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Anyone else notice insanely low rates from other Rover sitters?

asked 2016-10-10 15:48:08 -0600

We started sitting with Rover a couple of years ago and had a very steady stream of regular clients (many of whom are still regulars). We were busy all the time and loved it. However, our dog became terminally ill last Spring and we had to take a break. We needed to give her our undivided attention during her last months with us. We still watched the dogs of regulars on a case by case basis (our dog loved them and enjoyed it).

We're back sitting again and we haven't really been getting many requests from new clients. So I went online to look at the other sitters in the area. In the time we took our break, the number has grown from just a few sitters in our area to dozens. What shocked me is how little most of them are charging. As little as $15 a night, which is half what we charged. We've had to take our price down a bit. I'm all for healthy competition but this is still a business. When I started, I looked at prices in the area and charged accordingly. There seems to be no rhyme or reason to these massively low rates the new sitters are charging.

We're Rover clients as well. Our regular sitter noticed the same thing! She's been doing this for years and is worried about staying with Rover at all. I'm starting to think the same thing. I love doing this. I'm home all day and I absolutely love our fur guests! We treat them like family!! I just can't keep doing it if the amount of money I make gets cut so drastically. Anyone else notice this trend in their area??

UPDATE ON THIS POST...

Bookings picked way up after a month after I posted this. And quite a few of those cut rate sitters seem to have dropped by the wayside. They must not have been serious about it or maybe the quality of their care wasn't very good. What we've come to realize is that we shouldn't cut our rates because people choose to charge nothing. We're very good at this and our clients appreciate that. I look at it this way...would the Four Seasons cut their rates because the Motel 6 down the street is charging low rates? No. So if anyone else runs into this issue, hold your ground. If you're the best in the area, the clients will come your way. Just be patient.

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I'm also new to Rover. As a new sitter myself, I charge $22 a night (for now). New sitters, I've read, have to charge less to gain clients. And I love dogs, so I want this to work out. Don't worry, the loyal ones will stick with you; they won't turn. They like you for a reason. =)

Sara R.'s profile image Sara R.  ( 2016-11-27 16:40:37 -0600 ) edit

That would've been my response almost word for word. I started with rates slightly lower than those I saw in my area. HOWEVER, I notice that people charge MORE for sitting than boarding and I do that the other way around because I don't have to prep the house, worry about as much, etc.

Katherine A.'s profile image Katherine A.  ( 2016-12-12 14:19:08 -0600 ) edit

Professional dog walking/sitter business charge $60-$100 per overnighter. Rover's minimum needs to match that. If you only charge $30 per night, subtract 20% for Rover's cut = $24. Subtract another 20% for taxes = @$18. Deduct gas, travel time & mileage. Congratulations, you've made @$10!

Judith L.'s profile image Judith L.  ( 2018-06-07 18:17:08 -0600 ) edit

Keep in mind those prices are per animal. http://Rover.com can get pricey if you have more than one dog and then add on the service fee. We found it to be out of sight price wise.

Will W.'s profile image Will W.  ( 2019-11-09 17:59:03 -0600 ) edit

12 Answers

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answered 2017-01-04 08:47:04 -0600

Just to update since I posted. A lot of those low price sitters are dropping by the wayside. They either got horrible reviews and don't get much business or they obviously weren't serious about it. Our bookings picked up after I posted this and have been steady ever since. Along with our five star reviews.

One of the responses I got on here was AWFUL and that person should be ashamed. Assuming I do this only for the money (this is NOT our primary income and I never said it was...I just understand not undercutting other Rover sitters). And no one in this city is going to find better care for their dog than I give. Period. I do this because I love dogs and because we were loyal Rover clients. I was disgusted by some of the homes I visited when we were looking for a sitter in our new city. Homes that smelled and one home where the sitter smoked like a chimney. We ended up finding a sitter 30 minutes away and have stuck with her even though there are cheaper people close by. They love our dog and treat her like family. That's what we do. I'm home all day and give the dogs we sit more attention than they probably get at home. Our home is like the best resort money can buy...and we're going to continue to charge for that. The Four Seasons wouldn't charge Motel 6 prices just because there was a Motel 6 nearby.

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answered 2016-10-10 15:55:46 -0600

I've noticed the same thing. I believe these new sitters won't keep their prices so low for very long! I'm keeping my prices as is....this is what I do for a living, not something I do "on the side" or "for fun". I've seen a few low priced sitters come and go (over the past few months), so I'm not really concerned about it.

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answered 2016-10-25 18:35:19 -0600

They are obviously new sitters who are trying to snag your clients. Once they see how much Rover skims off, those prices will jump right up to a reasonable amount! I'd stick to your usual rates, because otherwise you only make like $9 a night, and at that point you're operating at a loss anyway.

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answered 2016-10-10 20:45:50 -0600

I noticed this in my area too along with some heavy recruiting ads that Rover posted for sitters about a year ago.

In reading the profiles, it's obvious that a lot of new sitters are not devoting their attention/time to this full time, so there is a significant difference in the level of care and number of services provided, such as less frequent walks/day. Also, often the sitters with lower rates also charge for a lot of add-on services that I'd consider all inclusive (whether as a sitter or pet owner perspective towards booking).

Of course, during a M&G I can inform the pet parents of what I provide (if they're meeting with others, they'll then understand the difference). However, I'm not on the low side of the spectrum and don't want to compete as a low price leader. Those pet owners are usually not the right match for me ...so if someone else wants to promote their insanely low prices, they can deal with all the issues (often training, behavioral, sometimes medical/health) that usually go along with that. I haven't changed my rates and will not. Oh, and from the other perspective there's no way I'd ever consider leaving my much loved dog in the care of a low price leader, or a person who sitting wasn't their focus, or where it seemed every service was nickel & dimed.

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answered 2016-11-27 18:14:07 -0600

Charging very low prices hurt all the sitters in your area on Rover. Your should price yourself to be competitive with the independent sitters in your area and the other Rover sitters. Thinking you will get clients being the cheapest in town is not a good idea and you won't make much money!

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answered 2016-11-27 20:42:30 -0600

I find that those sitters do not last once they realize that it's a lot more work than they anticipated and after 20% deduction you're left with nothing. Don't undervalue yourself especially if you feel like you are more qualified/experienced and definitely highlight it in your profile in order to stand out.

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answered 2016-12-10 08:05:44 -0600

Although in my area I don't have "a lot" of competition, I check to see what other rover sitters are charging and I am in the middle range. I do have quite a few 5 star reviews and I have found that many people come to me either from "word of mouth" from other customers (rover, neighbors and friends) and because of the comments in my 5 star reviews. I am Very selective of the pups I take and won't take a dog that shows even the least bit aggression during our meet & greet. I work to keep all my repeat customers that do a lot of traveling weekly and monthly. I also have the customers that take vacations once or twice a year. I recommend getting on a B2B site(s), linkedIn and if you have Nextdoor which is a free, private, and your local neighborhood communication site. After our vacation, it does take a little time to have new customers contact me but my regulars are either scheduled or waiting to schedule after I come back from vacation. Hope that helps.

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answered 2017-01-05 12:00:15 -0600

I have noticed an influx of cheaper sitters in my area lately. Rover suggests that new sitters start at a lower price point so they can start getting clients. I have begun to wonder if the new sitters are getting higher search ranks because Rover takes 20% from them rather than us older sitters who are still at 15%. When searching by my own zip code, I now come up as the 39th sitter, when I used to be number one or two (Rover does not sort by zip code even if you search that way). Most of these new sitters have few or no reviews.

Fortunately, I have a loyal regular clientele and also succeed by word of mouth. With nearly 100 positive reviews, people still find me and contact me even on page 2 of rover sitters in my area.

At the end of the day, it irritates the heck out of me, but I think maintaining the same price I've had since I started ($30/night), even on the high end of the spectrum now in my area, I am getting a self selecting group of pup parents who are willing to spend the money for stellar care. That is not to say a pup parent won't get great care at a cheaper rate, but simply there are verified reviews that tell owners it's worth it. In my experience, people searching primarily by cost and those that try to haggle tend to have their dog's priorities lower. What is the old adage about cheap, fast, and good? Maybe for sitters it should be cheap, close, and good? :)

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I totally agree. My clients pay for quality. I have a lot of repeats and often hear from new clients about meet and greets with sitters who have totally misrepresented their circumstances. I started at $30 over 2 years ago. Things have definitely changed. Doggy Vacay merger has not been kind.

Tonya L.'s profile image Tonya L.  ( 2017-07-09 16:16:19 -0600 ) edit
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answered 2017-05-18 14:40:09 -0600

I'm not sure if everyone who charges a low fee has the same mindset as I did but I started on Rover about 8 months ago and charged way under what most people were in my area. When I was first starting I didn't have any references and my idea was to charge a low fee and then more people would want to hire me. It took about 5 months to actually get some clients but when I started getting reviews I upped my rates and kept getting more offers. I don't know maybe people are charging low rates to try and build clientele.

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answered 2017-01-04 09:50:14 -0600

I have been thinking about this. There are so many points to consider here. First, we are service providers. We provide an optional service to people, not a necessity. I say this because, other than Service / Emotional Support Animals, dogs are not considered a basic necessity of life, such as food, shelter and water, without which a human could not live. And Service animals usually are always with their handler because they are so essential to the point of not being classified (legally), as pets. People who cannot afford the care and maintenance of their pets should not own them until they can. As providers, we should be most concerned with the VALUE of our services and pricing them accordingly. By not pricing according to our Service's relative value we may intentionally or unintentionally UNDERVALUE the services of others. This can hurt the comradery amongst us Pet Care Service Providers. Creating friction among us and haggling from our clients. As for newer Sitters it does make sense that they would be a reasonable rate lower than a seasoned Sitter, like $1-$2. This makes sense because they are new and the client is paying for the seasoned Sitters experience. All of that being said, however, we are all independent contractors and may price our services as we choose. Hopefully we are just a bit considerate and thoughtful while doing so.

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