Rover 101 - Headline

Welcome to Rover 101. On this page, we'll cover what you need to succeed as a Rover sitter. You'll learn how to:

  1. Find dogs—and dog owners—who are a good fit for you.
  2. Communicate with pet parents.
  3. Prepare for a safe, fun stay.
  4. Whether you’re hosting dogs in your home, traveling to the owner’s home, or both, we’re here to help you succeed.

Need to reach us? Give us call!
If you have a general question or need some extra assistance:

  • Call Rover Support at 888-453-7889 or email Support@Rover.com.

If you have an emergency during a stay:

  • Call our Trust & Safety team at 888-727-1140. We're available 24/7 and can help you through emergencies including a lost dog, medical issue, or a safety incident. We're here for you!

Tip 1: How to Create a Profile That Attracts the Right Clients

Before you get to the good stuff (hanging out with dogs), you'll need to create a profile. Your profile inspires pet owners to contact you—or to scan past you and onto another available sitter.

Just like applying for a job, you need to demonstrate you’re trustworthy and the right fit for their pet. The stronger your profile is, the more requests you’ll get.

Add Photos and Testimonials

Pick at least 3 clear, bright photos that show:

  • Your smiling face for your main profile photo—and remember to take off those sunglasses.
  • You with your own pets or pets you've cared for.
  • Anyone else who will help out with care, including captions explaining who they are and how they'll help.
  • If you’re hosting, include pictures of the rooms in your clean home. Take photos during the day and turn on the lights to show off your space.

For more helpful tips about profile photos, check out our photography guide designed exclusively for Rover sitters.

Earn Credibility with Testimonials

Seeing what your friends, family, and past clients say about you helps paint a picture of who you are and how you’ll care for their dog. We’ve found that our top sitters have at least three testimonials.

Tell Dog Owners Why You're the Best Fit

Your profile contains three sections where you'll get to show what makes you a great sitter:

  • About Me
  • About My Client's Dogs
  • My Dog-Sitting Style

About Me

Now is the time to tell pet owners all about your experience with pets.

Topics to include:

  • Your own pets
  • Volunteer experience and prior professional experience with animals
  • Pet-related certifications like first aid, grooming, or training
  • Whether you work or have school part-time or full-time
  • How much time you'll spend at home with their dog

Topics to avoid:

  • Past illnesses of previous pets
  • Pet sitting just for the money (Rover isn't the right fit if this is your only motivation.)

About My Client's Dogs

Do you squeal over corgis? Do you love dogs with wrinkles? Share it! Your profile should include your preferences as well as your dealbreakers. Discuss what types of dogs (and other animals, if applicable) you’re willing to care for, including breeds, temperaments, and sizes you’re comfortable working with.

Be sure to also include any qualities you aren’t comfortable with, too, like dogs with separation anxiety or aggressive behaviors.

My Dog-Sitting Style

This is where you can really set your services apart. Get creative! What will make a dog's time with you amazing?

  • Will their dog get extra attention because you work from home or in a dog-friendly office?
  • Do you offer extra services like bathing?
  • Are you located next to great dog-friendly parks or restaurants?

Tip 2: How to Set Competitive Rates

We recommend searching your zip code to see what top sitters are charging. Set your rates $3-5 below what top sitters charge, and we suggest setting it to at least $30 for overnight services, at least $15 for walks and drop-in visits, and at least $20 for daycare. After you've started booking stays and receiving reviews, you can consider raising your rates. You can also charge more if you offer features like being with the dog full time, only taking one client at a time, and being highly responsive.

You can edit your rate for every stay, so feel free to customize the cost of additional services or animal care after talking with the pet owner.

 

Tip 3: How to Turn Stay Requests into Booked Stays

Pet owners will contact you directly through Rover, and your responses to those requests will make or break your dog-sitting business. Follow these tips to earn clients.

  • Respond within minutes: Top sitters respond within minutes using the Rover app or text message notifications.
  • Respond well: Review the dog's profile and ask any questions you have about the dog. Show enthusiasm in your reply! The initial conversation is the time to ask any questions that would be a dealbreaker, like whether the dog will get along with your cat. Don't wait until the Meet & Greet if you think there could be a reason you can't accept the stay.
  • Verify dates and services: Verify that you're not booked with other clients for those dates, or if you are, that both clients know that you have multiple stays. If you travel to the pet's home, verify whether you'll provide overnights, drop-in visits, or dog walking.
  • Offer a Meet & Greet right away: You'll only know what kind of stay you'll have by meeting the pets and their owners first.
  • Book as many of your requests as possible: Set yourself up for success by keeping your calendar up-to-date with any days you know you won't be free to care for dogs. Got dinner plans or long work days and think it may interfere with the stay? Just tell the owner and see how they feel before you assume you can't accept the booking.
  • Discuss every animal that will be in the home during the stay: Every client should know about your pets and any other pets that will be in your care during the stay, whether it's another dog or a guinea pig. If you're traveling to their dog's home, double-check that you know how to care for all the pets an owner might have.

Tip 4: How to Make a Great First Impression

The Meet & Greet is the time for you to learn whether a stay will be a good fit.

Here are some things to chat with the owner about:

  • Does the dog experience separation anxiety? Ask the owner if they're comfortable leaving the dog with you in the home for a few minutes so you can experience how the dog reacts firsthand.
  • Most dogs have little behavior quirks, like carrying their food bowls around before dinner time or barking at the mailman. The more you learn about potential problem behaviors, the easier it will be for you to prepare for them.
  • Introduce dogs on neutral territory. Instead of letting dogs greet in the doorway or in your yard, take them outside to a neutral place like the sidewalk. Give dogs enough leash so they can circle each other instead of greeting nose-to-nose. Separate them if they aren't getting along.
  • Verify pick-up and drop-off times. For stays in the dog owner's home, verify the plan for receiving the key and returning it, along with when you'll arrive and depart.

But what if I'm not comfortable with booking the stay?

We encourage you to let the dog owner know if you don’t think it’s a good fit. Thank them for taking the time to meet with you and offer kind words about their dog. Tell them it’s just as important to you as it is to them that their dog has the best experience possible during his Rover stay.

If the owner presses for reasons why, simply say that your experience has helped you develop a sense of whether it’s a good fit.

Tip 5: How to Book Stays and Get Paid

We charge the pet owner's credit card when you book the stay, even if the stay starts two months later, so you know you will get paid for your services.

Your payment will be deposited in your Rover Balance two days after the end of the stay, which you can redeem via PayPal or check.

Keep in mind that you keep 80% of the cost of a stay. The 20% fee for listing your services on Rover covers the insurance for booked stays, 24/7 emergency support, advertising to bring you clients, and building new features on the site. If you're a RoverGO sitter, you keep 75% of the cost of the stay. The 25% fee for listing as a RoverGO sitter covers all the features above, plus features to help launch your successful business like professional photography for your profile.

To continue advertising your services on Rover, you need to book each stay though Rover, whether it's with a new or repeat client. In return, we've got your back with our Support team, insurance, and training!

Tip 6: How to Provide Exceptional Pet Care

Pet owners chose you over a boarding facility or neighbor, and it's your job to show that you're more than just an animal lover: You're savvy, reliable, and show every pet the same level of care that they get from their own families.

Before the stay, verify that the dog’s care instructions are updated with:

  • Current vet information
  • An emergency contact who can make decisions for the dog while the owner is away. Make sure they’ll be reachable during the stay.
  • Other important care information, such as feeding instructions, bathroom routine, and exercise schedule.

During the stay, send daily photo or video updates to the owner that show how much fun their dog is having. Try to show activities like playing in the yard, cuddling, or going for hikes.

Your goal as a sitter should be to give a dog the same experience he gets at home, or one that's even better! Try to match the dog's routine, from potty breaks to the methods the owner uses to reward or correct behavior. Then throw in some extra fun to make the stay memorable for both the dog and the owner.

Create Your Safety Plan

Even if you have years of experience caring for dogs, it’s important to note that dog sitting is not like caring for your own dog, and unexpected things can happen. Creating a safety plan ensures smooth stays and happy dogs.

What do I do if a dog is lost, sick, or injured?

For emergency injuries or illnesses, take the dog to your local emergency vet right away.

Call Rover at 888-727-1140 immediately when a problem occurs during a stay. Take a moment now to put that number in your cell phone contact list. We're here to guide you, 24/7. After talking to the Rover team, contact the owner to let them know  what's going on.

Prevent Lost Dogs

  • Never leave a dog in a fenced yard alone. A dog left alone for only 5 minutes can hop the fence and be blocks away before you even realize it.
  • Put a second barrier like an exercise pen around the front door so a dog can't slip outside while you enter the house.
  • Block the opening of the house or car door to prevent dogs from slipping past your legs or jumping out of the car before you have hold of the leash.
  • Ask the owner if they have a harness you can use instead of just a collar. If the dog only has a collar, check that you can only fit two fingers under it.

Soothe Separation Anxiety

You can alleviate the symptoms of separation anxiety by:

  • Giving the dog lots of exercise. A tired dog is a happy dog!
  • Playing the radio if you need to leave the dog alone for a short time.
  • Giving the dog a frozen Kong toy with owner-approved treats in it.
  • Keeping arrivals and departures low-key. By keeping calm, you prevent the dog from getting excited and anxious when you leave.

Prevent Illnesses and Injuries

  • Supervise chew-toy time so a dog can't chew and swallow small pieces.
  • Separate dogs during feeding time, even if they are from the same family. Fights over food or high-value toys, like bones, are the number one cause of dog bites.
  • Be careful when approaching a dog with a high-value toy, or in a crate, as many dogs will guard these resources. If the dog seems uncomfortable, give him space.
  • Dog-proof the home to ensure poisonous foods aren't in dog-reach.

Tip 7: How to Build Your Ideal Business

Whether you want to watch a few dogs a month or make Rover your main source of income, we've got the tools to empower you to get the level of business you want.

Once your profile is approved, go to your dashboard. Under "Promote your Rover business and earn more money,"check out the tools we’ve created exclusively for sitters—they’re tested, effective strategies for promoting your business, meeting more clients, and earning more money.

Create a Custom Promo Code and Profile Link

Your custom promo code gives dog owners you’ve recruited to Rover $20 off their first stay—and Rover covers the discount, so you still get your full payment. If they book with a different sitter,you'll still get $10 for referring them to the site.

Your custom profile link is a shorter link to your profile that can be easily shared on social media, Craigslist, or printed on business cards (like this: www.rover.com/sit/EXAMPLE).

Your code should only be shared with dog owners that you bring to Rover through business cards, social media, or Craigslist, not on your public Rover profile or in Rover messages.

Want to learn more? View the full custom promo code and link terms of service.

Rover 101 - Quiz

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