The amount that a pet sitter costs will depend on many factors. The biggest factor that effects cost is whether the person caring for your pets is a friend, a hobby pet sitter, a solo professional sitter, or a professional pet sitting company.
In this article will discuss the differences between between these types of sitters and the cost associated with each.
Keep in mind, if you live in an urban area, you may want to add a dollar or two. 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 and 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 & 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 the 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. Lots of complementary services are usually 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 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 our care. They will put in the extra effort to make sure our 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
- Medications 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 & Bonding
You can read more about pet sitting certifications here.
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 sometimes passing more to their sitters. A company that pays its sitters & walkers well prevent employee turnover and provide more consistency for you and your pets.
Employees VS Independent Contractors
Professional Pet Sitting companies will hire either emplyees 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 that employees have. But, companies with employees offer better service because they are able to train their staff and require 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 be somewhere around:
- $17-23 per 15-minute visit
- $22-27 per 30-minute visit
- $27-32 per 45-minute visit
- $28-38 per 60-minute visit
Hiring a Pet Sitters for dogs will cost $49 per day on the low end. This would be for two 30 minute visits. If you hire a pet sitter for dogs and schedule 3 visits per day, you are looking at $70 – $85 per day.
Hiring a Pet Sitters for cats will cost $17-23 per day on the low end. If you schedule one 15 minute visit. If you hire a pet sitter for cats and schedule longer visits or 2 visits per day, you are looking at $25 – $59 per day.
If you would like more information about how many pet sitting visits per day to book for 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 that provide 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 you’re your church, or a member of a neighborhood group. You can find these sitters by asking around or looking on a platform based pet care site.
How Much Does A Hobby Pet Sitter Cost
Usually, you will pay about 50-75% of what you would pay a local professional service. This equals about $10 – $15 per 15-minute drop-in visit and $15 – $22.50 per 45 – 60 minute visit.
If your hobby sitter provides overnights you should expect to pay between $50 – $70 plus the cost of a mid-day walk.
You might find hobby a sitter that charges a very low rate for their services. I’ve heard as low as $30 dollars a day for three mid-day visits and an overnight! At these prices, nobody can sustain a business, a livelihood, or much less a family. If you look at the time spent hourly, its 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 and some will not value themselves high 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 style of sitter that offers all day service. Prices vary widely here. If you find someone that will do it for less than $150, you are getting a good deal.
Working With A Hobby Pet Sitter
You should not expect your hobby sitter to always have availability, especially at 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 client’s dogs to college parties and I’ve heard of hobby sitters throwing parties in client’s 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 that you really trust and be 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 that were panicked and looking for a sitter a day or two before they were ready to head 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, 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 pet’s 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 30-40% of what you would pay a professional service. For example, a quick 15-minute drop-in visit would equal about $6 – $10 per visit. If your pets need longer visits, such as 45-60 minute visits, you should pay somewhere around $9 -$12 per visit. If you are not sure what length visits your pets need, you can read this article, 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 also want to consider a 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!
When it comes to litter boxes regular cleaning is key. But cleaning the litter box is not exaclty anyone’s favorite thing to do. I have found that I am more likely to take care of a chore when I set up a system that makes it easy to do. Over the 5000 or so pet sitting visits we have completed, we have found one method that makes cleaning your litter box a breeze.