BRING YOUR DOG TO BLOG DAY

If you know me, you know that I really, really like dogs. To fulfill the dog-shaped hole currently in my heart, I’ve been dog-sitting on Rover for the last year (1). I get paid to hang out with dogs! Before you quit your job, I get $28/day and spend half on treats and toys. But, I absolutely love it. If you don’t mind planning your day around a dog, I couldn’t recommend it more.

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This is millie

She's a good girl.

I’ve sat for a total of 16 different dogs, and many have become regular ‘clients.’ I haven’t had a bad experience yet. My partner Matt was initially hesitant about a parade of random dogs through our apartment, but they’ve grown on him.

It’s given us a real appreciation for the quirks of each breed - our regular clients include a 5lb yorkie as well as a 100lb Great Dane. They are both incredibly gentle and sweet. Collies learn new tricks at lightning speed, poodles and doodles are sweet and goofy, the French mastiff is a gentle giant, huskies speak a special language, and mixes are full of surprises.

 

ROVER.COM DATA

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Dog-sitters in Montreal

I scraped data from the Rover website for the island of Montreal, to scope out my competition. There are 112 other dog sitters with ads who will host a pup in their home (like me).

Of these, 96 have at least one review or at least one repeat client. I excluded the 17 with zero of both. Repeats and reviews (assuming they are positive) both increase your desirability as a host. I take dogs of all sizes and ages, which also helps. There are two clear outliers. With seven repeat visits, I’m in the top 10%, and similar for reviews. 

 

 

 

What drives the daily price?

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My hypothesis is that price does not necessarily motivate the customers. The range is pretty small, so while dog-sitting is expensive for the customer, the potential savings for a ‘budget’ dog sitter aren’t enormous. Of these 96 sitters, 72 charged $20-$30 a day. 

 

My theory is that dog people are primarily concerned with someone who will love their pet and keep them safe, fed, and well snuggled. Given this, I guessed that good sitters could increase their rates to the high end as soon as they have a steady client base.

When I signed up, the website recommended $25/day to start, so I started with $20/day. I increased my rates when I realized how much the website keeps, and I thought under-pricing myself might make me look undesirable - after all, I’m offering a premium care package with frequent walks and full couch/bed privileges.

Turns out, at $35/day (20% which the website keeps), I am on the high end of that common rate! Only 21 of the 96 charged $35/day or more.

And no matter how I slice these data, I cannot find an association between reviews/repeats and price. Note that I jittered all of the scatterplots so you can more clearly see the distribution of the data.

CONCLUSION

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My interpretation is that we are competing for the hearts of the dogs, not the business of the owners.

 

 

Game on.

(1) I used to use DogVacay.com, which was bought out by Rover in Spring 2017.