Becoming a pet sitter and mid-day dog walker is surprisingly flexible and pays well.
If you love animals and want a side job that is low-stress and isn’t time-consuming, working as a Rover independent contractor is perfect for you.
The following guide will walk you step by step through becoming a pet sitter and setting up your profile to find clients fast.
Become A Rover Dog Walker And Make Money From The Start
This guest contribution was written by Steffa Mantilla.
After crunching numbers, my family’s spending plan needed an extra $500 every month. I started walking dogs on Rover, and now have been doing this job for the past two years. I am earning more than enough now, to enough to cover the gap in our budget.
The best part is that you can set your own availability so you won’t miss out on spending time with your family. Rover pet sitting is a great job for a stay-at-home mom.
✅ Already know you want to be a Rover pet sitter? Go here to set up your profile.
Top Benefits Of Using Rover As A Pet Sitter
Pet sitting is the perfect side hustle for someone who loves animals and is experienced around them. You can make your own hours, dates of availability, and pricing.
Pet sitting and dog walking makes a great option for a stay at home mom who wants to work but still take care of her children.
There are no required holiday or weekend shifts either which is usually what disqualifies many other side hustles for someone with children.
1. Cuts Down On Time Spent Marketing
Using Rover.com makes it easy to find pet-sitting clients if you know how to properly set up your sitter profile. I show you how to do that below.
Since Rover is a well-know pet sitting platform, you don’t need to spend a lot of time putting yourself out there and marketing.
You can still market on your own as well. Many sitters will order Rover business cards, promote via flyers, or post in local social media groups.
2. Easily Update Your Prices & Availability
Rover allows you to easily update your sitter profile. Some things you can specify are what type and size animals you’re willing to work with.
You also set your prices, list your services (dog walking, boarding, drop-in visits), and update your availability calendar.
They even have an app you can use on your phone for constant access.
3. No Tracking Down Clients For Money
Payment goes through Rover as well so you never have to collect money from people. Clients are charged by Rover before their booking can be confirmed.
Sitters get paid at the end of the booking. You can set it up so that all earnings direct deposit into your PayPal account.
✅ Tip: Use my special invite link to become a Rover sitter or sign up as a client to use them for your own pets.
What Services Can You Offer Through Rover?
For sitter services, you have the options to offer the following:
- Dog Boarding – dog goes to your house for a certain amount of time
- House Sitting – you stay the night at the client’s house with their pets
- Drop-in Visits – 30-minute visit at client’s house
- Doggy Day Care – dog goes to your house for the workday
- Dog Walks – go to the client’s house and walk their dog for 30 minutes
Setting Up Your Rover Pet Sitter Services
Once you select which services to offer, set the distance you will travel, how many visits you can do, and the time frames.
It isn’t as cost-effective to travel far so keep your search radius 4 miles or less.
If you live in an urban/suburban area, this radius will cover many neighborhoods and apartment complexes.
Choose the pet preferences that you’re most comfortable with. I love that Rover offers this option because, without it, I’d have to turn down a lot more clients.
If a client is searching for a sitter and you don’t match their animal, your profile will not show up in the search.
Be very clear about what type of clients you’re looking to take on.
Too many declined booking requests will put you lower in the search rankings so it’s better to weed people out before they reach out to you.
How To Make Yourself Stand Out In Your Rover About Me Sitter Profile
Getting your Rover profile to stand out in a sea of sitters can be done if you implement the following guidelines.
Just by doing these 3 things, you’ll be ahead of 90% of the sitter profiles I come across on Rover. Most of the profiles I see are poorly done, with blurry photos and canned responses.
1. Highlight Your Experience
When you create your profile, that is the time to market yourself!
Highlight your experience and the reasons why you want to be a pet sitter. Make sure you don’t sound cliche.
Tip: check out the top sitter’s profiles in your area to gain inspiration.
2. Write A Catchy Rover Headline
The Rover Headline is one of the first things a potential client will read. It is the bold title that stands out in the sitter search.
Try to stay away from cliches such as “loves animals” and “dog lover.” It seems like every other sitter uses those and it doesn’t make you stand out.
Instead, take this opportunity to highlight your greatest strengths. Here are examples of Rover headlines that really stand out:
- Dog Foster & former Vet Receptionist
- Experienced vet tech & sitter
- Trustworthy & always punctual
- Experienced with all breeds and sizes
- Specializes in cats, rabbits, and parrots
3. High-Quality Photos
Sharing high-quality photos are the perfect way to grab the client’s attention.
Clients want to see you interacting with dogs and having fun. This helps them visualize you having fun with THEIR dog and makes them more likely to set up a meet & greet.
If you specialize in other animals besides dogs, make sure to include pictures of you with them. Cats, birds, reptiles, and fish are all sitter niche’s you can differentiate yourself with.
4. Get Pet Sitting Reviews
Ask anyone you’ve pet sit for in the past to write you a review. Rover has a way for you to email people your sitter profile review link so they can add their own review.
The key is to ask people who will write a genuine review and not sound fake or spammy.
Clients are more likely to look at profiles with reviews and professional photos than without.
✅ Set up your profile here.
How Can You Keep Your Search Rank High From The First Day On Rover?
This is the most commonly asked question I receive from new Rover pet sitters. With so many sitters on the app, it can seem impossible to get your profile seen.
There are a few factors that determine the rank you are put in a search.
Below, I share my best tips and tricks to get your Rover profile About Me up at the top of the sitter search to get you clients fast.
This ranking factor you don’t have much control over. Sitters are higher in the ranking if they live closer to the client.
If you’re farther away, you’ll be lower down on the search ranking.
2. Availability Calendar
This is one of the easiest ways to bump your profile to the top.
Clients want to find sitters who they know are available. Nothing is more frustrating someone looking for a pet sitter than keep being told “no” when the sitter’s profile says they’re available.
Keep your calendar up to date. Every few days log in to confirm that it’s up to date. This highlights your profile in the search results.
If a holiday is coming up, let Rover know you’re available then as well. There is usually a pop up about upcoming holidays for you to answer in the calendar area.
Rover will put this “Confirmed Availability” at the top of your profile if you’ve verified you’re available for a holiday or weekend.
So, not only is an updated availability calendar pushing you to the top, you’ll get one of these eye-catching profile header badges.
3. Respond Quickly
Clients contact you through Rover messaging. Having the app loaded onto your phone allows you to be responsive to new clients.
The more responsive you are, the higher ranking you will be. Rover will show your average response time so you don’t want to drag your feet on getting back to people.
For Dog Walking and Drop-In services, you’re required to use the Rover App anyway. It has GPS tracking during your visit so that the pet owner can see where you went.
5. Repeat Clients
If you have repeat clients, this indicates that you’re liked enough to be used again. This gives you more credibility.
Besides, your number of repeat clients is shown on your profile.
While Rover may not directly boost your profile because of this, clients are going to stop and look at profiles of sitters who have a large number of repeat clients.
6. Review Rate
Encouraging your clients to write you a review also gets you a higher ranking. It’s a compounding effect.
The more reviews you have, the more likely new clients are to use you, which increases the number of reviews you have.
Keep in mind that the number of stars matters. If you only have a few reviews and are rated a 3 or 4-star sitter, it’s going to be harder to be chosen over 5-star sitter profiles.
7. Booking Rate
Having a high booking rate means you’re saying “yes” to most of the clients contacting you. Rover wants to promote responsive pet sitters to keep everyone happy.
Below is my performance score for Dog Walking.
These scores are private so your clients won’t see them but it’s a good snapshot of how I’m doing. You can see that overall I haven’t had a huge number of clients.
I was able to find two repeat clients who need mid-day walks for their dogs during the week.
A few of the other clients were one time bookings who were working late and needed their dogs to be let out.
Here is my performance score for Drop-In Visits.
These visits are made up mainly of cat sits or people with older dogs that only need to be let out in the backyard.
Again, I don’t have a massive amount of clients but have been able to find 4 clients who use me for holidays and business trips.
Does Rover Do Cat Sitting?
Yes, they do! To find a cat sitter on the sitter search, choose either Drop-in Visits or Boarding.
Then under Additional Services, check the Cat Care box. This will show you all the sitters who take care of cats.
If you’re wanting to be a cat sitter, there is a section in the Pet Sitting Preferences part of the sitter profile that asks if you accept cats.
Toggle that to “yes” if you’d like to include cats in your pet business.
Can You Become A Rover Cat Sitter?
Yes! While Rover isn’t’ purely a cat sitting app, you can make your profile stand out with cats as your specialty.
You can set up your profile to be a Rover Cat Sitter by following these steps:
- Make your Sitter Profile Headline mention you’re a cat sitter.
- Write about your cat sitting specialty in the Profile Description
- Make sure your profile photos only have you with cats.
- Under “Services Offered” only offer Drop-In Visits and/or Boarding.
- Under “Pet Preferences” don’t have any dog sizes clicked, only the YES for accepting cats.
✅ You’ll earn $20 just for setting up your profile here and becoming a sitter!
Does Rover Accept Pet Sitters For Other Animals Like Birds, Hamsters, And Lizards?
Yes, if you specialize in caring for other species of animals, you can set up a Rover pet sitting profile for that specialty.
Follow the same steps as above with the cat sitter profile but with your species of choice.
More specialized pet sitters will have to do outside marketing in order to help gain clients.
Rover provides each sitter with a URL link to their profile that you can share on Craigslist and social media to get the word out.
If there’s a local parrot group or reptile club, giving them your name and profile link could help you find clients.
What Qualifications Do You Need To Be A Rover Pet Sitter?
The best pet sitters have some similar qualities. These include:
- Being trustworthy
- Good Customer Service Skills
- Attention to detail
- Understands animal behavior
- Can work in unpredictable situations
- Fine getting dirty and working outside
- Great communicator
- Loves animals!
Another helpful qualification to have is to be Pet CPR Certified. This will give your clients extra peace of mind while you’re watching their pets.
It also can help save a pet’s life and give you actionable skills you can hone.
How Much Does A Rover Dog Walker Make?
Now for the money breakdown. I’ll show you what I charge for drop-in cat sits and dog walks.
I have my drop-in visits and dog walks set at $15 per 30-minute visit. Each additional animal is $5 more.
Rover does take 20% of each booking which I find to be fair. I consider it a client finding fee, app usage fee, and tech support fee. So that $15 really ends up being $12 take home.
With my 2 walks per day I make $24/day or $120 each week. This is $480 a month with walks alone. I usually have a few weekend cat visits a month which makes this amount even higher.
For 2018, I had started in August so the earnings are for 5 months. This includes building up my clientele.
It did take around 3 months for me to find both of my weekly dog walk clients.
Early on I would update my availability calendar every few days to get highlighted. I had a few one
Now in 2019, I’m going to surpass my 2018 earnings in two months without needing to put in effort finding more clients.
Do I Have To Pay Taxes On Rover?
Yes, all Rover pet sitters need to pay taxes.
One thing to note is that Rover sitters are not employees of Rover. They are independent contractors so you’ll need to do taxes for all earnings.
I set aside 25% of my earnings to make sure I have enough for taxes. If you’ll end up owing $1000 or more in taxes by the end of the year then you’ll need to submit quarterly taxes.
Definitely speak to your tax professional to make sure you’re squared away.
Deducting Pet Sitter Travel Mileage Using The Stride Tax App
I’ve recently started using the Stride Tax app to track my pet-sitting travel mileage.
You start the app before you leave your house and end it when you arrive at your destination and vice versa.
The app uses GPS to track your miles and tells you how much of a mileage tax deduction you can take when you file your taxes.
I like using this because it does all of the tracking for me.
A Step By Step Guide To Getting Clients As A Rover Pet Sitter – Conclusion
After pet sitting and dog walking for two years, I can say that it truly has great flexibility. You set your own pricing and hours.
Focus on building a clientele in the beginning and then turn your availability to only accept repeat clients.
This is the easiest way to pet sit since you don’t have to set up a client meet and greets. You’re also familiar with their pets and have a key or code to get into their house already.
It cuts out a lot of the client face time that you aren’t paid for.
Setting your service radius to only a few miles keeps from having to travel far. This gives a better margin on your pay since you spend less on gas and travel time.
While I only needed to earn $500 every month, pet sitting is easily scalable to make far more, especially if you live near pet-friendly apartments.
For additional jobs that are perfect for a stay at home mom, check out my list of the best stay at home mom jobs that pay well.