 All jokes aside, it is important to know how many you can handle at once and not take on more that you can chew. If my husband is home, we will take 3 (sometimes 4) dogs plus our 2 pups. Dogs are insured through Rover (you can purchase extra insurance, which I did, but I don’t think it makes sense) and you can call the staff 24/7 if you have a problem.
Keep your calendar up to date. This is so important. Some people book 2 days before a trip, but some people are planners and book 2 months in advance so it is important to stay on top of your calendar (a few months out) to accommodate everyone.
You can block out days or weeks of your calendar that you are unavailable (when we are out of town, have visitors in town, or just need a doggy break).
ALWAYS set up a meet and greet with new clients. Rover recommends meeting new owners and their dogs before a stay and to do it in a common area so the dogs are not threatened. I always have the meet and greet at my house (outside) in case the owner really wants to see my house where their dog will be staying. I take the time to answer any questions the owner may have while our dogs get to know each other and I assure the owner that their pup is in good hands.
Send pictures and updates. Lots of them. When you sign up for Rover (as an owner or a sitter) with your cellphone, Rover gives you a “fake” number so no one will ever have your real number, but the owner can still call/text you and it comes through to your phone. Sending pictures and updates throughout the stay allows the owner to feel more comfortable and not worry so much while they are away. The pictures are also saved to your Rover profile so you are able to see all the pictures of the pups you have watched.
Reviews matter. Good reviews, lots of pictures, and repeat clients will boost you in the search rankings. You can definitely ask for reviews (I personally don’t, but probably should) if you would like. Most times when I get a request, people mention that they saw my very positive reviews on the site and that is why they chose me. They also mention that they live near me (Rover shares your general neighborhood, but not your address) so it is very convenient.
How do I get paid? Rover allows you to withdraw money from your account via paypal or check. I always do it through paypal and then withdrawl the paypal money to my bank account (paypal only lets you withdrawl $500/month, FYI). When a dog stay is complete, the funds will be deposited into your Rover account 48 hours after the dog leaves. (The owner pays upfront and Rover holds the money until it is released to you).
How much money do I make dog sitting? This is kinda tricky to answer because some months I have a dog/s at my house every day including the weekdays and weekends, but some months I travel more/have more visitors and don’t watch as many pups. I would say on average right now, I am making (after Rover takes their 15%) between $800-$900 per month dog sitting. It really is great to have extra spending money for what my husband calls “the stupid little stuff we want to buy” like boat toys, home projects, new speakers, alcohol, dinner out, and more.
Overall, Rover has been a very positive experience for me and my family. Yes, their have been accidents (thankfully no dog fights), broken/chewed furniture and picture frames, but that is the price you pay when you are a dog sitter! (We now roll up our 2 big rugs on the main floor each time we watch a dog and we put up gates so they cannot go on our carpet. We have managed to keep our house pretty clean with lots of vacuuming and mopping so I’d say it is working out just fine!
Please let me know if you have any more questions about our dog sitting experience!
- Do you have a dog/s?
- Have you ever been a dog sitter?
- Do you have a side job that brings in extra money?