By Emily Gantt
Published: 11/12/2021, edited: 11/12/2021
Becoming a Pet Caregiver with Wag! is a fun and immensely rewarding job. However, setting your rates can be challenging. Figuring out a fair drop-in price that also covers your travel expenses, time, and supplies is complicated and requires a lot of research and math on your part.
In this guide, we’ll explore things to consider when setting rates for drop-in services and how to give yourself a competitive rate while also leaving yourself a solid profit margin. Pet Caregivers on the Wag! platform are independent contractors who must decide their own rates.
Disclaimer: The tips in this article are just guidelines and do not constitute business advice.
Wag! drop-ins are 20-minute services that handle a dog’s basic needs while their pet parents are away. During a typical drop-in visit, the Pet Caregiver will take the dog out to potty and refresh their food and water bowls. Pet Parents can use the Wag! chat feature to communicate their exact needs and expectations for the service.
So how does a Wag! drop-in differ from walks and overnight care? Well, for one, it’s a 20-minute visit meant to be used as an alternative to doggy daycare. Wag! walks, on the other hand, are 20-, 30-, or 60-minute walks. Pet Parents can follow along with GPS, and at the end of the walk, they'll receive a report card summarizing the service.
Pet Parents who need a drop-in service for longer than 20 minutes can schedule a Wag! walk and specify their pet’s needs using Wag! chat. Dog boarding and sitting services with Wag! are intended for in-home overnight care.
Knowing your competitors' rates can help you figure out appropriate pricing for drop-in services in your city. Pet Caregivers on the Wag! platform set their own pricing, but on average, they charge $13 to $16 for a 20-minute drop-in visit. Please note this is an average — prices may be higher or lower in your area.
Below is a list of costs to consider when setting your rates for drop-in visits.
Don’t forget to estimate your transportation costs when determining your drop-in rate — especially if you live in rural or sparsely populated areas where there are long distances between customers. Sure, gas prices are a large part of transportation expenses, but you should also consider:
When setting your rate, give yourself enough wiggle room to cover gas and save for vehicle maintenance.
You’ll also need to purchase supplies for your doggy drop-in business as well. Doggy waste bags are the primary expense, but you may want to buy a spare leash, collar, treats, and toys to keep on hand too.
If you make over $600 with Wag!, you’re going to have to pay taxes on your income. The self-employment tax rate is a little over 15% of your annual income.
There is some good news, though. All the business expenses listed above are tax-deductible — including transportation costs! You can even write off expenses for walking shoes, phone bills, and phone products (after all, you have to use your phone for Wag! bookings).
When pricing your services, consider the cost of living in your area. Rent, food, and utility expenses vary considerably by location and often take a large portion of income. Make sure you’re factoring in these costs when figuring up your service rates.
Personal and business expenses aren’t the only factors to contemplate when determining how much to charge for drop-in pet care. You should also think about competitor pricing, the time commitment, and the possibility of tips in your area.
Look at what other drop-in sitters in your area are charging for their services. You’ll want your rate to be competitive yet not so inexpensive that it doesn’t cover your business costs.
Your time is valuable — make sure you set a rate that reflects that. With drop-in services, you’ll only be staying at your client’s house for 20 minutes, but you should also consider the average travel time.
Though it isn’t mandatory, many Wag! customers choose to tip their Pet Caregivers. Pet Caregivers keep 100% of their tips. If the customer base in your area is prone to tipping, you might want to factor this in when determining a fair rate for your services.
For more guidance on Wag! drop-in pricing, visit our support page, or leave a comment below!
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