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Income - how does the math make this work a lucrative supplemental job?

asked 2016-11-12 19:29:39 -0500

I'm trying to move to Albuquerque - no partner, no kids, cost of living is quite cheap in NM, and I'm looking for some ways to get by reliably. I love dogs and have years of experience training/caring for them. Rover seemed like an excellent fit if I supplement it with maybe another part-time position. At least, that's what I figured until I sat down and did the math.

Strictly looking at dog boarding, a reasonable, competitive price in this city would be approximately $25 a night. The average part-time salary reported from three different sources as a Rover dog sitter is about $1,000. To make $1,000 a month ($800 after the 20% fee), you would need to sit for 40 dogs each month. That's one dog, and sometimes two, every single night without break if you're only considered to be working part-time. Full-time, at about $3,300 ($2,640) a month, that would be 132 dogs, or 4-5 dogs every night with no day off. If one were to expand their services to day-care and dog walking, I assume this would require several more dogs each day for services that are offered more cheaply than boarding.

My point is, how do you schedule your months to make a decent supplemental income without sacrificing a reasonably healthy work-life balance, while likely juggling another job as well? What does your life look like working for Rover? Is the $800/$2,640 average really accurate? I assume demand fluctuates throughout the year as well, depending on client need, so how do you protect yourself from a potential lull? I would love to sign up to be a Rover sitter but I don't want to go into this blindly. I would love any frank advice you have.

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5 Answers

6
answered 2016-11-13 08:45:22 -0500

Hi Gillian,

I can only speak from my experience with Rover. I signed on in January 2016 and I am primarily a walker. Since April I have been what I consider to be fully booked Mon-Fri and I work from 10A-to 4P, this is for 5-7 clients each day. I started with a very low rate to attract clients and did so fairly quickly. I raised my rates mid year for new clients and am raising them again Jan 01, 2017 for all clients by $2 per walk.

After Rover fees I have netted an average of $945 per month through Oct; and Jan-Mar I had zero income. So from Apr-Oct I netted $1347 per month after fees. Now remember you should set aside 30% of that income for taxes.

So yes you can make a reasonable amount of money from Rover! Lots of boarding sitters make even more, so you need to set rates accordingly. And you must consider that it may take from a few weeks to several months before you see any bookings and it will take time to get established. With boarding there are high and low seasons, summer is usually busy with vacations, and of course the holiday season

Before you move and open up shop I highly recommend you contact the local government to see if licensing or zoning approval is required especially if you plan to board.

And finally, while Rover offers an insurance protection plan it is limited in scope so you should consider getting a personal liability insurance package to protect you and your business.

If you are on Facebook you should join our Rover Group, lots of good tips and assistance is available to help you get started. Hope you decide to join us! Rover.com & DogVacay Sitters (https://www.facebook.com/groups/Rover...)

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This is very helpful. Thank you for responding!

Gillian H.'s profile imageGillian H. ( 2016-11-13 17:52:58 -0500 )edit
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answered 2016-12-12 14:38:42 -0500

I've been doing this for a while and still am not making quite what I need. However, doing things like walks are great, BUT I love doing drop-in visits because it is still 30 minutes, but part is walking, feeding, and petting and if you charge $12/walk or $12/drop-in visit, then schedule at least 3 visits daily with a dog for a week, you are already at $252/week so around $1000/month. AFTER factoring those in, you get to add things like boarding and/or sitting services, which back-to-back make less, but together give a good income.

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1
answered 2016-11-15 21:04:27 -0500

Wow great advice from Walt and Jessica. I'm a part time walker and drop in sitter in my mid sized Midwest town, started in July '15. I now have a regular clientele of M-F working people who need their pups checked in on between 11-3. Plus occasional repeat customers at other times. I've kept my price the same since I started. I'm netting $1000-1100 a month working about 20-25 hours a week. I could make more if I boarded also, but can't due to my own dog's special needs. I'd suggest for best results on Rover to price competitively, be available, respond quickly to customers and get good reviews. Do all you can to be first or second in search results. Like all websites, people don't go down the list too far. Good luck!

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Thank you! This is a very promising perspective. What do you have to do to ensure you're at the top of the search results?

Gillian H.'s profile imageGillian H. ( 2016-11-17 22:42:02 -0500 )edit

Rover has algorithms that figure it out, but basically respond to messages quickly, books the majority of requests you get, take photos for every stay, get repeat clients and good reviews. There's a good article on the Rover blog sitter section, under "getting started".

Kathy B.'s profile imageKathy B. ( 2016-11-18 06:38:30 -0500 )edit

Ahh, okay. That makes sense. I'll take a look at it. Thanks for clarifying.

Gillian H.'s profile imageGillian H. ( 2016-11-20 22:41:34 -0500 )edit

I just started, my condo is paid and min bills of $400/months. I'll walk dogs! Why not, time to live happy!

Christian H.'s profile imageChristian H. ( 2017-08-18 14:26:58 -0500 )edit
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answered 2016-11-15 18:29:27 -0500

I would not be able to support myself on it, and the cost of living in Tx is fairly cheap, too. I encourage you to start this as a side business while you work another job until you build a good base, and are averaging one dog a night for two months. Even with that, there are operational costs such as repairing damage caused by the dogs that will eat into your bottom line. I probably spend $50 every 3 months replacing dog toys (saves me from replacing couches, and shoes), and I had to make my fence dig proof and escape proof, which ran me about $5 per foot (really rough math there).

Also, you NEED to have at least two separate fenced areas in your yard, because you are bound to have 2+ dogs stay who simply cannot be together. I've had intact males on the same weekend as an elderly terrier, or hyper puppies with teeny tiny (crushable) poodles. My current combo is a hyper Bulldog and a delicate Maltese. If placed together, it could lead to disaster and a vet bill, so getting your place set up to keep multiple dogs all apart from each other is a must.

You will also need to invest in your own crates. Most owners can be asked to bring them, but I find it saves a lot of drama if I have some of my own.

Rover takes a percentage of your income, which makes it hard to be competitive with local facilities while still making enough to get by. You really need to be looking at 2-3 dogs a night in order to make this a solid source of supplemental income. I'm 3 months in, and while the future is looking good, I'm averaging about 1-2 dogs a night.

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Thank you for offering such thorough advice! My idea was to make this a side-job along with something else, but this does give me a lot to consider.

Gillian H.'s profile imageGillian H. ( 2016-11-17 22:37:38 -0500 )edit
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answered 2016-12-29 08:48:15 -0500

I've been doing Rover for almost 2years and average about $600month. I live in a large metropolitan area. Have another part time job that fits well schedule wise, and focus on vacation clients asking a minimum stay of 2nights. I also prefer a client with 2 dogs from one house. I average 5 dogs a month and about 2weeks of bookings. Jan thru March are slow, and holidays are where I make the best money. My year end total is almost $9000. I do not want it as a full time job, so 2weeks of bookings per month works for me. I would like to reach an annual of $10,000 per year. I charge $35 a night, $25 for addit dog, and $50night for holidays. This is competitve in my area, SF bay. I have not raised my rates yet.

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