Just because someone owns a dog doesn't mean they never want to travel again, but it's not always practical to take the pupper on a seven-hour flight with layovers.
That's part of the reason the pet sitting industry brought in $332 million in revenue at 720,000 households nationally in 2014, according to Pet Sitters International. That’s a whole lot of money for an industry that is service-oriented and based entirely on discretionary income. However, many say that the growth in this industry is just beginning.
“Pet sitting is an ever-growing industry,” PSI President and Founder Patti Moran said in a press release. "As PSI’s survey indicates, professional pet-care services are in high demand and pet sitting is a viable career option with significant earning potential."
In other words, the pet sitting industry is still far from reaching its peak – both in a provider sense and in terms of need. And as more and more people become aware of existing pet sitting services and have the extra income to spend, the industry is expected to expand even more.
After all, a calm, private home is often preferable to a kennel environment, and some owners may even want a sitter to stay at their house so their dog doesn't have to leave the comfort of his familiar surroundings.
That’s good news for dogs who need loving care while their owners are away, but even better news for anyone interested in earning a side income in this field. If you love animals and have a safe and secure home, it makes sense to consider dog sitting on the side. But, is it really that easy, or that lucrative?
If you’ve considered becoming a dog sitter, you may have wondered where to find a steady supply of dog-sitting jobs. Maybe you’ve even thought of starting your own dog-sitting business – putting up flyers, perhaps, or posting ads on Craigslist or your neighborhood bulletin. Those are all good ways to get started, but there's another option for anyone considering a part-time or full-time job as a pet sitter: .
If you’ve never heard of Rover, it's a bit like the babysitting site Care.com -- but for pets. Here’s how it works: By signing up as a dog sitter through Rover, you’ll be connected to a nationwide network of pet owners in need of caring providers who offer boarding, pet sitting, or dog walking.
Each opportunity is different: Some pet owners may want you to keep and care for their dog in your own home while they're away on vacation, while others may want someone who can stay at their house, where their pet's most comfortable -- essentially pet sitting and house sitting at the same time.
Watching dogs in your home means you'll need to provide a comfortable and loving environment, feed and walk them multiple times a day, and cater to any other specific needs, whether administering medication or grooming. Sitters are also encouraged to send photo updates to their pets' owners each day to ease their minds.
To sign up as a sitter, you need to submit a formal application (references help, if you have them) and create a profile on the site. Rover's standards are strict, and the screening process is thorough: Only about a third of applicants are accepted into the program, according to the company.
When you create your profile, include your rates (e.g., $25 a night), your availability, and photos of yourself or your family, your own pets if you have any, and the space your canine guests will be staying in. You can also specify what sizes or types of pets you're willing to watch and whether there will be other animals in the home. It's free to list your services, and you can accept or reject any request.
Rover offers convenient features for the dog owners on the other side of the equation, too. If you're looking to hire a dog sitter, simply go to Rover.com and browse available sitters by your ZIP code and travel dates. You can read profiles and reviews of sitters in your neighborhood and contact them for a face-to-face meeting or phone call. According to Rover.com, every stay booked on Rover comes with peace of mind – including premium insurance, 24/7 emergency support, and photo updates.
How to Make Money Dog Sitting
If you love animals and would like a way to earn some extra money on the side, pet sitting might just be the perfect fit for you. After all, no extensive training or certifications are required. The main qualifications to be a pet sitter are simply loving animals, being reliable, and caring for them in a safe, loving environment.
But how much money can you make? To find out, we asked the staff of Rover.
According to Kristen Forecki, director of operations at Rover.com, earning potential in this field largely depends on whether you want to watch dogs full-time or part-time – and how many animals you're able to care for each month.
"We have many sitters that treat Rover as a full-time job, including a few that make six figures annually as a Rover sitter. However, the majority of our sitters treat this as a part-time role," explains Forecki.
Part-time dog sitters and walkers often use sitting "as a fun and rewarding way to supplement their income, pay down their rent, save for a vacation, buy a car, or to pay vet bills for their own dog," Forecki says.
Furthermore, the main reason incomes through Rover vary so much is the fact that sitters are able to set their own rates and choose their own schedules. Just like most part-time or flexible gigs, sitters that use the site are free to work as little or as much as they want.
Still, the earning potential is there for people who are willing to work a few weeks per month at minimum. According to Forecki, sitters that treat Rover like a part-time job and take two or three dogs for two weeks out of the month earn an average of $1,000 per month. Meanwhile, those that treat Rover like a full-time job, working 4 weeks out of the month and taking 2-3 dogs at a time, earn an average of $3,300/month.
And if you don’t mind branching out to other pets, you can make a living watching nearly any type of animal through Rover. The site has arranged pet sitting for all kinds of animals including goats, lizards, birds, turtles, and fish.
How Does Rover Protect Its Consumers?
Leaving your dog at a kennel is enough of a guilt trip. How do pet owners know they're leaving their furry friends in good hands when they use a site like Rover?
Rover offers a range of protections meant to shelter site users from fraud and general abuse of the system. In order to run a tight ship with as little room for error as possible, the Rover platform offers complimentary insurance for all services booked through Rover, as well as access to 24/7 vet consultation and partnerships. Meanwhile, Rover’s mobile app makes it easy for sitters to share photos with pet parents who are eager to keep an eye on their companions.
Rover’s application process is also thorough enough to weed out the vast majority of sitters who might pose a problem. According to Rover, a qualified sitter approval team reviews every sitter application and rates it based on sitter experience and references. Background checks are also offered.
Meanwhile, as with more established sharing economy services such as Uber and Airbnb, sitters on Rover are also rated by the Rover community after a service is performed. That way, pet parents are able to compare experiences and share useful information with one another.
- Related: How to Make Money Using Airbnb
Rover also recommends sitters and pet owners get acquainted ahead of time by meeting in a public place before booking. Since dog sitting is a uniquely local service, this is actually fairly easy for most users to accomplish.
Can You Earn Money Pet Sitting Through Rover.com?
If you love animals and have a safe place to care for them, pet sitting might be the perfect side job for you. To find out if you qualify to pet sit for Rover.com, however, you’ll need to fill out an application and submit a wide range of information to verify your identity and level of skill.
Once you finish the application and receive approval, you simply need to create a profile that explains who you are, what services you offer and for how much (check other sitters in your neighborhood to get a feel for pricing), and update your calendar with your availability. After that, you set your own schedule and work as little or as much as you like.
Rover.com takes care of all client payments and invoices and makes payments electronically in order to speed up the process. In exchange for access to the Rover.com network, the site takes a 15% cut of your earnings. Rover not only provides the network, it also gives you all the tools you need to build a successful full- or part-time dog-sitting business and continually advertises to help you get more clients.
That way, you can focus your energy on the most important aspect of the job - loving the dogs, lizards, and cats in your care.
To learn more or get started, head on over to .
Have you ever considered pet sitting or dog walking on the side?