Professional and hobby pet sitters ask a similar question – “How much should I charge for dog sitting?”
In truth, most pet sitters struggle to find a price range that fits their and their customers’ needs.
There are many factors to consider, and some might not be obvious at first glance.
This in-depth guide follows a simple four-step plan. It will help you to calculate and set reasonable prices that sustain your business.
You will understand how the average cost of other local professional service providers can influence your rates. Then, you will explore the variables that confine the value of your services and learn how to determine your prices.
Finally, you will get the best tips for presenting your price list to pet owners, updating it regularly, and boosting prospect conversion and retention.
Continue reading to find all the information you need to know to determine how much to charge for dog sitting.
Four Steps to Pricing Your Pet Sitting Services
- Examine Local Pet Sitter Rates
- Define What Your Dog Sitting Services Will Include
- Determine Your Dog Sitting Rates
- Share Your Pet Sitting Prices With Customers
Examine Local Pet Sitter Rates
Start by analyzing how much pet sitters charge in the area where you will work. Location is a critical topic because it dictates an acceptable price range and establishes your target audience.
So research rates per hour, the standard of service, extras, and most requested pet care. Compare the average cost in your area with similar areas or nearby places.
You might have to visit your competitors online or in their offices to discover their offers and price lists. You will learn what owners need and will be able to position yourself efficiently on the market.
Doing so will also help you look for viable market niches. Consider dog-sitter services specialized for health and behavioral concerns. Overnight dog sitting is another likely option.
This process might become exhaustive, especially in a larger city. Hence, try simplifying it as much as possible. Find pet sitters you will see as competitors and examine them thoroughly.
How to analyze what other dog sitters charge
Examining your competition requires tact and discretion. After all, you want to keep a healthy relationship with other businesses in your area.
So try to perform most of your research online. You can use websites and social platforms to understand their services and how much they charge.
Another fundamental aspect is checking for customer reviews. They will provide vital information regarding what clients value, need, and are willing to buy.
Avoid having the lowest prices in your area. It will set a poor compensation standard and limit your growth opportunities. At the same time, launching your business with the highest rates will bring you no clients.
Aim to position yourself somewhere in the middle of the target audience you want to reach. Besides, experiment with extras to see which are more appealing and use them to add value to your services.
Use your experience and training as a dog sitter to decide on a starting price and then update it as you grow. Clients will praise your efforts to offer high-quality services and pay you fairly if you justify your rates.
Define What Your Dog Sitting Services Will Include
When deciding on how much to charge for dog sitting you must consider several variables. Now that you are familiar with the average dog-sitting rates in your area, analyze what you are offering.
Background and credentials of the dog sitter
Experience and qualifications are essential in any line of work. Having certification from a renowned organization such as Pet Sitters International is critical.
More than ever, clients like to be able to search for pet sitters online before making their choice. Registering on pet-sitting platforms like Professional United Pet Sitters will grow your credibility.
As you become an experienced pet sitter, you will get to increase your fees and offer exclusive services. You can also hire professional pet sitters specialized in a specific breed or care field to upgrade your offer.
Responsibilities of the pet sitter
Sometimes, owners can ask you to include tasks outside the common pet-sitting services. They might need you to attend vet appointments or request pet boarding in your own home.
Furthermore, they can request that you accommodate their pet’s health or behavioral needs. All these services will be more costly according to your responsibilities.
Duration of the pet sitting services
Time determines how much most pet sitters charge. Of course, it depends on the type of service provided and the pets themselves.
Some dogs need more walking time than others. Additional services also increase the duration and, thus, the final cost.
Overnight pet sitting will be priced differently than daily visits. Similarly, drop-in visits to take the dog out to pee are almost always cheaper than longer visits and/or walks.
Dogs are some of the most demanding animals for pet sitting. Besides being social, they require much care.
After all, your services can go from walking to boarding to bathing and grooming. So the breed of the dog will have a resounding impact on your fees.
Smaller dogs, like Pugs or Yorkshire Terriers, will be easier to pet sit. On the contrary, larger breeds, like Mastiffs or Saint Bernards, will be more demanding.
Number of pets included
Regular service rates usually apply to one dog. They represent the responsibilities and work involved in caring for that particular pet.
Regardless, customers might own two or more pets with similar needs and ask you to care for them. Since it would mean more effort from you as a dog sitter, additional pets should signify extra costs.
It is best to keep the rate for other pets at a fair value. Consider charging about a fourth of your rate per hour for each additional dog.
This way, customers will not feel like you are overcharging them, and you will receive compensation for the extra work. This strategy is also efficient because an additional pet may ease the need for socializing and exercise.
Location of the pet sitting services
As you have understood by analyzing your local rates, pet sitter costs vary considerably with the location. In larger cities and places with higher living costs, professional and hobby sitters tend to be more expensive.
Services in big cities also include more extras because owners are usually busier and might travel often. Besides, most do not have lawns or open spaces for their dogs to exercise.
Urban areas have heavier traffic flows which increase expenses in time and transportation. For a sustainable business, the time dog sitters spend traveling between clients’ homes has to be reflected in their tab.
On the other hand, smaller areas present lower pet-sitting rates because moving around is faster, and there is plenty of open space.
When customers ask you to house-sit and care for their pet far from where you are, they should expect to pay extra. They must cover your work but also the time and transportation expenses involved.
When discussing your pet sitter costs, emphasize to your customers their expenses will depend on the time you dedicate to them. This period includes traveling to their house, pet sitting, and returning home.
You can charge a fixed fee for areas outside your neighborhood or estimate according to the distance. If you charge hourly, you should include the time it takes you to travel in your final bill.
An aspect you should look at when determining how much to charge for dog sitting is extra services. First, you must define what services you can perform. Also, know which are outside your reach, whether because you are uncomfortable or lack the necessary training.
Then, discuss them with each dog owner when they first reach out to you. Try to understand if their dog has special needs, like health or behavioral issues.
If that is the case, you will have to be even more attentive to them and ready to meet their necessities.
Additional pets, transportation, and overnight services are all extra services. Hence, they will increase the final pet sitter cost.
If you prepare in advance, it will be easier to charge for them, and clients will know how much to expect to pay.
Holiday seasons are often periods of high demand, and you can choose to maintain your regular prices. However, most businesses increase their fees during festive days and seasons.
After all, most people expect to earn extra for work during the holidays.
Determine Your Dog Sitting Rates
Consider your pet sitting company’s needs
To determine how much to charge for dog sitting, you must start by assessing your current business needs and long-term goals. Doing so will ensure you can sustain yourself as a pet sitter and continue growing your operation.
Examine your monthly expenses, like fuel, insurance, taxes, and staff income. Then, determine the minimum income value needed to support your business.
Consider your experience and the services you will offer to specify your worth as a pet sitter. The value per hour must reflect reasonable expectations according to your credentials and offers.
Afterward, you want to establish clear long-term objectives. Understand how you want your business to grow, where you want to direct it, and what to do to accomplish that.
Define what would be acceptable for you and your dog sitters’ incomes. Besides, define what you want to improve in your internal and external processes.
With that information in mind, estimate how much you will need to earn and invest back into the company. Make a detailed five-year plan that leads your operation in that direction. Be sure to include the expenses that will grow alongside it.
Have service-based pricing
Since you have already decided what your services will include, you can opt for a service-based pricing strategy. Doing so will ensure you are always fairly compensated as a pet sitter.
Besides, it will be easier to understand and meet client needs and requests. You can offer single tasks like sitting, bathing, and grooming.
Additionally, you can create service bundles, such as dog and cat sitting or dog walking and boarding.
Set your pet sitting rates
You will probably have a lot of work if you offer the lowest-priced services. However, a sparse income is not fulfilling for any dog sitter or sustainable for your company.
On the contrary, if your prices are too high, you will not attract the customers you need to start your business. You might feel discouraged for having a scant clientele, and your operation will not grow.
Thus, fixing your hourly rate involves balancing how much customers expect to pay in that area with how much you expect to earn. A study within Thumbtack concluded the average cost for a pet sitter in America varies from $21 to $40 per day.
So, after examining your competition and defining your services, set a reasonable value per hour. Then, you can make calculated changes to said price according to the type of pet care, location, and duration.
For example, if your appointment is outside your location, you must estimate the transportation costs. Then, you consider how long the event will last and add those costs to make up the final price.
Different services also impact your rates. Overnight pet-sitting rates are almost three times the standard hourly rate.
The number and type of pets are other determinant factors. Sitters required to care for responsibilities like changing litter boxes also charge extra.
Besides, professionals that know pet CPR and have the training to deal with a health crisis also come at a higher cost.
Establish a solid cancellation policy
If your business does not include a boarding facility, you might feel tempted to leave this one out. But a cancellation policy is crucial no matter the type of pet care you offer.
You can define an acceptable cancellation period to allow for some flexibility. Then, emphasize fees for last-minute cancellations.
This way, customers will act responsibly toward their bookings. If not, they will know how much to pay and why.
Implement deals and special offers
Deals and special offers are the most effective ways to boost prospect conversion. Strategic discounts, for example, related to specific seasons, will help you grow your business.
However, you must know how much you can sustainably lower your prices before launching offers and deals. Consider your business needs and evaluate your price list beforehand.
You can implement deals to improve trade during lower-income months. Create a monthly subscription program to reduce pet sitter rates and ensure more predictable earnings.
Rewarding your regular customers for their loyalty solidifies their trust in you. So establish discounts for recurring clients or ones with two or more pets.
Special rates also allow you to create partnerships with other local businesses. Try cooperating with dog groomers, for instance, to offer exclusive benefits for pet owners and expand your prospects.
Occasionally, offer snacks, a small packet of fresh food, or a toy. These tokens are especially meaningful for frequent or prolonged overnight care clients.
Share Your Pet Sitting Prices with Customers
After deciding how much to charge for dog sitting, you must share your price list. This step may be intimidating, especially at the start of your professional pet-sitting journey.
Be secure in your worth and preparation. The truth is offering the lowest prices is unlikely to bring you the type of customers your business needs.
On the other hand, higher-value services have more growth potential and will help earn true customer loyalty. If you stick to your decisions and support your value confidently, it will be easier for a pet owner to trust you.
Before introducing your rates, show potential clients why they should entrust you with their furry friends. You can give them valid reasons to do so by emphasizing your background, services, or facilities.
Then, you can create a price list and present it when prospects first approach you. Building a website for your business is also an excellent way to communicate prices and attract new clients.
Consider these strategies to create suitable opportunities for discussing and explaining service rates.
Program yearly price revisions
External factors such as inflation, supply, and demand can impact your dog sitting rates. So program a yearly check-in with your customers to inform them about price updates.
Reintroduce yourself and your team regularly
You will notice customers tend to overlook what you tell them. They often keep busy schedules, so tracking all the information you give them becomes challenging.
Still, this gives you chances to find new ways of reintroducing yourself. You can use brochures, schedule occasional appointments, or plan a business event.
Speak about your approach toward employees
If you work with other professional pet sitters, create opportunities to introduce them. Additionally, let your customers know your hiring practices.
The value you attribute to your staff will reflect on you and your business.
Share your pet sitting business achievements
Sharing your achievements is crucial to building a community of loyal customers. Clients feel like they are growing with you as you and your team increase your training and enhance your experience.
If one of your staff has become a certified professional pet sitter, post it on social media. If they agree, display the certificate at your head office.
So, How Much to Charge for Dog Sitting?
How much to charge for dog sitting is something you need to determine for yourself. There are processes you can use to define reasonable rates with long-term growth potential.
This article shared a simple four-step approach to putting a price on your pet sitting services. You have learned how to identify and examine the local competition.
Then, you learned to study which factors to consider when defining your pet sitting rates. You have explored topics like long-distance traveling, service variety, and add-ons.
Additionally, you now see prices as a way to meet your business needs and reach long-term goals. You can establish a solid cancellation policy that allows your clients some flexibility.
Lastly, you have discovered the value of reporting to your clients. Sharing your hiring practices, the value of your pet sitter team, and your achievements will help you build a steadfast community.
Remember to reevaluate your price list regularly and strive to maintain a balance between your and your customers’ needs. Quality services at fair prices will ensure your business thrives and meets your expectations.
If you enjoyed reading this article about how much to charge for dog sitting, you should read these as well:
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