dog cat pets: How much to pay your pet sitter

How much should you pay your house or pet sitter in South Africa, and what tasks can you reasonably expect them to do?

When it comes to caring for your children, it goes without saying that no cent is spared. Don’t get me wrong, at Baby’s First Sitter, we believe that pets are part of the family too. That being said, the demand of an obedient pet that may sleep at your feet or next to you on the couch (depending on the owner’s preferences), is far less demanding than the hazard-clearing-obstacle-course that can be taking care of children.

What tasks can I expect my pet sitter to do?

For a pet sitter to provide food, water and care is the bare minimum when it comes to expectations for a pet sitter. Although most of the time, pets are ‘easy’ and low maintenance, the reason someone requires a pet sitter could be for the opposite reason – the assistance required could be for a very demanding litter of puppies or kittens, or a sickly pooch that needs medication in the form of a pill or daily injection.

Standard tasks and expectations for a pet sitter include:

  • Cleaning up after the pet so that land minds do not get out of hand.
  • Keeping the house clean and tidy. Washing any dishes dirtied and making the bed for the duration of the house or pet sit.
  • Special requirements such as brushing, medicating or walking the dog, handfeeding puppies, cleaning the pool or activating the alarm in the evenings. These special requirements would be specified by the owner in light of their usual day-to-day routine, and pet sitters would usually be compensated accordingly.

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What tasks can I expect my house sitter to do?

Standard tasks and expectations for a house sitter include:

  • General day-to-day care of the home, including security, and ensuring it is both tidy and clean when the owners return.
  • Providing regular updates or reports if requested by the owners.
  • Special requirements such as cleaning the pool, watering plants or activating the alarm in the evenings. These special requirements would be specified by the owner in light of their usual day-to-day routine, and house sitters would usually be compensated accordingly.

What do I have to do for my house or pet sitter?

An expectation from the pet or house owner that may be worth mentioning here, is ensuring that there is a meal or two for the sitter as they will be staying overnight – the same way a parent would ensure that there is food for the kids and sitter in a babysitting sleepover.

Our sitters at Baby’s First Sitter use the same gold standard whether they are babysitting, house sitting or caring for your pet. An effort is always made to understand the needs of the family, follow special instruction and care for the home environment as if it were their own.

The hours of a pet/house sit are often longer than a baby sit, and usually the sitter will be expected to sleep over. The travel costs are the same for a house or pet sitter as they are for a babysitter, yet it feels unreasonable to charge the same hourly fee as child care services.

General day-to-day care of the home: payment for house sitting

How much to pay your house or pet sitter in South Africa

Payment can be a tricky subject to navigate as each case can – and should – be treated individually. While you get some dog walkers charging only R150 per dog walk, which may only conclude a few hours in total, with collection and drop off, there are dog sitters charging up to R1 000 per day.

So, how do we keep it fair and reasonable for both parties involved? At Baby’s First Sitter we tend to tailor packages according to the number of pets, the level of effort required and the distance the sitter has to travel.

Anything between R250 and R750 per day is considered fair for house or pet sitters.

At the end of the day, you want the person staying in your home and caring for your fur-babies to be as happy and comfortable as possible.

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Industry standard payment for house or pet sitting services in South Africa

If a pet sitter would need to travel daily, an absolute minimum of R250 should be charged – for that the sitter would likely just arrive to put food in the pet’s bowls, give them a quick cuddle and leave.

If the pet/house owner preferred that the sitter stay at the house with the pets, we then look at a minimum day rate of R500. It would become exorbitant to charge by the hour but we have to consider that the sitter is giving up their time. Thereafter, if the sitter were staying over, we would charge an additional R200. If the sitter is allocated larger tasks, we could charge an extra R100 – R200.

For example, we would charge R250 for a sitter to arrive at the house, give the pets a quick cuddle and fill their food bowls.

R500 would cover a half day for a sitter to hang out with the pets for a short while, and perhaps open some windows or water plants.

A full day could cost R750, which includes special needs like medication, hand feeding a litter of puppies or nursing a wounded cat.

To calculate how much to pay a house or pet sitter to sleep over, we usually use the half day rate with an additional R200 for staying over as the sitter would be spending extra time at the house but would not need to travel up and down daily.

Twins Candace and Cindy are the parents of Baby’s First Sitter and they take pride in creating better connections between families and sitters. At Baby’s First Sitter our core principles, both individually and collectively, encompass love, family, connection, community, support, excellence and experience. Baby’s First Sitter is more than just an agency, it’s a family and community of support. Our quality promise is a bouquet of professional, vetted and passionate sitters who engage with your children and go the extra mile. Reliable, same-day bookings, night nurses, au pair and nanny placements, and special needs care. We have you covered!