Based on our research, we think Rover.com is the largest website and app dedicated to match pet sitters and dog walkers with families who need them.
Rover has a pretty strict screening and approval process. According to the website, Rover only accepts less than 20% of potential sitters and every new sitter passes a basic background check, provides a profile with detailed information, and gets approved by a team of Rover's specialists.
One feature we find especially useful is the reviews of sitters by families who have booked them through Rover. The reviews function in a way similar to "references" of traditional hiring process, so you can differentiate great sitters from those who just merely claim so. However, it's far easier to access the info and you can use it at the early stage of your selection process.
Rover proves to be very successful. It claims over 200,000 pet sitters and dog walkers from 14,000 cities have joined, and over 95% reviews left on the site gave the services a five star rating.
As a very popular site to find caregivers, Care.com has 22 million members, and a new job is posted every 30 seconds.
The huge member database benefits both families and pet sitters. For families, you may find a very long list of potential pet sitters near your neighborhood, with plenty of options to choose based on schedules, skills, experiences, etc. For sitters, it may be more likely for you to land a pet sitter job on care.com than on many other pet sitting sites.
Here are our tips for families.
1. Before you sign up at care.com, you can search the site to view your local pet sitters. If the list is very limited, care.com may not fit your need well. But based on our research, we think you likely get an extensive list in many cities.
2. You need to upgrade to a premium membership to contact pet sitters.
3. You may want to write up a good job post. Very likely, you should receive lots of responses, for your pet sitting job post. Then you can narrow your list, and interview the candidates. Many families also choose to do background checks and reference checks for the pet sitters they intend to hire.
5. After you hire the sitter, please don't forget to cancel the premium membership. This is very important, because the Premium membership is automatically renewed unless you cancel it. Just go to "My care.com" --> "Account & Settings" --> "Membership Information", and there's a link to "downgrade" the account.
Here are our tips for pet sitters.
1. Let's hear the good news first. It' free for pet sitters to apply for jobs at care.com. So you don't need to pay. There are certain nice paid features at care.com, which we'll explain later. But keep in mind, we find many pet sitters as free members do pretty well at care.com and get good jobs.
2. You may spend some time on completing your profile, especially if you are in major metropolitan areas like New York City, where lots of sitters competing for jobs.
3. This may surprise you, but your pictures in the profile may be critical to help you get pet sitting jobs. Some parents use the pictures to screen sitters they'd like to work with. You may want to have genuine smiles in your pictures.
4. If, besides pet sitters, you are willing to be considered for baby sitters, nannies, house sitters, etc., you may also want to choose those categories. It's free to add those categories, anyway.
6. There are two ways to get jobs at care.com. Sometimes families will contact you directly based your profile. The second option is for you to take the initiative to apply for jobs. We suggest you use both.
7. Care.com is a very large site, with all kinds of people. While many pet sitters are delighted to find excellent families to work with, you should also carefully screen out the bad ones, and avoid scams.
8. You may want to be patient in the process to find pet sitting jobs. If you are new to care.com, you may want to take some short term assignments, to get a few good reviews and build reputation.
9. The advice above should be enough for many sitters to get good jobs, but if your neighborhood is especially competitive, you can consider performing a background check to improve the attractiveness of your profile.
10. Finally, there's an option to upgrade to a paid premium membership, to increase the visibility of your profile. Feedbacks for premium membership seem mixed. Some pet sitters say it helps, while others don't notice too much difference. We think you need to work on your profile, pictures, and reviews first. After that, premium memberships may be right next step for some sitters, who are in those highly crowded pet sitting markets.
Sittercity is a hugely popular sitter site, with an extensive list of pet sitters in virtually all major cities across the United States.
The site is so popular for several reasons.
1. Sittercity has a good reputation among pet sitters, so lots of them join the site. For instance, we searched pet sitters within 25 miles of New York City, and found over 5000 pet care providers. The huge database means it's more likely for families to find the right pet sitters, so lots of them use the site. This, in turn, attracts more sitters in the neighborhood.
2. The pet sitters are required to provide lots of useful information on their profiles, to help families make better hiring decisions. For example, when we checked one profile of a pet sitter, we found her detailed availability schedule, as well as the services she could provide, such as dog walking, pet care in her home, overnight pet care in her home and overnight in owners' home. Sometimes the pet sitters will even list the preferred rates for each type of services.
3. At Sittercity, many pet sitters choose to perform background checks. You'll see green badges on the profiles of those who have performed background checks. The background checks should relieve the concerns of families, who leave their loved pets, sometimes even houses, under the care of the hired pet sitters.
TrustedHouseSitters.com is a very popular site to connect pet owners who need a sitter, when they're away, with pet lovers who are happy to sit for free.
For pet sitters, it's a great way to save on travel. You can stay for free in return for caring for pets. TrustedHouseSitters.com offers lots of sitting opportunities around the world. For instance, we found 203 sitting opportunities in US, 611 in UK, 260 in Australia, 72 in Canada and 45 in France.
For pet owners, you will find many pet lovers who are willing to take care of your pets for free, when you are away. Many sitters receive very positive reviews, and pass verifications include criminal background checks, I.D. verifications & I.D document checks. The number of sitters on the site is very impressive. For example, we found 5228 sitters in the United States, 4117 in the UK, 3251 in Australia, 1911 in Canada, and 795 in New Zealand.
The site receives lots of enthusiastic feedbacks from members. One says "what a joy to have discovered Trusted Housesitters! I now go away leaving the various animals (dogs, chickens & pigs) in the capable hands of whichever Housesitter is staying. I return to find everyone happy & the house neat as a pin." Another praises "not only the pets were happy and the house was spotless cleaned when we came back after a month abroad, we have made some really good new friends from the other side of the world! A win-win for all of us, both pets and humans!"
Wag! is one of the most popular dog walking services online.
It's easy to book a dog walker on-demand, in advance or recurring. During the service, you can track the walk of the dog by a customized GPS tracking, and you will receive a report card at the end service.
Wag! claims to have a strict screening process on new dog walkers, boarders and sitters, and on average, a 30-minute dog walk on Wag! is $20.
Top Wag! cities include San Francisco, Los Angeles, Chicago, New York, Atlanta, Washington D.C., Dallas, Miami, and Philadelphia.
Since 1994, Pet Sitters International has been a premier educational organization of professional pet sitters.
PSI provides tools, forms, training, and resources for pet sitters to succeed.
The site also offers an online directory of professional pet sitters and dog walkers, in cities likeHouston, Los Angeles, San Diego, Dallas, Chicago, Seattle, New York, San Francisco, Plano, Denver, Atlanta, Columbus, Washington, Fort Lauderdale, and Phoenix.
Since 2000, HouseCarers has matched home owners with pet-loving, live-in house sitters.
If you are a house owner and need to travel, you can find members who love to care for your home and pets and gardens (if applicable). You and your pet may miss each other, but the environment and routines of your pets will remain intact.
PetBacker is an app to connect pet owners with pet sitters.
PetBacker seems to be an app easy to use. Sitters can receive instance notification for new jobs or messages from pet parents. It's also easy for pet sitters or dog walkers to send photos or real time dog walk report to pet parents.
National Association of Professional Pet Sitters, or NAPPS, is a national non-profit organization for professional pet sitters.
NAPPS provides training and other resources to pet sitters. The site also offers a directory for pet owners to find local pet sitters.