There are an estimated 900 million dogs in the world, making them one of the most beloved pets across the globe. Adorable, loyal, and friendly, they make great pets, and people (like you and me) love them!
In semi-recent years, apps like Rover have come onto the scene to connect pet owners with pet lovers who are trying to make a few extra bucks spending time with furry friends.
If you’ve considered getting on board with them, you might be wondering if Rover is a legit dog walking app or simply another scam.
Thankfully, it’s not a scam. You can really get paid to walk and care for other people’s dogs (and cats, too!).
But before you go jumping on board with Rover, we will take you through all the highs and lows of this company so you can decide for yourself if it’s something you want to get involved in.
Rover was founded in 2011 in Seattle, Washington by Greg Gottesman, Aaron Easterly, and Philip Kimmey.
It’s an app that connects pet owners with pet caretakers and has been dubbed the “dog BNB.”
They offer services such as dog sitting, dog boarding, doggy day care, and dog walking – even drop-in visits.
These services are also extended to cats, except the walking and doggy day care aspects.
Rover was started to be a middleman, connecting pet sitters and dog walkers to pet owners looking for those services. According to Rover’s website, they’re in over 34,000 cities and have over 300,000 sitters who offer services through them.
And they aren’t doing too bad financially, either. Rover has an estimated revenue of $120 million per year.
The company has had a few rounds of investment funding, but they make most of their money through the percentages that they take off the pay from the sitters and walkers.
Requirements for Dog Walkers
If you want to be a caretaker through Rover, you’ll need to sign up on their website, apply, get approved, and start accepting requests. It sounds simple enough, but you do need to meet a few specific requirements in order to get approved to work with them.
You’ll make your account profile first, which will then need to get approved before you can move forward. Thankfully, this process only takes about five business days.
The main requirement you’ll need to meet after that is passing a criminal background check. And according to some users who have tried to apply and been denied, any criminal history (even from years ago) could negatively impact your chances of being approved.
You’ll have to pay $10 for the background check, which is through a company called Checkr, and it’s non-refundable.
Safety Features for the Pet Owners
Rover offers some features that aim to give pet owners comfort that their pet and home will be safe while their pets are being taken care of. This is where the background check comes in.
Pet owners will also have access to any and all reviews that are left on your profile, and they’ll be able to view those before they request a walker/sitter.
This feature obviously makes sense for the pet owner’s comfort, but it can be a hindrance if someone leaves you a bad review – especially if there was only a misunderstanding, a one-time minor mistake, or the reviewer left a negative rating on accident.
This could negatively impact your chances of getting hired in the future by others, especially if you get a negative or neutral review early on.
Another big feature that Rover offers is what they call the “Rover Guarantee.”
This is basically insurance that they offer in case a pet gets injured while in your care as a walker or sitter. It claims they will cover up to $25,000 for vet bills and $1,000,000 for pet owner’s property damage and third-party injuries per claim.
Earning Money with Rover
Rover’s pay structure is simple: you do the work and you get paid for it. They allow workers to set their own rates for sitting and walking.
Most people set rates at $40 a night for boarding and sitting, and between $20-$50 for a 30-minute walk.
Rover pays workers via PayPal with no fee and immediate pay, or by check with a $2 fee and up to 25 total days of waiting until you receive it.
And technically, Rover doesn’t pay you. The pet owners pay Rover and your percentage goes into your account, and you then have to “withdraw” the money from the app. That takes 1-4 days after withdrawal if you go through PayPal.
And Rover does take a 20% fee out of whatever the walkers charge, so keep that in mind when setting your prices.
What Are Others Saying?
If you’re looking to become a dog walker or pet sitter through Rover, there’s no better way to know what you’re getting into than by reading reviews from others.
The good news is that there have been many workers from Rover leaving positive reviews. Many claim that Rover is an “excellent choice” and a “trustworthy company.” Lots of people also appreciate that they can make their own hours and set their own rates.
And while the many good reviews shed a positive light on Rover, there’s always two sides to the same story – and there definitely are negative reviews out there.
Honestly, most of the bad reviews for Rover seem kind of petty, with many people complaining that they take a (somewhat) high percentage of your pay. Many unhappy walkers/sitters also cite the lack of support from the company as a huge negative.
Whether those issues are a dealbreaker or not depends on the person and their individual experiences. However, there is a dark side that should be considered by every potential dog walker before they sign up.
Rover has been the subject of not a few news articles, and even a lawsuit.
For example, a woman named Colleen Nolan left her blind dog, Mooshu, in the care of a Rover pet sitter while on a work trip – only to get a call saying the dog had fallen off a second story porch to its death.
To further the issue, Rover offered to cover only half the expenses incurred, including vet bills, cremation, and a new dog – equally only $2,600. And they even put a condition on it: she had to sign a strict confidentiality agreement.
Besides being a sad story, this poses a potential issue. Of course, as noted above, Rover states that they offer a “Rover Guarantee,” which claims to cover far more than what was supposedly offered to Ms. Nolan.
While this didn’t happen in the aforementioned scenario, the concern is that if something happened to a pet in your care on accident, and Rover didn’t fully cover it, the pet owner might try to come after you instead to cover the costs.
And that wasn’t the first time a dog was killed in the care of a Rover caretaker. In fact, Rover faced a lawsuit in California filed by attorney Robert Tauler, in which Rover “refused to reveal the number of dogs killed or injured while under their dog sitters’ care.”
Is It A Scam?
No, Rover is not a scam because they do pay out workers for what they do.
That being said, that doesn’t mean that Rover is the best company to work with. You may work for them and be a great pet sitter/walker, but if something happens out of your control, it seems like you could potentially be blamed, and you wouldn’t want any of that.
What I Like
- You get to set your own rates
- Easy application process
- Lots of people enjoy working for them
What I Didn’t Like
- There is cause for concern about Rover’s response to deaths of pets
- There have been many reports of dog deaths and injuries in the care of Rover sitters and walkers
In the end, Rover is a legit dog walking app because they do actually pay you for walking or sitting dogs. If you’re a good worker, then the pet owners actually get the service they pay for, and you can get good reviews.
But, there are quite a few problems with what has happened with workers and people’s pets, and Rover’s responses to these issues have not been reassuring. Whether or not you go to work for Rover is your choice, but if you’re concerned about it, there are other ways to make money involving pets.