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 Post subject: What's normal to pay a house/cat-sitter?
PostPosted: Fri Sep 21, 2012 8:53 am 
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Because I have no idea. Context: a girl who works with me (she's pretty young and still lives with her parents so she welcomes any opportunity to get away from them) is going to be staying at my apartment for a week and tending to Puddy Puddington (aka my cat)'s every wish and need. I'm kind of stocking the fridge for her and even buying new sheets for the bed (ours are old). This place is actually closer to our work than hers, and she has everything she needs here, so she's acting like I'm doing her a favour in letting her stay here, but I feel weird not offering to pay her.

Is $20/day plus a nice bottle of wine and a souvenir from where I'm going (it's only Alberta, but she likes dorky things) cheap? She kind of insisted that I don't have to pay her/give her anything at all, but I'm her boss at work so I think she might just be adorably sucking up. I've never had anyone housesit for me so I'm not sure about etiquette.


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 Post subject: Re: What's normal to pay a house/cat-sitter?
PostPosted: Fri Sep 21, 2012 9:02 am 
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I think that is super-sweet! I would take her at her word, and maybe get her a nice gift certificate worth $20x the days to a place she likes to shop at. That way its more of a thank you gift than payment, which she has said she doesn't want.... I would be a little concerned about the work angle. Do you have an HR dept? You don't ever want someone saying that their boss was forcing them to do work at their homes...

We have my husband's nephew stay over at our house and we pay him $50 a day, though we have paid less for long stays ($1500 for 3 weeks). He lives with his grandma, so he really likes having the privacy and his own place too. We don't give him any gifts though and we live in the NJ/NY area which is superpricey for everything.

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Last edited by Tofulish on Fri Sep 21, 2012 9:15 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: What's normal to pay a house/cat-sitter?
PostPosted: Fri Sep 21, 2012 9:04 am 
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If you were hiring someone it'd cost maybe twice that, but I think $20 a day plus a gift is acceptable for a friend who's insistent on not getting paid and who really wants to get outta their parents house.

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 Post subject: Re: What's normal to pay a house/cat-sitter?
PostPosted: Fri Sep 21, 2012 9:12 am 
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Given the context, I think that's plenty. My sister pays her pet sitter $60/day, but she's walking two dogs for that, and it's her business. I can see this girl's perspective that you're doing her a favor... I just stayed at biker boy's friends' house last Friday while they were out of town because it was way closer to my race. I fed and looked after their cats, but it definitely was them doing me a favor to save me a ton of driving and I wouldn't have accepted if they'd tried to pay me for watching the cats. Your situation is different with you being her boss, but if you think of it as you're doing her a favor letting her stay there, but paying her for taking care of Madame Puddington, $20/day seems pretty fair to me.

ETA: I like Tofulish's gift card idea and the distinction between pay and thank you gift makes sense.

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 Post subject: Re: What's normal to pay a house/cat-sitter?
PostPosted: Fri Sep 21, 2012 10:01 am 
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Tofulish wrote:
Do you have an HR dept?

We certainly don't...our workplace is a new business and vey barebones in terms of HR structure. But luckily I know this girl well and she would NEVER complain about this particular situation, and I even casually okayed it with my boss. :)

I don't think she'll accept more than gifts, to be honest, so thank you all for the gift certificate recommendation. I think I'll put together an awesome gift basket with gift certificates, souvenirs, and other stuff she'll like and just make sure that the place is feeling nice enough to be a little getaway for her. And then I might take her out for dinner when I get back--because for some reason she seems to really look up to me and is always stoked to hang out with me. She's so cute.


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 Post subject: Re: What's normal to pay a house/cat-sitter?
PostPosted: Fri Sep 21, 2012 10:16 am 
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A friend of mine had a similar situation in NYC years ago. I believe he was paid $20 per day to stay in an expensive apartment in nolita and it was a huge step up from where he lived. His situation was a long term thing, but I think paying her that in cash is a good thing.
Even though it's a nice thing for her she's still doing the work of watching Madame P and I think it sets a good precedent for young people, especially women, to realize that yes, they should be paid for their efforts.
However, I also come at it from the freelancer angle where you can't afford to let your skills go unpaid.

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 Post subject: Re: What's normal to pay a house/cat-sitter?
PostPosted: Fri Sep 21, 2012 10:21 am 
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Yeah, I agree with Panda. I've pet sat for friends before and wasn't expecting anything and told them they didn't have to pay me, but they left me an envelope of cash and i appreciated it. if you don't want to leave cash though, maybe an AmEx or Visa giftcard, which basically amounts to money anyway.

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 Post subject: Re: What's normal to pay a house/cat-sitter?
PostPosted: Fri Sep 21, 2012 10:29 am 
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Having been tricked into petting sitting by a terrible boss and then underpaid, I think $20/day is good for the situation you describe.


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 Post subject: Re: What's normal to pay a house/cat-sitter?
PostPosted: Fri Sep 21, 2012 2:41 pm 
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Okay, $20 a day plus some treats/wine it is! I'm also going to make her some soups and curries to eat over the week since she likes my cooking. Thanks guys!


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 Post subject: Re: What's normal to pay a house/cat-sitter?
PostPosted: Fri Sep 21, 2012 2:57 pm 
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vijita wrote:
Okay, $20 a day plus some treats/wine it is! I'm also going to make her some soups and curries to eat over the week since she likes my cooking. Thanks guys!

I charge depending on a number of variables but generally charge about $50/day but for just one cat and everything else that you're throwing in, $20/day is definitely good. It's just enough that you don't feel like you're taking advantage of her and just enough so that she doesn't feel too weird about it. One thing I will add that might sound kind of "duh" is to make sure you give her your wifi password or a way to hook up internet to her computer. I worked at a house once for a week where the owners didn't know their wifi password- it was hell.

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 Post subject: Re: What's normal to pay a house/cat-sitter?
PostPosted: Fri Sep 21, 2012 9:55 pm 
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$20 a day plus wine and treats is an awesome payment. Plus, she gets to hang out with Puddy, which is payment enough, really.

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 Post subject: Re: What's normal to pay a house/cat-sitter?
PostPosted: Sat Sep 22, 2012 3:18 am 
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Mr. Shankly wrote:
vijita wrote:
Okay, $20 a day plus some treats/wine it is! I'm also going to make her some soups and curries to eat over the week since she likes my cooking. Thanks guys!

I charge depending on a number of variables but generally charge about $50/day but for just one cat and everything else that you're throwing in, $20/day is definitely good. It's just enough that you don't feel like you're taking advantage of her and just enough so that she doesn't feel too weird about it. One thing I will add that might sound kind of "duh" is to make sure you give her your wifi password or a way to hook up internet to her computer. I worked at a house once for a week where the owners didn't know their wifi password- it was hell.

Oh yeah, totally! She'll definitely be given access to our WiFi, but thanks for the reminder because I might have neglected to track down the password.


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 Post subject: Re: What's normal to pay a house/cat-sitter?
PostPosted: Sat Sep 22, 2012 2:00 pm 
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I would consider throwing in an extra twenty for a tip! I pay freelancers $15 for a half hour visit and bonded companies $25 for a half hour visit. The bonded company charges upwards of $60 - 90 for an eight hour overnight for an overnight visit.


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