When starting out, many pet sitters make the mistake of setting their hourly rates low in the hope of attracting business fast. Others fail to “sell” themselves because they do not list their qualifications and all that they have to offer. While this method will normally attract some pet owners, you also need to consider the long term effects of your actions. As a pet sitter, you should not sell yourself short!
Covering Business Expenses
It is all very well trying to attract business by offering a cheap initial deal to prospective clients. But you also need to factor in business-related costs. These include pet insurance, fuel costs, a spare set of pet supplies and other expenses. After you have covered business expenses, are you actually turning over a profit?
When you start off cheaply, it will take a long time to be able to raise your prices to the going rate in your local area. You cannot suddenly raise your regular clients’ rates by 50 percent or more after a couple of months and expect them to be happy. Rather, you will have to raise your prices gradually each year.
Taken More Seriously
I recently had a pet sitting client tell me she knew she could take me seriously and trust me right away because I charged a lot more than a previous pet sitter she had hired. Not only did I look good on paper (I was registered with the local authorities, had a clean background check and was insured) but I also took the time to get to know and form a connection with her dog before I started walking her. A savvy client will know that if you are serious about what you do, you need to charge more than those who are simply looking to make a little pocket money.
A professional pet sitter will come across as such by setting their prices accordingly. Do your research to see what the going rates are in your area. If you want to offer a little healthy competition, offer a limited time only deal that will appeal to clients. But do not deliberately undercut other pet sitters in your area.
Attract the Right Kind of Clients
What kind of clients do you want to attract? If you sell yourself short, clients will often have different expectations from you. Some may even try to exploit you by treating you as little more than a servant, failing to pay on time and mistreating you in some other way. Such clients are usually looking to get “something for nothing” and do not really care about how they treat you.
As a pet sitter, set high standards for yourself and do not sell yourself short. You are offering an important service to clients and their pets. Once you see yourself as a professional pet sitter with a valuable service to offer, you will see that clients will treat you with more respect. The right clients will be willing to pay what you are worth.