The amount a pet sitter costs will depend on many factors. This article will discuss the differences between a few different types of pet sitters, and why they cost different amounts. The short answer is with a professional level service, you have a higher level of reliability and better quality of service. However, you will pay a bit more than with other types of sitters.
Also, if you have two or more pets, hiring a pet sitter can be much more affordable than boarding your pets.
Keep in mind, if you live in an urban area, you may want to add a dollar or two to our estimated costs. In a rural area, you could take a dollar or two off of the prices shown below.
Professional Level Services
Professional Level services offer the best care, and cost the most.
When you hire a professional service, you will not have to worry while you are away. You will have peace of mind that your home and your pets are in the hands of an experienced and responsible pet care expert. This type of company will focus on pet sitting and dog walking services.
Local professional pet sitting companies will have a team of pet sitters available, so you will always be covered when you leave town. At minimum, a professional service should have a backup sitter available for you in case of an emergency.
Professional services have a local manager you can contact to help sort out anything that might come up while you are out of town. They also have the knowledge and experience to guide you through the process of hiring a pet sitter. They can help you choose the visit times and visit lengths that will work best for your pets.
Professional sitters will come to your home for drop-in visits, usually ranging from 15 minutes to 60 minutes. Many complementary services are often included, such as picking up the mail, litter box cleaning, medication administration, plant watering, cleaning wet food dishes, cleaning up pet messes, rotating lights, and much more.
A professional pet sitting and dog walking company will be there for you every step of the way. They make sure all of your questions are answered, and you feel great about leaving your pets in their care.
Pro pet sitters put in the extra effort to make sure their sitters have everything they need to do a great job. Professional pet sitting and dog walking companies will also have a ton of procedures and standards in place that are focused on offering consistent service, and will make your pet’s safety the #1 priority.
A professional pet sitting company will have:
- A training program for their sitters
- Written processes in place for visits
- Medication logs
- Emergency procedures
- First aid training
- Knowledge of animal behavior
- A membership to a professional pet sitting organization
- Visit checklists for each visit
- An online system for scheduling
- GPS logs from each visit
- Frequent updates and picture messages of your happy pets
- A relationship with local vets and local rescues
- Pet sitting insurance and bonding
It is more common now for pet sitters to have a certification specific to pet sitting and dog walking. These are available through NAPPS, PSI, or our sister company, PetSitterCourse.com
You can read more about pet sitting certifications here. Check out this PetSitterCourse.com article if you want to learn how much to charge for pet sitting and dog walking service.
Factors That Drive Cost
Along with the overhead of providing top notch home and pet sitting service, companies will charge more if their sitters have more years of experience.
Some companies pay their people a fair wage, some do not. Companies that charge more are often passing more to their sitters. A company that pays its sitters and walkers well prevents employee turnover, and provides more consistency for you and your pets.
Employees VS Independent Contractors
Professional pet sitting companies will hire either employees or independent contractors to build out their team.
Companies that hire employees will usually charge a few dollars more to cover the costs and benefits they offer their employees. But, companies with employees usually offer better service, because they are able to train their staff to follow standard processes.
Independent contractors, on the other hand, cost the company less, so you may find a cheaper professional service. But, independent contractors can perform job duties in any manner they see fit.
How To Find Professional Sitters
Most professional pet sitting companies will advertise online. You can find these companies by searching Google for Pet Sitters, Dog Sitters, Cat Sitters, or Dog Walkers in your area.
Look for companies that show up in the local results, have been around for a few years, and have some good reviews. See our article 7 Tips For Finding A Great Pet Sitter for more information.
Professional Pet Sitter Cost
The cost for daily dog and cat pet sitting visits will be somewhere around:
- $23 to $28 per 15-minute visit
- $27 to $31 per 30-minute visit
- $32 to $37 per 45-minute visit
- $37 to $45 per 60-minute visit
Hiring a pet sitter for dogs will cost $85 – $90 per day on the low end. This would be for three 30 minute visits each day. If you hire a pet sitter for dogs and schedule 4 visits per day, you are looking at $110 – $125 per day.
Hiring a pet sitter for cats will cost $27 – $31 per day on the low end, if you schedule one 30 minute visit every day. If you hire a pet sitter for cats and schedule longer visits, or 2 visits daily, you are looking at $54 – $62 per day.
If you would like more information about how many pet sitting visits per day to book for a dog or cat, see these articles:
Overnight Dog Sitting Cost
Some companies will offer a 10 or a 12 hour overnight service. Overnight service will usually start at 7:00 – 9:00 pm and end at 7:00am. Overnight service should include an evening and a morning walk. Mid-day visits can be added to overnight services for the cost of a mid-day visit. Most pets do not need overnight service, but some pets with isolation distress a medical issue will benefit from overnight service.
10-12 hour overnights can range from $50 – $85 dollars.
The reason for the large differences in price for overnights is that companies that hire employees might have to pay their sitters at least minimum wage while the sitter sleeps.
Hobby Pet Sitters
There are many different types of hobby pet sitters. This group includes sitters who provide service in your home, or in the sitter’s home style pet care. Usually, hobby sitters are working for some extra side cash.
Hobby pet sitters are generally the kid next door, vet techs, dog groomers, platform or app-based sitters, such as those that advertise with Rover or Care.com, someone from your church, or a member of a neighborhood group. You can find these sitters by asking around, or looking on an app-based pet care site.
How Much Does A Hobby Pet Sitter Cost
For a professional pet sitter you should expect to pay $23 – $28 per 15-minute drop in visit and between $35 – $47 per 45 – 60 minute visit.
Usually, for a hobby sitter, you will pay about 60-70% of what you would pay a local professional service. This equals about $14 – $19 per 15-minute drop-in visit, and $21 – $32 per 45 – 60 minute visit.
If your hobby sitter provides overnights, you should expect to pay between $65 – $75, plus the cost of a midday walk.
You might find a hobby sitter who charges a very low rate for their services. I’ve heard as low as $30 dollars a day for three midday visits and an overnight! At these prices, nobody can sustain a business or a livelihood, much less a family. If you look at the time spent hourly, it’s almost $2 per hour. Paying someone such a low amount for so much service is taking advantage. If you pay a hobby sitter a very low amount, your relationship will likely not last for long.
Sitters will either realize they are worth more, or get burnt out from working 7 days a week for such low pay with no resources to grow their business. Please do not take advantage of new hobby sitters. For most hobby sitters, this is their first venture into business. Some will not value themselves highly enough to cover their time, expenses, and opportunity cost. So, if they charge a low amount, keep this economy rolling and be sure to help them out with a big tip!
All Day Pet Sitting Service
Hobby sitters will usually be the only sitters who offer all day service. Prices vary widely here. If you find someone who will do it for less than $170 per day, you are getting a good deal.
Working With A Hobby Pet Sitter
You should not expect your hobby sitter to always have availability, especially on short notice. Be sure to coordinate with them before you book flights or hotels.
Keep in mind that hobby sitters tend to not carry insurance. If this is the case, you could be on the hook if something happens to your home, your dog, or the sitter while you are away.
Although you can find some real deals with hobby sitters, the service is not very regulated. I have seen vet techs bring clients’ dogs to college parties, and I’ve heard of hobby sitters throwing parties in clients’ homes. You can wind up with a mess on your hands if you are unlucky and go with a less than reputable sitter. So, I recommend finding a hobby sitter you really trust and sure to get some references before you give them the keys to your home.
Hobby sitters are usually providing pet care for side cash. When this is the case, it is easy for a hobby sitter to flake out at the last minute. I have brought on a number of clients who were panicking and looking for a sitter a day or two before they were heading out of town. Hobby sitters are usually a team of one. So, if they are not able to make it to your visits, you and your pets might be out of luck.
There are certainly great hobby sitters out there. Just be sure to get references and have a backup ready to go if needed. You might have found a great one, but we get at least one call every month where a hobby sitter had something come up and they can’t make it to your visits. The worst is when you are already out of town. You will be able to save some cash with sitters that don’t have a team, but you do take the risk of your pets not being covered.
How Much To Pay A Friend to Pet Sit
If you have reliable friends, asking them to care for your pets can be a great way to save some cash. Hiring friends to take care of your pets will most likely be the cheapest option for you.
If your friends have pets of their own, they might even offer to care for your pets for free if you can return the favor the next time they go out of town.
If you decide to pay your friends to pet sit, a fair rate of pay is 40-50% of what you would pay a professional service. For example, a quick 15-minute drop-in visit would equal about $9 – $14 per visit. If your pets need longer visits, such as 45-60 minute visits, you should pay somewhere around $13 – $18.50 per visit. If you are not sure what length visits your pets need, you can read these articles: this article for cats, and this article for dogs.
Asking Friends To Pet Sit
Keep in mind that asking a friend to take care of your pets is a big favor, especially if you have a dog.
Along with caring for your pets, your friend will most likely have to juggle a full time job, family requirements, and all the other stresses of life. Stopping by your place one or two times per day can turn into a big hassle for your friends.
Your friends might get tired of stopping over if you go out of town often. If this is the case, you might want to consider hiring a professional pet sitting service.
If you are looking for the best quality and the most reliable type of service, be sure to go with a professional company.
If you are OK with the uncertainty of hiring a hobby sitter, you might be able to save some cash on pet care, and rather put that money into your vacation.
A trusted friend or neighbor can really save the bank account, but it can burden a relationship if you are not able to return the favor next time.
Remember, if you are vetting a professional pet sitting company or a hobby sitter and they don’t seem to be up to par, you can keep looking. Professional pet sitting companies should provide excellent service and communication. You should expect to get regular updates from your sitter, and maybe a few picture messages, too. A hobby sitter might not have experience or commitment to you, but they will charge a bit less.
Hopefully this article has been helpful to you. If you have any questions or comments, please leave them in the comment section below! Thanks!