When we published this article here about 2 things to help you come up with a pricing structure, we knew that it didn’t cover the whole picture. It was just 2 trees in the forest of price. It was even mentioned in the article that there are other, variable factors that can help you determine price and that that particular article would only address 2.
Today’s article, however, delves into the forest and we will talk about other things you need to take into consideration when determining your answer to “how much do you cost?”.
The original article started a wonderful dialogue with Anthony Mucci, owner of Daily Dog Walkers in Ft. Lauderdale, FL. and he had much to add to the conversation about what to charge pet clients. He has coached many pet sitters, both new comers to the industry and established companies.
After you figure out how much you need to make and the value for your services, here are 5 more insights to help you make your decision on how much you should charge your clients:
Number 1: Economic Level
What is the economic level where you live and what can your market handle? A 500 square foot apartment in New York City is going to be significantly more expensive than the same apartment in rural Tennessee. Same theory applies to your services. You don’t want “city prices” if your territory cannot support it and you don’t want to price yourself out of the market. On the flip side, if you live in a more expensive area, you don’t want to sell yourself short and only charge $5.00 per visit.
Number 2: Definition of Success
Your success does not have to be (and often isn’t) based exclusively on how much money you make. Don’t stress out about your prices too much – you can always change them if you need to!
Number 3: Determine Your Value
Value. Clients are going to value different things and you want to mesh what you value with what your client values. I personally find extreme value in receiving daily texts and pictures from my dog walker. It adds to my peace of mind and I would pay more to someone who offers this as a part of their service. But my neighbor may not care about updates, she may care more about your experience with special needs pets.Your value is set by your experience, your customer service (and this could be it’s own blog post so I am not going to go into a lot of detail about how to determine your value here). Your value to any particular client is variable.
It changes depending on the client. A direct quote from Anthony: “Your value is in meeting the needs of the client and knowing what you can provide. The key is in building relationships, marrying your services with their needs, listening and responding appropriately to their needs and concerns and not with canned or automated phrases.”
Number 4: One Size Does Not Fit All
It’s ok to have a range of prices! Some successful companies have 1 price regardless of the number of animals, types of animals, length of your visit, medications involved etc, and some successful companies have more of an al-la-carte menu. It’s your company! You can do what works best for you and the area in which you live in.
Another great direct quote from Anthony: “There is a fair market price range each of us is able to charge for our services regardless of where we operate. It is wise to stay within that range.”
Number 5: Know Your Numbers
You need to know your numbers. How much do you invoice on a monthly/annual basis, what are your expenses, what is your profit…are you in the red or black? Do you have IC/EE’s that you need to take into consideration?
Over to You
Needless to say there are a lot of factors at play when determining your prices. If you need help navigating the money waters, we are here for you! If you have advice or want to share how you came up with your prices, we’d love to hear from you in the comments!