Dog walker costs, like many service-based businesses, have a fairly wide range. It depends on what kind of service you want and what type of commitment you seek for your pet’s wellbeing and care. On average, however, most pet services companies charge between $20 to $30 per 30-minute walk or sitting session. This is an average cost for most legitimate dog walking or pet sitting businesses. There are, of course, outliers on either end of the scale that charge too little or too much.
Here’s how we classify the entire range of services and costs:
Hobbyist Walkers or Sitters
Often, hobbyist pet walkers or sitters charge very little in order to get clients more quickly (sometimes between $5 to $10 per hour). Beware dog walkers or sitters that charge an unusually small amount. In almost all cases, this means that the individual is not properly insured, bonded, or first-aid and CPR-certified. This may cost you less in the short-term, but it could cost you a huge amount in liability in the long-term. For example, if your dog bites a child while out on a walk or attacks another dog, the pet owner could be held liable for damages that could result in lawsuits. Also, walkers or sitters in this price range have very little invested in this job and often leave clients hanging at the last second by canceling or simply not showing up as scheduled. Lastly, hobbyist dog walkers are usually not subjected to a criminal background check which means that you could be letting someone with a criminal record access your house and valuables.
Large Corporate Pet Services Companies
On the other end of the scale, larger corporate pet services companies – who also often charge less than a professional dog walker or sitter – normally charge between $15 and $20 per hour. While they do provide some liability protection, often they have very restrictive policies that protect the company over the consumer. In addition, because they are large corporations, they do not screen potential walkers adequately which results in negligent behavior, unreliability, carelessness, etc. Lastly, larger corporate pet walker or sitter companies do not always pay their walkers adequately. This results in unreliable walkers which mean you, the consumer, pay the price with no-shows, sporadic care, and at times, negligent walkers.
Local Pet Services Companies
Local pet services companies are often the best companies to work with. They pay attention to details, properly screen walkers that work with them, are reliable, insured, bonded, and first-aid and CPR-certified. Local pet services companies on average charge $20 to $30 per 30-minute walk or sitting session. While this is higher than hobbyist, or larger corporate pet services companies, the quality of care and attention to detail are much higher than a large corporation that is not local to your area or a hobbyist. In addition, when you encounter a problem or have a question, it is easy to contact a local pet services company whereas contacting a large corporate pet services company often goes to voicemail or a corporate email account. Local pet services companies are invested in the community and it almost always results in professional and courteous service.