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When I moved to the Seattle area of Washington, I was awe struck by the amazing scenery, plentiful outdoor activity, and outstanding dog culture.
I basked in the eclectic beauty of the Pacific Northwest, but was quickly brought back down to earth — I had never lived anywhere as expensive as Seattle. While my wages had slightly increased after I moved, I wasn’t making enough to save.
I took to the Internet to find a part-time job that would fit with my current schedule, and hopefully allow me to get outdoors.
Rover.com was seeking sitters in the Seattle area. I could actually make money hanging out with dogs in my own home?
I quickly learned that, while rewarding, dog sitting can take a lot of work.
If you’re willing to put the effort in to make money hanging out with dogs, then you can be successful as a dog sitter.
Here are my best tips for getting started as a dog sitter:
Build A Great Profile Online
First, set up an account on Rover.com, then click on Become a Sitter. You’ll be asked to provide information about yourself, your availability, and your experience with dogs. You’ll also need to pass a basic background check.
Next, show dog owners who you are, and why you’ll be a great sitter for their dog!
In your dog sitter profile, include:
- Clear pictures of your face. Owners want to know who they’ll be leaving their dog with.
- Pictures of your home (if you’re boarding their dog in your home).
- Details about what you’re good at. For example:
- Have you worked with diabetic dogs? Can you give insulin shots?
- Did you grow up with a Golden Retriever? Still have a soft spot for them?
- Are you able to be home all day, so their dog will always have a companion?
Prep Your Home And Your Calendar
Once you’re approved, your dog sitter profile is listed on Rover in your area, and you’re ready to start dog sitting.
This is the part, for me, that needed the most attention and revision. Hopefully my knowledge will help you.
These are my best tips:
- Decide now if there are certain house rules you want to adopt. Are you okay having dogs on your furniture, or bed? Are there certain areas of the house that dogs won’t be allowed — like the kitchen? Make sure to list these preferences on your dog sitter profile.
- Move (or secure) any breakable items in areas where the dogs will be. This is especially ideal if you’re going to host more than one dog at a time, or if you have a dog of your own as well. Dogs get rowdy when they play.
- If you have a fenced backyard, make sure your fence is escape-proof by filling holes around it and replacing any broken panels.
- Have extra dog bowls for water and food. Sometimes dog owners forget to bring their own. This will ensure that you don’t have to use your own cereal bowls.
- Invest in a quality vacuum cleaner and cleaning supplies. Fur happens. So do accidents.
- Decide which days within the year (holidays, summer vacation, etc.) you don’t want to take dogs. Dog sitting is seasonal, and dog owners tend to book far in advance for holidays. Once you figure out your availability, add it to your dog sitting calendar on Rover — so you’re not listed in the search results during those times. (But if you are going to be available during holidays, know that you’ll get to charge holiday rates!)
- Make sure you have enough time to care for a dog. It’s often expected by the dog’s owner that a pet sitter will keep to the dog’s normal routine. If your schedule isn’t flexible, consider accepting dogs that can wait longer to go to the bathroom, or aren’t too hooked on a specific routine. Be transparent with dog owners about what you can offer and only book what fits your schedule.
Start Making Extra Money!
How much money you make entirely depends on how you set your rates and your schedule.
Dog sitting rates in large cities — like New York, Los Angeles, and Seattle — are usually higher than in smaller cities.
You’ll probably want to start out charging a lower rate. This makes it easier to quickly gain some experience and build a reputation. Once you’ve got some reviews on your profile talking about what a great dog sitter you are, you can raise your rates.
To give you an idea of how much money you can make from dog sitting… if you accept more than one dog at a time and your rates are competitive for a larger city, by booking every weekend you could make over $500 a month!
Just remember, Rover takes 20% from your earnings. Factoring this fee into your prices is common for pet sitters.
Dog sitting has many rewards — especially if you’re prepared. I hope that you have a great time as a dog sitter!
Courtney is our guest contributor. She’s a dog sitter at Rover.com who lives in Seattle, Washington.
I like to help Dog Parents find unique ways to do things that will save time & money — so I write about "outside the box" Dog Tips and Dog Hacks that most wouldn't think of. I’m a lifelong dog owner — currently have 2 mixed breed Golden Aussies that we found abandoned on the side of the road as puppies. I've always trained my own dogs and help friends train theirs, as well. Professionally, I worked at a vet and have several friends who are veterinarians — whom I consult with regularly. (And just because I love animals so much, I also worked at a Zoo for awhile!) I've been sharing my best ideas with others by blogging full-time since 1998 (the same year that Google started… and before the days of Facebook and YouTube). My daily motivation is to help first-time dog owners be better prepared from the first day your new puppy enters your home. I like to help dog owners understand what's 'normal' and what you can expect in terms of living with and training your dog — how to get through the ups & downs of potty training, chewing, teaching commands, getting your dog to listen, and everything else that takes place during that hectic first year! When I'm not training, walking, grooming, or making homemade treats for my dogs, you will find me at the corner of Good News & Fun Times as publisher of The Fun Times Guide (32 fun & helpful websites). To date, I've written over 500 articles for dog owners on this site!