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: 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.

Of course I can always just give you a quote, but if you want to estimate what the cost will be, add the basic service you want to any additions or discounts that may apply (below). They do "stack" and may greatly alter the final quote in either direction.

Distance from Oakland (where I work days):
  • Short Range: (0-20 min) Alameda, Oakland, S, Berkeley, Orinda, Lafayette 
  • Mid range: (20-40 min) El Cerrito, Albany Richmond, San Pablo, San Leandro, N. Berkeley  Walnut Creek, Pleasant Hill, etc...
  • Long range: (40-60min) Concord, Pittsburgh, Antioch, Clayton, Alamo, Danville, San Ramon, Castro Valley, San Lorenzo, Hayward, Pinole, Hercules,  etc...
  • San Francisco (Daly City/South SF): The city is just its own beast. Horrendous traffic at all hours, tolls, lack of parking, expensive services, worrying about my car all night, being the target of crime. For two years, I've tried to make jobs in the city work at my regular price structure, and it has never worked. I will take these jobs, but only at higher price. It might be (a lot) cheaper to reach out to a local friend or neighbor. Apologies in advance for the inconvenience. 
  • I can technically go farther (or get to places like Millbrae despite traffic) but I worry such jobs would be prohibitively expensive. If you want me to go further, please just inquire. 
  • Please note bridge toll addition below for locations across bridges from the east bay (though that is included in the SF/City price).
*This list is not definitive and may also be impacted by driving times from freeways to destination (I can go further if you're right off the freeway and not as far if you're twenty minutes of side streets). If I have an "anti-commute" I'll go further for a lower price.

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. 

(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 up to eight hours in a typical day. If your animals need more supervision than that, please let me know.)

Short Range- $30/day
Mid Range- $40/day
Long Range- $50/day

SF/City- $75/day (Some exceptions made for places right near the freeway with ample parking)

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 round trip drive, this is actually more expensive at the greater distances than housesitting and it may be cost effective to have me stay.)

Short Range- $25/day
Mid Range- $50/day
Long Range- *

SF/City- *

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 everyone eats.)

Short Range- $20/day
Mid Range- $40/day
Long Range- *

SF/City- *

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

Short Range- $45/day
Mid Range- *
Long Range- *


*Theoretically I'm willing to do these jobs, and you can see how they scale up, but the price would be expensive.

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, and I cannot guarantee my availability. 


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 that 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 and 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' kid. 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 care and attention, 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). 
This cost is folded into 24 hour supervisionIt 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: +$7
Drop in Visit: +$7
Double Drop In: +$7 (if mild care is needed once) +$15 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: +$7
Long Stay: +$15
Drop in Visit: +$15
Double Drop In: +$15 (if heavy care is needed once) +$30 if heavy care is needed during both visits
24 Hour Supervision: Included

Bridge Toll surcharge:
(For locations across bridges from the East Bay--included in SF prices already)

Housesitting/pet-sitting: +$7
Long stay: +$7
Drop in visit: +$7
Double Drop In: +$14
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.

Untenable Parking +$10/15/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, we can work something out, but otherwise, I'll need a place to put my car, especially since I need to bring packed bags to your place. If the area around the job rarely has parking or has a two hour limit or something requiring me to park blocks away or move my car six times a day, there is a 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. 

SF residents: this is folded into the SF price. 

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

Short Range: +$30
Mid Range: +$40
Long 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 routine things done every day or every-other day begin to add up.

Easy periodic maintenance (average <15 min/day) +$7/day

Involved or daily maintenance (average 15-30 min/day) +$15/day
Heavy maintenance: $30/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 would never 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. (I know, for example, that a $20 per day surcharge on a 10 day job is not something everyone can just afford.) 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)

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.

REALLY late first day and/or REALLY early last day

Most of my rates are per day even if some days start a little later or end a bit earlier. (I spend the first and last day prepping and packing, so even if it feels like I'm only there half the day, I probably did more work those days than any of the full ones.) However, if a job truly doesn't need me until evening (8pm 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 final quote.

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, frozen meals, and such. We can talk about what things I might like and how much of a discount I'd give or if you just want to offer up what was already in there anyway, but it can go as high as $10/day. I often adjust quotes if people say "Feel free to eat whatever" and end up having good stuff.

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 be warm pet furniture.

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 costs
I pet sit because it gives me write while giving me a bit of spending money.  When I double book, I charge rates commensurate to the lost writing time. Usually I have to just say no, but it depends where the two jobs are in relationship to each other and where I work (Oakland). 

Whoever booked first gets the priority in cases of overnight stays and care.

The second booking will be an additional $10 a day (to the prices listed above) for the base job–the distance from which will be calculated from wherever "Job 1" is rather than Oakland. (If I'm driving back and forth from Lafayette to Union City, for example, that's pretty much my whole day.)

While I can technically offer double bookings outside of the Lafayette/Oakland corridor, the price to make this worth my time will probably not be competitive with other pet sitters and possibly even kennels. 

NOTE- I simply can't do a double visit as a double book unless, somehow (miraculously), the two jobs are practically next door.

I understand that double book price points are far less competitive.

Please book ahead to avoid these charges and to make sure I'm available.

Other services
Of course I clean up after myself and I'll even take a swipe at the hairballs if you've got a shed-y pet. 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- $30/hr
Heavy/deep cleaning- $35/hr

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

Light yard work- $30/hr
Heavy yard work- $35/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- $30/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;) )