It’s Not Pushy to Ask to Be Paid

Offspring #1 cat sits. She’s very, very good at it. People will say, “oh my cat is shy and you probably won’t see him the entire time we’re gone,” and within 2 minutes, the cat is purring on her lap.

Now, with any business–even a teenager’s cat sitting one–there are unpleasant business things involved, like negotiating fees and collecting the money.

Offspring #1 loves the cats and she loves getting paid. She doesn’t love it when it’s awkward.

She had two experiences this week, which tell me that she’s going to do just fine in the business world.


A person contacted her to care for her her kitties while she went on a trip. Offspring #1 listened to the requirements and told her the price. The person countered with an offer of 50 percent of that. This would be a new client, and as a teenager, she always needs cash.

I’m very proud to say that Offspring #1 held her ground. She knows what the market rate is in this town, and she wasn’t going to take a rate of half that to land a new client. She knows that once you give someone a break, they’ll always want a break. She knows what her time is worth.

Shorted paycheck

She regularly cat sits for another family. They are super lovely people with lovely cats. Offspring #1 has a house key of theirs that she just keeps. So, they go out of town, she comes and takes care of the cats. They leave the money for her on the table.

It’s a perfect arrangement. They are repeat customers and the cats require medicine, which means you need someone who really loves cats and is capable of getting it into the unwilling kitty. In other words, they need her.

Except this time, she picked up the money and it was short by a significant sum. She fretted. She likes these people. It’s awkward to say “hey, you underpaid me!” But, again, she realized that her time is valuable.

So, she sent an SMS and said, “Did I write the dates wrong? I thought you were going to be gone from Wednesday to Tuesday and that is Z francs. You left X francs.”

She immediately got an apology and an offer to give her cash when they got home or to deposit it into her bank account.

I’m so pleased that she’s learned these important business skills while still in high school. It’s always okay to ask for a market rate. It’s always okay to ask for an agreed upon paycheck. It’s not rude or pushy if you say, “hey, you owe me!”

Mistakes happen–even payroll mistakes–so there’s no need to be rude about it in the first place, but there is a need to be firm. Your time is valuable.

The kitty in the picture, is our kitty, Claudia. She is mostly a liquid, as you can tell, as she fills the entire bowl.

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6 thoughts on “It’s Not Pushy to Ask to Be Paid

  1. Good for your daughter! You are right: those are important and valuable skills. They also suggest that she — rightly — values herself, her time and her efforts. That’s frequently a problem for women (and other non-dominant groups).

  2. Hi Evil — I’m in a nit-picky mood this morning, so my apologies for this comment.

    You say, “It’s not rude or pushy if you say, “hey, you owe me!”

    Actually, saying that, in those words, to a customer IS rude and pushy.

    Saying the same thing using your #1’s words is professional, courteous, and strengthens the bond between provider and client.

    But I do have to ask, why kitties when there are so many puppies that need TLC, and are so much cuter?

  3. Dude, really?
    1. She’s speaking colloquially; she’s not saying that you can literally tell people that in those words. Hence, the professional examples.
    2. Puppies and cats are both cute. Dog sitters exist. The kid’s choice to sit with cats is valid.
    3. If you’re feeling nit-picky, maybe you need a Snickers before you get on the internet.

  4. Dear Elizabeth,
    Now that was a blast from the past!

    I think my two favorites are “Who are the Chefs?”


    “I’m Batman!”

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