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Clients asking for reduced price?

asked 2017-01-31 16:05:06 -0500

So I've had clients as us if we could do under $30 a night, usually under the terms that the dog will be there longer than a few days. We do $30/night because we go through RoverGo, which takes out a whopping 25%. So we don't even see all of it. Plus, we offer their dog(s) the best care and love. So it's more than worth the $30.

When I'm put on the spot about it, I tell them we will talk about it but every part of me wants to tell them that we don't get paid the full amount, etc, but I know that's unprofessional.

It's clearly stated $30/night on the profile. Never would they think of negotiating prices at a dog boarding facility.

How would you handle this? Thanks!

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I haven't had a situation where a client tries to negotiate the price but if I did I would let them know the rate is set and there isn't a way to modify it. Unless there are additional dogs involved or it is a lengthy stay then we could work around the rate.

Mayra M.'s profile image Mayra M.  ( 2017-02-23 14:20:47 -0500 ) edit

I have a client that paid me 12.00 for drop-ins and now they are trying to rebook with me for 10.00? ??? I'm new to Rover and I don't know what to do?

Stephanie T.'s profile image Stephanie T.  ( 2018-09-22 19:45:25 -0500 ) edit

14 Answers

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8
answered 2017-02-01 12:21:32 -0500

Pricing is hard. You have fair rates compared to other sitters in your city, and given your reviews and that you have repeats, I would stick to your guns. You might offer something like a "stay 10 nights get one night free" deal, or if a client asks for a discount consider it for a stay over 7-14 days, but remember that you don't want to be stuck caring for a pup and feeling like you and your work aren't valued. I personally only list my regular rate, puppy rate, and holiday rate on my profile, and only consider extra dog or extended stay discounts on a case by case basis (if owners see it listed I think they are more likely to ask!).

Recently I had a client book for over two weeks with two pups who asked for a discount. I ran a variety of numbers (what if I charge x dollars off for the second pup, what if I discount both pups x dollars, what if I take 10%, 15 %, 20% off the entire stay, etc, etc..) and looked at what the client would be paying and what I would be taking home after the 15% that Rover takes from me for each situation. I figured out the minimum I would be able to take for the work I was doing, and offered something in the middle (which ended up being 10%) and she was happy with the offer.

The other thing to keep in mind is that the type of clients you ideally want are the ones who do recognize the level of care you are providing and are willing to pay it. I have gotten better quality clients as my prices have gone up over the past 5 years.

If you feel like you need to justify your pricing, do so! You have looked at the rates of other top sitters in your area and are competitively priced, there are two of you, so you provide double the care, you have a large, fenced yard, and include whatever else makes you stand out as sitters.

Also, personally (and I'm sure others might disagree) I think it's fair to mention that Rover takes a cut. I think a lot of clients don't know about this, or forget about it when they are negotiating, and it is legitimately one of the reasons you aren't able to offer a lower price to begin with.

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Also! there is a facebook group where you can ask questions like this and get a TON of very helpful feedback. Here is the link, join us! https://www.facebook.com/groups/Rover.comSittersSocialNetwork/%3C/p%3E (https://www.facebook.com/groups/Rover.comSittersSocialNetwork/)

Paige S.'s profile image Paige S.  ( 2017-02-01 12:27:26 -0500 ) edit
6
answered 2017-02-04 00:13:19 -0500

Three/four words: DON'T DO IT!!

Think of it this way: You have a finite amount of space and time. If you use up a slot with a discounted dog then get a request for a full price dog that you have to turn down... well that's breaking an Econ 101 rule.

The ONLY person I've ever given a discount is someone who was one of my very first customers so when I did my second price increase I let her stay at the rate that was my first price increase. I went from $25 to $30 to $33 so she is still at $30. I know I lost a couple customers when my prices went up but I can't worry about that. They clearly did not have loyalty to us so I have to remember this is a business and not take those things personally.

P.S. There is absolutely nothing wrong with telling Owners that Rover takes a percentage. It's a fairly common business model and there is no reason it needs to be a secret.

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answered 2017-02-08 14:08:36 -0500

If this is a first time client, I think the request is totally inappropriate. Don't do it. I allowed for a couple of price breaks when I first started on Rover, but the dogs were always the worst.

If this is a repeat client, then I might consider it. However, at 25% going to Rover, I think it would be fair to explain that you can't reduce your take home pay.

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answered 2017-01-31 16:43:55 -0500

As a side note: On your profile, I noticed that you have your Extended Stay rate set to 1 night, so it reads that if they are staying 1+ nights (which would include ALL boarding stays), that the rate is $25/night. This may be where the discount questions are coming from. Generally, I believe that sitters allow an extended stay rate after 10-14 days or so. However, I would politely decline their request for the discount and explain that you feel your rate is fair based on your experience/knowledge and the level of care that you will provide their pet. If they are a new member, you could state that while your rate is non-negotiable (or however you want to word this to sound more friendly), that you can offer them a $20 off coupon for their first stay. Perhaps you could look at lowering your additional dog rate, as currently it is the same as your regular dog rate. I believe that most sitters offer a discounted second dog rate (even if it's just $5/off) and you could use this a point that they are already receiving a discount. Either they will accept your rate, or they will continue to price shop and may go with someone else. I've generally found that those who are price shopping and/or looking for the cheapest care are not usually the types of clients that I would want to work with anyways.

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thank you! As far as the extended stay price, I JUST did that after I posted this question. WIll fix it. But there is no way any clients have seen that until an hour ago. We usually do $25 for an additional if they ask, if not, price will stay the same bc we get $7.50 taken out after rover fees.

Nick & Alexandria W.'s profile image Nick & Alexandria W.  ( 2017-01-31 17:22:10 -0500 ) edit
3
answered 2017-03-03 13:00:52 -0500

I politely and professionally say to them: "My rates are based on the average for your area, for the services you need, and the cost of being in business." Then I outline what they get for the cost. I think many of us have at one time or another lowered our rates, and regretted it later. Just don't do it.

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answered 2017-02-08 18:29:08 -0500

When pushed, I would come clean and tell them that you already receive less than the amount that they are paying now, and that to accept less would not make the stay worth your while. This is, first and foremost, a business, and you charge a rate that is fair to both you and the customer. If they would prefer to pay less, they can certainly take their dog to a boarding facility. The vets here will board a dog for $23 a night, but for a miserable experience, I'm sure.

I personally offer a 10% discount to clients who stay for 5 nights or longer.

If somebody is really hassling you about the price, then get firm with them. "I'm sorry, but I am not able to accept less than $30 per night. If this is more than you can spend, I can recommend cheaper accommodations for your pet elsewhere."

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answered 2017-03-06 16:17:42 -0500

I only offer a discount if a dog stays 7 days + or there is a second dog from the same family. Otherwise no price reduction. When I started my business, I used to be more flexible. As a result, I have old clients whose original low price haven't changed. Just this week one such client asked if I could give even more discount. Her price for two dogs is almost what I charge for one dog today. It upset me a lot and I refused to give more discount. I 'm planning to raise her price next year. If she stays, great. If not, oh well there are other clients who are ok to pay a full price for good care.

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answered 2017-02-23 14:21:18 -0500

I haven't had a situation where a client tries to negotiate the price but if I did I would let them know the rate is set and there isn't a way to modify it. Unless there are additional dogs involved or it is a lengthy stay then we could work around the rate.

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1
answered 2017-02-23 13:29:11 -0500

I would not do it. That's extremely unprofessional on their part. Would you walk into a store and ask if you could have something cheaper?

I only offer discounted rates for extended stays, and I occasionally lower rates for some of my favorite clients.

The price is the price! If you give in on that, your client might start to push further to see what types of additional services you'll give.

Also I think you could professionally tell her that rover does take a fee out of your sitting cost to cover insurance and a 24/7 team.

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answered 2017-02-23 18:33:14 -0500

If someone has multiple dogs that I am looking after for an extended time of at least a week that don't require a lot of special needs attention, I will give a small discount. Like 30 for the first dog and 25 or 20 for the others. However $30 is a good price when 25% is taken out because that is a business expenses. Don't be afraid to be firm about your price being the lowest you can go considering your expenses. If you can go get or call around to get boarding prices in your area and tell them how much they'd pay elsewhere if they press you.

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