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.

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 and 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 and 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.

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 and 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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Read 53 Rover.com Customer Reviews and Complaints

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Average Consumer Rating: 1.4
Rating Snapshot:
5 star: 4 4 star: 1 3 star: 0 2 star: 1 1 star:  47
Bottom Line: 9% would recommend it to a friend
Showing 1-11 of 53
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  • 2 out 3 people found this review helpful

    Failed to give dogs pain meds and left them

    • Michigan,
    • Jun 17, 2019
    • Verified Reviewer

    I hold Rover responsible for the death of one of my dogs. I hired a husband and wife from Rover to watch my four dogs on Christmas Eve as I visited my family out of town. They failed to give my dog pain meds, threw another dog's meds into his water dish and then notified me that it was not like they had beaten my pets so why was I complaining. Despite complaints to Rover I was told that this couple was allowed to continue to provide services for Rover as they "had not killed my dogs while on my property." I was never able to fully get my dog's pain management back to where it should have been and he died. DO NOT USE ROVER.

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

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  • 5 out 5 people found this review helpful

    Rover killed my dog

    • Georgia,
    • May 16, 2019
    • Verified Reviewer

    My dog was killed by his Rover sitter. I paid for in-home sitting and she took my blind, 12-year-old dog from my home without my permission to her home where he "fell" off a 2-story balcony on to concrete. Except, he didn't fit through the railing.

    Rover took no accountability and offered half of the expenses of his death. The condition of taking the money they offer in their guarantee? Signing a non-disclosure so you can never warn another dog owner about the dangers of Rover.com. They try to buy your silence and that is why no one knows the true number of dogs who have died.

    If you want your dog to live, STAY AWAY!

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

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  • 5 out 5 people found this review helpful

    Had to cancel our trip...sitter canceled at last moment!

    • San Diego, CA,
    • Apr 30, 2019
    • Verified Reviewer

    This is our pathetic Rover.com experience.

    For months we had planned to take a 5-day trip to Mexico.

    My husband and I haven't been a vacation in years. We have a small dog rescue and work full time at it. We hired a Rover.com sitter a full month before the trip and paid in her full.

    She told us she was available for the job, after some back and forth about rearranging her schedule. We were VERY CLEAR, it was a house and pet sit for 24/7. A couple of days before the trip, we had the sitter come and paid her $20 for an orientation...feeding, sleeping arrangements, etc.

    As she was leaving, she said, oh, by the way, I have a dog walking job that I need to do every day, so I won't be here when you leave for the airport because I have to be there at 11 AM. And added something like...that's a long time to have a dog sitter stay at your house? I was floored. We have 2 cats, and we had 7 small dogs at that time. It was scheduled for February 12-16, 2019.

    She waited until a day or two before our trip at the orientation to let us know she was going to be working for someone else, while we paying her to stay and sit with our dogs. I contacted Rover to see if we could help me find someone to fill in when she was gone, trying to salvage the sit and our vacation. They were not helpful at all. They basically told me to look on the website and if I wanted a refund to let me know.

    Given how difficult it was to find and interview someone in the first place...it was not going to be easy to find a replacement with no notice. In the end, my husband ended up staying home, and we lost his ticket price, $200, and I went alone.

    Rover refunded the money for the sit. But the thing that really upset me was that I wasn't able to leave a review for that sitter. She is walking around with glowing reviews and she ruined our trip by being so irresponsible and dishonest with no notice. We lost $200. We weren't able to review her because she didn't actually sit for us. It was a pretty horrible and upsetting experience.

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

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  • 6 out 6 people found this review helpful

    Terms of Service = Kill your dogs, cheaper than getting them medical help.

    • Los Angeles, CA,
    • Apr 13, 2019
    • Verified Reviewer

    My 5-star 55 reviews, first aid/CPR certified rover sitter killed our 8-year-old healthy Pomeranian. The sitter then took her to a crematorium and didn't call us until after the place was closed. She tampered with the body so the next day when we were able to retrieve the body and get a necroscopy it was inconclusive since she was frozen without our permission. Rover.com "rover protection package" only covers injuries, if they kill your dog they cover nothing besides refund and crematory fees. So the way they wrote their terms of service it is cheaper for them to have their sitters kill your dog instead of getting it medical attention if needed. Also, according to their own terms of service, the reviews on their platform are not accurate or legitimate. Beware using the rover.com service it is NOT a trusted platform. Read their terms of service and know your dog is not safe when you use them.

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

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  • 8 out 8 people found this review helpful

    Horrible service

    • Anchorage, AK,
    • Mar 26, 2019
    • Verified Reviewer

    I hired a pet sitter and house sitter through Rover that turned out be a disaster. The sitter ended up poisoning our dogs. One of the dogs died and the sitter didn't even take the dog to the vet as asked. The sitter then posted pictures of the dying pet on Rover's website which we asked Rover to remove. Rover has a bunch people and they just pass you down the line.

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

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  • 4 out 6 people found this review helpful

    Spammers

    • California,
    • Mar 21, 2019
    • Verified Reviewer

    I communicated with two pet sitters to care for my dog and finally chose one. Rover sent repeated threats to my email giving me 24 hours to book with the second sitter that I did not choose. They refused to receive my email communication asking them to stop. I find this very concerning as a first time user and would recommend against this service. I will never use them again. Craigslist is better than Rover.

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

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  • 8 out 8 people found this review helpful

    Beware: Bad reviews are easily avoided by sitters.

    • Eugene, OR,
    • Mar 13, 2019
    • Verified Reviewer

    I always felt that there was something fishy about Rover reviews, since in my area I couldn't find anyone with a negative review. I then had a terrible experience with a sitter, despite her great reviews and a meet and greet that I thought went well. I was so uncomfortable with the situation that my dog was in that I picked him up before the stay was completed. The sitter canceled the stay and refunded my money - which locked me out of leaving a review. I'm sure that sitters know that this is a way to avoid bad reviews.

    When I complained to Rover that the sitter had misrepresented herself on her Rover page and to me and had violated Rover's terms of service, Rover sent back a canned response saying that they find that the best resolutions come from sitters and clients talking to one another - i.e. Rover was not interested in investigating this sitter. When I complained that potential clients need to know about bad experiences such as mine and that I and others in my situation shouldn't be locked out of leaving reviews, they had a canned response for that as well, and when I pushed, said that they would pass my "suggestion" along - in other words, IMO, they are not interested in placing the needs of clients and dogs first. I will never trust Rover again.

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

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  • 2 out 4 people found this review helpful

    Positive experience

    • Cary, NC,
    • Mar 1, 2019
    • Verified Reviewer

    I have been using Rover to find a sitter for my three fur babies for about three years now. I think it’s important to interview multiple sitters and go with your intuition on which one you feel most comfortable with. If you use the website and not the app, you can see more info about a sitter for things like what percentage of clients received photo updates, how quickly they respond, their rebooking rate, etc., so I highly recommend doing that.

    Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this to a friend

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  • 6 out 6 people found this review helpful

    Bad at updating calendars

    • Lisbon Falls, ME,
    • Feb 22, 2019
    • Verified Reviewer

    I've tried to use Rover.com a number of times but the unfortunate theme that keeps rearing its ugly head is..."Oh, I've not updated my calendar and I'm not available at that time." Sitters apparently don't update their calendars!

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

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  • 14 out 15 people found this review helpful

    Beware of this company, learn from my tragedy.

    • Sandwich, MA,
    • Feb 6, 2019
    • Verified Reviewer

    We used Rover.com in 11/17. The man we used let my dog out in the front yard without a leash (anyone knows NEVER to let a dog out without a leash). My dog (not knowing who this man was) ran away and was missing for 10 days. My dog was cold, hungry, scared, wondering where we were. She was hit by a car the first night and survived (I know this because the person who hit her contacted me). She was hit on the 10th day and died. During the time my dog was missing, Rover.com allowed Mr. Guard (the man "watching" my dog) to continue offering his services through their site. They told me they were doing an "investigation," but they refused to tell me what that entailed. After their "investigation" and after my dog died, they felt it was ok for him to continue on their site. They never interviewed me. I would have told him that Mr. Guard was watching TV in his warm house 2 hours after my dog went missing (it took me that long to get there), never apologized to me, never offered to help me look for my dog or put up flyers. In the 10 days I was looking for my dog I never once saw him out looking for her, but I did see several members of the community out

    I wonder if Rover.com knew this man let out TWO dogs prior to my dog getting out (side note: since then he's let out 2 more)? Animal Control can verify this and I have the records. I can guess their "investigation" missed that, but it seems pretty basic that they would contact Animal Control or maybe they did know and just didn’t think that was a reason to keep him off their sight.

    Rover.com hides behind their contract - they don't have to tell me or anyone else what they did to "investigate" or how/if they disciplined him. So basically, they could say they investigated, but then do absolutely nothing - you would never know either way. They cared more about protecting his rights than my rights - the actual victim. After the community found out that Rover.com allowed this man to stay on their site (and to make money for them), they wrote to them demanding they get this man off their sight. It wasn't until then that they took Mr. G off. I guess they realized they would lose more money by losing all these potential customers than they would have made off Mr. G. Please be careful when using Rover.com. They do not care about you.

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

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  • 11 out 13 people found this review helpful

    Horrible

    • Kansas City, MO,
    • Jan 14, 2019
    • Verified Reviewer

    Rover supports false and inaccurate reviews posted by angry pet owners. I was attacked by a dog while dog sitting. The dog bit my coat collar, dragged me down and would not let go. 80+ pound dog for reference. I informed him and told him exactly what happened. In his review, he said the dog "jumped on me and knocked me over." False. He called me immature. False. He also said I wouldn’t make a good vet tech or dog sitter. I have been a vet tech for five plus years and dog sitting for over ten.

    I have never had a complaint until this angry dog owner. Rover does not care that I was attacked or that this person decided to leave a false and misleading review. Doesn’t matter if you respond to the review because no one will see it as the reply doesn’t show up on the app or if you’re using a browser on your mobile phone. 90% of the people using Rover are using apps and their phone. That’s like the whole point of Rover. Apps and mobile devices. So I’m never recommending Rover to anyone who wants to be crapped on and their name slandered.

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

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Showing 1-11 of 53

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