How to charge for problems after booking (extra cleaning)?

asked 2016-09-03 13:09:37 -0500

Edit: see what I’ve learned after a few years below! Hi all, I accepted a request from an owner for a 4 month old puppy under the condition she was house trained and kennel trained. So far neither of these things have proven to be true as she has had 5 accidents in the house despite being on 45 mins walks 3X a day, spending a ton of time outside, and 30 min breaks inside. She holds it until she gets in the house and then goes right on the carpet immediately. She is also very food aggressive and toy aggressive. She's bitten me pretty hard several times. She screamed her head off when she had to go in the kennel at bed time and when I left to run errands today. I am going to have to get the carpets cleaned, and it was suggested I should charge the client for this. I think it's about $30 to rent a cleaner. I only charge $28 for holiday and if I don't charge him for the cleaning I will have basically dealt with a difficult puppy for nothing. However I am concerned about a bad review from the owner for charging him. Can anyone provide me some insight? How do I charge him extra, and what is the best way to approach this?

Hi all! I wanted to come back to this for any newbies like I was at the time since this thread gets a lot of comments and views. Now that I have 2 years experience on Rover this is what I have learned: -ALWAYS meet and greet. If you can’t don’t accept. The few times I didn’t meet and greet things similar to this and worse happened. -Asking after the fact for destroyed property/cleaning isn’t a good idea and I wouldn’t suggest it. I didn’t end up asking this owner for anything. I now see it as part of doing business. I actually don’t take boarding requests anymore :( it’s just not worth it to me. -Charge significantly more for puppies. Even in their own home. -Be very clear ahead of time with pricing. -Ask in depth questions about training at the meet and greet. There are several good meet and greet forms out there. -Learn to recognize the red flags of dog aggression/dishonest parents. This takes time. The above dog bit me so badly I had to go to the doctor. She shook my hand in her mouth and would not let go. Had I paid better attention I would have noticed the several deep wounds on the owners hands as well. I have also declined clients who could not control their dogs on meet and greet.

I hope this helps! Thanks to everyone who gave advice!

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Although I have not had this issue and like yourself have been doing dog sitting for several years now, I thought that was a wonderful idea for you to come back a few years later and answer your own question. Hopefully it will help new sitters out. Take care!! -Erica

Erica M.'s profile image Erica M.  ( 2018-05-26 23:29:46 -0500 ) edit

8 Answers

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answered 2017-03-26 11:32:24 -0500

Number one I have a puppy rate - I generally use it for dogs under 6 months but I've gone up to a year and even beyond for the high maintenance kiddos. Puppies are more work and good pet parents understand that. I also have an information form / waiver that includes a permission to treat and language to the effect of "everything I've said here is true and I may be charged a daily damage or cleaning fee of up to xx dollars". Anyone balking at signing is a red flag for multiple reasons. Not saying you don't accept the client but you definitely need to have a follow up conversation. This practice has evolved from some VERY dishonest pet parents that make me wonder what condition their own houses are in but I certainly don't want mine demolished lol

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Little late to the party here, but I was wondering if you'd be willing to share the form/waiver you use. I'd love to start incorporating something like that into my work.

Mallory O.'s profile image Mallory O.  ( 2017-05-22 18:15:45 -0500 ) edit

Hi Mallory - sure happy to share. Please note that I put my form together myself (no attorney) and I have no idea if it's enforcable or not (probably isn't lol). Like I said in my post, I mainly use it as a "test" and I've had zero issues. Email me at fidosfriendkc@gmail.com and I'll sent it along

Michelle T.'s profile image Michelle T.  ( 2017-06-18 13:08:16 -0500 ) edit

May I email you for a copy as well?

Roland C.'s profile image Roland C.  ( 2017-07-19 16:12:57 -0500 ) edit

I know this is two years old but I am going to send you an email to get a copy of this contract and compare it to mine. I just had a traumatizing experience with a dog whose owner just apologized for not being honest about their dog.

Daniella C.'s profile image Daniella C.  ( 2019-12-30 20:04:30 -0500 ) edit
answered 2017-05-25 14:33:26 -0500

Owners will often sugar coat or out right lie about their dog's behavioral issues and dogs will often act differently in your home than they would in their home so you must be prepared for some trouble and destruction. I also have a form I make dog owners fill out where they must clearly state their dog's habits and behavioral issues and have the owner sign where it says that they are responsible for nay damage or injury their dog may cause and that they will be asked to pay an extra fee if needed. I discuss the maximum extra fee they could be charged and why and make sure to write in the contract. I wait at least a day or two to see exactly what extra work is required and then send them the extra charge through the website by sending them a training quote with the charge in it and a description of the extra work.

I would consider this unfortunate stay and all the mess it caused for you a learning experience and just take the loss to keep the client happy and get a good review. If he did misrepresent his dog so badly, I would not take the client's dog again. And if you are not prepared to deal with normal puppy things like biting, house breaking issues, basic training needing to be done, nothing says you have to, puppies are cute but can be quite the little Aholes and can make your life a living hell. This is why many doog sitters do not take puppies that young.

As far as a 4 month old puppy is concerned, no matter if the owner says the pup is house broken, most are not, even less when they are not in the home they know with people who dont necessarly understand their pre-potty or pre-pee rituals. They will nibble, bite, chew, whine in their crate, all of those annoying puppy things. With all puppies that young, direct supervision is required if you want to avoid accidents. When ever he seems like he's going to go, take the puppy outside and reward with high value rewards when he does his business where you want him to go. When ever the pup wakes up, he's gonna want to go so take him before he has an accident, when ever the pup is playing for 15-20 min, he will want to go, so take him outside often.

If a dog does not do his business outside but rather waits to be back indoors to go and hide to do their business, it is very often due to having been punished for doing their business in the wrong place, by having their nose rubbed in it. This method tells the pup you don't like pee and poo, not that you don't like it indoors, so the pup fears doing his business in front of you and hides to do it. If this ... (more)

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hi!! could you do me a huge favor and email me the from you have created! i really appreciate your help with this issue I have found myself and would love to know more of this up front from the owners. meganmills248@gmail.com

Megan M.'s profile image Megan M.  ( 2018-02-14 08:26:00 -0500 ) edit

Could you send me the form you have pet parents fill out please? I’m considering using something for my sitting. Kayleighscherzer@gmail.com

Kayleigh S.'s profile image Kayleigh S.  ( 2018-09-30 18:02:32 -0500 ) edit
answered 2016-09-06 11:42:14 -0500

That is a very tough question to answer. When you board animals, you always take the chance that the dog is capable of wrecking your house, no matter how much of an "inside dog" his owners tell you he is! I've never charged for additional cleaning, partly because it is too difficult to negotiate, and also because it is widely viewed as the cost of doing business. Owners are often sorry, but unwilling to pay to replace anything. I always set aside a portion of my income to save for cleaning supplies and other costs, simply because there is always that one dog who eats a dog bed, pees on the carpets and chews three sets of blinds in a single stay!

I would be sure to tell them that their puppy had several accidents while with you, since they are (let's assume) working on his house training, and they would probably want to know. I would also offer suggestions for training to minimize the biting and the food aggression, as well. Other than that, simply leave an accurate review on the stay and absorb the financial loss. It goes without saying that you'll never be seeing this dog again!

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answered 2016-09-07 12:57:39 -0500

I feel for ya! I had a dog with separation anxiety and she bit my door knob to the garage. She knew that was the way out of the house. lol Anyway, Rover does not have any sort of monetary way of getting the damages reimbursed. I let the owners know and they just took the dog and left. I was hoping they would have given some sort of compensation, but no. However, in the past with other dogs that would go in the house, their owners would either send me an extra gift or food or gift card. On average most of the owners are good natured and really want their dog to behave.

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haha That was exactly what one of mine has done as well! He got the knob on our back door, too.

Jessica M.'s profile image Jessica M.  ( 2016-09-23 14:43:33 -0500 ) edit
answered 2017-03-28 15:02:20 -0500

Well it is a 4 month old puppy, it's probably still learning at it's own home and has no idea how to act in your home. You essentially have to potty train it for your home (which should be pretty easy, since she is most likely potty trained in her own home). I had the pleasure of watching two 3 month old puppies this past weekend. One of them is very well trained for it's age the other, not so much. But I just took her outside as soon as she tried going in the house and gave her a treat for going outside. Also she won't go poo if I just take her in the backyard, she rather go in the house, so Instead I take her for very shorts walks shortly after meals. Honestly I kind of expected the worst because a puppy is just like a baby except with much sharper teeth and no diaper. There is a reason people charge more for puppies and why many people don't accept them at all. I myself want to get a puppy soon, so this is great practice for me haha. But I suggest that if you are worried about damage to your things/ carpet then don't accept puppies. I know what a pain puppies can be, that's why I allow them in my home and I have pretty much learned to expect a few accidents here and there.

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answered 2017-06-05 21:59:23 -0500

I have had the same problem. I had an owner who clearly didn't know the anxiety level of her pup. I messaged her all the time and told her aaaaalllll the times that the dog peed in my apt, including when he decided to pee on my bed. This was a med/small dog so the pee was significant but while she apologized, she didn't offer for a cleaning nor even a tip. I feel that there is a lot of accountability on the sitters but not the owners as far as I can tell. :( . I do expect that accidents will happen, but this was not a puppy, and ANY time I left the apt he peed even with multiple walks a day.

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answered 2016-12-12 18:25:34 -0500

You are allowed to charge a higher rate on puppies.

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Yikes I didn't know that! I might have undercharged. Also, can owners see our q and a 🤔

Sara D.'s profile image Sara D.  ( 2017-01-05 21:33:43 -0500 ) edit
answered 2016-12-30 09:54:28 -0500

I just ordered washable male bands. they also have full diapers,washable and disposable. I don't watch puppies, but do get markers so I'm hoping to stop this indoor peeing. For future stays i would bring this up and for regulars that have this problem I think it is fine to ask that they provide these for you.

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I've stocked up on those as well.

Suzanne E.'s profile image Suzanne E.  ( 2017-03-30 10:54:35 -0500 ) edit

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