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How Much Do You Pay or Tip a House Sitter?

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When you go on vacation, you may enlist the help of a professional or a friend to walk your dog, water your plants or take on other pet or house-sitting duties. But you may not know what is an appropriate amount to pay them. Here’s what the experts say.

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“Always ask upfront when it comes to agreeing on the duties and cost of services of any kind,” said Joy Weaver, etiquette expert and author of “How to Be Socially Savvy in All Situations.” “If you have a pet sitter — someone who does this for a living — agree on a price of services and tip them afterward — 15% if all went well, 20% if they went above and beyond.”

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According to Thumbtack, the average pet sitter charges $25 to $30 for a daily visit or $75 to $85 to stay overnight. The actual cost will vary based on where you live, how many pets you have, how long the sitter visits for, and whether or not they do other duties while in your home such as collect your mail and bring your packages inside. In addition, prices may be higher if you travel during busy times such as holidays. Before your trip, be sure to discuss with the sitter what their rates are and what services are included in the cost. And as Weaver said, be sure to account for a gratuity in addition to the standard rates.

Make Your Money Work for You

Things can be a little more tricky if you enlist a friend as a house sitter, as discussing money and payment with friends can be uncomfortable. In many cases, your friend won’t charge you to house sit, but don’t assume they will do it for free.

“If a friend agrees to care for your pet/plants/house while you are out of town, ask how much they will allow you to pay them,” Weaver said.

If they insist that you not pay them, you should give them a gift instead.

“Make sure to bring back a really nice gift or purchase a gift card depending on your budget — $50 to $75 per week — to their favorite restaurant or shop,” Weaver said.

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