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Pet Sitting: a la Carte service charges

Beyond Basic Pet Care - How some pet sitters charge

Owning one's own business gives someone the freedom to run things the way he or she wants. They can keep things small and simple or grow a business into something big and complex. It is one of the wonderful things about business ownership.

Just as there are myriads of human beings with minds full of great creative ideas, so there are also myriads of businesses that are each managed very differently. The field of professional pet sitting is one of them.

Some pet sitters charge one basic fee for each pet visit and they typically (should) tell a potential client what services are covered for that fee. If not, potential clients should ask so there are no surprises and clarity in the sitter/client relationship.

Some pet sitters charge a fee per pet and/or type of pet in the household, so depending on this way of doing things, the fee per visit can be different for each client. For example, someone with one dog would be charged one fee, but a household with three dogs, four cats, and a bird, would be charged a higher fee because more time is needed at the home for each pet visit in order to properly care for all these adorable pets.

Some pet sitters charge a larger amount and this amount covers anything the client will ask to be done (within reason of course). So say, the fee is a third more than other sitters in their area, but the fee covers more services. For example, a sitter may charge more on a particular day if a pet has to be taken to the vet, while someone with a generally higher fee has already baked these occasional costs into the price. This might work for some clients with the means to handle fees like this, while others would prefer a lower fee with the occasional bump in charge due to the sitter having to stay longer for emergency situations, etc.

Last week's post talked about what to include in a basic pet sitting visit. You can read it at: .

Some pet sitters charge a base fee but then add a la carte items.

This blog will address some of these a la carte features that might incur extra charges for a client.

First of all, if any pet sitter charges for a la carte items, I'd strongly suggest that they provide the client with a menu of services - literally. This way everything is out in the open and, like a restaurant, the client can look through the menu items to see if there are other items they might like to add. This gives them some control over their final price and doesn't surprise clients with extra fees - something that can cause bad feelings to arise and the loss of a client. Nobody likes surprise fees.

Below is a list of just some of the a la carte items that clients might like and find worth paying an extra fee for. Where needed, I've included a little explanation.

Thorough cleaning of the litter box(es): dumping litter box, washing it out, drying it and refilling it. This is something clients who will be gone for more than a week might want done. It takes approximately 10 extra minutes to do this task - per litter box.

Extra household chores like taking in a client's garbage bins from the end of the driveway or bringing them down to the end of the driveway.

Replenishing outdoor bird feeders.

Taking in the mail/newspapers/packages. (Some clients do not want a sitter to handle these things, while others do. I'd advise a sitter to counsel that client that if these things are not picked up it gives a sign to would-be crooks that nobody is home.)

Therapeutic Pet massage.

Pet training - the teaching of basic commands, tricks, etc...

House sitting / Overnights.

Pet field trips (dog park, another local park, dog cafe).

Transportation of pets (to another location, to the Groomer's , to the vet).

Pet nail clipping.

Dealing with alarm systems.

What I would personally never include: For me, I think all that "pet communicator" and "pet psychic" stuff is at the least a bunch of hooey and at the most, dabbling in the occult and/or bilking clients out of more money, and should be avoided. I know some pet professionals will strongly disagree, but this is my stance. Once, a client told me I should be a pet communicator because it was obvious that I understood her cats very well and she felt I knew what they wanted and I had a "gift". I responded that it just took spending time with them, understanding pet behavior, and keen observational skills. It was not magic or psychic at all - just good pet skills. Personally, I would never hire any pet sitter who proclaims to have these "gifts" not only because of the "hooey" factor but because of the evil it could bring into my home. As a Christian, this would be something important to me. I believe most pet sitters would agree that these types of services are hooey but are afraid to say it due to a sense of cultural tolerance, so I'm taking a stand here and now to say it for them.

The best suggestion for all these "a la carte" items I have is for pet sitters to literally make a menu of services and update it once in a while with new services added or deleted from previous menu. This gives clarity for clients. They can leave it on the clients' counters with their pet sitting log or include it in their newsletter or on their websites.

Blessings on your day,



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