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    • MSE Sarah
    • By MSE Sarah 2nd Jul 19, 2:35 PM
    • 198Posts
    • 85Thanks
    MSE Sarah
    Money Moral Dilemma: Should we start charging our friends for looking after their dog?
    • #1
    • 2nd Jul 19, 2:35 PM
    Money Moral Dilemma: Should we start charging our friends for looking after their dog? 2nd Jul 19 at 2:35 PM
    This week's MoneySaver who wants advice asks...

    Twice a week, my wife and I look after the dog of a couple we're friends with while they're at work. It started off as an occasional favour, but has become regular. They give us a small thank-you gift now and then, but a professional dog sitter would charge £20-£30 a day. Should we start charging them and, if so, how should we approach the subject?

    Unfortunately the MSE team can't always answer money moral dilemma questions as contributions are often emailed in or suggested in person. They are intended to be enjoyed as a point of debate and discussed at face value.

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Page 2
    • wishus
    • By wishus 3rd Jul 19, 8:22 AM
    • 839 Posts
    • 5,476 Thanks
    Hello there - I dog-sit sometimes for a friend, who also engages professionals to house-sit with the dogs too. I'm very nearby, so I'm probably the first person he calls for a favour, but if I am already engaged there are other friends he can ask, or he can ask the sitter, or change plans. It's all part and parcel of the responsibility of having pets for him, and being a good friend for me. He has been there for me when I've needed someone to talk to, or a lift somewhere when I'd broken my ankle. Good isn't it?

    I look on the time with the doggies as a bit of a chance to have a break - maybe get on with a book, or a bit of work on the laptop, and they wuffle at me very occasionally for biscuits and cuddles and it's all jolly lovely.

    I babysit for my brother's kids too, and that's also brilliant, but not in any way as restful as looking after dogs!
    Gonna get debt free, and live in a house in the countreeee!
    • staggered
    • By staggered 3rd Jul 19, 8:25 AM
    • 282 Posts
    • 355 Thanks
    It only costs about £5 a week to feed my dog. I think Bob must be feeding his neighbours' dog prime cuts of meat

    If you were looking after the dog 5 days a week, that might be a bit of a burden. But it's only twice a week.

    However, if it's inconvenient, tell your friend. I'm sure they wouldn't want to cause you any inconvenience.

    Don't charge them, though, that's an awful idea. Dog sitters charge because they do it for a living.
    • nickbooth1970
    • By nickbooth1970 3rd Jul 19, 8:30 AM
    • 6 Posts
    • 4 Thanks
    A lot of people are commenting on you, but not your friends. Friends are friends and this means they should be thinking of you as much as you should think of them.
    If you are thinking these thoughts then they should be having the same concerns about leaving the dog with you. A dog can be a heavy burden, and with it comes responsibility of the ownership. I own a dog, and luckily work from home. My dog is loved very much by my family and my wives and if we are both out, then we are lucky enough to have family members either dog sit, or pop over and give him a walk. The only friends I would ever ask, is ones that have offered, and this is always gifted with a nice bottle of wine or similar just for one day. That is what I value on my dog having companionship throughout the day when I am not there.
    Your friends may well believe you like having their dog, but in reality, you are maybe their easiest and cheapest option, but this shouldn't make their dog a burden to you (which it clearly is or you wouldn't have posted)
    Personally I would tell them you are going to start being busier and will no longer be able to look after the dog as readily. If they take hum-bridge to this, then they really are not very good friends and the problem will go away anyway.
    One thing someone else said earlier though, its ok to say no. I struggled with this earlier in life, people respect opinion (sometimes)
    • The Jester
    • By The Jester 3rd Jul 19, 8:37 AM
    • 220 Posts
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    The Jester
    It's a tricky one because we don't know the relationship you have with them. Are they real friends or just acquaintances? The fact you've raised an issue tells me perhaps they're not real friends.

    I assume you now think they're taking advantage of you. Sadly some friends can do this.

    If you like the dog and it keeps you company then I don't see the problem. But if it's restricting you from doing other things then you need to address the issue and explain to them.

    I had a similar issue a few years ago. I have 3 dogs and my neighbour asked if I could walk her Lab. It wasn't a problem for me as I would be out with mine anyway. Gradually though it began to irk me because I found out her son could walk the dog but chose not to and then she began complaining I was letting him go into the canal to swim (that's what Labs do). Eventually I told her I wasn't walking her dog anymore as she was taking the mickey.

    It sounds like you'll have that conversation too. But remember by continuing to look after their dog means you could ask them virtually any favour and they couldn't refuse you. I call it the 'favour bank'

    Good luck.
    Last edited by The Jester; 03-07-2019 at 8:39 AM.

    • archie1411
    • By archie1411 3rd Jul 19, 9:12 AM
    • 12 Posts
    • 14 Thanks
    Is looking after the dog all 'one-way traffic' i.e. do you get nothing out of doing such as the fun of having a dog without the expense? Does looking after the dog stop you doing anything - going out for the day, going on holiday etc? If the answer to the both of these is 'Yes', don't charge just stop doing it. If the answer is 'no' then carry on and enjoy the benefits
    • colins5286
    • By colins5286 3rd Jul 19, 9:18 AM
    • 4 Posts
    • 4 Thanks
    No Charge
    Whilst it may have started out as a favor and grown into more of a commitment you shouldn't look to charge.
    If it's not something you want to do then just talk to your friends. I've no doubt they will appreciate the help you have given over the months/years and are probably completely unaware of how you feel.
    Which is why you need to talk.
    • gloriouslyhappy
    • By gloriouslyhappy 3rd Jul 19, 9:51 AM
    • 420 Posts
    • 855 Thanks
    Have you tried that strange route of actually talking to your friends to tell them how you feel? They aren't mind readers.
    Originally posted by Brynsam
    You're right of course, Brynsam, but OP is looking for advice before broaching the subject: "Should we start charging them and, if so, how should we approach the subject?"

    This is supposed to be a safe forum for seeking advice.
    • paul k
    • By paul k 3rd Jul 19, 9:59 AM
    • 20 Posts
    • 8 Thanks
    paul k
    I have a similar thing every year I look after next doors cat(I hate cats) this is for about 7 weeks.
    It takes 5 minutes a day to nip round and feed it.
    They offer to pay me but I will not accept.
    However next door is a carpenter and he fitted my door handles for free.
    He has offered to box in some pipes this year ,again free.
    So in effect I am getting rewarded.
    So I would say DO NOT LOOK FOR PAYMENT IN CASH if you do you will need to declare this income on your tax return!
    I would look for a favour from them,what do they do at work ? they may have skills you can use.
    Good luck,it's good to have good neighbours.
    • gloriouslyhappy
    • By gloriouslyhappy 3rd Jul 19, 10:03 AM
    • 420 Posts
    • 855 Thanks
    My 95 year old neighbour is with Canadabob, she has three visiting labs who stay with her daily Mon to Fri from breakfast to dinner. A professional dog walker takes them midday for a two hour walk, and all their meals are provided, although she does treat them with carrots and toast! She loves their company and they clearly adore her. She's going deaf now so when the doorbell or phone goes, they alert her by barking and nudging her, otherwise they're very gentle around her. It's a big plus having three large dogs come to the door when she opens it, no conman is going to push past them and take advantage of a frail old lady. When the neighbours come home and fetch them for the night, they stay for a glass of wine and sometimes bring dinner to have with her so she's not short of company.

    The arrangement has been going on for over ten years, it's a win-win situation all round.

    In OP's situation, I'd think about what you want to do, read the advice here, then make up your mind. I see three options - continue as usual, the odd gifts shows they appreciate your services; tell them it's becoming too much on a regular basis and say occasionally would be fine; ask for money and risk losing their friendship.
    • MinnieCooper55
    • By MinnieCooper55 3rd Jul 19, 10:17 AM
    • 5 Posts
    • 8 Thanks
    If you start charging, you will need a council licence. This came in with the new Animal Welfare Act. So be careful. Any petsitter will request that your friends supply the food. So I suggest that you ask food to come with the dog. And leave it at that. Good luck!
    • Redred31
    • By Redred31 3rd Jul 19, 10:39 AM
    • 1 Posts
    • 1 Thanks
    Absolutely not
    Unless you have council registration and full public liability insurance for both the dog and other people you canít consider charging. If these people are friends why would you want to charge them? Presumably you have enjoyed having the dog to stay or you wouldnít have got involved in the first place. If you are fed up of having the dog just explain that you canít do it anymore. Most people would want their dog to be with friends who enjoy having a dog short term but without any of the expense or responsibility. Otherwise you hire a professional who has all the required registrations and insurance.
    • craobhan
    • By craobhan 3rd Jul 19, 11:06 AM
    • 40 Posts
    • 10 Thanks
    Depends on what you think the charge should be for.
    If you are providing all the food then yes, I would be looking for them to refund that cost or supply you with the actual food. But if you are looking to charge for the act of simply providing a roof over the dogís head and giving it a walk, then definitely no.
    If itís the case that youíd rather not have the dog then you will have to talk to them about it.
    • Ellijay
    • By Ellijay 3rd Jul 19, 11:10 AM
    • 2 Posts
    • 5 Thanks
    Surely youíd have to declare the income if you started charging? I occasionally look after friends dogs in their own house and I do it because as a non dog owner I can get my my doggie fix with actually owning one.
    • susie2815
    • By susie2815 3rd Jul 19, 11:12 AM
    • 1 Posts
    • 1 Thanks
    I pay £5 a day for doggy day care and £10 for overnight stay. What you want to charge is exorbitant - especially as they are friends!
    • vicandnorm44
    • By vicandnorm44 3rd Jul 19, 11:36 AM
    • 1 Posts
    • 1 Thanks
    Professional Service?
    Do you think you are offering your friends the professional service a dog sitting service would offer?
    Do you have the liability insurance in case anything goes wrong that a professional dog carer would need?
    I'd only start charging a professional rate, or any amount really, if you are prepared to go pro and make the necessary arrangements, like telling your mortgage company/landlord and home insurers that you're running a business.
    If you no longer want to help your mates out, tell them.
    • Shirleykate
    • By Shirleykate 3rd Jul 19, 2:15 PM
    • 11 Posts
    • 10 Thanks
    She's a lucky dog to have such nice friends and carers as you two. But surely the neighbour should at least pay for the food?
    • jakiB
    • By jakiB 3rd Jul 19, 2:22 PM
    • 2 Posts
    • 1 Thanks
    I pay £5 a day for doggy day care and £10 for overnight stay. What you want to charge is exorbitant - especially as they are friends!
    Originally posted by susie2815
    Where does it say what anyone wants to charge? You are very lucky indeed to only pay £5 a day for doggy day care and £10 overnight - that is really cheap!
    • happyinflorida
    • By happyinflorida 3rd Jul 19, 3:09 PM
    • 779 Posts
    • 668 Thanks
    Why are you asking this?

    Do you not enjoy having the dog?

    Is it becoming a nuisance?

    Do you feel the small gifts they give you as a thank you are not good enough for what you're doing?

    How long have you been doing this?

    If you're getting fed up of doing it, then when they next come over to collect the dog, as long as they've got the time, ask to have a chat and tell them how you're feeling - gently so you don't lose the friendship!

    If you're happy to carry on and you feel they can afford it, bring that up too - say I'd like to be paid for this as it's becoming permanent when originally I offered just to help out.

    Make sure you ring around first to get proper prices for the places or people who do this locally as you don't want to end up ripping your friend off because if they find out, they might get very annoyed.

    Do you need the money too? If not, why are you wanting to be paid? As this is your friends, you might need their help one day - how would you feel if they charged you because you've set a precedent?

    If you enjoy having the dog, don't need the money - leave things as they are because your friends may stop leaving their dog with you and the poor dog may end up being locked in their home instead, alone and very unhappy after being with you - so think of the poor dog as well. That's the most important bit to me, the dog comes first IMO.
    • Julie57
    • By Julie57 3rd Jul 19, 4:03 PM
    • 1 Posts
    • 1 Thanks
    The real concern here shouldn't be you or your friends, but the dog. If your friends aren't able to properly care for their dog themselves and you're not happy to do so twice a week, then it begs the question what other arrangements can be made to ensure the dog is not left at home alone all day?
    If there is no alternative, they shouldn't have a dog and the poor thing should be rehomed to a situation where he won't be seen as a "problem" to be passed around. Clearly you are not happy to care for him & you see it as a chore that you should be paid for (not the sort of "friend" I would want to be, but each to their own). Under these circumstances you need to be honest with your friends, but I think you also then have a responsibility to see that they make appropriate alternative arrangements. It's the dogs best interest that matters here. My friend sees to his neighbour's dog 5 days a week & he wouldn't dream of asking for money because he cares that without him the poor thing would be alone all day, and that's no way for a dog to live. I think you have to ask yourself how much you really care about the dog's welfare, not how much money you can make. If the answer is that you don't really care about the dog, then tell your friends you don't want to look after him any more. If you do really care for the dog, swallow the feelings of imposition and revel in the fact that you're doing it for him, not for your friends.
    • Fluffy Friend
    • By Fluffy Friend 3rd Jul 19, 7:32 PM
    • 2 Posts
    • 2 Thanks
    Fluffy Friend
    Hi, our neighbour charges us £10 a day, gives her a little money and I dont feel bad asking, the kennel he goes to is only £12 per day but he is in a cage and would I imagne rather be on her rug!
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