I’ve discussed the whats and whys of pet sitting rates on another post.

Here are some more.

There are many ways sitters set prices on pet services—per visit, per calendar day, per hour, per pet (or additional pet beyond a certain number of pets covered under standard rates), and a combination of any of those. For example, base price range varies widely across the country at $18-$25 per visit between 30 to 45 minutes and $60-$85 per overnight stay, usually between 10 to 12 hours, excluding daytime visit(s). If employees are involved, expect to pay more. In my case, I have an all-inclusive overnight/daytime stay package, and some households are charged more than my base rates because of heavier workload.

The obvious ways to determine pricing are regional cost of living, overhead, experience, training, and many others. Last but definitely not least, the value sitters place on their services. How much do you think they’re worth? How much do they think they’re worth? That is the most important factor. Worth or value correlates to the level of the sitter’s level of confidence in his or her performance. Would you hire someone who really knows his or her stuff or someone who just sort of tries to wing it? I’m sure you won’t take this lightly because I know you want your critter family and your property well cared for.

Years ago, I tried to find a guitar teacher who could teach my particular favorite niche genre—indie rock. It was a bit hard to do as many teachers normally taught metal and jazz, and I didn’t particularly care for those. Then I saw someone on Craigslist who was pretty much right up my alley. I thought it was great until I saw his rate. He charged about half of what professional private music teachers usually did. In my occupational past life, I was a piano teacher, so I knew the numbers. Mind you, I wasn’t especially loaded then, so I’d obviously love to get some discounted goodies here and there. Needless to say, I wasn’t excited about this whole thing anymore. Call it reverse sticker shock. I somewhat doubted this guy’s ability to teach simply because of his rate. I ended up finding another affordable, knowledgeable teacher who charged within the standard professional range. Given his experience, he’d do better by charging about 25 percent more! (He happened to be a fellow animal lover, the parent of three pooches, but that’s beside the point.)

Sure, you can get los cheapos, but at what price? How long will this bargain sitter last? How long is he or she going to stick around? Most likely for not very long. This person will probably quickly run out of resources—time, money, and energy. Burnout is quite common in the industry due to the 24/7 physical nature of the job. This happens even to the most successful and top-priced pet care providers.

Everyone wants “reasonable” prices. Heck, you bet I do, too! But what does reasonable really mean? Do sitters’ rates reasonably provide the wherewithal to continue doing what they’re doing? When sitters appropriately value their services and truly know what they’re worth, they’ll have more at their disposal, which means better and more services for you. Win-win.

It all comes down to value. You’re willing to part with your cash if something you buy gives you a lot of meaning or enjoyment. Back in the day, I used to rock out almost all hairstyles and colors known to man. You’d think I was nuts for burning my money to fry my locks, but it was part of my creative self-expression. It was important to me. A number of ladies get their jollies by amassing designer duds that rival the infamous Imelda Marcos’ monstrous shoe collection, while I personally think that the idea of dropping four figures or more for Louboutins that potentially pose a safety hazard, is, uh, quite a dud. But hey, different strokes for different folks.

Ditto with pet care. Believe it or not, there are some folks out there who go for a literally out-of-this-world niche pet service. You may not go that far, but for all the unconditional love, fun, and companionship they provide, how much are your pets worth to you? Do you value their comfort and well-being? Are you the kind who normally buys cute boutique stuff for them? Do you take time and expenses out to prepare homemade food for them? Are you used to giving them the goodies that you don’t even bat an eye when it’s time to splurge for the best care?

Or are you the kind who gets a neighbor, friend, or relative to pet sit for next to nothing, hoping and praying that they’ll have time or even remember to make visits on top of their already-busy working schedule—or partying schedule, for that matter? Are they going to flake out for a holiday getaway or a hot event in town?

You have your choices right there.

I believe in free market. Service providers are free to set whatever price is right for them. Consumers are free to find the best deals.

So I say bring it on. 😉

I also know of others via local pet sitters who know other pet sitters and clients who have used other pet services. If you feel boarding or daycare is best for you, Coventry Pet Resort in Redlands is worth checking out. It also offers grooming. Elizabeth Kulbin of All Four Paws is another popular, reputable sitter in the Redlands area.

Regardless of what or whomever you choose, keep in mind the gold standard for a sitter’s value or worth—personality, character, reputation, and work ethic. I can’t emphasize them often enough. There are great and horrible sitters in both the hobbyist and professional camps. Choose wisely.

I’ve been told that I have a way with animals. My reliability and my playful bubbliness win folks and critters over. Oh, and my mad belly rub skills to boot. So if you think I’d make a great choice, super. If you think someone else is the cat’s meow, hey, that’s cool, too.

If you have your heart already set on me, let’s talk! We’ll work out something that fits you and your critter family best.

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