Pet Sitting Prices verses the Economy
Over the course of 18 years of pet sitting we’ve seen the economic trends of Pet Sitting Prices.
When I first started pet sitting in 1997 pet sitting was relatively new, the economy was in an upswing and life was easy as a pet sitter. I was able to basically charge whatever I wanted when it came to pet sitting prices. I charged $10 per visit & $50/night for overnights.
Over the years the economy has made significant changes and the pet sitting prices have had to change with it. A major factor in economy & pet sitting prices is the cost of unleaded gasoline. As a pet sitter your major out of pocket expense will be gas. So when gas prices go up your cost increases. This trend forces pet sitters to raise their pet sitting prices.
Around 2005 the gas prices hit $2.00/gallon. Gas stations had to modify their signs to show the number “2” in it. I think at this point I had increased my rates to $15/visit. To justify my price increase I had 8 years of pet sitting experience under my belt plus my veterinary assistant medical training under my belt. But the economy was slowing running into issues & what continued to happen effected pet sitting prices.
In 2007 gas officially hit $3.00/gallon, a new all time record. People who normally took vacations and drove to their destinations were now also feeling the pinch. It was no longer cheaper to do a “Driving” vacation. Everybody was feeling the hit including truck drivers, taxi driver, and pet sitters. At this point I had to find a logical system & reasoning to increase my rates to justify my drive time. I had to increase my rates to $20/visit & $65/night for overnights. I also had to plan ahead to the future and the course gas prices seemed to be on. I figured $20/visit was safe while gas was $3-$5/gallon. I sent out an email to my clients explaining the increase pet sitting prices. Feeling the pinch at the gas pump themselves they understood and excepted the reasoning behind my decision. Justifying that the “peace of mind was priceless” that I provided them with when caring for their fur babies. I guess I was one of the few who planned ahead for what laid ahead!
Gas prices continued to rise over the years, and our pet sitting prices stayed the same. Other pet sitting services had to constantly keep up by implementing nickel & dime price increases for mileage and other services that used to be included. Meanwhile Shannon’s Pet Sitting’s pet sitting prices and services remained the same.
In early 2015 gas prices dropped significantly down to $2.50/gallon from almost $4.50/gallon and again the pet sitting industry was effected. Pet sitting prices started dropping all over Chicago’s Northwest Suburbs. Companies that used to charge $18/visit back in 2010 were now charging $16/visit or less. Other companies were following suit to keep up with the competition and dropping their pet sitting prices. Between 2014-2015 Shannon’s Pet Sitting brought on 3 other pet sitters to help us with the growing demand of business. Despite bringing on additional help and having to pay them – our prices remained the same. However the growing trend of cheaper pet sitting prices honestly started to hurt Shannon’s Pet Sitting because people were price shopping & not looking at the value of what they were getting. Why pick a pet sitter who charge $20/visit when everyone else is charging $16/visit? What is a pet sitting company to do ?
As a business owner I know and have heard from countless business experts – the #1 thing you DO NOT DO is lower your prices! Nothing has changed other than gas prices. You get what you pay for with a pet sitter in terms of pet sitting rates. Shannon’s Pet Sitting has a lot of experience, training and credentials that a lot of pet sitting companies just do not have. With 18 years of pet sitting experience we are holding our ground because we can see the future & we know EXACTLY what will happen next!
So what lies ahead for pet sitting prices? Clients don’t like change. After being in this industry over 18 years – this is a proven fact. Nothing last forever and gas prices are bound to go back up again! Gas prices continue to creep back up at the pump and eventually pet sitters will be playing catch up again. When you pay people a lower wage your turn over also tends to be higher. We’ve been told we pay our pet sitters more than other companies. When pet owners see a service that can’t keep consistent help and new people taking care of their pets on a regular basis they will go elsewhere. Also as gas prices continue to rise, these companies will eventually have to increase their rates again to follow the economic trend. So all those pet sitting services that are currently charge $16/visit, will raise their rates on their clients. This will also cause them to loose clients. Shannon’s Pet Sitting is proud to say our pet sitting prices have remained the same since 2007!! We have no intention of increasing or decreasing our rates any time soon. Our business plan is that our rates should hold up until gas reaches up to $5.00/gallon. To this date and according to our business plan we are still safe 8 years later! What will happen when gas hits $5.00/gallon for pet sitting prices? Some might go out of business unable to justify the cost of driving to & from pet owners home. Shannon’s Pet Sitting keeps an eye on the market & should the time arise that we feel rates need to be adjusted because gas has reached $5/gallon or more we will make the necessary adjustments and an updated business plan. But we guarantee we will not put our loyal pet owners through the constant up & down influx of pet sitting prices. We believe you get what you pay for in terms of our service and pet sitting prices. We continue to strive to provide the Ultimate in Compassionate & Professional Pet Care!