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Extended stay due to natural disaster, should we charge?

asked 2016-10-07 22:27:17 -0500

What do you do in the case of a natural disaster like this Hurricane we're experiencing? my client's flight is delayed from Florida and she's picking her dog up a day or 2 late. Today I sent her a extended stay request to pay for an extra day, while some people online commented that they feel like since it's out of clients control, they let them stay at no extra charge. I want to be sympathetic, but I have previous obligations that I now need to cancel because the puppy I'm watching cannot be left alone for more than 2 hours. I would probably refund the money if the owner came home early, but I still have work to do and other dogs to take care of. I think the only circumstance where I would maybe not charge for a day or 2 if there was a death in the family, just because it's already a lot to deal with.

What do you do in this situation?

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I would offer a discount. I mean, they're having a difficult time already and to know their dog is safe would take a load off their minds :)

Winter B.'s profile image Winter B.  ( 2017-11-13 18:14:38 -0500 ) edit

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answered 2016-10-08 00:12:50 -0500

Are these regular customers or personal friends? No one can control or predict the weather. While you can be understanding and do your utmost to accommodate them, you are running business. I just had a customer cancel their trip to Florida. So I have lost revenue over a holiday weekend. That's how it goes.

You shouldn't feel like you need to do anything special. If you operated a kennel, no one would be giving the dog free room and board due to the weather. If the people rented a car and needed it for a couple more days, the rental company is going to charge for it. This situation isn't on you and you shouldn't feel guilty asking for compensation, especially when you need to change alter your commitments to take care of a client's dog. If they are so concerned about the added cost, perhaps they have a friend or relative who could pick up the dog.

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thank you, that's how I feel as well, but I wanted to see what other sitters do in this case. She's a first time customer with me.

Victoria S.'s profile image Victoria S.  ( 2016-10-08 11:12:48 -0500 ) edit

Has the client responded to the stay extension? Have you communicated about it? Be sure to mention how you'd be happy to keep Fluffy and that you have changed your plans to ensure she is properly cared for.

Karen R.'s profile image Karen R.  ( 2016-10-08 13:03:17 -0500 ) edit
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answered 2016-10-25 18:38:11 -0500

It's not personal. It's business. At the end of the day, it's nobody's fault, things just happen, but somebody somewhere still has to foot the bill. The hotel won't give them a free stay, the rental car won't be gifted free days, and neither should you waive your boarding fees.

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answered 2016-10-08 00:15:15 -0500

I would send the extended stay request and only go into what you said ('I hate to charge since it's beyond your control but i've had to cancel obligations to care for your puppy' if they complained/asked about it.

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answered 2016-10-08 13:12:41 -0500

Thank you, she didn't really say anything, just waited few hours before confirming the extra day, it looks like he's getting picked up today, so crisis averted.

thank you everyone for replies.

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answered 2016-10-08 17:15:31 -0500

This situation happens frequently, and my policy is to just extend the stay and charge my normal rate (or extended rate if they have already been charged that). As Karen said, kennels or vets who board would charge for the extra days.

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answered 2016-10-10 09:59:38 -0500

I always make payment details clear at a meet and greet so they have no suprises down the line. When I first started sitting, it was new so I made a few mistakes, but going forward made sure to clarify drop off and pickup times, so that they understand their is a time limit to the services they are paying for. As your buisness grows and you have regulars, making allowances can happen when you know you get a lot of buisness from someone, so being flexible when you can is good buisness. In your case, you were being put out so the extra charge seems nessessary.

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