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How to charge for mileage? I just want to make sure the commute is worth it?

asked 2018-07-19 13:08:18 -0500

Hi fellow sitters! So I am pretty new to Rover but there is a huge demand for pet care where I live. I get a lot of requests that are just a few miles away from work and my home. These are no issue for me and I think my pricing is pretty good and competitive with other Rover sitters in town and even other pet care providers.

However at least half of my requests come from another town that is about 25 miles round trip. I looked on mileage and the approved rate for mileage for 2018 for business per IRS website is 54.5 cents per mile. If I calculate that that would be $27 each trip to this town.

So to break it down these are my rates:

  • Housitting- $30.00 (plus $27 for mileage to White Rock) - they would be paying $57

  • Dog Walking-$15.00 (plus $27 for mileage to White Rock) they would be paying $42- this is crazy to me as this is more than the service!

  • Drop-in Visits- $15.00 (plus $27 for mileage to White Rock) they would be paying $42- this is crazy to me as this is more than the service!

My second client ever who lives in this town has hired me since March for 1 walk a day @ 10 bucks per walk for M-F walks in monthly increments (200 bucks a month and 160 to me after Rover fees). Her dog really likes me! However I do not know if this is worth it, I do not break even unless I happen to have other clients in this town. See what I mean?

It is a hard decision as some of my first and most loyal clients are from this town. I really do not want to charge them more but I just did not think things through in the beginning (i started doing this as a hobby really because I love animals so much). I really underestimated the demand for pet care in these two communities. I just need to make sure that the trip is worth it after Rover fees and gas/wear and tear on my vehicle, etc.. I know that I could exclude this town from my service area too, but I do not know if I want to do that as I have met some really great dogs and owners! Please give me your thoughts? Anyone been in this situation?

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Thank you for asking this I am literally in the same boat as you right now and don't know if I should continue or rexommend someone else, or mention to client that I would not be able to offer such a price moving forward

Cesar M.'s profile image Cesar M.  ( 2018-07-20 01:13:03 -0500 ) edit

5 Answers

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answered 2018-10-04 15:17:45 -0500

Here is what I have figured out in my little over a year of being a sitter on Rover and it seems to be working well. I have my radius set to 10 miles. Everything within that is my standard rates with no mileage fee. From there:

10-15 miles away is a $5 increase per night

15-20 is $10

20-25 is $15

And so on.

I once had someone 37 miles away contact me to watch her 2 dogs and gladly paid the extra $30/night and hey I made $67/night before Rover fees to take a mini vacation in another town!

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answered 2018-07-19 14:03:39 -0500

You have to consider that tracking business mileage is a must so you can use the mileage deduction on your taxes. You have to decide if making long drives is worth the time back and forth to service clients if there is good demand in your area consider reducing your service radius to concentrate on clients more local. Best of luck

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answered 2018-10-01 01:01:34 -0500

Late to this thread because I was actually searching for info on mileage for myself. But is your math correct? It's 25 miles round trip, not each way, right? So 25 miles * (54.5/100) = $13.625 round trip, not $27.
I think what I'm going to do is have a "grace radius" wherein I do not charge mileage, and anyone outside that radius (probably 5-10 miles), I'll add on $0.545 per mile ABOVE the radius. So, if a client is 15 miles away and my grace radius is 10 miles, they only get charged mileage for the 5 miles that are outside my radius. Just my $0.02 ;) I'm still playing with this issue myself.

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answered 2018-10-03 03:07:33 -0500

Don't forget the IRS deduction comes off the taxes you otherwise pay. Depemdimg on your tax bracket and how much you make, you might not owe anything on the self-employed form. Also If you charge for mileage then you can't deduct it. If you charge some people and not others (like outside a range) then you have to keep track of two kinds of mileage and two kinds of deduction --- unless you don't charge the other town people the IRS mileage, but definitely add on extra for being so far away. Then you can deduct all of the miles. I'm not a tax expert ๐Ÿ˜‰ so that is only my take on it.

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answered 2018-07-27 19:57:33 -0500

I am also in the same boat. I just got two bookings on the very edge of my range and it's going to be a 45 minute drive to and from every day. Today I decreased my range for future bookings to reduce this. I'm considering adding an additional fee for distance if I get new requests from just outside of my range. Maybe an extra $5/day?

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answered 2019-11-02 14:24:30 -0500

As a CPA, walking dogs out fr boredom, I tell you that you should not travel more than 3 miles one way. In 2019 the cost per mile has been calculated to be $.58.
My walks are $20 for a single dog, after Rover's cut I get $16. From this amount deduct the minimum of 14% for taxes (if you made over $600 per year), which leaves you with a mere $13.76, If you travel 10 miles (round trip) you have to deduct $5.80 from the 13.76, leaving you with a lousy $7.96. Even if you want to charge extra to travel beyond the range you chose, the time spent in traveling doesn't make the job worthwhile. If you have to travel 30 minutes each way, therefore making $7.96 an hour, might as well go work at McDonalds for $13 an hour. This is NOT a job for people that need money, it is for the ones like me that simple love animals and do not need an income. Still, I will not travel over my radius of 3 miles, unless it's for more than 2 pets at the time. Mileage deductions don't mean much when you have a very low income, it's a lose-lose!

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