Pet-sitting gigs are skyrocketing, providing animal lovers the perfect side-hustle trifecta: decent wages, flexible hours and unlimited on-the-job snoot booping.
According to an analysis by The Penny Hoarder of U.S. Census Bureau data, part-time, nonfarm-animal caretaker (aka pet-sitting) jobs increased 82.4% between 2007 and 2017.
That growth can, in part, be attributed to the rise in pet-sitting and dog-walking apps to hit the market in recent years.
We took a look at the top pet-service apps — zeroing in on the two most popular, Rover vs Wag — scoured their reviews and considered other factors like available locations, pay and more to help narrow down which app is right for your next side gig.
Rover vs Wag — The Ultimate Pet-Sitting Showdown
Let’s cut to the chase. The most popular dog-walking apps out there are Rover and Wag, and for good reason. Customers and sitters seem to love them. Together, they’ve amassed more than 200,000 reviews, and the majority are positive.
Here’s how they square up.
|Pay||$12 to $16 an hour*||$16 an hour*|
|Services||Pet boarding, pet sitting, dog walking and general house sitting.||Dog walking, sitting and boarding.|
|Pros||Available in all 50 states. Sitters and walkers set their own prices. Reviewed more than 178,000 times. Services available for other animals. Vet care and property protections in case of emergencies.||Fixed rates for services. Property protections in case of emergency. Donates one meal to a dog food bank per walk.|
|Cons||Users report difficulty with scheduling holidays and canceling booked services. Protections don’t cover injuries for workers. Lower pay for some services.||Insurance doesn’t cover pet or worker injuries. Reported customer-service issues. Dogs only. Currently available in 47 states.|
*Pay is based on estimates from Glassdoor reviews. Rover allows its workers to set their own prices while Wag uses a fixed-price system. Hourly rates vary by location and service provided.
Other Dog-Walking Apps You May Not Know About
There’s more to pet sitting than Rover and Wag. Here are some other apps and platforms that may have gone under your radar.
Founded in 2006, Care.com has expanded to be the largest family care platform, according to its website. “Family care” is a broad phrase that includes child care, senior care, tutoring, housekeeping and, yes, pet-related services.
Care.com works like most freelance platforms, where you can create a profile for free, list your expertise and set your hourly rates. There is a paid membership option, which gives access to additional features that improve your profile’s visibility and grant early access to job listings.
Because of the broad nature of the site, speciality services like pet grooming and training are acceptable. Additional certifications and experience can boost your credibility and hourly rates as well.
Fetch! Pet Care
For a more official employment opportunity, you can walk, sit and board pets through Fetch! Pet Care. The company is technically a franchise business that operates in 25 states plus Washington, D.C. You must get screened, trained and employed by individual franchise locations before connecting with pet owners through Fetch’s app.
But the upside is that some locations consider you a W-2 employee, so you’ll have basic worker protections if a pet gets too rowdy.
PetBacker is an international pet service referral app. It operates in 50 countries and, similar to freelance websites, is free to sign up and list services. Sitting gigs are available wherever customers are searching for them.
Once a customer books and pays for your service, PetBacker charges you a fee between 18% and 20%, depending on how many jobs you’ve completed.
Some critical reviews mention that the sign-up process is tedious, as each service you plan to provide must be fully explained up front. And registration must be completed on the app, not on the website. Accepted services include pet sitting, boarding, walking and more.
When Sittercity launched in 2001, it was limited to Boston residents. In a few short years, the sitter-service job board expanded nationwide. While it’s overall geared toward child care, you can select additional areas to specialize in such as pet sitting.
Profiles are free to create, but you’ll have the option to purchase and display a background check to prospective customers. Alternatively, customers may choose to run background checks on you, as well. Background checks run from $15 to $80.
One notable difference is that Sittercity doesn’t handle any payments, meaning it doesn’t charge sitters any service or listing fees. That also means the method of payment must be agreed upon by you and the customer. Hourly rates vary by service and location.
Another thing to note is that Android users report a poor experience on the app, citing location issues and general glitches, whereas iPhone users tend to have a much better experience.
Disclosure: Rover is a client of The Penny Hoarder, but the information in this story was neither reviewed nor approved by the company.
Adam Hardy is a staff writer at The Penny Hoarder. He specializes in ways to make money that don’t involve stuffy corporate offices. Read his latest articles here, or say hi on Twitter @hardyjournalism.