What to Charge for Dog Sitting

Dog sitting is a valued service in both rural and populated regions. Dogs require special attention, feeding and care while their owners are at work, traveling or simply too busy. Dog sitting rates are dependent on a number of variables. Base your fee structure on time required, travel expenses, overhead and any additional services you offer.

Woman walking Great Dane, Dachshund and Poodle
Charge extra for walking multiple dogs.
credit: Brand X Pictures/Stockbyte/Getty Images

Flat Rate vs. Hourly

Flat rate fees and hourly fees both have their ups and downs. Hourly is a good method of guaranteeing you are paid for all of the time worked. Hourly is best for short time periods of dog sitting. Flat rates work well for full-day and overnight dog sitting. Charge a flat rate for each calendar day the dog is in your care. The rates vary greatly by region and you must price within reasonable range of your competition. Check your competitors' websites to determine the normal rates in your region. According to the Professional United Pet Sitters, the average national rate is $18 for 30 minutes of care. Flat rates for boarding at your home or staying overnight at a client's home will be higher.

Types of Pet Sitting

Several different types of pet sitting are common. Mobile pet sitters visit the owners' homes for walks and will sometimes stay overnight as a combination pet- and house-sitting service while the owner is away. Pet sitters with yard space and boarding facilities will take pets into their homes for single and multiple-day sessions. Boarding for full days and overnights is typically done as a flat rate, while walking services are done either hourly or as a flat rate for each dog.

Travel Time and Overhead

You must factor expenses into your fee structure to remain profitable. Rural areas often require fuel and travel time to meet your clients. Charge an additional fee to offset the expense. 57.5-cents per mile is the standard rate for business vehicle use according to the IRS. You can also opt to include drive time into your hourly rate as an alternative to charging mileage. Stipulate in your contract that a mileage fee is charged to prevent any billing conflicts.

Vet Visits and Emergency Services

Emergency trips to the veterinarian are not common while dog sitting, but they do happen. Collect the dog's vet info before the sitting time. When a vet visit is required, charge a fee for the time, travel and any additional expenses incurred. Include a clause for this in your contract, and state that any vet visits are based on your best judgement to protect and ensure the safety of the dog.

Additional Service Charges

The base fee for dog sitting includes feeding, watering and moderate exercise. Add options to your fee structure to increase profitability. Optional long walks and hiking, trips off-property and obedience training are all valuable upselling strategies. Also consider carrying specialty food and treat products to sell.