My drug of choice is writing--writing, art, reading, inspiration, books, creativity, process, craft, blogging, grammar, linguistics, and did I mention writing?

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

House/Pet Sitting Price Rates

Pricing Guide for House/Pet sitting 
[Note: prices have gone up–effective in 2018–particularly including "double book" pricing]

Note: Due to the nature of pet sitting, many people book weeks and months in advance and a booked date held in good faith that is cancelled (or changed to a reduced time) at the last minute is very unlikely to be filled. For this reason, I ask for half payment for bookings cancelled with fewer than 72 hours remaining before they were to begin.

Note any additions or discounts that may apply (below). They may greatly alter the final quote.

  • Very Local (0-15min): South Berkeley, North Oakland/Piedmont, Walnut Creek, Lafayette, Orinda
  • Short range (15-30 min): Concord, Moraga, Greater Oakland, Pleasant Hill, Alamo, North Berkeley, San Ramon
  • Mid range (30-45 min) Clayton, Alameda, Richmond, Martinez, Pittsburg, San Leandro, Hayward, Pleasanton, Bay Point, Vallejo
  • Long range (45-60min) Pinole, Hercules, Antioch, Sausalito, Livermore, Union City, Brentwood/Oakley, San Francisco*
  • Max range (1hr+)- San Rafael, San Mateo, Palo Alto, Milpitas, San Jose, Mountain View, Tracy, Discovery Bay, Fairfield, Napa, Daly City*, Pacifica*, So. SF* 
  • I can technically go further, but then additional costs need to be considered for travel expenses and potentially lost wages from my other job.
  • Please note bridge toll addition below for locations across bridges from the east bay.
*City traffic being the nightmare it is unfortunately means distance is not always the only factor in commute time.

Basic Services

My main service is overnight pet and house sitting. (I'm a writer, which I do anywhere there's wifi and a three pronged plug). I technically offer other services, but their pricing structures are less competitive as they consume more of my writing time and bump up against the job I have of nannying for a four year old.

(I stay there pretty much most of the time when I’m not at work including overnight. I take care of pets. I keep the house from looking empty. Please note that I do have another job and occasionally even a social life, so while I will come back and be at your home for hours a day, write there, and sleep there, I may be gone upt to eight hours in a typical day.)

V. Local- $25/day
Short Range- $30/day
Mid Range- $30/day
Long Range- $35/day
Max Range- $35/day

Note: While I personally have no problem with anyone's life or life choices, my ability to sleep is limited where there might be strong smoke odors (particularly 420, heavy incense, or noticeable thirdhand smoke). Apologies in advance. It's not you. It's the cilia in my lungs.

Long stay:
(I'll stay several hours to keep animals company but will not stay overnight Note: due to the the drive back and forth, this is actually more expensive at the greater distances than housesitting and it may be cost effective to have me stay.)

V. Local- $20/day
Short Range- $25/day
Mid Range- $35/day
Long Range- $45/day
Max Range- $60/day

Drop in visit:
(Feed the cats, fish, birds, dogs that don’t need company, water plants etc...maybe sit down for a few minutes while they eat.)

V. Local- $15/day
Short range- $20/day
Mid range- $30/day
Long range- $45/day
Max range- $60/day

Double Drop In:
(I'll take care of animals need to be fed twice daily. I'll visit once in the morning and once in the evening.)

V. Local- $30/day
Short range- $40/day
Mid range- $60/day
Long range- N/A*
Max range- N/A*

24 Hour Supervision:
For very short periods of time, I can cover situations that basically require constant supervision. [An injured or an ill pet for example.] This means I won't really leave the house for any reason, and I will keep an eye on them all the time, possibly even if I need to get up multiple times during the night to take care of something.

Note: I do have another job that pays hourly, and I will have to coordinate my schedule, so as much notice as possible is absolutely critical. Subject to limits.

V. Local- $120/day
Short Range- $120/day +$10/job
Mid Range- $120/day  +$20/job
Long Range- $120/day +$30/job
Max Range- $120/day +$40/job

*Theoretically I'm willing to do these jobs (and you can probably just look and figure out how much it would be for to make it worth it for me to spend that much time on the road), but I'm worried they would be prohibitively expensive for most people compared to 
other options. Still if that's not a problem, feel free to inquire about those rates. 

Additions–please consider all that might apply

High energy/high attention pets: +$10-$20/day 
The reason my rates are so cheap compared to most other pet sitters (and certainly any kennel), is because for most jobs, I'm just THERE while I do the writing I would be doing anyway. I feed and care for pets, provide extra scritches, loose supervision, and maybe a lap during the day or a snuggle at night. I might be gone for a few hours to my other job or pop away for a social event in the evening, and I kind of just continue my life uninterrupted from a different house. 

However the nature of this job is that I often get asked to watch exactly the sort of pets that can't be fed and checked in on a couple of times a day by the neighbors. And that's okay, but the more of me it takes to closely supervise a pet, the more it takes me away from my writing and my own life, and that is reflected in a more standardized price. 

Even if there isn't a specific feeding or meds or walking regimen that takes extra time, please consider if your pet is (or the aggregate of multiple pets are) just sort of high on the attention/supervision needs. Do they need to be watched or they'll start to chew up/get into/pee on everything? Are they going to have a hard time if I'm gone for a few hours a day? Do they need to be crated if someone isn't there and thus would be cooped up for hours if I went to my other job? Do they need food or medicine at a couple of very specific times that are really hard to work around? This isn't the same as 24 hour supervision (above), but if your pet(s) need a little more, I have to charge a little more too. 
(I find this is particularly true of large dogs, though not exclusively or absolutely.)

Disclaimer: This doesn't mean I will never leave the house–that's 24 hour supervision (above)–but it does reflect an animal (or animals) that need(s) a little more time and attention.

This cost is folded into 24 hour supervision. It does not need to be added in again.

Mild care:

Dog needs a walk, cat has complicated medicine routine (not just a pill twice a day), two or more litter boxes that need scooping every single day, about five to fifteen minutes worth of extra routine

Housesitting/pet-sitting: Included
24 Hour Supervision: Included
Long stay: +$5
Drop in visit: +$5
Double Drop In: +$5 (if mild care is needed once) +$10 if mild care is needed during both visits

Heavy care:

Multiple animals needing mild care, dog needing a long walk [30min+] or more than one walk, more than three cage-free pets, etc...

Housesitting/pet-sitting: +$5
Long stay: +$10
Drop in visit: +$10
Double Drop In: +$10 (if heavy care is needed once) +$20 if heavy care is needed during both visits
24 Hour Supervision: Included

Bridge Toll surcharge:
(For locations across bridges from the East Bay)

Housesitting/pet-sitting: +$2.50
Long stay: +$5
Drop in visit: +$5
Double Drop In: +$10
24 Hour Supervision: Included

No Wifi: +$10/day

Wifi is critical to my writing work, and involved in 95% of what I do when I'm not working (even the video games I use to blow off steam), so if you don't have wifi, I'm going to end up at a local cafe every time I want to post a blog. Note that I absolutely cannot do 24 Hour Supervision at a location with no wifi unless you are having a stone-cold life-event emergency and don't know who else to call.

Problematic parking/Basically NO parking +$5-$10/day

In all likelihood my car will need to come with me to the job. If you happen to live a five minute walk from BART in a neighborhood with no parking, talk to me, but otherwise, I'll need a place to put my car and if the area around the job rarely has parking or has a one hour limit or something requiring me to park blocks away, there is a small surcharge for that. If the parking situation is even worse (metered or essentially NO nearby parking for blocks) it'll be a not-so-small surcharge.

Last Minute Booking:
Jobs booked with less than 24 hours until they begin. Exception made for bereavement travel.

V. Local- +$10
Short Range- +$20
Mid Range- +$30
Long Range- +$40
Max Range- +$50

Note: This addition is not "per day." It's just a one time surcharge for the initial inconvenience. If I am able to take the job, I can handle my scheduling after the first day. Please be aware that my availability is not guaranteed.

Pool care/Plant care/Caged or tank pet care:
Please consider how quickly a few things you do as routine every day and a few more you do every other day begin to add up.

Easy periodic maintenance (average <15 min/day) +$5/day

Involved or daily maintenance (average 15-30 min/day) +$10/day
Heavy maintenance: $20/hr 


Sometimes we work out a quote in good faith and then it's not quite accurate. Maybe your chill pet becomes high energy/attention pet when they're stressed that you're not there. Maybe they only listen to you and and start to chew everything or pee in the corners when you're gone. Maybe the time and attention you give them is just background noise and you didn't really notice how much it could be. Or maybe the internet goes out and you can't do anything about that while you're on vacation. Or perhaps some illness or injury happens that causes your pet to need far more care than either of us anticipated (and I obviously won't just leave them hanging). Many times these situations are no one's "fault" but they do come up from time to time.

If a discrepancy from quote to reality comes up I will assume good faith when we negotiated a quote, mention it in my final email, and let you handle it based on your budget and best judgement. (A $20 per day surcharge on a 10 day job is not something everyone can just afford–especially in times like these and particularly right after a vacation.) If I think it will be a factor that could come up in future jobs though, it might affect future quotes.


Discounts do stack and add up. (I've worked at a job that was more like a getaway than a job for as little as $10/day)

Long job discount:
Jobs booked for eleven days or more will get a free day every tenth day. Base Cost only–Does not include "Additions" or "Other Services."  Note: Due to schedule planning this is a "bundle" discount for long-term jobs and does not apply to extending the job last minute due to extenuating circumstances.

Repeat customer/no key meeting: ($10)

If you've already booked with me and I know the ins and outs of your place and your pets, and if we can figure out a way (or a time) to get me the key that doesn't involve a separate trip, I will take off ten dollars from the final amount of an overnight job of 2+ days.

Late first day and/or early last day

Most of my rates are per day even if they start a little later or end a bit earlier. However, if a job truly doesn't need me until evening (7pm or later) or I can be walking out on the last day in the morning (10am or earlier) I am willing to do half day discounts.

Cash: 5%
I can take checks or Paypal or Venmo, but if you hand me cash, I'll knock off 5% from the base price (before all the discounts kick in).

Food in the fridge:
I usually buy a lot of Trader Joe's frozen dinners before a job, but I'm a sucker for a home cooked meal–especially with lots of vegetables–and have a weakness for junk food. We can talk about what things I might like and how much of a discount I'd give, but it can go as high as $10/day.

Super Chill Pets ($5/day): 

Some pets are just super easy to handle. (Usually it's a job with ONE cat, but not exclusively or absolutely.) They don't need much attention, they don't need to be walked, they don't need a box cleaning every day, and I'm basically just there to keep their food bowl full and make sure they're okay.

Most discounts tend to be more personal and less easy to anticipate. I've given small discounts for everything from allowing overnight guests to having the latest console hooked up to a big screen TV with a game I'm excited to try.

Double Book +$10 and travel/day
I pet sit because it gives me write while giving me a bit of spending money. I rarely double book because that really cuts into the writing time–which is my first priority. However, if I take on a second job (as an emergency usually) whoever booked first gets the priority. If they need the overnight stay, it goes to them, for example. If they need heavy care, then I can't offer it to the second booking. Further, the second booking will be an additional ten dollars a day (to the prices above) for the base job–the distance from which will be calculated from wherever "Job 1" is rather than the distances listed above. 

NOTE: The ten dollar surcharge will be added for each visit. A double visit would be +$20 in addition to the distance from wherever job one is. Even a local double book quickly becomes extraordinarily time consuming if the pet needs me to stop in twice a day on top of a whole other job.

I understand that these price points are far less competitive.

Please book ahead to avoid these charges.

Other services
Of course I clean up after myself and if I stay more than a couple of nights, I'll wash any linens I've used if there is a washing machine available, but if you want more cleaning done, I can do that as well. Go on vacation and come home to a clean place! I will need to see the job to give a quote.

Light cleaning- $20/hr
Heavy/deep cleaning- $25/hr

Caretaking/Yard Work: 
I will need to see the job to give a quote.

Light yard work- $25/hr
Heavy yard work- $30/hr

Do you need a ride to or from the airport? Does someone need a ride while you're gone? Do you need a package delivered, mail dropped off, or something similar?

Driving services- $20/hr + 50¢/mile

1 comment:

  1. There is a way to embed your pet/house sitting calendar on this page, if you wished to let people know when you have avail:) You would probably need to set up a cal just for that, so as to not confuse people with your other things, but then you could "share" this calendar with your main calendar so that everyone shows up in one place:) (trying to be helpful, but if failing at that then feel free to delete my comment;) )