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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37 Consumer Reviews for Rover.com

Average Consumer Rating: 1.3
Rating Snapshot:
5 star: 2 4 star: 1 3 star: 0 2 star: 0 1 star:  34
Bottom Line: 8% would recommend it to a friend
Showing 1-11 of 37
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  • Awful

    • Georgia,
    • Nov 11, 2018
    • Verified Reviewer

    The business model for Rover.com is, unfortunately, a poor one. I was able to get two commitments and both canceled at the last minute. One just sent a text. Inconvenience doesn't begin to describe it.

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

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  • 1 out 1 people found this review helpful

    Overcharges

    • Illinois,
    • Nov 7, 2018
    • Verified Reviewer

    I found a good dog walker through Rover.com. I decided to try a service vs. an individual. Unfortunately, if you have issues with Rover overcharging you - which they do frequently - your dog walker cannot help you. They tell you to contact the company directly. The company rep is trained to reply with standard replies, no doubt company policy.

    The first time it was SO difficult to try to get them to refund me that I gave up and let Rover have the money for visits never having been done. This second time around, I have had enough and went after them, OMG, they began with standard rote replies. Then citing charges they had refunded 6 weeks ago. Then tried again citing a visit charge that was declined OVER 5 MONTHS prior - not true. So I have had my bank dispute the charges and not pay. The rep threatened me. I had sent her documentation from the Rover Card visits, then my bank withdrawals. ALL DOCUMENTED.

    I deactivated my account. Then she writes that it was not deactivated! She asked if I wanted HER to deactivate. I said YES. So this morning, once again they charge me for a visit! I am now filing FRAUD charges, and once again disputing via my bank.

    DO NOT use Rover unless you want to lose money and take your valuable time trying to get a refund.

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

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  • 1 out 1 people found this review helpful

    No way to know if sitters are unreliable if they cancel on you

    • Olathe, KS,
    • Oct 26, 2018
    • Verified Reviewer

    The sitter canceled with two days notice. No emergency. She got a new puppy. The job had been scheduled for more than 6 weeks, so she could have planned around it. Rover offered to help find another sitter, but I didn't trust them at that point since there is no way to know if they were referring me to another unreliable sitter. Rover said that you only can rate a sitter after the service begins. That means they leave owners with no way to know if they are working with a sitter who will cancel on short notice.

    On the plus side, Rover refunded my payment with no problems and offered a $20 discount on an additional service. I won't be using the discount because I'd never know if the sitter tends to cancel with little notice.

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

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  • 1 out 2 people found this review helpful

    Don't trust them

    • Lincoln, NE,
    • Oct 25, 2018
    • Verified Reviewer

    I agree with the other reviews here, these sitters all have fake reviews and Rover does not help when there is an issue.

    If you even up cancelling for emergencies, you will not get your money back even if you had booked for a whole week.

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

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  • 1 out 5 people found this review helpful

    No help from Rover about a bad dog sitter

    • Asheville, NC,
    • Oct 16, 2018
    • Verified Reviewer

    We had worked with a dog sitter that we found through Rover and the first couple of times she was great, but the last time she came, she had told me that I could book directly through her, which I did. This would save her the 20 percent that Rover takes from the sitters. She then decided to have a party at my house and drink several bottles of expensive liquors and break one of our toilets. She left hours before she was supposed to and didn’t do things I asked her to do for my dog before leaving and left our house unlocked. I contacted Rover, and their only concern was that we didn’t book through them. She could have been injured or let out in which she would have been run over, but they were just concerned about money - don’t use them or Christina J. in Asheville!

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

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    • Oct 16, 2018

      Kevin B.

      It doesn't it seem like your review should be about exposing a shady employee who decided to go around their employer and try to steal your business as their own? Seems a tad unfair to give Rover the negative review. For example, if I went to Home Depot and decided to ask someone that works there to come to my house and do construction outside of their job at Home Depot and they do a poor job, I am not going to go and bash Home Depot, and then get upset with them that they won't compensate any of my losses.

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  • Bailey, the best dog sitter

    • South Carolina,
    • Oct 1, 2018
    • Verified Reviewer

    Bailey was the best dog sitter in the world! I have never left my baby Lucy with anyone, and she allowed me to enjoy my trip without worrying about my baby. I will be using her again and will be recommending her to everyone I know!

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

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  • 6 out 6 people found this review helpful

    Beyond a scam

    • Knoxville, TN,
    • Sep 11, 2018
    • Verified Reviewer

    Do not trust ANY of the reviews on Rover.com. They are easily faked, as we have learned. We were interested in hiring a house sitter from there. We communicated with him, and his communication didn’t reflect these amazing reviews he had. So, I did a bit of research and found his reviews were 100% fake. They were made by family members and fake accounts. He had over 30 reviews! The majority of them I could prove to be fake just by checking his social media.

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

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  • 5 out 6 people found this review helpful

    Extremely disappointed with "Rover Guarantee"

    • Richmond, VA,
    • Sep 11, 2018
    • Verified Reviewer

    I am extremely disappointed with the Rover customer service I received last night. I had an unfortunate encounter with a dog owner whose dog I watched this past weekend.

    Unfortunately, the weekend's dog watching resulted in the dog chewing up my clothes while I was in the shower, as the dog opened the cracked bathroom door. The owner refused to reimburse me and told me that he was only willing to let me retrieve the wristwatch I accidentally left at his house if I texted him and he "was around" at the time that I reached out to him. Rover customer support recommended I reach out to my local authorities because my watch was considered "stolen property" as well as telling me that they were unable to reimburse me for my damaged belongings. However, I cannot reach out to the police because Rover was unable to give me the owner's full name. The dog owner then accused me of "borderline neglect[ing]" his dog, even though I followed his very basic instructions that we agreed to upon our first meeting, even sending the owner several photos and interacting with him during the stay.

    I feel that the Rover Guarantee completely let me down. I am now out more than $50, as well as being falsely accused of neglecting a dog I believed I took excellent care of.

    Rover, please help me be reimbursed and improve the Rover community so that no other dog walker/sitter ends up in such a troubling situation!

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

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  • 3 out 5 people found this review helpful

    Beware of the alleged guarantee!

    • New York,
    • Aug 23, 2018
    • Verified Reviewer

    I booked a pet sitter over a month ago for my dogs. Today, on the day I am to drop them off, the sitter cancels! Apparently, she has had a personal emergency. Rover.com claims to have a policy to protect you against this. They will assist in finding you a new sitter, great BUT how can I do this on the day I am to drop them off? I will not have a chance to meet with the sitter or visit the home where they will stay. We have been forced to book them into a boarding facility. I will be paying over $250 more than we were initially agreeing on. Rover.com will not honor their protection plan since it is an outside company. I will never use them again!

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

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  • 2 out 3 people found this review helpful

    Don’t leave your dog with them unless you hate your dog

    • London, OH,
    • Aug 7, 2018
    • Verified Reviewer

    Our Rover sitter completely ignored my feeding instructions and refused to give my fur baby his grain-free special treats and food and fed him god knows what. He came back to me with flea bites scratches and hot spots. I had to take him to the vet for the hot spots because one was on his rear paw in his pad so bad he can barely walk. He had to be on stomach meds and steroids.

    Rover.com refuses to make the sitter refund or reimburse my vet bills. I have pictures of my poor baby’s sores on his feet from what she did to him. Never use their service, they let you it people who have dozens of dogs at once "watch" dogs.

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

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  • 3 out 3 people found this review helpful

    As a sitter...

    • Chattanooga, TN,
    • Aug 2, 2018
    • Verified Reviewer

    As a sitter, I have only had good experiences through Rover. Communication is good and support has been very helpful. I have great clients. When I do a meet and greet, I explain why I like Rover and I will help the client to book a service and explain what I will be doing after hearing their pet needs. A few prospective clients wanted me to do dog services on the side and I wouldn't, so I lost a few clients.

    In any business, there is going to be some bad customers and bad employees. It can't be helped. I let clients know that I also have two homeland security background checks and can show them I passed. The pay is not all that great but I am not doing it for the pay, I am doing it because I love pets! There are thousands of reviews about Rover and it is important to be open to all of them. There are a lot more good reviews than bad. If you have concerns see if you can talk to the sitter's other clients. Rover has been good to me and again, I have great clients.

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

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Showing 1-11 of 37

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