What Is Rover.com?

By Derek Lakin
HighYa Staff Published on: Aug 16, 2017

As the nation’s largest network of its kind, Rover.com is an award-winning technology business that promises to help match you and your four-legged friends with more than 85,000 pet sitters and dog walkers in over 10,000 cities. Specifically, the site provides easy access to services like:

  • Dog boarding, where your dog stays overnight in the sitter’s home
  • House sitting, where the sitter stays overnight at your home
  • 30-minute dog walks
  • Doggy day care, where your dog only stays at the sitter’s house during the day
  • Drop-in visits that allow sitters to check in on your pet during the day

To use the site, you’ll need to choose a service, browse different profiles, and then connect with any professionals you’re interested in. Then, you can book the appointment and pay securely.

There’s no doubt that you love your dog. But will Rover.com help you live your life easier than the competition? Are there any important considerations to keep in mind? Let’s start off with how you’ll use the site and app.

How Does Rover.com Work?

We found Rover.com extremely easy to use. We just entered a zip code, chose the service we needed, indicated the start and end dates, and selected dog size (small: 0-15 lbs, medium: 16-40 lbs, large: 41-100 lbs, giant: 100+ lbs).

From there, we were shown a list of potential matches, along with their name, general location, price, star rating, and recent reviews (if any available). To the right of these results, there was also a map indicating each person’s location.

From there, we could further filter these results by the rate per night, sitter information (e.g. whether or not they own a dog, have children, have a house, hold a dog first-aid certification, etc.), and other services like puppy care and bathing and grooming.

Rover.com Results ScreenRover.com allows users to quickly search for dog care professionals within 10,000+ cities and filter results based on important criteria. Image credit: Rover.com

Clicking on any listed profiles will display the professional’s reviews, prices for other services they offer (if available), response rate and time, preferences, availability, and the ability to contact them.

There were dozens of sitters listed when we searched and across all kinds of price ranges, so it seemed to provide a meaningful array of options.

How does the app play into all of this?

Taking a Closer Look at Rover’s App

It appears that Rover’s iOS and Android apps are largely an extension of the website’s dashboard, so you’ll be able to book and track services, list your dogs, and view your available balance. You’ll also be able to communicate with and receive updates from your sitters, including receiving service report cards, which are accompanied by maps and photos.

As a service provider, you’ll also be able to provide your customers with the duration and distance of your walks, any pee, poo, food, and water breaks, as well as any additional notes.

Rover App Screen ShotThe Rover app allows service providers to send report cards to clients, including distances and maps, notes, and pictures. Image credit: Apple Corporation

What About Safety & Insurance When Using Rover.com?

As a dog lover myself, one of my first questions when researching Rover was, “How will my buddy be protected?” Furthermore, since they’ll also likely be in my home, “How are service providers screened? Is any insurance provided?”

Rover Service Provider Screening

According to the Rover website, sitters are required to complete an in-depth profile, “including details about their pet care experience, upload photos, request testimonials, and pass safety quizzes and a background check.” Based on this alone, we’re told that less than 20 percent of people who start a profile are approved.

Furthermore, all new sitters and dog are subjected to a background check, which will be displayed as a badge on their profile. Here, you’ll also find photos of their home, pets, and past stays, as well as reviews from past clients.

Even before booking, you can schedule a meet and greet through the website, where you can have a face-to-face meeting and ask questions about important topics to you. This service is completely free and does not obligate you in any way.

Pet Insurance & Other Services Provided by Rover.com

All services booked through Rover are automatically covered by pet owners insurance, which is valid “for injuries to the pet owner's pet(s) in the sitter or dog walker's care, custody, and control.”

Coverage is also available for “injuries to the sitter or dog walker's resident pet(s) as a direct result of contact with the pet owner's pet,” as well as general liability for “bodily injury to a person other than the sitter, dog walker, pet owner.”

Despite this coverage, the Rover website emphasizes that there are several exceptions (e.g. damage to the sitter or dog walker's personal property, damage made or medical care required as a result of meet and greet, etc.).

Furthermore, this coverage is considered secondary, which means it likely won’t kick in until other insurance (such as liability available under a homeowner’s or renter’s policy) is exhausted. Or, if underlying coverage is non-existent.

In addition to insurance, Rover’s sitters and dog walkers have access to veterinarians and other pet care professional if a health or medical issue arises, along with a dedicated Trust & Safety team who’s available 24/7.

How Much Do Rover’s Services Cost?

As a client, the exact price you pay will depend on the service you need, as well as the specific prices of your chosen provider. During our research, prices ranged anywhere from under $20 to well over $80.

However, clients can book and pay directly on the site or through the app, where all credit card information is encrypted and never shared. This way, you won't have to worry about tips, writing checks, or having cash on hand.

Each sitter will classify their cancellation policy as strict, moderate, or flexible. Depending on this, your refund—if any—will be applied to your account within one to three days should you need to cancel. The company also offers a Rover Reservation Guarantee, which means if your provider cancels at the last minute, they’ll work to find you a new one.

As a service provider, the company claims you could earn $1,000 per month, with payments that are automatically applied to your account. Rover will take 25 percent of your earnings as a fee.

What Are Rover Clients Saying in Their Reviews?

We found a whole lot of online customer feedback for Rover at the time of our research. For example, on TrustPilot, the company had more than 3,300 individual reviews and an average rating of 9.6 stars (excellent).

There, most compliments appeared to revolve around ease of use, as well as the quality of the service providers and the peace of mind they provide. Complaints (what few there were) frequently referenced poor service and dog injuries.

Among more than 6,000 combined reviews across iTunes and Google Play, the Rover app had a similar average rating of about 4.5 stars, with many of the same compliments found on TrustPilot. Many older complaints (again, of the few listed) referenced functionality concerns, which admittedly could have been addressed in more recent updates.

From a company perspective, Rover had an A+ Better Business Bureau rating, based on 38 reviews (92 percent of which were negative) and 33 closed complaints as of 8/9/17. These ranged from customer service and provider issues, to injuries and refund problems.

What else do we know about the company?

Who Founded Rover?

Based out of Seattle, WA, Rover was founded in 2011 by CEO Aaron Easterly, board member Greg Gottesman, and Director of Software Development Philip Kimmey.

Previously, Aaron graduated from Harvard and worked as a General Manager for Microsoft, and Philip was a Technology and Public Policy intern at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, DC.

Currently, Greg also works as Managing Director for Pioneer Square Labs and as a Venture Partner with Madrona Venture Group.

Most recently, the company reported a $65 million round of funding led by Spark Capital.

Our Interview With Rover

We had the opportunity to email several questions over to Rover’s Community Manager. Here’s what we learned from their response:

What kinds of background checks are run on new sitters and walkers?

Furthermore, what kinds of information might disqualify an applicant? After initial hiring, are service providers’ backgrounds re-screened at any point?

Although few specifics were provided, they told us that all “background checks are completed via Checkr and include the national criminal database, sex offender registries, and global watch lists."

Compared to the competition, what are the top three factors that differentiate Rover?

In a nutshell, they told us Rover’s main difference is that it “connects pet parents with dog people in their neighborhood.”

Anyone looking for a pet care provider can easily find, message, and book through the company’s straightforward website and app, and the sheer number of sitters available means it’s “easy to book pet care you can trust, no matter where you go.”

They also emphasized that every service provided by Rover is backed by premium insurance, 24/7 support, and the company’s reservation guarantee.

What’s the biggest challenge that Rover currently faces?

The manager let us know that the company’s biggest hurdle—and their biggest opportunity—is to increase awareness that solutions like Rover exist.

“Generally, dog owners only use a commercial solution 10 percent of the time when they travel,” they noted. “The majority relies on friends, family, and neighbors. However, that is changing, since our data shows 65 percent of users are people who, prior to Rover, would not have used a commercial service to watch their pet.”

What updates/additions does Rover have in store for the future?

While they didn’t note anything specific, the manager emphasized that Rover has “a number of things in development, and we plan to grow our suite of offerings that make it easier than ever to be a pet parent.”

Rover vs. Other Dog Sitting & Walking Services

While Rover claims—and certainly seems to be, based on our research—the “largest network of 5-star pet sitters and dog walkers,” there were several national search engines competing for the same customers. These included:

WagWalking – Perhaps the service most similar to Rover, they also offer site access, iOS and Android apps, and the ability to search for walkers and sitters and filter results. Users can schedule meet and greets if they need recurring walks, track walks via GPS, receive reports (including pictures) after each one, and book overnight stays.

WagWalking is insured and bonded, although it doesn’t appear they perform background checks on their providers like Rover. However, they do claim to “thoroughly vet and test all our walkers on dog-handling experience.”

Based on a cursory review, though, they don’t appear to be as extensive as Rover.

Care.com – Another extensive site that allows users to search by location, browse profiles, view rates, learn about a provider's years of experience, as well as their qualifications. Most ranged between $10 and $15 per hour at the time of our research.

DogWalker.com – While searchable, this site only relates to dog walkers (no sitters, day checks, etc.). Furthermore, they seemed to be more of an advertising service, since providers were required to pay to list their services.

How to choose the right option for you? Writing for CesearsWay.com, Josh Weiss-Roessler indicates that, when searching for a dog walker, sitter, or other professional, you’ll want to:

  • Ask for recommendations and read online reviews
  • Meet with potential candidates, including with your dog
  • Ask logistical questions, such as where your dog will be walked, how long they’ll be, if they can accommodate special needs or requests, and so forth
  • The provider’s training and background experience
  • Finally, go for a test walk

Our Final Thoughts About Rover

Given these criteria, it seems like several of the competitors we mentioned in the previous section could fit the bill, although services that allow you to read reviews and detailed profiles, such as Rover, WagWalking, and Care.com, might make the process easier.

And the fact that many professionals are screened and/or tested prior to being employed can be a bonus.

But if you’re looking for the widest number of professionals across most aspects of dog care while you’re away, it might be difficult to beat Rover. We found their site easy to use and their service completely free, so you won’t have much more to lose than a few minutes of your time by giving them a try.

In addition, based on our experience, their willingness to answer questions and openness indicates they place a solid emphasis on creating informed customers.

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24 Consumer Reviews for Rover.com

Average Consumer Rating: 1.1
Rating Snapshot:
5 star: 0 4 star: 1 3 star: 0 2 star: 0 1 star:  23
Bottom Line: 4% would recommend it to a friend
Showing 1-11 of 24
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  • 2 out 2 people found this review helpful

    Dog sitter failed to see signs of sickness

    • North Carolina,
    • Jul 13, 2018
    • Verified Reviewer

    This dog sitter required my dog wear a flea and tick dog collar. I told her my dog is sensitive and gets easily sick on these. She insisted. She also INSISTED she wear it at night when she slept! My dog started getting sick, and her responses were odd. The pics clearly showed she was sick. While I was over 2000 miles away, I had someone rescue her from this apathetic woman. My dog is now feeling better, after vomiting for two days.

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

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  • 2 out 2 people found this review helpful

    Horrible experience. Horrible customer service. Horrible company.

    • Denver, CO,
    • Jul 13, 2018
    • Verified Reviewer

    We had a very bad experience with Rover. To make a long story short, the person watching our dog lost the dog three hours after we dropped her off. The next morning, we got a call from the police that the dog had been found dead. The sitter felt horrible and compensated us a substantial amount of money for the new dog.

    I reached out to Rover asking if they would be willing to compensate the remaining $250. The initial reply that I received from them told me that we'd heard from our assigned Trust & Safety person within 24-48 hours. Two weeks later, we finally got an email telling us that they Rover Guarantee doesn't cover compensation for new pets. The guarantee will cover vet bills up to $25,000, but there's nothing in the guarantee to offer compensation for the death of a pet due to negligence by the sitter. I asked if they would reconsider and reminded them that they would have been willing to pay a substantial amount of money for vet bills had our dog just been injured. So, I asked if they'd be willing to take $250 that they would have been willing to pay for vet bills and apply it to the purchase price of our new pet. I was told that they are unable to do that.

    Any time a company says they are "unable" to do something, it drives me crazy. "Unwilling" would be a more appropriate word. There is ALWAYS something a company can do. They just chose not to.

    So, what I learned is that the Rover Guarantee covers a lot of things. However, if the sitter loses your dog and the dog ends up dying due to their negligence, that's not covered. Some guarantee. I would caution anyone to think twice before using this service. Their guarantee is severely lacking. Check the reviews online. There are numerous stories just like mine. I'm sure that most of the pet sitting arrangements go smoothly. But, for those of us who are unfortunate enough to experience the death of a pet, I guess we're on our own.

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

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  • 1 out 1 people found this review helpful

    Legit scam

    • Washington, DC,
    • Jul 10, 2018
    • Verified Reviewer

    I've dog sat three different dogs. The first dog was easy going and followed direction but also had diarrhea because of her food and pooped all over the rooftop concrete floors because she could not seem to poop on grass. The second smelled so bad and kept trying to jump on my bed after I've put in my profile that dogs are not allowed on furniture in my home. The owners never pay attention to your personal requests they just immediately try to book. This dog was also a rescue dog, which wasn't mentioned until her owner dropped her off, so she pooped all over my apartment. My third dog really had an attachment issue and cried even when I was right there with her (she may have missed her owners) but also was shedding really bad and got nervous and pooped A LOT IN MY LIVING ROOM all over the floor. Yes, I take the dogs out two times a day, and yes they go, but this is getting ridiculous at this point because these dogs have issues and it's going unmentioned! Be prepared to have your place ruined! And stinky!

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

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  • 2 out 2 people found this review helpful

    Don't trust your pet with Rover

    • San Francisco, CA,
    • Jul 10, 2018
    • Verified Reviewer

    Rover is a gig economy platform that enables stay-at-home drug addicts. I've been on 12 meet-and-greets. Ten of the twelve were serious drug users. There are some honest people trying to make extra cash or make ends meet, but in the Bay Area, it's drug addicts filling rooms with dogs.

    When dogs are returned in poor condition or injured like mine was, Rover hides behind the platform and placates the customer while protecting their income source - the providers.

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

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  • 2 out 2 people found this review helpful

    Do not use company

    • Portland, OR,
    • Jul 2, 2018
    • Verified Reviewer

    I had a dog walker Rebecca come into my house and steal my rent out of a drawer she had no business going in.

    This is the response I got:

    "While the Rover Guarantee does not assist with theft, we do take these matter very seriously and will be conducting a full review of the situation. With your permission, we will request a written statement from Rebecca regarding her time with June Bug in order to address your concerns. As safety is our top priority, we will be reviewing Rebecca's profile and past stays, and taking action where necessary. Of course, any additional feedback you can provide would be very helpful in our review."

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

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  • 4 out 5 people found this review helpful

    They win on small print

    • Las Vegas, NV,
    • Jun 26, 2018
    • Verified Reviewer

    I called and made contact. Scheduled a stay for my two dogs. I wanted to look at the sitter's site before I brought my dogs there. After viewing the site, I called and canceled. It was a small home with multiple dogs and no space. I have two larger dogs. They stuck me for half the fees because of their cancellation policy, even though I had to wait to view the site for the sitters earliest convenience.

    When I inquired, they told me too bad, it’s beyond the cancellation period. It’s a scam, with poor customer service and obviously more interested in getting the first dollar than developing long-term, profitable business. I will never use this service again and recommend that others seek services elsewhere.

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

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  • 3 out 3 people found this review helpful

    Don't trust them

    • New Jersey,
    • Jun 17, 2018
    • Verified Reviewer

    I booked someone who works for this company to stay with my pet dog. Not only did the girl Laura didn't show up the company, they don't allow you to write a bad review about them, so all you see is good reviews. They weren't trying to help me it's all about making their company look good.

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

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  • 3 out 5 people found this review helpful

    Bad

    • California,
    • May 28, 2018
    • Verified Reviewer

    I made plans for a month to go visit my brother for two days, so three weeks in advance I scheduled and paid for my days with Rover to board my dog. Two days before my trip I received an email with a cancellation. Not happy! So now what? I won't be using them in the future. I understand things happen, but this was not a good experience for my first time using this company. Sorry Rover.com.

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

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  • 8 out 8 people found this review helpful

    Lack of experience

    • Broomfield, CO,
    • May 18, 2018
    • Verified Reviewer

    This is a warning about one of Rover.com "sitters" if you live in the Broomfield, Colorado area.

    We made a huge mistake of trusting a sitter "Barbara" she claimed to have experience with older dogs, the night before our trip she started verbally expressing Rover was her second job priority and disregarded our detailed instructions and continued to ignore his care and contact with us was limited.

    We had to put him in daycare last minute to assure his care while she worked at her top priority job.

    We lost our dog upon arrival home, she wasn't feeding him any of the food we left, he ended up in Emergency care costing us $3000 (no regret on that for his excellent care). Northside Clinic.

    Our Vet at the Animal Doctor wasn't much help as she did not know the scope of his neglect even as we called and sent concerns and was ready to come home early. Since his death, we have had several people share their similar losses from her and also Vet involved.

    Please do not hire this women and Rover should have fired her with all they were told! We have documents to prove our claims.

    Somehow she escaped her irresponsible care with Rover and our vet at the Animal Doctor. Please don't make our mistake we continue to get heartbreaking reports on both directions.

    The first review upon our arrival at home did not specify enough on her involved lack of care as we were stunned and heartbroken of our loss. Sadly we continue to hear reports to back this up and never an apology from her as she was in denial of any wrongdoing. Again her lack of excepting responsibility.

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

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  • 6 out 6 people found this review helpful

    Worst experience of my life!

    • Deerfield Beach, FL,
    • May 10, 2018
    • Verified Reviewer

    My usual sitter was away, so I hired someone off of Rover who not only took doors off their hinges but obviously had a large party at my home not to mention stealing jewelry.

    I took pictures of all and Rover gave ME a hard time.

    I also filed a police report for stolen items. Never again will I use them as they do not vet people or offer help with any monetary value at all!

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

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  • 7 out 8 people found this review helpful

    Won't help you if there's an issue

    • New York, NY,
    • May 4, 2018
    • Verified Reviewer

    The whole reason to go through a website like Rover is so there is a layer of protection between you and the sitter. You think that in the event of a problem, Rover will step in and rectify the situation.

    I'm here to let you know, they will not. They could care less who is listed as a sitter on their site. We booked a sitter through Rover.com to do once a day, 30 minutes, to change food and litter. We came home one night at 1:30 in the morning to find her past out on our bed and empty alcohol bottles of ours littered throughout the apartment.

    According to Rover, they can only offer a third party mediator in case of a sitter issue. They don't care what happened and said they think they can "coach" the sitter so it won't happen again. I don't even think they read my emails because I would immediately remove someone like that from my business.

    Needless to say, I highly do not recommend Rover. They offer you no help should an issue arise.

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

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