Pet Sitting Rates

Cheap, Fast, Good. Pick two.

pick twoA few years ago I contacted a web designer and told him I wanted a new website created in a hurry. He said, “I can do it cheap, fast or good. But you can only pick two. Which two do you want?”

Your pet sitting and dog walking clients may want all three too but guess what? It’s impossible to get all three in business…unless you want to go out of business because you aren’t making a profit.

If you are a ‘cheap pet sitter’ you are going to begin to get resentful (always happens when the pet sitter wakes up and realizes his or her price are well below market rate). If you try to raise your price too much, too fast then your clients will get resentful. (You don’t want that.) Raising your rates yearly (even by just $1) will help ease the resentment factor and bring your low prices to market rate sooner than if you wait years before raising them.

If you really need clients and some are cheap clients wanting discounts I recommend lowering the amount of time that you’ll spend with the pet. So if your regular 30-minute visit is $18 a visit, offer to do a 15-minute visit for $16. In this way the client will feel like they are getting something and you will have more time for more full price visits. (Obviously you’ll want to make sure that the pet who is getting less time will be well taken care of in 15-minutes. A 15-minute visit works well for shy cats who hide under the bed.)

If you are a sitter who says yes to last minute pet sits and dog walks you will also get resentful. So charge for those last minute sits. I recommend charging your clients a $20-$30 Last Minute Fee (LMF) for those clients who need to meet you or one of your sitters in less than 3 days. If UPS can charge for last minute delivery so can you!

And good? Well, if you aren’t good you won’t be in business very long. Good should always be a part of your business practice. And even better…strive for great. If you are great at what you do your clients will love you and thank you. (And refer you to their friends and neighbors.)

So the next time a client calls and says, “I need you to pet sit tomorrow. I need a low rate and I need you to do a great job with my dog” simply say, “Sure. You can have any two. Which two do you want? Cheap, fast or good?”



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New Pet Sitters: How to Determine Your Dog Walking and Pet Sitting Rates

2892058635_da341cba5f_mIf you are a new pet sitter here’s the easiest way to determine your pet sitting and dog walking rates:

1) Create a spreadsheet with at least 10 different competitors on the far left.

2) On the columns to the right have each service plus time limits plus extra pet fee. Find your competitors’ rates sheets and enter their totals there.

3) If you can’t find ten competitors in your area then look in the next immediate town until you have ten different pet sitters listed in or near your town.

4) Figure out the medium range by looking at the range of prices for each service from your ten competitors.

I usually recommend that new pet sitters have their rates be in the middle-range of your competitors when you are first starting out.

Here’s how to determine the average middle: Let’s say you create your competitor pricing spreadsheet and you find the range is $12-$20 per 30- minute pet sitting visit. You’ll want to start out with a rate $16 per visit.

Once you develop a stellar reputation as a pet sitter you can (and should) raise your middle-range rates.

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