What to charge for overnight pet sitting
I attended a baby shower a few weeks ago, and I ended up talking to someone about what to charge for pet sitting. She knew I was a pet sitter, and she said when she looked into hiring someone to watch her two cats (in another city) the range in rates was very surprising to her. Some charged as little as $10 per visit, while others charged $20 per visit and some charged $40.
She thought this range in rates was odd and found the selection process overwhelming and frustrating.
As the owner of a pet sitting business, I am aware of this range in rates but had never really thought about it from the “outside looking in.”
Since I’ve been in the business long enough, I know the “pet sitters” charging less are usually students looking for extra cash. I was one of those students, so I get it. I also know the people charging considerably more are well-established pet sitters with waiting lists and strong reputations. Or, they might have another income source, so they don’t need to depend on getting a certain number of pet sitting appointments each month.
I can see why it would be frustrating for someone trying to hire a pet sitter for the first time. How would you know who to hire? In this particular case, the person ended up hiring someone in the middle as far as rates.
Read pet sitter reviews and ask for references
If you’re deciding on a pet sitter, my advice is to hire someone based off references, word of mouth and your own opinion after actually meeting the pet sitter. Don’t hesitate to ask any questions that could help you determine whether or not you feel comfortable with this person. I wrote a post on questions to ask a pet sitter, and some of those questions include:
- What’s included in your rates? What isn’t included?
- How long is each pet sitting visit?
- Will you walk my dogs? How long?
- Do you have dog training experience?
- Do you have pet sitting insurance?
- Do you charge extra for multiple dogs/cats?
One of my blog readers recently emailed me with a similar question about what to charge for pet sitting.
The reader said she normally leaves her dogs at a boarding kennel but this time she planned to pay a pet sitter to stay overnight with the pets – two dogs and a senior cat. This reader was unsure of what a reasonable rate would be, and asked me for a ballpark range since I offer pet sitting in Solana Beach.
She said the pet sitter would be walking the dogs several times per day, sleeping at the house and giving the cat extra attention as well.
This is what I said:
$60 per night would probably be a fair rate at a minimum. I charge $78 per 24 hours, and that can include spending the night or visiting the pets as often as needed. Most other pet sitters are in that range, they just break it up and charge $20 per visit or so.
Not sure if that helps, but at least gives you an idea. A lot depends on whether this person is a professional or just doing this as a side thing.
Some additional thoughts:
For the pet sitter – Getting repeat business is obviously a goal. So, while $60 (or whatever your price is) for 24 hours of care may not sound like much, hopefully the client will hire you again or tell others about your great care, thoughtfulness and professionalism.
For the pet owner – If you’re happy with the pet sitter’s care, it could really benefit the pet sitter if you left her a positive review on Yelp, Google + or Facebook. You could also leave her a tip. While most pet sitters don’t expect tips, leaving one is a nice gesture.
$60 (or whatever the price is) per night may sound like a lot already, but remember the pet sitter is available to your pets 24 hours per day. While she may not be at your house the whole time, the pets are still technically in her care and she spends a considerable amount of time and energy thinking about them even when she’s not at your house. She also spends time driving to and from your house, often late at night or early in the morning. She probably also spends time calling you, emailing you or posting social media updates about your pets while “off the clock.”
For more information, read my ebook on how to start a pet sitting business. Also check back on the blog each Wednesday for posts related to starting a dog walking or pet sitting business.