Need to find a dog walker or pet sitter?
There are four places you can find one. Out of the four, our top recommendation is Rover. However, when you travel a lot and have flexible dates, we also recommend TrustedHousesitters. Here’s why.
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We start with a fundamental premise that companies that treat workers right get the best people. And Rover has been providing attractive opportunities for pet enthusiasts for more than a decade. Every dog-walker, pet-sitter, trainer, and pet-groomer on the site sets his or her own rates, availability and basic terms.
And the site takes a reasonable commission, ranging from 20-25%, for providing marketing and collection services for them.
Rover vs. Wag
That differs from the site’s main competitor, Wag, which takes a 40% commission on every service. Wag used to also set service rates. But it now allows “dynamic pricing” — i.e. it allows dog-walkers and pet-sitters to set their own rates. However, the site still pops the 40% on top, which hikes customer prices steeply.
In other words, if a dog-walker wants to earn $20 per walk, that will cost the customer $25 at Rover and $33 at Wag.
Happy sitter, happy pets
Better yet, because there’s such a vibrant and growing community of pet enthusiasts on Rover, customers can often find real bargains. Why? Newcomers to this site often offer cut rates in order to build their business and gather customer reviews. It’s an effective way to compete with people who have been providing pet services for years and have hundreds of positive reviews. Thus, you’re far more likely to find a good sitter at a bargain rate at Rover too.
You can sign up with Rover and get a $10 discount on your first service here.
Wealth of services
Secondly, the wealth of sitters at Rover offers dramatic variety — much like your pets.
Need somebody who can handle your medically-fragile pet? A good number of sitters on this site are capable of administering medicines. Have a big dog that’s used to sleeping on the sofa? A local Rover sitter almost certainly has a couch to share. Got little dogs that are skittish around bigger animal? Rover has plenty of sitters who specialize in small breeds.
In fact, when you sign up to provide services here, you’re asked what kind of pets you’re interested in taking care of. And freelancers set up their profiles to emphasize these differences. When customers come to the site, they’re directed to sitters based on their animal type and location. It makes it easy to find just the right person for your individual pet.
Rover vs. Nextdoor
It’s worth noting that Nextdoor, a free neighborhood social media site, can sometimes help you find pet-sitters too. However, these come by way of word-of-mouth referral. You post a query like: Anyone know a good pet-sitter? And one or more of your neighbors might chime in to say that they watch pets or know someone who does.
But, where you can see reviews of pet-sitters on Rover, you have to trust referrals on Nextdoor. If you’ve got a dog that’s skittish or prone to escape, se think Rover is a safer choice.
Rover vs. TrustedHousesitters
The one other option that we also recommend for pet-sitting is TrustedHousesitters. The people who sign up here do not charge. They are essentially watching your pets and watering your plants in exchange for free accommodations.
You, the homeowner, sign up at this site and list when you want to go on vacation. Then travelers, who also register here, contact you and you arrange a swap. You give them your keys and access to your house in exchange for them taking care of your pets and, perhaps, picking up your mail and watering your plants while you’re gone.
There’s an annual fee to sign up for both homeowners and clients. However, if you’re going away for a long stretch — anything over a week. The annual fee is likely to be far less than the cost of a dog-sitter. Sitters also pay an annual fee. But, it’s far less than the cost of accommodations, so everyone gets a bargain.
To be specific, the fees range from $129 to $319, depending on the services you want. The higher fee comes with access to both house sits and house sitters, plus veterinary video conferencing. The high-end plan may be worth the cost if you have a medically fragile pet.
The caveat? People who pet sit through Trusted are international travelers, who are looking for a vacation and may have specific dates in mind. So you may need to be flexible with your vacation dates to find a house sitter that suits your trip. Short trips, like a long weekend, and anything spur-of-the-moment may also be tough to schedule through TrustedHousesitters.
That said, if you’re a retiree loves to travel and can travel whenever you want, TrustedHousesitters can be an exceptionally cost-effective choice. You can sign up for TrustedHousesitters here.
For shorter trips that are on a schedule, Rover is a great fall back.