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Price negotiation

asked 2015-03-28 20:12:32 -0500

Just curious. Has anyone ever been asked to lower their price, or give a 'deal' for whatever reason? Recently, had a owner attempt to haggle my stay price because her dogs "are sweet, well-behaved and on the same schedule". I, politely as possible, declined to do so. I told her that even the most well-behaved animal will act out/differently in a new environment, wether it be from separation anxiety, fear, whatever the situation may be. I believe I am fairly priced, $25/night & $15/additional dog, so I don't feel that I should have to lower it any further. Was that the appropriate thing to do? Suggestions?

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Your rate is already on the lower side for sitters so you did the right thing by not lowering it further. I can understand a pet parent asking- IF you had high rates and didn't offer a discount for additional dogs. But you do! Most parents understand that cheap does not guarantee quality care.

Jennifer M.'s profile imageJennifer M. ( 2015-04-04 10:30:43 -0500 )edit

I will sometimes give a small token discount of like a dollar a night or something like that for a first time client but i won't go any lower. After all, if your services are priced correctly for your area, you should not need to discount, people should be running to your page due to positive reviews!

Noel S.'s profile imageNoel S. ( 2015-07-10 07:22:19 -0500 )edit

8 Answers

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answered 2015-04-03 12:16:42 -0500

I had someone request a 34 day stay, then started negotiating. They wanted $300 off! I'm all for doing the right thing, but I felt that was a lot, plus the 15% cut to Rover. I was on the fence about it the whole time because that's a long stay, but she was very flaky and wound up not booking. I see a lot of people on here trying to sell themselves short to get the business, but as someone mentioned, Rover's 15% can hurt your low cost. We need to value our time otherwise the customers won't. My suggestion is no different than what others are staying. Keep your price firm and people will respect that as long as you provide proper care for their pups and make them feel comfortable :)

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I agree !!

James E.'s profile imageJames E. ( 2015-09-18 23:01:34 -0500 )edit
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answered 2015-06-27 12:21:17 -0500

I too just recently had my first "haggler" he was looking for someone to care for his dog for a month and asked me if I could offer him a monthly rate. I charge $20 per night, which I think is pretty reasonable. The closest boarding kennel charges $32/night for their smallest room of 3ftx2ft. I politely but firmly explained that I do not offer a monthly rate, just my flat rate of $20. Simply because I too prefer to keep one pet or family at a time, if I'd discounted that stay I'd not only be losing out on my full rate, but also money from having to decline other requests. This guy went crazy, saying he couldn't afford that and how he would rather pay some homeless people to stay in his home and watch the dog...good luck with that buddy. I archived his request and didn't let it get to me. You are going to experience people like that, no doubt, but it all comes down to knowing your worth and not letting people railroad/guilt or bully you into giving a cheaper price.

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answered 2015-06-24 23:05:29 -0500

When I first started I had a client ask me for an extended stay rate. I only charged $18/night at that time ($20 is average for my area) and told the client that yes, my extended stay rate is $15/night. She was needing a sitter for 2 months and went on and on about how "$15/night still adds up to a lot for me!" I said, well I'll see what I can do but I don't think I can lower the price any more. Of course I couldn't lower it, but didn't know how else to respond. Although this client wouldn't have been able to find a cheaper sitter in my area, I think the client was put-off by my eventual refusal to give her an additional discount and I didn't end up getting the stay. As disappointing as it was, I realized that that's not the type of client that I want to deal with anyway so I count it as a learning experience. I probably should have been more firm and professional in the beginning because if you give some clients the impression that you're willing to haggle then they'll never be satisfied.

If you find it tough to say no, like me, I'd just make sure you're professional and firm in your pricing from the start. That way you're being fair to all of your clients and there is never a question as to whether they can try to negotiate lower pricing.

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answered 2015-04-01 17:06:51 -0500

I've never been asked to negotiate. I'd recommend looking at a book called Worth Every Penny. It talks about a lot of things, including creating a boutique business that will attract customers willing to pay boutique prices (think Mom and Pop versus Wal-Mart). You want to attract customers who absolutely love you and are willing to pay your fee-- even though it might be "high". When they gush about you to their friends, you get great publicity too!

You also want to think a bit about your reputation: do you want to be known as the cheap, negotiable sitter? Like others said, cheap isn't always good. I'm a naturally thrifty person, so setting realistic rates is hard for me. I also like being able to offer lower-income folks the kind of care I feel all dogs should get.

Stick to your guns in the beginning, though! When you get to a point of more bookings than you can handle, you can actually start to choose which customers to serve. If a prospective client quibbles over your rates or policies, it's easier to decline because you know you've got a bunch of other people willing to take their spot. Build your business and then look into "pro bono" cases.

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Leighann, you are absolutely correct! This is also how I do business and I have no shortage of clients.

Noel S.'s profile imageNoel S. ( 2015-07-10 07:27:13 -0500 )edit
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answered 2015-03-31 16:41:15 -0500

I've had one prospective Pet Owner ask me for a price reduction. The reason given was that she was a Student....Well, and I'm on a fixed income ;-) I declined - my rate of $28 is average for this area.

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Do they ask their vet for a lower price? How about the groomer or the pet supply store?

Karen R.'s profile imageKaren R. ( 2015-03-31 16:54:43 -0500 )edit
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answered 2015-03-29 15:51:33 -0500

Find out what daycare charges in your area and have price negotiator check that out. your fee per hour will surely be less.

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answered 2015-03-28 21:32:09 -0500

$25/night? That's downright cheap in NYC. You can barely buy a sandwich and beverage for that amount. Don't feel guilty or think twice about saying no. Some people seem to think they should always try for a better price, but when you take into account that Rover takes 15%, you are not making very much per hour. I'm sure that owner pays more to park her car per hour and this is her precious, well-behaved fur baby.

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I'm one of the lowest in the area, at that! I was just a bit baffled that someone would haggle with the cost for care of their little one -- two-legs, or four. Good things aren't cheap and cheap things aren't good, but I like to think I'm reasonable haha

Katie C.'s profile imageKatie C. ( 2015-03-28 22:54:32 -0500 )edit

I agree. It can actually be a bit discouraging to think about the actual per-hour money we, as sitters, make.

Leighann H.'s profile imageLeighann H. ( 2015-04-01 16:56:15 -0500 )edit
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answered 2015-03-28 21:21:18 -0500

Do what feels right to you. I'm not really willing to negotiate my prices either. At the end of the day, as much as I love dogs, I'm on Rover because it's a source of income. Even if it's a job you love, you're still working for it.

Some clients may be under the impression that the only reason we do what we do is because we love dogs, so we shouldn't care about the money, and those people hunt around until they find someone who will take the pay cut, but the customers you really want to have are the ones who value what you do and are willing to compensate you fairly.

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I agree, and I've gathered regular customers already for the short time I have been using Rover, so I guess turning one owner down won't kill the customer base I've already started. Thank you for the feedback!

Katie C.'s profile imageKatie C. ( 2015-03-28 22:56:58 -0500 )edit

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