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Our goal is to educate and empower pet business owners to build their brand and make a bigger impact.

Shelley Beyer

Setting Your Pet Sitting and Dog Walking Rates
Posted on: February 16, 2021
Setting Your Pet Sitting and Dog Walking Rates

You could ask ten different business owners in the pet industry about how they chose their pet sitting rates, and you would get ten unique answers. Clearly, setting your business prices is a personal decision and will vary depending on your business needs. However, there are a few guidelines to follow while considering the right pricing structure for your business. We’ve got the inside scoop on those tips, so keep reading! 

Why Do the Math for Your Pet Sitting Rates?

Setting your pet sitting business rates with a purpose is very important, and easier isn’t always better. Many business owners look at their competition and shave a few dollars off the price. They compare to others or just set a random number because it felt right. Both options are easy, but that doesn’t mean they are the right fit for your business. Your service area is unique to you, so what people are willing to pay can change drastically, even from city to city. It can be a good idea to get a feel for what is average for your area. A great place to start is trying this calculator from Time to Pet. It’s easy to use and can get you going in the right direction. 

Questions to Ask When Setting Your Pet Sitting Rates

  • What services are you offering? Take inventory of all the services you offer. How complex are each of these services? 
  • Where are you located? City rates are different than country rates. Country visits require more travel, while city visits come with more risks and competition. 
  • What’s the competition charging? We don’t recommend using their rates as a basis for yours, but you should still know where you stand. 
  • What are your business expenses?  Look at how much you owe monthly for business expenses, such as insurance and marketing, and divide it based on how many services you expect to do.
  • How much is labor? Whatever you need to pay your employees needs to be a factor in what you charge your clients. 

Once you’ve answered all of these questions, you’re ready to start putting your prices together. Make sure that your fee covers a portion of your business expenses and enough to pay the labor. Also, be sure to account for travel time. Once you get this baseline number, start tweaking it. Compare the math to your prices for other similar services and make sure that they all make sense. Then look at your competitor’s rates. If your baseline is way lower than theirs, you can afford to bump your profit margins up a little if you would like. At the very least, you’ll have an idea of what your competitors are charging when you speak to clients. 

Should You Charge by Time or Task?

When considering your rates, there are two ways you can charge— task-based or time-based. Task-based pricing charges for each task completed. For example, $5 to scoop the cat litter, $3 to bring in the mail, etc. Clients can choose the specific tasks they want you to accomplish no matter how much time they take. If a client were to see all these add ons while on your website, they can be easily confused. If they feel confused, they may not want to purchase your services because they are overwhelmed. Consequently, when it all adds up, and your client gets the bill, they might feel nickeled and dimed. 

In contrast, time-based pricing is a lot smoother of a process. Instead of charging for each task you do, you charge for a visit time. Why is this easier? Because there is a set price for a certain amount of visit time, charging is as simple as $20 for a 30-minute appointment. To a potential client, a straightforward rate like this is appealing. Of course, there may be additional travel fees, but it’s still easy to track.

Now, some pet sitting businesses use a bit of both. They charge for the time length of the visit but offer a few specific extra charges. The most common additional charge is for additional pets. Other additional fees can be added too, such as an exact time fee. Most businesses mix and match to find what works for them.

Overall, you will need to choose the pricing system that works best for your business. In our experience, time-based has been more convenient for clients and owners. Remember, there is no wrong choice here – choose whichever will work best for you!  

What About Packages?

Packages can be a great option to help build loyalty from your customers. After all, if they buy ten visits, they are going to use all ten. From the client’s perspective, they feel like they’ve gotten a good deal because of the package discount. Many pets will need regular care anyway, so it’s appealing to your clients. Packages can set you apart from your competition because instead of comparing your rate to another company’s rates, the potential client will compare your package prices. Because they feel like they’ve done their due diligence in comparing prices, they are happy. However, they never left your website! 

There are a few perks for you, too! You can enjoy having lump sum payments in advance. When you arrange your packages, try to offer a variety of amounts and price points. Avoid making the difference between them too steep; it can scare them away. Two package options seem ideal for each visit you offer (10 or 20 visits, for 20, 30, 45, or 60-minute visits, for example). However, you should customize them based on your needs and your business! 

Setting Your Pet Sitting and Dog Walking Rates

The Right Pet Sitting Rates Are Critical to Your Business

For potential clients, price is the number one dealbreaker. It might take a little number crunching, but you need to find that sweet spot for your community that is affordable for them but still keeps you in business. In summary, remember to look to your business expenses for guidance, not your competition, because you never know how your competition came up with their pricing.

The PetBrainy Circle has an entire course dedicated to helping its members with pricing.  We are here to help you with all your business needs. We’re a community of pet-sitting business owners packed with resources just for you.

Join today to start pushing your business to new heights. Sign up below! 

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