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Farm sitting - what is reasonable to charge?

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  • Farm sitting - what is reasonable to charge?

    Hi all,

    It's been a while since I've done any farm sitting and I am now unsure on what to charge! In the past, I charged around $45-50 a day for 5 horses, one of whom was a foal with special needs.

    Here's the situation: 3 horses, fed 2x day, 2 cats, 1 dog. Stalls mucked every day, troughs filled every day, barn swept every day, etc, and all the other odds and ends! I will be sleeping at the farm. I have worked on this farm before and know that chores typically take 1-2 hours, depending on how dirty the stalls are.

    The farm owner has a man come out three mornings a week to feed (and do other maintenance-type work), so that's at least three mornings that I wouldn't be feeding.

    What do you think I should charge?

  • #2
    That might depend on where you are.

    I just hired someone to come out for 5 days in August. She asked for $50 per day for my list of Things That Must Be Done. (I'm a tad OCD, LOL) That's for 2 horses, 1 cat, 1 dog. Indoor only cat. Fed 3x per day, stalls cleaned daily, paddock picked daily, turn in and out...and depending on weather temps that time of year if it's hot and humid the horses will go out in the AM, then in around 10:30-11:00 am under fans and back out again at around 4-5 pm until 8 pm. That will make two stall cleanings that day and fed 4x instead of 3.
    Typical cat and dog care...cleaning litterbox, etc. A little extra since cat has to have her food mixed with water and gets fresh new drinking water with some clam juice mixed in 3x per day. (kidney issues)

    I thought that was ridiculously low...and since I REALLY wanted to secure a sitter and this seems like a really nice young lady who knows what they're doing...I doubled that to $100 per day. I want it done my way while I'm gone...and am willing to pay for that. I also didn't want it to be too easy to afford a sitter for a long time so Mr Blue doesn't get the idea that we'll be making numerous trips to FL in summer to visit my MIL.

    Now I would think somewhere in the middle of that would be average...I did think $50 was too low for everything done my way and for someone here overnight every night. The peace of mind knowing someone is here on property is worth extra IMO. My set up is easy...woody pet stalls easy to clean, manure pile nearby, paddock that gets picked is flat, groomed and dirt so takes all of 5 minutes to pick daily and turnout/in is attached to the barn so no leading necessary. Both horses have excellent ground manners and come when called. So it shouldn't be tough to do.
    I would guess $75 per day maybe? I dunno, I'm in a kind of expensive state, CT. Might be less elsewhere...more in more expensive areas.
    You jump in the saddle,
    Hold onto the bridle!
    Jump in the line!


    • #3
      My horses (6) only come in to eat, so no stalls except for maybe a pile or two after a meal or if the weather is really really nasty. Horses have a roll so no throwing hay. Just bring in, feed, fly spray, turnout. No special needs.
      Feed 12 dogs breakfast, they have a very easy routine, no drama.
      I pay $50 a night if she stays over, $40 if she just comes to feed.
      Its more if she has to do stalls.
      "Perhaps the final test of anybody's love of dogs is their willingness to permit them to make a camping ground of the bed" -Henry T. Merwin


      • #4
        Thanks for your thoughtful response, Misty.

        I am in a suburban area with a significant upper-middle class population. The farm is quite nice and the owners are very comfortable. The owner is incredibly OCD and picky, traits I appreciate! I'm attached to all the critters on the farm, and definitely intend to give them the best care.

        $55-70 seems fair. I will propose that to her and let her decide what she's most comfortable with. I'd feel comfortable charging more, but the fact that somebody else will be feeding for at least three mornings makes me hesitate asking for $75/day


        • #5
          I recently got a notice about Jury Duty and my number is low so I'm pretty sure I'll have to go in. I'm retired so in my county of NY I get paid $40/day.

          I have a 'special needs' horse that gets gas colic episodes at the drop of a hat so I've asked my neighbor if she would keep an eye on the horses for me, come over about 3 times to let the dog out of the house, bring the horses in from pasture and do evening feed. She has horses, and would be able to see my horses 100% of the time from her property unless they went into stalls. I offered her the $40/day to watch them from when I leave to go in at ~ 8 AM until I get home which would be ~6 PM.

          She's aware she might have to come over and walk said special needs horse and call the vet. I didn't even ask her what she would charge. I just offered her what the county will pay me.

          I'm not saying let's go kill all the stupid people...I'm just saying let's remove all the warning labels and let the problem sort itself out.


          • #6
            Just a note for MistyBlue- Good thinking. I know that as a jump from farm to farm the people that "know how much I am worth" I feel much better about doing stuff because of it. The people who give me pennies make me feel sour.


            • #7
              I was very pleased when I met the young lady...my dog took to her right away and he can be a bit stand offish at first. My cat ignored her...but she's a cat.
              She was more than happy to do things my way...no hesitation and she's worked in barns and comes with great refs.
              So yup, very happy to pay more. This is my first time away from the little farm so I'm a bit nervous that if things aren't done the way they're always done then one of the animals will colic/bloat/explode/do something horrid. Not that any are nervous animals...but doesn't stop me from worrying.
              I'm also planning on cooking and stocking the fridge to the hilt so she doesn't have to buy food or cook. And I might not be talented in lots of things...but I'm a better than average cook.
              Woo the good ones...in case we ever want to go anywhere again.
              You jump in the saddle,
              Hold onto the bridle!
              Jump in the line!


              • #8
                Wow, I didn't realize how good I have it. I have a hs aged girl (who is a horse owner, so she's horse smart) who does the barn work 4 days a week. I have 7 horse/ponies and my barn is so organized, she is able to do stalls, dump wheelbarrows, do water buckets in an hour to an hour and a half. If feeding and turning out or bring in is involved, it's a definite hour and a half job. I pay $10/hour. I pay that if I'm here or away...$10/hr. In the summer when I'm on vacation, I have an adult (horse owner also) who comes in the morning to bring the gang in and do the feeding and finishing up of whatever wasn't done the night before at $10/hr. My average cost a day is $30-35/day. (they also feed my housecat) I have my teenager regularly so when vacation or overnights away for me are not work-boggling for her.


                • #9
                  I pay $15/visit - and horsesitter makes 2 visits daily so $30/day.
                  She is a young woman who works at a nearby boarding barn, so she's horse-smart.
                  Plus the BOs would be available to her if an emergency arose she didn't feel up to dealing with.

                  I have posted in my barn a list of ph#s - vet, shoer, hayguy, neighbor & my# when I'm away.
                  I also tell my vet's office who may call for emergencies and how long I'll be away.

                  My horses are out 24/7, coming into their stalls to be fed by themselves.
                  I currently have 1 horse, 1 pony.
                  She makes sure they have fresh water in their buckets & the trough outside, feeds hay & grain and picks stalls.
                  She also feeds my barncat and the chickens.
                  Part of her pay is fresh eggs
                  *friend of bar.ka*RIP all my lovely boys, gone too soon:
                  Steppin' Out 1988-2004
                  Hey Vern! 1982-2009, Cash's Bay Threat 1994-2009
                  Sam(Jaybee Altair) 1994-2015


                  • #10
                    I would say a lot depends on your location and your knowledge. For example, my daughter, an equine vet tech, gets $125/day for a breeding farm with 8 to 9 mares with foals. She moves in, takes care of 2 dogs and 2 cats. There is no other help. The owner is glad to pay that amount and she set the price.

                    Then,we have a neighbor that she charges $25 a day to feed 3 special needs cats, empty litter and feed horses (out 24/7), check water. It's only 2 minutes away, so no commute time and no inconvenience.

                    Really depends on what you're worth and what the farm owner thinks you're worth. Usually, you get what you pay for. If someone just wants a person to throw feed and make sure horses still have 4 legs and are not bleeding profusely, that's on the low end. The high end is someone with tons of knowledge, can wrap, administer IV meds and know when, detect subtle signs of colic/founder/laminitis, etc. and, most important, when to call the vet.


                    • #11
                      My mother pays $25 a day to have a lady come & feed one cat, boy she's getting hosed!
                      "I don't know what your generation's fascination is with documenting your every thought... but I can assure you, they're not all diamonds." Mr. G