The Ultimate Guide to Setting Your Pet Sitting and Dog Walking Rates for 2024

Michael Grenier
Michael Grenier March 11, 2024

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“How much should I charge for dog sitting, cat sitting, pet sitting, dog walking, and pet care?”

Ebook CTA rates

This question is, by far, one of the most common inquiries we see from new pet care businesses – and for a good reason! Setting a fair rate for your clients and yourself is essential for a successful and sustainable pet care company. You could have thousands of happy clients, but your business will struggle if you cannot cover your expenses and create a profit.

Ensuring you are charging the correct amount for your services has become even more critical over the past few years. The global economy, inflation, the threat of recession, and various other factors have significantly impacted pet care professionals. The cost to provide pet care services is substantially higher in 2024 than it has been in previous years. Whether it is a tough labor market, increased gas prices, or other reasons - you need to make sure that the prices you charge for pet care services are rising at the same rate as your expenses.

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Price is still often a deciding factor when clients are looking to hire a pet sitter or dog walker. It is also likely one of the first things a potential client will look at when visiting your website. That is why you need an easy-to-understand, fair pricing structure.

Time To Pet has created several free calculators to help you calculate your rates based on where you live and what services you offer. Use this blog post and our calculator tools to find the proper rates for you and your business! Our rate calculators are updated every few months, so you know you are seeing up-to-date information.

Are you in the process of getting started? We’ve put together an in-depth guide with all the resources you need to start your dog walking or pet sitting business!

The Vital Ingredients For Choosing Pet Sitting Rates

When thinking about what your rates will be, there are a couple of key items to review. They include:

  • What services will you offer?
  • Where are you located?
  • What is your competition charging?
  • What are your expenses? (This one is critical in 2024!)
  • How much do you want/need to make to sustain your workers and business?

Pet Sitting Rates on Blackboard

Deciding On Services

Determining what services you will provide is a huge and sometimes overlooked part of the planning process for your pet-sitting business. There are a lot of different strategies you can take here, but the most important thing is to keep in mind the type of business you are creating. What kinds of animals will you service? Will you offer overnight stays in clients’ homes? Or will you offer services like boarding in a facility-type setting? Do you have any special certifications or specialties that you want to highlight?

Regardless of what your answers are or your primary strategy for deciding upon your company’s services, when you’re first starting out, it’s important not to stretch yourself too thin. It’s much better to master a smaller set of skills than to try to do too much. After all, you can always add more services to your roster later as you gain more experience or expand your pet care repertoire. Overextending yourself is an excellent way to burn yourself out, so focus on a smaller set of services to begin with and make sure your first priority is providing the absolute best service possible for your clients. That is always the best way to set yourself apart from the pack!

Keeping It Simple

We strongly recommend keeping services as simple as possible. It can be easy to go overboard and offer dozens of types of services like cat sitting, dog walking, pet sitting, evening sitting, early morning walks, etc. However, it is best to avoid proliferating your Services List with several different service types, especially if they are just accounting for after-hours charges or weekend and holiday fees. Instead, consider offering those as add-on fees or, if you want to incorporate something like a late fee or an out-of-service area charge, creating add-on services for those items. This will help to minimize confusion for both you and your clients.

Pet Care Menu of Services

The reality of the situation is that most pet care services are likely to have a lot in common with each other and have similar price points, as well. That’s why, instead of offering tons of separate services, it’s easier to offer just a handful of services based on the duration of the event. There are just too many inconsistencies when charging per task instead of by a certain amount of time.

For example — you may have a 15-minute visit, a 30-minute visit, and a 60-minute visit. Each visit can be the same for cats, dogs, walks, birds, morning, night, etc. Even though you may be doing different things at each event, you are still spending the same amount of time there. This makes the process much more straightforward when customers are requesting services and simpler for you when it comes to scheduling services and processing payroll.

We also strongly suggest keeping your rates consistent and straightforward. There is often no need to add an extra dollar for giving oral medications, changing litter boxes, watering plants, or bringing in the mail. These additional services can all fall under the designated time of the visit. If a pet needs extra attention (or the visit requires more time for additional services), then the visit should be given a longer duration.

One of the first things prospective clients do when searching for a new pet sitter or dog walker is look at their pricing. Ensure your prices are easily visible on your website and that any additional fees or charges are clearly stated. This will help clients know what to expect from you and your services, which will lead to fewer misunderstandings about rates and help you cement your business as a reputable one that clients can trust.

Location And Competition

Where you live plays a very significant factor in deciding what to charge for your pet care services. Using our various calculator tools, you can see the average cost for dog walking, dog sitting, cat sitting, and pet sitting services in your area. While you most likely do not want to be known for having the most expensive services around, you do want to remain competitive with other companies in the area and do not want to have the cheapest rates, as this can invite its own share of troubles.


That is why it is imperative that you do your research. Look at your competition and see what others across the country in similar-sized cities are charging. Use our previously mentioned free rate calculators to help you come up with rates for some of the different services you might like to offer.

Deciding how to position yourself compared to your competitors is also a good idea. Will you be a luxury service? Do you have special medical qualifications? Do you bring extra value to the table and to a client’s experience with software like Time To Pet?

Having the Time To Pet App to share with your clients can be a massive plus for them. Being able to conveniently schedule, communicate, and pay for service makes their life much easier. Clients also love being able to receive pictures, videos, pet report cards and see GPS tracking for dog walks. If you provide more value to your customers, you can and should charge more.

Review what your competitors are charging to determine your rates based on the standard rates in your area. This may be in your city or in places similar to where you live and work. Also, remember that the kid down the street is different from your direct competition. You are delivering a professional service, so you will always be more expensive than them or someone else’s family or friend. That isn’t who you should be setting your sights on and focusing on competing with.


Time To Pet Averages:

Below, you can find the national averages for dog walking, dog sitting, cat sitting, and pet sitting services nationwide that we have pulled using our Free Rate Calculator Tools. Overnight rates for pet sitting will vary significantly based on location.

  • Dog Walking - 30 Minutes: $27.92
  • Dog Walking - 60 Minutes: $42.87
  • Dog Sitting - 30 Minutes: $34.80
  • Dog Sitting - 60 Minutes: $46.87
  • Cat Sitting - 30 Minutes: $29.08
  • Cat Sitting - 60 Minutes: $44.40
  • Pet Sitting - 30 Minutes: $33.85
  • Pet Sitting - 60 Minutes: $44.03


The cost of running a pet care company has dramatically changed in the past few years. Hiring and retaining great pet care professionals has become more challenging (and more expensive). Inflation has also dramatically impacted the cost of gas, insurance, and other common pet care business expenses. It is vital to make sure that the prices you charge for pet care services cover your costs and leave something extra so you can still turn a profit. We’ve got more information on how to accomplish this below.

If you have employees or workers other than yourself, you must account for their pay. This is one of the biggest expenses you need to consider when deciding on the pricing of your services, and it is recommended you choose the rates you will be paying your staff before you do so. That way, you can better estimate what you need to charge your clients in order to meet those expenses.

In addition to payroll, you should also factor in other labor costs, insurance, gas, marketing, materials, and any other miscellaneous expenses you expect to spend money on. The profit you wind up calculating will not be what you make from each event but rather your revenue minus your expenses. That is why it is imperative to make sure your rates cover your business expenses with something left over to allow you to make a decent living.

Also, remember that even though a visit might be short, you still need to account for travel time and resources used there that take you away from other clients and consider how they impact your expenses long-term.

Picture of Chalkboard with expenses

Setting Your Rates

A straightforward way to set your rates is to identify how much money you want to make per hour (say $40/hour). Then, work backward from there to determine how much you need to charge for events.

For example, if you have a 30-minute event and want to charge $20 for the service, it’s important to consider that the visit cost isn’t just $20. You also have to factor in travel time and any overhead costs. If your typical travel time is 15 minutes and your overhead per event is $3, the actual cost of this 30-minute event should be $33. This is $30 for 45 minutes of your time (30 minutes at the visit, 15 minutes traveling) and $3 for overhead. Keeping these things in mind as you decide on your prices will help you realize what is required to cover your expenses and what will allow you to profit while keeping things as fair as possible for you, your staff, and your clients.

When it comes to setting your rates, your final decision on the prices will likely be a combination of what you want to make per hour and the typical rates for your area. You don’t want to price yourself out of the market, but you must also be sure you and your staff are compensated appropriately. Don’t be afraid to meet your competitors where they are at or to raise the prices to what you need (within reason, of course)!


Frequency Discounts and Special Rates

Frequency discounts are a great way to “lock in” your best customers as regulars while ensuring you have plenty of work. We highly recommend using frequency discounts because they encourage more clients to return to your services regularly and solidify more loyalty from clients.

A new concept that has gained a lot of popularity since 2022 is the “subscription” model for pet care services (similar to a gym membership). Instead of charging per event, the idea is to charge $400 monthly at a flat rate, entitling a client to one dog walk per weekday. Of course, there will be fewer walks in some months (like February) and more in other months (like January). However, your income (and your client’s expenses) will be very predictable and will serve as a reliable source of profit. If you are considering this type of pricing model, let us know, and our team will walk you through some best practices.

Additional Pets

When a client has more than one pet, that can often require more time and work on your or your team’s part. When determining your pet care service rates, you may think you want to simply set your costs based on the time you spend on the visit, but charging an extra pet fee is a widespread (and accepted) practice in the pet care industry.


Another common practice for pet care companies is to charge extra rates for holidays. Think of it this way. How much would your client expect to be compensated for working on days like Thanksgiving or Christmas? Pet care professionals sacrifice a lot to ensure their clients can spend their holidays comfortably with family and friends or get away on vacation. That extra time and care are essential, so be sure you appropriately value your time during the holidays.

To help you set holiday fees for your business, we've created a Holiday Fee Calculator Tool that provides the national averages for flat rate and percentage-based fees for the most common US holidays. We also have a detailed Guide to Setting Holiday Fees for Pet Sitters and Dog Walkers and a great post on Pet Holidays! You shouldn’t charge extra for all these holidays, but it’s always nice to have something to celebrate that could help you in other business areas.


It’s Okay To Say No

No matter how fair your prices are, there will always be potential clients that try to haggle when it comes to the pricing of your services. There will also likely be people outside your desired service area who would like to be clients of your business. In such situations, you must decide if taking on a particular client is in your and your company’s best interest. If you have a client who isn’t willing to pay full price for your services, or if they live an hour away from your other clients, taking them on as a client may not be worthwhile in the long run.

You will have to dedicate extra resources and time to take care of such clients or may have to sacrifice revenue, which can do more harm than good in the long run. It can be hard to turn down business, especially when you are first getting started and are eager to grow, but it is okay to say no. Sometimes, it may even be the best course of action. You are running the show and need to decide what’s best for your business. If you need any help in saying no, be sure to read our Academy article on How To Say No.

When deciding whether a client is ultimately a good fit for you and your business, the best thing to do is to set up a Meet & Greet. We have some great blog posts that go over Meet & Greets conducted in-person and virtually, and we have also put together some questions you should consider asking prospective clients even before you set up their consultation. Determining a pet’s history and having some prior interaction with a client can be significant factors in figuring out whether or not a client and their pets mesh well with your company’s policies and your team.

It’s Okay To Say No

Settling on rates for your business can be a grueling process. There are many different factors to juggle, and it can be challenging to figure out a balance between what will earn you a profit and what will be most fair to the clients you wish to serve. Our free rate calculators are a good starting point to help you to decide where to begin, but remember that as you go on, you can always adjust your prices as needed. Nothing has to be set in stone. However, a good launching point is vital to the initial success and growth of your business, so ensure that you take it seriously and that you feel good about the pricing structure you decide on in the end.

Make sure to check out our Time To Pet Academy and Blog for more great resources.


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