Rover pulls in-home dog grooming services from its marketplace, citing tight labor market

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Dog-grooming services were launched in Rover’s Marketplace in 2019. (rover photo)

Dog-grooming services are being taken off Rover’s market, at least for now.

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Citing labor market challenges, the Seattle-based company confirmed Monday that it will no longer be home-ready in the 14 cities where the service began more than two years ago.

GeekWire learned of the decision this weekend from a Rover customer in Seattle who tried unsuccessfully to book a grooming appointment. The company issued this statement in response to our inquiries:

“Through the grooming option offered on our platform across 14 cities, thousands of pet parents have arranged for high quality groomers for their pets. We’ve heard from many pet parents that they value the opportunity to have their pets groomed by experienced providers in the comfort of their own homes.

“Dog grooming is technical and requires specific skills, and there is currently a labor shortage in this specific industry. Given the realities of that aspect of the labor market, we do not believe it is the right time to increase this offering. It’s time. We will continue to investigate ways to address future grooming market opportunities.”

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Rover said it does not expect any layoffs related to the decision.

The Seattle-based company’s Marketplace connects pet owners with service providers who can walk, walk or take care of their pets, often while they are in the office or on the go.

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After nine months of testing in Seattle and Austin, Texas, Rover launched dog-grooming services in June 2019. The idea was to leverage Rover’s existing infrastructure to disrupt the $2.5 billion pet grooming industry, using online scheduling and other features of its marketplace.

Bringing the groom into homes promised more convenience for pet owners and comfort for pets.

But the service did not prove to be financially viable for the company.

Rover CEO Aaron Easterly foresaw the move in response to a question on the company’s November 8 earnings call. He indicated that Rover had a keen interest in grooming, but not the return he wanted.

“With Grooming, we are very excited about the opportunity to address some pet-parent pain points. And the response on the demand side of that offering has been very positive,” Easterly said at the time.

He said, “That being said, we are not excited about the prospect of growing the business as a whole and the associated profitability. So we look forward to exploring alternatives to solve those customer problems in the future.” Will go.”

The decision contrasts with the overall growth in Rover’s business.

of the company Revenue increased to $35 million in the third quarter, ended September 30, before the pandemic, up 31% from the same quarter two years ago. Quarterly gross bookings grew 35% to $157.1 million in the same two-year period.

Rover is expanding its business into other areas as well, focusing more on cat services like boarding and drop-in sitter. CAT-related bookings grew 79% in the third quarter compared to two years ago.

The company, which was hatched a decade ago at a Startup Weekend event in Seattle, went public in August through a merger with Nebula Caravelle Acquisition Corp., a publicly traded special purpose acquisition company (SPAC) sponsored by True Wind Capital. Rover raised $240 million in the SPAC deal.

Rover reported a net loss of $84.5 million in the third quarter, primarily attributable to non-cash accounting adjustments related to that SPAC transaction.

Without those expenses, Rover posted operating profit of $710,000 and adjusted EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization) of $6.6 million, the second consecutive quarter of profitability by that measure.

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