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Salary

There's no standard pet sitting salary figure, or even an hourly employee pay rate, as each market determines the prices clients will pay. For example, you might command higher rates in affluent suburban areas compared to a middle-income market with less discretionary cash. But here's a helpful example: In 2012, Pet Sitters of America estimates a national $15 per-visit figure; this considers different markets, dog sizes, etc. If you do the math, you'll see that eight visits per day would result in a gross income of $120. Of course, you don't take home that much; you must pay your operating expenses out of that income, including gas, maintenance on your car, business card printing, and laundry money. What—you think that doggy puke stain on your pants is going to clean itself?

Let's say you have hired employees to handle your pet sitting overflow. Adding extra staff allows you to serve more clients and/or expand your geographic service area. Decide whether you will pay your employees hourly or per visit. Select a pay rate that allows you to cover your business expenses, too. You can ask your CPA for help with those decisions. You could also ask your CPA for help picking out an appropriate blouse to wear to the governor’s ball, but we wouldn’t put a lot of stock in his opinion. He's not really qualified to be handing out that kind of advice.

Evaluate your employees' pet care experience when you set their pay rates; also consider merit-based raises to encourage good employees to stay with you. Unfortunately, you can’t get testimonials from the animals, but if one of your employees has had four dogs go missing in the last week, they are probably not worth keeping on the payroll. National pet sitter associations may offer professional development opportunities at regional events or online; however, the organizations do not address pay rate standards.

Finally, consider offering some additional perks to sweeten the pot for your employees. Investigate an employee discount at a local grooming shop or veterinarian practice, or provide top performers with gift cards to a popular pet supply store. The specifics are up to you, but remember: Everyone likes to be recognized for their good work. Except for that baby from the Capital One commercials, but we have a feeling he just gets off on being a contrarian.

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