Dog-sitting can be a lucrative side hustle.
However, if you have dreams of earning a living or supplementing your income while caring for people’s furry friends, the first thing you need to do is price your services. But that begs the question, how much should you charge for dog sitting?
For dog sitting, you should plan to charge between $25 and $100 per dog per day. When setting your pricing should consider the type of services you will offer, the length of care needed (i.e. hourly, daily, or overnight), the location of your services, and any other expenses you might incur.
Ultimately, dog owners want to make sure their pet is being well taken care of. In most cases, they’ll be more than willing to pay a premium for expert care.
So the more (and better) services you provide, the more you can charge.
But how, exactly, do you set your dog-sitting rates?
That’s what we’re going to cover in the rest of this dog-sitting pricing guide.
Let’s dive in!
Before creating your pricing structure, you first must understand the basic scope of a dog sitter’s duties.
Understanding what specific tasks you’re expected to do as a dog sitter will give you a better idea of how much to charge for your time, skills, and effort.
Dog sitters typically offer in-home care for dogs while their owners are away.
They may visit their clients’ homes during the day or stay overnight.
During their visits, they do certain tasks to care for dogs, including:
- Providing food and water
- Giving them time outside to exercise
- Taking them on walks
- Cleaning up cages or any messes they make
- Administering medicine
- Offering companionship
In addition to these basic duties, some pet sitters may also complete small errands for their clients.
This could include tasks like watering the plants, taking out the trash, and checking the mail.
Typically, these minor extra responsibilities are included in the cost of hiring a dog sitter.
There are several important factors to consider before you decide on a pricing structure for your dog-sitting business.
Before setting your hourly or daily rate, be sure to factor in which services you plan on offering, how much you need to make to sustain your business, and how much your competition is charging.
The best rule of thumb when it comes to deciding how much to charge for dog-sitting is to keep it simple.
You may be tempted to price your services and offerings based on every task you do while dog-sitting. However, if you want your services to be attractive to potential clients, it’s best to create a simple pricing structure based on the duration of your visits.
For example, you could have a set price for a 30-minute visit and a 60-minute visit, plus an overnight rate.
Sure, some pet owners might want you to take their dog for two walks or collect mail from their mailbox. But that doesn’t mean you need to charge them extra for each individual service.
If you try to itemize every task you do as a dog sitter, your prices are only going to overwhelm your clients.
Of course, if a dog owner needs you to perform additional tasks that are beyond the scope of your normal services, you should feel comfortable charging more. (More on this later.)
Also, keep in mind that the best pricing strategy for you depends on the type of dog-sitting business you’re creating.
For instance, if you hope to provide mostly overnight visits or dog boarding at your own home, your pricing structure should reflect these business models.
Your location also influences how much money is acceptable to charge for your services.
For this reason, you should research the going rates for dog-sitting in your area.
Pricing is so important to people looking for a pet sitter, so it can make or break your ability to get clients.
Thankfully, there are helpful dog-sitting rate calculators online that provide the average cost of dog-sitting when you enter your zip code and service duration.
These tools make it easy for you to quickly gain a ballpark idea of how much to charge for dog-sitting.
However, you shouldn’t solely base your pricing on the average dog-sitting rate in your area.
Rather, you should treat these rates as a good baseline. From there, you can continue to factor in your experience, qualifications, and position in the market.
How much does it cost you to keep your dog-sitting business running?
This is an important consideration that will help you decided how much to charge for dog-sitting.
For example, do you use any special software or services to find new clients?
Do you buy any materials for the dogs in your care?
Or, do you pay other employees or contractors who work for you?
Add up all of the expenses you incur on a monthly basis to run your dog-sitting business. Then, be sure to factor this cost into your rates.
For example, say it costs you $3 on average to gain a client. If this is the case, you should tack on those $3 (plus profit) to the cost of your service for each client.
Remember, your standard rates should more than cover any and all of your expenses. Otherwise, you’ll never be able to turn a profit from your business.
While you might shy away from looking at your competitors to avoid making negative comparisons, it’s important to at least be aware of how much others are charging for dog-sitting.
You definitely don’t want to be the cheapest sitter out there.
Selling yourself short will only lead to burnout and discouragement. Also, when you charge too little, many pet owners will question the level of care they are receiving.
On the other hand, you probably don’t want to be the most expensive provider either–especially if you’re new to dog-sitting.
Think about how you’re positioning yourself in the market.
For example, do you have a medical background or particular work experience that justifies a higher price?
Are you trying to position your business as a luxury service?
Do you go above and beyond by offering extra value that your competitors don’t provide?
Any time you’re providing more value to your clients, you should be charging for it.
If you find the right clients who desire and appreciate the extra value you’re offering, they’ll be more than willing to pay you accordingly.
Finally, you need to think long-term when you’re deciding how much to charge for dog-sitting.
If you want your business to be sustainable, you need to figure out the minimum amount of money that’s acceptable for you to earn every month.
If you set your prices too low, you may face difficulty when it comes to staying motivated and wanting to continue on with your business.
So, before you decide on your prices, think about how much money would equal what you believe your services are worth.
Of course, this can’t be the only factor you consider when determining your prices – just because you want to make a million dollars with your dog-sitting business doesn’t mean people are willing to pay you that much.
However, you should think about your dog-sitting business with a long-term mindset.
What would it look like for you to be compensated fairly and appropriately?
How much do you want to be earning from your business in five years?
Your answers to these questions will provide a great starting point for pricing your services in a way that benefits you over time.
Interested in starting a side hustle and earning more money? Check out some of our related posts:
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Beyond the ordinary scope of a dog-sitting visit, there may be certain situations that allow you to charge more than your standard rate.
The following situations should warrant some additional fees and charges.
If you agree to dog-sit for someone whose home is a long drive away from where you live, you should bill for the time it takes you to travel there.
Your clients are paying for your time.
Therefore, any time you spend dedicated to fulfilling your pet-sitting responsibilities should be accounted for.
For example, if you charge $30 for one hour of dog-sitting, but it takes you 30 minutes to drive each way to and from your clients’ house, you should charge a total of $60 (one hour of dog-sitting + one hour of travel time).
Another factor that could raise the cost of your dog-sitting services is the presence of additional dogs or other pets.
Most dog-sitters base their rates on the assumption that they’ll be caring for one dog.
So, if a client has more than one dog, you can charge a higher rate for the extra time, effort, and care you’ll have to provide.
That being said, it’s not standard to charge a full separate rate for each additional pet.
This likely wouldn’t be very fair since your job duties are generally the same for each animal.
Instead, you might charge an extra flat fee for each additional pet that needs care.
This extra charge may vary, but you could base it on a set percentage of your standard dog-sitting rate.
In certain situations, clients may have pets that require overnight care and attention.
For example, extremely young puppies or old dogs who are in poor health tend to need 24/7 attention from their caregivers.
You may wish to charge a higher rate for around-the-clock care, as these dogs require much more time and effort.
Just make sure you’re up-front about this higher rate before you provide dog-sitting services for these clients so there are no surprises.
If you make yourself available for pet sitting during the holidays, you could earn almost double your normal rates.
This can be a great opportunity to expand your business!
It’s no secret that the demand for dog-sitting increases during the holidays as more people travel and go on vacation.
During these times, heightened demand allows you to charge more for your services.
Also, clients recognize that it’s a sacrifice on your part to spend time caring for their dog during a holiday you would otherwise be spending with family or friends.
So, while dog-sitting on Thanksgiving or Christmas may not be your first choice of holiday activity, it could certainly earn you some extra cash.
One final consideration you may wish to factor into your pricing structure is if and when you’ll offer special rates.
Like any business, bonus offers and discounts can help get new clients through the door. These opportunities can turn into long-term business relationships.
You may choose to offer special discounts or reduced rates seasonally, for your top repeating clients, or for those with more than one dog.
This is a great way to generate new business and maintain your existing client relationships.
There is no exact science that tells you exactly how much to charge for dog-sitting.
No matter what type of services you provide, you should regularly reevaluate your prices. This will help ensure your rates are always in line with your business goals.
Determining the right rates for your business involves balancing what clients are willing to pay with your own needs and desires.
To become more competitive and start earning more, think about ways you can add more value to your clients’ experience.
Each time you reevaluate and adjust your dog-sitting rates, come back to this pricing guide to remind yourself of which factors are the most important to consider.