For dog caregivers, is PetSitter worth it?
From Rover to Wag to its competitors, which ones make the most sense?
About a year into contract work with Wag! and Rover, a dog walking company offered me a regular, part-time job. I never expected it. In 2019, dog walking was just a hobby I completed once a week to get exercise while working from home. My prior condo board voted against having dogs, but I missed having a four-legged animal who couldn’t care less about personal space. Dog walking and dog sitting were my happy medium.
For this part-time job though, I would’ve had to drop all of my other regulars and exclusively walk two or three dogs on a daily basis at a specified time for that company. I would’ve loved the stability of this job if I hadn’t already befriended a few Wag! dogs and two Rover dogs. I turned it down. Even after I adopted Junee in the summer of 2021, and she was fully trained, I missed the freedom of meeting and strolling around with a bunch of different (and familiar) dogs. By 2022, I rejoined Wag (and returned to Rover this week). The more dogs, the merrier.
Is dog caregiving a lucrative job?
People want dogs, but they also have jobs. They’re going to have to work their tails off to find remote work or find a job in the neighborhood. Otherwise, hire a dog walker so the dog can continue with a regular schedule. (This is especially important for dogs with separation anxiety.) Dog walkers and dog caregivers will always be needed. That’s not something artificial intelligence (so far) can take over.
But 2020 created a new problem. All of those office employees were at home again. Non-essential workers scrambled to find essential jobs or stood in the unemployment line. But the dogs still had to be fed, walked and groomed. Dog walking, dog boarding and dog caregiving jobs dried up for about two years. Owners were at home to take care of the day-to-day needs themselves. (One of my biggest and longtime clients for a couple years was an educator, who already requested a break during summer months. When schools shut down, she didn’t need me at all.)
That made dog caregivers get creative, looking into other (and less popular) dog walking services.
Are dog walking jobs easy to get?
The more popular dog walking platforms have stricter guidelines to join, and dog owners flock to them. They’re also reasonably trustworthy when it comes to letting a complete stranger into your home and hoping your dog doesn’t bite him or her. Wag! partners with Vetty, a third-party background check provider, for comprehensive background checks. Rover uses Sterling.
Some other platforms, such as the United Kingdom’s PetSitter.com, leave the background check responsibility in the hands of the owner. (Pet caregivers could always publish their own background checks from sites like TruthFinder.com, but I take this site with a grain of salt. After running my own background check, the waiting process and all the “shocking” alerts felt like reading a tabloid. I don’t have one graphic photo anywhere on the Internet [unless you count a safe sex pic I took of a bra with condoms on it]. But Truth Finder will make you think everybody is a prostitute on their off days from robbing liquor stores.
Regardless of that, if you’re a caregiver who doesn’t want to deal with the dog caregiving vetting process or find yourself preferring to work on your own, are sites like PetSitter.com worth it? Would it make sense to pay $8.83 per month ($106 annually), $17.33 per month for three months (or $52 every three months), or $36 for one month to find potential clients? Or, test out PetSitter.com’s free option?