How Much Should Pet Sitting Cost?

updated Jul 17, 2020
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(Image credit: Nancy Mitchell)

It’s almost vacation time. You’ve booked your tickets to paradise, set some money aside for food and shopping, and got approved for the time off from work. Now the only thing left to figure out is who is going to come over and take care of Fido while you’re gone for the week. A quick Google search might show the going rates for pet-sitters near your location, but still not the exact figure you’re hoping for—one that takes into account your unique situation.

Instead of spending the day hitting up friends for advice or averaging online totals, why not take the time to calculate a number based on your own wants and needs.

To help, we’ve compiled a list of factors to consider when determining a pay rate for your pet sitter. That way, once the party is over and it’s time to pay up, both you and your caregiver can be cool with the total. If you are the pet-sitter, these factors can also help you determine how much to charge.

1. Location

The biggest factor in figuring out what to pay your pet sitter is, for better or worse, your location. Since the average pet sitting rates –and overall costs of living—differ a lot depending on where you live, the first thing you need to determine is what other people are paying in your area. Look into both daily and overnight rates in your neighborhood, as well as local vet boarding fees, and get a good ballpark estimate of what you’ll be charged.

2. How many responsibilities the pet sitter is taking on

Now that you’ve got an idea of what you’ll be charged, it’s time to decide what you expect from your sitter so you can anticipate any additional fees. Will your pet-sitter be walking your dog(s) everyday? If so, how many times and for how long? Do you need them to play with your pets? Clean up messes? Administer medicine? Pet them and give them treats? If so, it’s going to cost you, so be fair and figure out how much and what for ahead of time.

3. How much time (and when) they’ll be providing services

The more responsibilities, the more time your sitter will be devoting to your beloved pets, and you need to compensate them accordingly. Jobs that require the sitter to stay at your place overnight are best charged by a daily rate, while smaller tasks, like once-daily feedings can be billed hourly or per-occasion. Also, after-hour care and holidays should be rewarded as well.

4. The amount and type of pets being cared for

Another important factor to consider is what kind of (and how many) pets your caregiver will be responsible for. For example, cats—who are notoriously independent—require much less effort than say, two large Dobermans. Therefore, the amount you’ll pay for pet sitting should vary depending on the size, number, and type of pets being cared for.

5. Commuting costs

Along with the time they’ll be providing services, it’s also important to consider the distance (and costs) your sitters commute to your home. For this, calculate tolls, public transportation fees, parking fees, and any other factors that might influence their travels, so you can be prepared for any additional charges they’ll be incurring on you and your pets behalf. It’s up to you to decide if you should factor transportation costs into the rate you’re paying, but if you’re a pet sitter determining what to charge, this could definitely come into play on your profits.

6. Provisions for pets

Pet sitting rates also need to include provisions for any day-to-day pet-related needs. If you’re leaving for a long while and think there’s a chance your sitter will need to make a pet store run while you’re gone (for food, treats, toys, etc.) make sure you cover those cost in your pay rate or leave a petty cash stipend (make sure they save receipts!) so you don’t have worry about reimbursements.

7. Amenities provided

Lastly, before you tally up your final number, take into account what amenities you’ll be providing for your sitter—i.e. a fully-stocked fridge, free Wi-Fi, swimming pool access—to get an idea of what you’re already paying for. This doesn’t mean you should lessen their pay for every single convenience given, rather, a reminder that the more you already have to offer—the less they’ll have to charge/spend.

Read More: How Much Should I Pay or Charge for House Sitting?