Tag: pet sitting costs

Do You Charge the Same for Cats and Dogs?

This is a question we get asked a lot.  I’m not sure if it’s because cat owners feel like their pets are more self sufficient and don’t require as much attention as a dog or don’t think pet sitters stay as long with cat clients as they do with dog clients.  Play Time Pet Care charges the same for cats as we do for dogs.  It isn’t about the amount of time we spend with our clients.  We place just as much value in our cat clients as we do our dog clients.

Sometimes a prospective client will call and say, “You just need to come in and give them food and clean out the litter box.  That’s it.  He’s really easy.”  That’s just not how Play Time Pet Care works.  We NEVER just go in, provide food and clean up the pet waste.  Even if a furry client is distant or doesn’t want to play, we spend time with that pet, allowing them the time to become comfortable with us.  Hopefully we will get to the point that they want to be touched and loved by us…that’s our goal.

So when prospective clients look for a discount because they “just have a cat”, they may want to call another company.  We will not compromise our integrity and high level of service because “it’s just a cat.”

What do you think?  Should a family with cats only get a discount on services?  Or should they pay just as much as a family with dogs? 




How Does Pet Sitting Compare to Healthcare?

I don’t want to use this article as a way to express my opinions on the health care system one way or the other.  Rather, I’d like to take this opportunity to discuss how pet sitting compares to healthcare in it’s new state once Obamacare takes hold.

It is inevitable that we will see some changes in our healthcare system.  One change, which will be a big one, is that we may see physicians NOT participate in taking insurance.  Why would a physician drop out of the insurance game?  There are several reasons:

1.  They won’t need as much overhead in the office to process claims.  Which means more money in their pocket.

2.  They will be able to provide better service to their patients.  By not having a revolving door of patients to satisfy their monetary goals, they will have more time to spend with each patient, getting to know them and their history.

3.  Patients will receive quality care, rather than just being another chart to review.  (Quality vs Quantity)

What does this mean to the patient?

You may pay a little more going the private pay route (say a $75 visit rather than a $35 co-pay), but, you will get better service.

As a patient, you will receive personal care from your physician rather than being just another chart that is reviewed 5 minutes before the doctor sees you.

Doesn’t that sound so much better than being involved in a revolving door of no names?

How does this compare to pet sitting?

When you hire a professional pet sitter your pets will receive one on one attention from their petsitter.

Quality vs Quantity.  Hiring a professional petsitter may cost more than taking your dog to boarding, but that’s because boarding facilities can take in hundreds of dogs at one time, therefore allowing them to charge less for your pet’s care.  (Sound familiar to healthcare?)

The cost of pet sitting

When looking for a service provider and comparing the cost of each you must keep in mind how the business operates.  Are they a sole proprietor with no employees?  You may pay less for the sole proprietor, but that one person has to do at least 15 visits per day to make any money.  Do you think that ONE person can provide quality care to your pets when they are worried about making it to the next one?  Do you think that maybe they are cutting your pet’s visits short so they can squeeze in one more visit?  Maybe, maybe not…but certainly something to consider.  (See how this can compare to healthcare?  Push`em in, get`em out.)

If you are concerned about the quality of care your pet is receiving while you are away, it will be beneficial to go with the company that charges a little more, has staff on hand that is able to spend quality time with your pet and isn’t just running from one place to another, checking their chart just before they walk in the door.

How Much Does Pet Sitting Cost in Mesa, AZ

The number one question prospective clients ask when calling about pet sitting services in Mesa, AZ is, “How much does it cost?”  The answer to this question is, “It depends.” What do I mean when I say it depends?  There are several factors that pet sitters take into consideration when quoting prices.  Not all pet sitters are the same and pricing will vary depending on the following:

  1. Where you live.  Play Time Pet Care does not lower or increase prices just based off where someone lives.  However, we do have a specific area that we cover.  If you are outside our “normal” service area you may be charged a surcharge to cover time and gas to get there.  Our prices are based off a certain mileage from our sitter’s homes.  If they have to travel farther than normal they will be compensated for their time and travel.

  2. How many pets you have.  Play Time Pet Care’s pricing is all inclusive.  This means we don’t charge for the number of pets you have.  Other pet sitting companies may charge per pet after a certain number, say 3 pets.  However, if you have a large pet family, it will take more time and effort to properly care for all of them and provide high quality service.  You may pay a little more if you have a large pet family than someone who has a smaller pet family, this is to compensate for the additional work involved in caring for a lot of animals.

  3. The type of service you require.  Working with Play Time Pet Care you are able to mix and match services to your hearts content.  The cost associated with different services will vary depending on what will work best for your family.  There is a different rate for “pop in” daily visits, overnight care, live in care and dog walking.  With dog walking and recurring visits (like when you are working long hours and your pet needs a potty break or extra attention) some pet sitters will offer a small discount because the service is recurring…meaning we can count on providing that service several times a week on an ongoing basis.

  4. Medication administration.  Play Time Pet Care does not charge extra for administering medication.  Some pet sitters do.  However, if you have a pet that is particularly difficult when taking medication (aggressive or just plain stubborn), you may pay a little extra because we take our time to ensure the animal receives the medication with as little stress as possible, which may take additional staff (2 sitters for each visit).

As you can see, there are many factors that we take into consideration when quoting prices to potential clients.  Every family is unique and has different service requirements.  It is difficult to determine a price with little to no information about the particular needs of your pets.  I know “It depends” is a pretty vague answer, be patient and talk to your potential pet sitter about all facets of your pet’s needs to get the most accurate quote possible.

“Extra” Services that should be included

You don’t have to pay “extra” for services that should be included.  Our idea of pet sitting includes those “extra” services our clients expect at no additional charge. We don’t believe in nickle and diming our clients for services that should be included.  The following services are included in our all inclusive pricing:

Daily Dog Walks

Medication Administration

Emergency Trips to the Vet

Daily Photo Updates

All Pets Included

No Time Limit

Our prices are not the lowest prices out there.  You can certainly find pet sitters that will charge less.  However, we believe that positioning our rates a little higher than the rest will cover all the “extras” others may require you to pay for.  Our philosophy is to provide the best possible care for your pets in a stress free environment.  That stress free environment includes you, the pet parent, having a relaxing, stress free time away from home.  You shouldn’t have to worry about getting an additional bill when you get home for things your pet sitter needed to do to take care of your pet while you were away.

When you are price shopping pet sitters in your area, be sure to ask your potential pet sitter what is included in their pricing and what you will need to pay extra for.

Should I Tip My Pet Sitter

Occasionally our clients will ask us, “Should I tip my pet sitter?”  We can’t tell you what to do, but we can give you some ideas on what it’s like to be a pet sitter so you can make an educated decision on whether you should or shouldn’t.

Pet sitters don’t typically make a ton of money.  They do it because they love animals and know what it’s like to leave their own pets when they go on vacation.  They are passionate about putting their client’s minds at ease when they are away.   A typical pet sitter will drive from home to home on a daily basis, rarely having a full day off and foregoing the typical holiday.  Often times celebrating holidays with their family before or after the actual holiday.   A pet sitter has inherent expenses that go along with the job that they don’t necessarily get reimbursed for like:

  • Gas

  • Wear and tear on their car (more oil changes and tire purchases than the average person)

  • Food (whether supplying their own for overnights/live ins or because they are so busy they can’t stop at home for meals)

  • Data plans on their phones so clients can receive text/email updates with photos

  • Hotspot access on their phones so they have WiFi access at client’s homes

  • Purchasing the occasional toy for client’s pets

  • Additional insurance for their vehicles (business insurance costs a bit more than personal use insurance)

My answer to any client that asks if they should tip their pet sitter is,”It’s never expected but always appreciated.”  Pet sitters do provide a service like no other.  If you feel your pet sitter did a great job taking care of your pets, a tip isn’t out of the norm.  Not all of our clients tip their pet sitter, and not all our clients that tip follow the 20% rule. Sometimes it’s more, sometimes less.

So, as always, the decision is in your court.  Just know that if you do tip your pet sitter, they will forever be grateful and you will make their day.


Why Should I Pay More for Your Pet Sitting Services

Did your pet sitting quote come out to be more than you expected?  Not all pet sitters are created equal.  Here is one BIG reason you may pay more for your service.

I recently spoke to a new potential client who’s current pet sitter is moving out of state.  This potential client needs to find a new live in pet sitter for her 7 dogs.  As we were speaking about price and value, we came out to be $58 more per day than the last company she worked with.  As I was “selling” her on our services she flat out stated that we don’t provide any different service than her last sitters who were cheaper.  So she wanted to know what she was getting EXTRA to validate the additional cost.

Sometimes it’s difficult to explain how we are different.  Yes, we provide similar services as other companies, we may appear to be exactly the same, but sometimes you need to experience the difference to understand what you are paying is worth every penny.  We could use the car analogy:

“When you are test driving a Nissan and a Lexus, they both get you from point A to point B. They both essentially DO the same thing.  But once you’re in it, driving it, THEN you understand what the difference is.”

For example:

We are providing overnight services for a couple who are taking a long overdue honeymoon. The last thing we want to do is call them with any emergencies.  We just want to take care of everything so they can relax.  However, Murphy’s Law says, “If it’s going to happen, it will happen when the pet sitters are in charge.”

We unfortunately had to call the dad and tell him his A/C went out.  He is working with a home warranty company (which never moves as quickly as you want them to) and it’s going to take 3 days for them to come out and evaluate the system.  In the mean time, we have 2 dogs and a kitty stuck in the home with no A/C.  One of the dogs isn’t friendly with other dogs and all our sitters have dogs of their own so we aren’t able to bring them to one of our homes (which I would do in a heartbeat).  Our only option is to keep the pets as comfortable as possible.

Mom and dad have ceiling fans, but no floor fans.  It’s still too warm out to open up all the windows to catch a breeze.  So, we brought our own floor fans, bought dog cooling pads for their dogs and brought a portable A/C unit to their house.  Although the house is a little uncomfortable for a while, with the additional fans, cooling pads, portable A/C unit and extra water the dogs are going to be just fine.  We’ve made additional visits to the house to check on the dogs (at no additional charge).


Is the extra money worth it?

I’ll let you be the judge.  We are here for our clients and their pets.  We do everything we possibly can to make their pets comfortable and to alleviate any stress this whole circumstance has produced.  We will be waiting at their house from noon to 4 pm to let the A/C repair company in.  All of this at no additional charge.

These are things that can’t be explained on the phone.  It’s a service you just have to experience for yourself to understand. This may not happen to you, but something else could and we will be there to do whatever it takes to make sure your pets are taken care of and to help alleviate as much stress as possible.

How Do I Find a Good Dog Walker in Mesa Az

 Have a young dog?  A dog with tons of energy?  Work long hours?  We’ve got your solution for finding the perfect dog walker.

People look for a dog walker for many reasons…

1.  Young professionals that need help with their young dog

2.  Families that have dogs with a ton of energy

3.  Families work long hours and are busy with the kid’s activities

4.  The walker in the family has had surgery or an injury and is unable to walk the dog

5.  The walker in the family is going on a long vacation and the spouse works long hours.

No matter what the reason is, it can be difficult to find the perfect dog walker.  Here are some questions you may want to ask your potential dog walker…some you may not have even thought of:

1.  Can I pay per walk?  Or do I have to purchase a block of walks?

2.  Do the walks have to be the same days every week?  Or are you flexible?

3.  Do you walk one family at a time?  Or do you do outings with lots of other dogs?

4.  Do you offer a discount if we schedule dog walks 5 days per week?

5.  Do you have experience handling wildlife encounters?  (Snakes, coyotes, mountain lions, etc)

6.  How do you keep my dog safe from possible disease and unleashed dog encounters?

7.  How long are your walks?

All of these questions can be answered during a phone consultation.  Once you’ve found the company that fits what your family needs you need to have them come to your house and meet them.  Have them go on a short test walk with you to make sure they can handle your dog appropriately.  Believe it or not, there are some pet sitters that are better with other types of pets than dogs but still offer the dog walking service.  Hiring the wrong person to walk your dog could result in injuries that could be prevented or unwanted leash behaviors.


Are Pet Sitting Consultations Free?

Will you be paying for that consultation?  Or will you get to meet your potential pet sitting company for FREE?

We are often asked if our pet sitting consultations are free.  There are many businesses, not only pet sitters, that charge a fee for coming out to your house whether you use their services or not.  Some companies may credit that fee toward future services if you decide to use them, some don’t.  So how does a company determine if they will charge for the consultation, use that toward future services or not charge a fee at all?  It all comes down to beliefs of the company.  I can tell you how we handle the consultations…

Our first consultation is FREE.  We don’t charge a nominal fee and credit it towards future services and we don’t charge a fee and keep it, 100%, not crediting even if you use our services in the future.  Some people would argue, “You are a business.  People won’t see you as professional if you don’t charge a fee.  Your time is money.  If consumers don’t see this, they aren’t your customer.”

We look at things a little different than most pet sitting companies that do charge a consultation fee.

You see, I wouldn’t hire someone to come into my home, when I’m not there, without meeting them first.  There is a trust factor that most people have to overcome when hiring a pet sitter.  I also hate being charged a trip charge for coming out to see if I trust the person coming into my home.  I feel the face to face consultation is a part of doing business.  My clients want to meet SOMEONE who is representing our company and our sitters need to get to know our client’s pets before we accept a new client.  It’s a two way street.  I am also very confident in my company and the employees I hire to represent themselves in a professional manner and win over any potential client that is serious about hiring an in home pet sitter.  Some companies started out not charging a consultation fee, then decided to implement a fee because they were going on so many “interviews” and not winning them that they started to feel like their time was being wasted.

Do we have the occasional customer that wants to meet us before they make a decision on whether they will use us or not? Sure…but it happens so infrequently that I’m okay with it.

The sitters that go out and meet the clients for the first time face to face are getting paid for their time.  If there is a need for a second meeting, prior to the client’s departure, we do charge a normal visit rate.  We do this because, #1 our time is valuable and #2 this second meeting is taking a sitter away from providing services to a paying client.

So to truly answer the question…it really depends on the company.  Everyone runs their company different.  You just have to ask.