Note: I've partnered with Rover.com to bring you this post on ways to start your own pet sitting business.
I started a professional pet sitting business in 2008. I’ve always enjoyed the flexibility and challenge of owning my own business, but it can also be overwhelming.
One option that can make this process a little easier for pet sitters is to start a business under a larger company such as Rover.com.
“Rover helps pet parents find loving sitters, so their pet can stay in a real home while they are away,” according to its web site. “Whether you’re a professional dog sitter or an enthusiastic dog-lover, Rover makes it easy to earn money pet sitting.”
While starting your own pet sitting business takes a lot of time and planning, you can create a free pet sitting profile with Rover.com in a few minutes and potentially start taking clients that very week. I've already started to fill out my profile with Rover as both a pet sitter and someone looking for pet care.
As a pet sitter through Rover.com you set your own schedule and rates, and you specify whether you'll watch dogs in your own home or at the client's home.
According to Rover.com, its top pet sitters make $7,000 per month.
I am able to look at this from a unique perspective because I already own a private pet sitting company. This allows me to see both the pros and cons of starting up a business the “Rover route” versus on your own.
Pros to starting a pet sitting business through Rover.com:
1. Rover.com is a safe way to get started. There’s not quite as much to worry about as far as paperwork, invoicing and accounting. And if you decide to maintain your own pet sitting business separately, you could still do that as well.
2. It’s a good way to “test the waters” and see how serious you are about pet sitting with less risk.
3. Rover.com offers you a lot of flexibility. It’s perfect if you’re just looking for a part-time job or a little extra spending cash.
4. Every stay booked through Rover is covered by its Peace of Mind Protection, which will reimburse sitters up to $2,000 in emergency vet bills, according to Rover.com. Sitters also have the option of enrolling in an additional protection package which offers more protection and additional benefits.
Cons to starting a pet sitting business through Rover.com:
1. Depending on where you live, there could be a lot of other sitters already signed up with Rover.com. This will make it more difficult to get your profile seen. Just because you’re listed on the site doesn't mean you'll get customers.
2. Rover.com handles the invoicing (which is convenient) but it keeps 15 percent of payments.
From the point of view of the dog owner, there are also some pros and cons to hiring a pet sitter through Rover.com vs. hiring an independent pet sitter.
What I like about Rover as a dog owner:
1. It only takes a few minutes to set up an account and begin searching for a sitter. Since there are several sitters in the database, it’s fairly easy to find one available for the dates you need, even holidays.
2. You can search through a variety of profiles until you find someone you’re comfortable with. Ideally, you'd be able to hire that sitter every time you need someone.
3. Since most of the pet sitters are looking for a part-time income the rates are cheaper than some independent pet sitters. A representative of Rover.com said “the average prices range from $25 to $40 per night for one dog.”
4. It’s easy to leave reviews, so if you have a bad experience with a sitter, you can let others know not to hire her.
What’s not so good for dog owners:
1. I’m glad it’s easy for pet sitters to sign up, but obviously that comes with its risks. On its terms of service page Rover.com states, “We have no control over the conduct of our users or the truth or accuracy of the information that users post on the Site or provide through the Services.”
2. Many of the sitters listed on the site are students. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, but I’m more comfortable hiring someone who is passionate about dog sitting as a career, not as a side job.
How about you? Have any of you started pet sitting through Rover.com? Have you ever hired a sitter through Rover?
Click here to get started as a pet sitter through Rover.com