18 Replies Latest reply: Sep 13, 2019 8:24 AM by hmmmm RSS

    Going pet friendly, what to charge?

    myhouseyourhouse Contributor

      We are going pet friendly. We are wondering what is typical for charging. For those who are pet friendly, do you charge a fee  for bringing the pet? Do you also charge a different security deposit for the pet?


      Our rental is approximately 4500 ft.² and is a vacation rental on Cape Cod.  I haven’t broached being pet friendly to  my cleaning people yet. Does anyone have experience as to whether cleaners charge extra when they’re cleaning  after a pet has stayed? We’re trying to assess the risk and any additional costs we may incur by being pet friendly.



        • Re: Going pet friendly, what to charge?
          margaret CommunityAmbassador

          I allow dogs with owner approval. I charge a non refundable pet fee $100. I don't charge more on the DD. I give my housekeeper an additional $50 when a dog has stayed, she didn't ask for more but I know there can be more work. I have never had any damage from a dog. Below is the pet addendum I attach to my RA.

          PET ADDENDUM

          It is hereby agreed by and between ________________ (Homeowner) and _____________ (Guest) that homeowner will allow guest to have the following described pet and no others in the vacation home upon and subject to the terms and conditions of the rental agreement and this addendum.

          The permission granted herein shall be limited to a certain pet as described below:

          Breed of dog: ___________________ Name:

          Color: ________________________ Weight: _______________________

          Age:__________________ Sex: __________________

          Guest hereby agrees to comply the following:

          1. Guest to pay additional pet fee in the amount of $100
          2. All pets must comply with the following specifications (documentation from an accredited veterinarian must be provided by Guest upon request): 

          Must be at least 2 year(s) of age or older. Must be up to date on rabies vaccinations and all other vaccinations. Pet must be treated for fleas and ticks within one week before arrival.

          1. All pets must be leashed at all times when outdoors.
          2. Guest is responsible for cleaning up any/all pet refuse. $500 fine for noncompliance
          3. Pets are not allowed on furniture at any time. Any evidence of pets on furniture may incur extra cleaning fees.
          4. Pet must not cause damage to premises or furnishings. If damages are caused, the cost of the damage may be deducted from security deposit and the guest agrees to pay overage above the security deposit.
          5. Guest should prevent pets from producing excessive noise at a level that disturbs neighbors. No dogs on screened porch before 8am or after 10pm. If management determines that a pet is a danger to others, or if the pet barks incessantly and disturbs neighbors, guest will be asked to place their pet in a kennel for the duration of their stay.
          6. Pet will not be left unattended for an undue length of time, either indoors or out. Pet will not be left unattended on screemed porch. Pets will be leashed at all times when outdoors within True Blue.
          7. Homeowner assumes no responsibility for illness or injury that may incur to pets or humans while on the premises.

          The Guest shall be solely responsible for the pet while on the property.

          Sign_________________________________________________________ Date_______________



            • Re: Going pet friendly, what to charge?
              scowol Active Contributor

              Margaret has a great contract and so definitely take advantage of it for free!


              In my experience on this forum, posing a Yes/No answer is going to generate a mix of yes and no responses.  Just as you figured out how to set your nightly rates, cleaning fee, other optional fees and damage deposit, do similarly for the pet fee.   A great way to start is to search for Cape Code rentals on Vrbo, select the Pet Friendly filter, and search.  Then check what other owners are charging for the pet fee (view itemized owner charges).  BTW, this is a good way to stay in touch with the guest experience of booking on Vrbo as it is continually tweaked.


              One area I might differ on with some owners is that I adamantly don't believe in profiting off any fee.  Fees are meant to cover the extra cost of an incurred expense.  Some businesses/owners are eroding that concept by sneaking in profits from them--which is contributing to the negative view of fees in general.  I charge $100 for the pet fee, and pass that $100 on in full to my housekeeper. If the house was left spotless--she wins and I win.  I'm not "out" any money for giving 100% of the fee to my housekeeper because it it not intended to be a charge for profit.  I do the same for my standard cleaning fee--my housekeeper gets 100% of the cleaning fee--regardless if it took her 1 hour to clean or 5 hours to clean. It all evens out in the end.  And when it took her less time than normal, she gets an automatic "tip." 


              Housekeepers are not driving around in a Mercedes.  So I never do a money-grab by keeping a portion of a fee to myself.   The goodwill goes a long way--especially when you have an emergency and you're miles and miles away from your VR....

                • Re: Going pet friendly, what to charge?
                  margaret CommunityAmbassador

                  scowol I pay my housekeeper 50% of the pet fee and retain 50% as a self insurance for any excess wear and tear that occurs due to allowing pets. We find small scratches on the woodwork, doors  and other surface at times which requires painting more frequently than before we allowed pets. I also find other items that require replacement or extra maintenance due to pets, no to mention the addition cleaning supplies. I would recommend anyone who allows pets be prepared and plan for some additional expenses from time to time. I have never had what I would consider "real damage' from a dog in my homes but there is an additional cost for upkeep in my experience.

                    • Re: Going pet friendly, what to charge?
                      bonesxxx Active Contributor

                      I agree.  I've never had any overt pet damage (except for the people who didn't disclose they were bringing dogs at all)...


                      But I have noticed my hardwood floors are accumulating scratches -- a pet charge overage could be used to refinish them at some point (and it's definitely dog claws causing the scratches).

                    • Re: Going pet friendly, what to charge?
                      martyp Contributor

                      I do not consider it a "profit"; I consider it insurance.  In the insurance industry, insurance is called "risk sharing".  The pet owners are sharing the risk of excessive damage to the home. Other than special considerations, I do not accept pets.  A lady who got me started with short term rental accepted pets at the time and then stopped.  I never asked her why. 


                      Prior to my conversion from long term to short term vacation rental,  a long term renter had a pet against my policy. I had berber carpet (which is a continuous strand carpet) and the pet grabbed a strand and pulled a run in the carpet from one side of the room to the other. The carpet had to be replaced. That cost me over $2,000. The dog ALSO chewed on the wooden leg of a Scandinavian recliner.


                      I am a dog lover and I have two dogs of my own.  However, I do not trust other people and other people's dogs. Be careful with your decision.

                    • Re: Going pet friendly, what to charge?
                      hmmmm Senior Contributor

                      Great work Margaret

                    • Re: Going pet friendly, what to charge?
                      green_mango Active Contributor

                      I'm 3K sq feet and charge $100 for 1 dog and $150 for 2 dogs.  We use the extra $ to cover pet related things - extra cleaning (we steam the carpets) etc...  I highly recommend the following:  medium sized dog crates & blacklight.  We've had some damage to doors from scratching & of course pee spots here and there.  I provide water & food bowls and doggie poo bags.  I also give a little bag of dog treats/toys.  I ask guests to make sure their pup is up to date on flea treatment and also suggest they bring a blanket or sheet from home if their pup likes to be on furniture or beds. 

                      • Re: Going pet friendly, what to charge?
                        bonesxxx Active Contributor

                        The biggest question is: will it increase your guest stays.  That's the only question that matters.


                        If you are fully booked without allowing pets, there is no reason to offer it.


                        If you need more bookings, then try it out (using a pet contract as above) and see if it doesn't increase your guest stays.


                        For me, I tried an experiment and left VRBO pet friendly and made ABB not pet friendly.  Within 6 months my ABB bookings dropped to zero.  90% of my bookings involve people wanting to travel with their dog so now I cater to that market.  You can see how by viewing my photos here: https://www.vrbo.com/830536 When I made my ABB lising pet friendly again, my reservations immediately shot through the roof.  I'm fully booked through November.

                        • Re: Going pet friendly, what to charge?
                          bobbie32 Premier Contributor

                          Pet Policy


                          We are happy to accommodate your canine companion with advance notice and the following conditions…


                          • Most importantly  - you must be a responsible dog owner.
                          • Your dog must be friendly and well socialized with other people and other dogs.  Your dog must be at least 2 years old. Your dog must not be a “chewer”. 
                          • Your dog must be housebroken.  And if you have a male dog, please don’t allow him to “mark” on the deck posts, planters or on any other object on the decks.  “Potty pads” are not to be used inside – your dog must be relieved outside.
                          • You must use some type of flea control product on your dog – either a flea dip or Frontline (also good for ticks) or equivalent. 
                          • An increase in the security deposit to $400. This is a refundable deposit less damage and extraordinary cleaning fees.  Any damages in excess of the $400 will be the responsibility of the renter. 
                          • A charge of $25 per night for your dog.
                          • Your dog must be on a leash when outside – reason is that we run cattle on our property and simply cannot have your dog chasing our cattle on this steep property.  The county also has a leash law and most properties in the county are not fenced. 
                          • Your dog is not to be left unattended in the house or tied up outside
                          • You must clean up after your dog. Plastic bags will be provided for your use. 
                          • You should provide your own bowls and bedding for your dog.  We prefer that your dog sleep on the floor.  But if your dog does not, please bring any covers for bed and/or furniture.  And please do not leave any pet food outside.
                          • Please do not allow your dog in the pool or hot tub.  You may use a hose to cool your dog off during the hot summer months.  Please bring your own towels for drying off your dog before it re-enters the house – this includes towels for rainy weather.


                          Some things you should know… 


                          • We are in a trial period for allowing dogs. Since we like to travel with our dog, we know and realize that others also like to do so. Please abide by the rules and do not ruin this possibility for others.
                          • During this trial period, dogs will only be allowed for a maximum of four nights.  And please, no more than one dog per stay.
                          • Please be aware that we have a very friendly Labrador Retriever that you may see from time to time.  She is off leash and has the full run of the ranch. Please do not feed her or allow her inside the guesthouse or encourage her to go into the pool. Because of our dog, we ask that your dog’s shots be up to date.  Please be prepared to show evidence of vaccines including a vaccine for Bordetella (kennel cough).  We also have a friendly cat that you may also see.  Please do not feed her or allow her inside the guesthouse.
                          • Yosemite is not a very dog-friendly place. Dogs are restricted to certain areas. So please keep this in mind if you visit during the hot summer months. You need to become familiar with California Law regarding dogs left unattended inside cars during extreme weather. You will not be able to hike with your dog on most trails inside Yosemite. For Yosemite’s Pet Policy visit  - http://www.nps.gov/yose/planyourvisit/pets.htm .
                            • Re: Going pet friendly, what to charge?
                              casitacynthiasantafe Contributor

                              Thanks to all who have posted the helpful information in this thread.


                              I have been dog-friendly since I started renting out my Santa Fe condo in 2014, and overall it has been an extremely positive experience. I have two sets of repeat renters with dogs who are loyal, ideal tenants, and between them have booked my entire summer for 3-4 years running now, and I several other lovely repeat renters with dogs.


                              I charge a one-time $75 fee for bringing dogs, whether one or two. I feel confident I could charge more, and many people in my condo complex charge much more, but I am a dog owner and travel often with my dogs, and I am comfortable with this fee. For several years, I gave 100% of it to my cleaner to compensate her for any extra work. Eventually, she told me that the dogs rarely caused extra work and that she would prefer that I keep it to cover the occasional extra expenses they cause. (She is gold and I try to treat her like gold.) So, I told her, if there ever is extra work to tell me how much of the pet fee she would like.


                              I have a pet agreement, but I think margaret's and bobble32's are better, and I'm going to steal some of their ideas and update mine.


                              When we have a dog coming in, we leave a roll of poop bags, dog bowls, and a treat in the kitchen. We have furniture covers that we leave folded up for use if necessary (I'd prefer that dogs stay off the furniture, but mine are totally spoiled and get on our furniture at home, and I know how hard it is to keep them off furniture when we are travelling). We offer to leave a dog bed, but most of our dog owners are driving in and bringing theirs.


                              In 5 years of being dog-friendly, these are the only problems we have had:


                              1) Two French bulldogs probably peed inside, because after they were there, my cleaner's dog went straight to that spot and peed, which he never does. We had to dry-clean some floor-length curtains. I am going to look into a black light.


                              2) Occasionally my cleaner will report a lot of dog hair on the furniture.


                              3) Twice I've had a neighbor with adjoining walls call me to tell me that a dog in the condo has been barking non-stop for hours and sounded distressed. One traveller was very apologetic and took care of the problem. The other, a repeat visitor, who had left 2 five-star reviews after previous visits, one with a dog and one without, and who had NOT disclosed a dog on this visit and had evaded the pet fee, left me the first and only 4-star review I've ever received, even though I was nice about the dog and did not impose the pet fee. They have never returned, even though they had discussed dates for the next visit when they first arrived. I guess they were embarrassed? This was all very weird, and the only truly bad experience I've ever had with a dog owner.


                              I don't charge an extra security deposit for pets. Some pet owners have opted to buy damage insurance, but I've never had damage that needed reimbursement, and have never kept any security deposit money.


                              There is a great person in my condo complex who dog sits and dog walks for a reasonable fee, and I send her contact info with my info packet, and quite a few travellers have booked her in advance.

                            • Re: Going pet friendly, what to charge?
                              calicalling Active Contributor

                              We charge $200 per pet stay, max of 2 pets at a time.


                              Here's what my listings say: "...properties are pet-friendly, but we will need to approve your pet prior to booking and you will need to sign our pet agreement. There is a $200 fee for approved pets."


                              My process is 2 step: First guests must complete a pet questionnaire. Then they must docusign a pet agreement with a list of rules.


                              Rules are based on and a direct result of damages we have experienced to our homes. I have my crew look for/document any damage.Most common is damage to floors, doors, or excessive cleaning from hair/dander.


                              You can see our full pet policy including the questionaire and pet agreement here: https://www.adventurerefined.com/articles/pets-to-host-or-not-to-host-that-is-the-question

                              • Re: Going pet friendly, what to charge?
                                bobbie32 Premier Contributor

                                One thing we like to stress..."well-behaved dog owners are welcome!"

                                  • Re: Going pet friendly, what to charge?
                                    bonesxxx Active Contributor

                                    LoL... me too. And I am continually ASTOUNDED by what people believe well-behaved means. Including the guy who showed up (and I am not joking) with his Labrador on hind legs, front paws on the upper glass section of the cabin door and leash tighter than a drum (as in pulling against the owner). I wish I could go back and copy and paste his description of the well-behaved dog he wanted to bring.


                                    You are sooooo right. It’s all about the owner. No such thing as a bad dog.

                                  • Re: Going pet friendly, what to charge?
                                    hmmmm Senior Contributor

                                    I would emphasize, most times, pet owners need to be taught how to be a good pet guest owner.

                                    If you are a very respectful dog owner, don't assume your guests are.

                                    Preventive work training will be helpful.


                                    A respectful worry, on their part, is a good thing.

                                    • Re: Going pet friendly, what to charge?
                                      snow New Member

                                      I have a lake house in Maine and I have always allowed pets (max 2). I do not charge an extra charge for pets, but do let guests know that any cleaning (or damage) that is extra (no animals on furniture for instance) will be deducted from their security deposit.

                                      1. 3. Pets are permitted with prior approval. All pets must be up to date with rabies and all other vaccinations. Only well behaved, friendly dogs allowed. Dogs must be on a leash. Pet owners are responsible for cleaning up of all pet refuse. Any evidence of pets on furniture will incur an extra cleaning fee. Please protect your pets against ticks and fleas as they are very prevalent in this area. Any damage or problems caused by a pet is the sole liability of the pet owner. The home owner assumes no responsibility for illness or injury that may incur to pets or humans while on the premises. No puppies or kittens under 10 months old.

                                      I honestly have had no problems with pets except for one going through the screen on my slider, but a child also did the same thing. I remedied it by putting plexi glass across the bottom. These kinds of things can be worked out. Whether you charge a fee or have strict guide lines is a personal choice. People that travel with their pets are willing to pay the fee verses a kennel most times and are grateful to be able to do so. More than half my summer rentals are families traveling with dogs.