Last year I made an extra $26,000 pet for the Rover. It felt like a vacation home and made me feel safe in case I ever get fired again. (2023)

  • Kevin Liu is a 28 year old project designer in Texas with a pet sitter.
  • Liu lives with other people and his clients organize their vacations based on his free time.
  • In 2022, he earns $26,110Lived in a mansion with elevator and infinity pool.

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This procedural article is based on a conversation with Kevin Liu, a 28-year-old pet sitter from Texas. It has been edited for length and clarity.

When the pandemic hit, I was fired from my engineering job. This is the third time this has happened and I have no control over it.

Then I started thinking about how I could diversify my income sources to be more financially secure.

I want to make sure that if I get fired again, I can still pay for basic living expenses like rent and food. If it doesn't happen again, I've got some savings.

When I was in college, people always talked about side issues

Around this time I saw a video on YouTube about animal care. I kept it in the back of my mind during my studies because I like that you can get paid for good things.

In June 2020 I joined the Rover Pet Sitting App

While some babysitting apps are unpaid, Rover allows me to connect to paid nanny jobs for 20% of the booking fee, including insurance. I have no plans to change careers - I just want to increase my income, so I've decided to only work within 6 miles of my home in Austin, Texas.

Within a month I received my first booking for a lively puppy in a one bedroom apartment. Although I have no experience taking care of pets, I stay at the apartment during pet sitting hours and the owner prefers that I work from home rather than walking around town all day.

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I quickly realized that if I wanted to make money, I had to rethink my strategy

While taking care of puppies is fun, I just can't get enough of it. Since I hadn't packed any food, I had to go to the supermarket to buy lunch. It quickly became apparent that the $26 per day rate I had chosen for the pet sitting fee I was being charged for the day—$15 after fees and taxes—wouldn't go very far.

As I gain experience, I slowly start to increase the price. I also responded very quickly to messages asking if I could take the reservation. With a good response rate and response time, I rank high in Rover search results.

I've been booked by families on holiday and by young couples traveling for the weekend

I enjoy meeting people and pets and also live in some lovely homes. I've lived in five bedroom homes with infinity pools, cliff top homes with stunning views, and even booked a three story townhouse with an elevator.

In August 2020, I returned to a full-time position in the technology industry

But since I work from home, I can still take care of the household.

Until then, I'm also offering dog walks and pet spot checks, but I don't have time for that anymore. So I started choosing a pet sitter who could take care of multiple pets at the same time so I could make more money.

Most of my clients have dogs, but I was also taken into the care of a snake and five geckos. This is probably the easiest pet ownership I've ever had - the snake only eats once a week and the gecko only needs a daily mist of fine water.

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Last year was my most successful year as a pet sitter

In 2022 my income is $26,110 excluding taxes. I booked six months in advance.

This won't replace my job in tech, which pays a lot more, but from a side income standpoint it's a pretty passive source of income. Also, I like to help others.

The only challenge I face with pet sitting has nothing to do with pets

Not every dog ​​is well behaved, so I've learned to give other dogs plenty of space on the sidewalk and to watch out for squirrels. But my real challenge came when a tree fell on the house.

Luckily nobody was hurt. Master called someone to take care of it.

I learned a lot about pet sitting from Reddit

But there were still some things I didn't know at the time, like how to compare my prices or what a good sales target would be. A year after I started babysitting, I posted some videos on TikTok with the information I was looking for.

I'm not sure if anyone will watch it, but I have a video from August 2022 of my freshman year. it received more than500,000 views overnight.I have been asked about pet sitting and some have even offered to fly me to their homes in LA, NY or Alaska to babysit. Since I also have a full-time job, I didn't do that.

I now charge $170 per day and customers can even book vacations based on my availability

Summer holidays and vacations are my busiest times. Last summer I spent almost every night looking after the house. My longest booking was 28 days when one of the owners had to travel and I was asked to babysit a super cool older Shih Tzu.

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I focus on providing a luxurious service and making the whole process as easy as possible for the customer. When they return from vacation they will know that not only are their pets well taken care of, but their house is clean, their plants have been watered and their Amazon packages have arrived.

Living in a beautiful house feels like being at home on vacation

This can distract you from everyday life, especially if you have a part-time job. So I try to keep my routine consistent.

I wake up around 5am every morning, feed the dogs and send them out to the yard to go to the bathroom (although they often want to go back to sleep). Then I went to the gym for about 90 minutes before going home to walk the dog. My first online meeting is usually at 9 or 10am, so I have plenty of time.

I work until about 5pm, then I feed the dog and then go for a walk. Maybe I'm visiting friends or visiting my apartment to change or water my plants. I like a quiet life, so I usually go to bed at 10pm.

Even though I pay $950 a month for my apartment, I don't want to rent it out. I'm only ever 4 miles away but still love going back there.

The biggest misconception about pet care and housekeeping is that it's easy

Not every customer will be relaxed, and not every dog ​​will be well-behaved and well-trained. I like being transparent with pricing so customers know what the real price is and other pet sitters know how much to charge.

It's fun to do, but it's a job and you don't want to burn yourself out for it. I don't have many puppies in my care anymore because, just like human babies, they have erratic sleeping habits. Since I have a full-time job, I don't like getting up in the middle of the night.

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If you have a lucrative part-time job and would like to share your story, please email Jennifer


Can I get fired for taking too much time off? ›

So, if you're an at-will employee and your boss decides you've called in sick too much, they have every right to fire you—and they also don't have to tell you that your illness (or excessive absences because of that illness) had anything to do with it.

Do people usually get fired after administrative leave? ›

Can I get fired while on administrative leave? The answer is yes — but with a few strings attached. Getting fired is only possible if you've been fired for a valid business reason or for a violation of your employment contract.

Can you be fired while on approved vacation? ›

Is your job protected if you decide to take vacation to relax and recharge? According to a seasoned employment lawyer, the short answer is no. There is no law that requires employers to give employees paid vacation time — and some companies might even terminate workers if they take trips at inopportune times.

How many days off is too many? ›

What is excessive absenteeism? Excessive absenteeism would be 3 more absences in a 30-day period, 5 or more in 6-months, or 10 or more in a 12-month period. But excessive absenteeism may vary from company to company.

Can you abuse unlimited PTO? ›

There's no guarantee that an employee won't abuse the unlimited time off policy. However, many unlimited PTO policies still hinge on manager approval. The manager's approval serves as a good buffer to make sure employees aren't abusing the system.

What is the longest you can take off work? ›

The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) provides eligible employees up to 12 workweeks of unpaid leave a year, and requires group health benefits to be maintained during the leave as if employees continued to work instead of taking leave.

How serious is administrative leave? ›

Well, for starters, it's generally not very fun. It's also not a paid vacation — far from it. Administrative leave is a way to remove an employee from the business operations at their place of employment. Employees are asked to remain at home during regular work hours but continue to receive regular pay and benefits.

What is investigative leave? ›

Investigatory leave is a type of leave available to management when circumstances warrant removing an employee from the work site during the course of the University's investigation of allegations against the employee.

Why would you be put on administrative leave? ›

Common reasons for administrative leave include: To secure particularly sensitive information or resources if warranted by the circumstances. To investigate allegations of misconduct, which, if true, could place people or University resources in jeopardy.

What happens if your boss denies your vacation? ›

If your vacation request is not covered under FMLA, your employer can deny it. To appeal to a denied request, find out why it was denied by having a conversation with your manager and take the issue to an HR representative if you're having a difficult time finding out why it was denied.

What happens if you use all your PTO? ›

As an employer, you are only required to provide the amount of PTO that you agreed to provide in the employment contract or agreement. If you do grant PTO, and an employee uses all of their PTO, you are not required to pay for any additional time taken off for sickness, health-related issues, or any other reason.

Can you be forced to work during vacation? ›

Employers that demand an employee to work while on vacation may be withholding legally required vacation time. However, this will also be subject to what may be considered 'reasonable'. Sending a few emails or resolving a quick issue is unlikely to entitle an employee to a new vacation day or pay for their work.

What is the Labor Code 233? ›

Under the terms of the paid sick leave law (and Labor Code sections 233 and 234), if an employee has accrued and available sick leave, and is using his or her accrued paid sick leave for a purpose as specified in the law, it is not permissible for an employer to give the employee an “occurrence” for the absence under ...

Can you fire an employee for calling in sick too much? ›

It is illegal for a California employer to terminate an employee for using sick leave that is accrued and entitled to use. We all come down with something from time to time and need to take a day off from work.

Can calling in sick get you fired? ›

The State of California's Paid Sick Leave Laws

It is illegal for a California employer to terminate your employment if you use sick leave that you have accrued and are entitled to use. If you are fired for using your sick leave, you might be able to file a lawsuit for wrongful termination.

Is unlimited PTO a trap? ›

An unlimited PTO policy is inherently unfair. A few people will take many days and most will only take a few. Folks also miss out on an earned benefit while they work for a company and again when they move on to a new opportunity.

How much PTO is normal? ›

The average American worker gets 11 days of paid vacation per year. In the private sector, the average number of paid vacation days after five years of service increases to 15 days. After 10 years of service, it rises again to 17 days.

Can companies block your PTO? ›

Yes, the decision to approve or deny the use of accrued vacation time is up to you. But you should have—and document—a legitimate business reason for doing so. This is also assuming you deny vacation requests in a consistent and nondiscriminatory manner.

What is the longest a job can make you work in a day? ›

Generally, workers can legally work up to 24 hours in a single day. However, there are some exceptions, such as workers who are: in a regulated industry, like trucking, under the age of 16, or.

What is the shortest shift you can legally work? ›

California's 4-hour minimum shift law necessitates that companies pay workers who show up to work but are not permitted to work their full shifts. This rule is also known as California's Reporting Time Pay Law.

How many days a year should you take off work? ›

Lifehacker recommends taking seven to 11 days of vacation per year. If you work it correctly around a weekend, you can use less actual work days for your vacation.

Is it better to resign or be dismissed? ›

Typically, employees who resign and end on good terms with an employer have a greater chance of receiving a positive reference from that former employer. On the other hand, when an individual has been terminated, their former employer might provide less than satisfactory remarks due to the circumstances.

Can you quit during an HR investigation? ›

If you are being investigated for violating your company's code of conduct, two options you have are to take an administrative leave or resign from your position.

What does being placed on leave mean? ›

officially excused from work or duty.

What is an official leave of absence? ›

A leave of absence (LOA) is unpaid leave that allows an employee to be off work for an extended period of time and return to his/her former position when the leave ends.

What happens in an employee investigation? ›

Depending on the type of investigation, employees may be interviewed and asked to provide documentation such as emails, texts, or witness statements. Investigations may also involve the review of surveillance footage, logs, or employer records.

What types of leave are paid? ›

Paid Sick Leave, FMLA, and Paid Family and Medical Leave

Paid sick leave, FMLA leave, and paid family and medical leave are all types of paid or unpaid time off from work, but they are distinct policies and, where enacted, laws.

What's the meaning of sabbatical leave? ›

What is a sabbatical? The sabbatical definition is “a break from work” during which employees can pursue their interests, like traveling, writing, research, volunteering or other activities (or even rest).

What are administrative reasons? ›

Administrative reason giving occurs within statutory and political. contexts that determine the sufficiency of reasons an agency provided.

What is administrative duty? ›

Most often, these tasks relate to supporting an office, and include phone, email, and calendar management, internal communications, preparing reports, maintaining office equipment and office supplies, and some human resources functions.

Can an employer ask why you are calling off? ›

Your employer is allowed to ask you why you are taking a sick day, including asking the nature of your ailment. However, asking questions about illnesses covered by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is not permissible.

Can your leave be denied? ›

Unless you have an issue covered by the Federal Family and Medical Leave Act, the law doesn't require your employer to give you this time off. However, if you are denied paid time off, it might be best to discuss your case with a California employment attorney.

How soon after starting a job can you ask for time off? ›

The general rule of thumb is likely to wait around three to six months. However, it strongly depends on the organization and their culture. He went on to explain that many companies clearly dictate what their vacation policy is. Some have you accrue more and more time-off the longer you're there.

Do you have to pay back negative PTO if you quit? ›

What if an employee quits or is terminated with a negative PTO balance? Having an employee quit or get terminated with a negative PTO balance is an unfortunate circumstance. However, federal law is on your side; in most circumstances, you can deduct the amount they owe from their final paychecks.

Can you take PTO during your 2 week notice? ›

Can I Use PTO During My Two Week Notice? It depends — but this is usually frowned upon by most employers. Some employers may even have policies saying “no” to requesting PTO after you've put in your notice. Without a policy like this, it could be easy for employees to abuse the system.

Can you call in sick without PTO? ›

If you do not have any accrued paid sick leave and need to take time off due to your or a family member's illness, your employer could potentially discipline you for having an unexcused absence. Many employers understand that people get sick, however, and will allow you to miss additional days.

Do you have to answer your phone on your day off? ›

So to summarize, yes, your boss can fire you for not answering your phone on your day off. Some employers are respectful of employees' time off. Others may abuse at-will employment laws and harass you consistently on your days off. In fact, they may consider it part of your job.

How do you say no to work on vacation? ›

Reassure your boss by clearly laying out how all responsibilities will be covered in your absence. Provide a point person that will act as your stand-in while you are away. This person should be able to handle any deadlines that could be missed while you are gone.

What to say when your boss asks you to come in on your day off? ›

Next time you're asked to come into work during your time off, make sure to communicate to your boss that you need to take a step back and focus on other matters. I'm sorry, but I need to prioritise my family as I have been overwhelmed with work this past week.

Can you get fired for requesting too many days off? ›

Can I be fired for using PTO? In most situations, your employer can fire you for any reason that does not violate state or federal labor laws. However, when an employer sets out a PTO policy, firing an employee simply for using their PTO may expose the employer to legal claims.

Can I get fired for calling in sick 2 days in a row? ›

That means that unless you qualify for legal protections under FMLA or the Americans with Disabilities Act, there is nothing stopping an employer from firing you for calling in sick.

Can an employer refuse to let you go home sick? ›

You may deny a medical leave request that would cause significant difficulty or expense, unless the employee has a right to leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act (enforced by the Department of Labor) or a state or local law.

How many hours before your shift can you call out? ›

Anytime you need to call out you should give your supervisor as much notice as possible before your shift begins, when possible you should contact your employer at least 2 hours before your shift so that they can plan and prepare for your absence.

How many write ups before termination? ›

Generally, an employee receives three write ups before termination. This number can be different depending on your company's policies. The termination also depends on the nature of the write-up.

How do you get rid of an employee who is always sick? ›

If you feel an employee is calling in sick too often, you can absolutely discipline them in line with your company policy on absenteeism—for example, by having human resources give them a written warning, which you keep in their personnel file, or making them ineligible for a performance bonus.

How do you deal with an employee who takes too much time off? ›

The best thing you can do is be very direct and explicit about your expectations and what she needs to do differently: "Jane, I count on you to be here reliably for your regularly scheduled shifts. It's fine to request time off on occasion, but that should be rare, not multiple times each month.

What happens when you overwork an employee? ›

More work, less return for it. Working more also causes significant health problems and bad habits. Overworked employees may have depression, turn to alcohol, have reduced sleep and memory, have diminished reasoning capability over time, and can even have increased chances for heart disease and diabetes.

What is a warning letter for excessive absenteeism? ›

Dear: Please consider this a letter of warning concerning your continuing attendance problems. Your uneven attendance is beginning to affect other parts of your job, making improvement even more essential. Attendance records indicate that since ___________, you have used a total of ______ days on ______ occasions.

Is it better to cash out PTO or use it? ›

Some say yes, others, no. The bottom line: Studies show that employees who are taking vacation days, even if they don't go on vacation, are more productive in the office. However, there are situations where cashing out PTO can be beneficial and stress-reducing, like paying debts or covering needed repairs.

Can I go on vacation without PTO? ›

Unfortunately, paid time off (PTO) is not mandatory in California. Many people lose valuable income when they have to take time off. Others are given a concrete number of days they may take off per year to be used for either personal time or illnesses.

Should I use all my PTO before I quit? ›

If you only have a few unused vacation days, try to use them before you give your notice. If you have a week's worth or more, it's probably best to look into getting paid for them instead. Consult your company's employee handbook to find the information; that way, you won't tip off HR to your pending resignation.

What is considered poor attendance at work? ›

Unexcused Absences: When No Excuse Suffices

Examples of unexcused absences include skipping work without notice, taking an unplanned personal day, missing work without approval, or failing to provide adequate documentation for an absence.

How many unscheduled absences are acceptable per year? ›

The average absence rate for service occupations was even higher, at 3.4 absences per year. So if you're guesstimating 3-4 unscheduled absences per year as an acceptable range, you're not far off the mark. Once you've done some benchmarking, tie your attendance policy's disciplinary components to business impact.


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