Why do professional pet sitters charge more than the vet/boarding facilities/Bill from Rover/my neighbor's teenage daughter?
On occasion, potential clients have questioned or challenged my pricing structure.
"Why would I pay that when the vet only charges XYZ?"
"My neighbor's daughter will only charge $5 a visit."
"That lady on Rover only charges $10 per visit and has Rover insurance."
I understand sticking to a budget is important to most people. And I can respect if they prefer to find a cheaper alternative if they think a professional sitter is too costly for them. But I wanted to explain briefly why someone may pay more for a professional sitter than some of the other pet care options out there.
Most vets have a fairly low boarding cost. And an added bonus? If your pet gets sick, they're right where they need to be. I briefly worked for a vet in the kennels. The dogs being boarded were let outside twice a day on a leash. We had no time to play, pet, or do much of anything besides two quick potty breaks and feeding. It was the most depressing thing I'd ever seen. Not all vets operate this way, but I imagine many do. Professional sitters will walk, play with, pet, and snuggle your pets. All in the comfort of their own home!
Using a cheap or free trusted friend, family, or neighbor can really be a blessing when you're on vacation. But what happens when that person has an emergency and cannot care for your pet the remainder of the time you're away? What if that person decides they have more fun things to do and backs out midway through your vacation? You hate to think someone you trust would do that, but I've seen it happen many times. Watching animals is a professional pet sitter's job. If we have an emergency or are sick we will find a suitable sub until we are back on our feet. We also are devoted to our jobs and will usually not decide something sounds more fun and leave you without pet care. We love what we do! And heaven forbid your dog gets sick while you're gone? We are always ready for that possibility and can take your pets to the vet.
There are surely many responsible and highly qualified sitters on the various care websites out there. But, very often, those sitters don't have insurance. A lot of them pet sit on the side and it's not their full time job. Other things come first for them. Sites like Rover do offer insurance for client peace of mind. But did you know if anything happened, YOU the client are responsible for a $500 deductible? Ouch! My liability insurance has a $50 deductible. And if anything happens, I will cover that cost for my client. This is my full time job. And 99.999999% of the time, my clients and their pets come first.
Professional Pet Sitter Expenses
Professional sitters often incur many expenses that other pet care folks don't. Some of those include:
Insurance (liability, bonding, workers comp) which can be expensive.
Federal and state taxes
Website hosting and maintenance
Education, CPR/First Aid certification
Memberships to professional pet sitting organizations
Cost of gasoline and car maintenance
Accounting software and accountants
Whether you prefer to board, hire a friend, hire a pet sitter online, or hire a professional sitter, always do your homework. Sometimes you truly get what you pay for. Look for someone who you feel comfortable with and can trust will take excellent care of your pets (and home if applicable).