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How do you compete with sitters cheaper than you?

asked 2018-11-08 17:50:44 -0500

The rates in my area are generally incredibly low. I don't believe I'm the most expensive, but probably 60th+ percentile. I have a lot of fantastic reviews, but so do other (cheaper) sitters in my area. I've lowered my prices as much as I feel comfortable and have always gotten clients here and there, but I think most customers are just looking for the cheapest, half-decent sitter. Is there any way for me to compete? My customers tend to return when they need pet care, but I don't get new customers as frequently as I'd like.

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answered 2018-11-10 17:44:28 -0500

I have found that the biggest thing that will draw the higher paying customers is a very well written profile that focus' on your specialties, has good pictures of you and your pets/home, and a variety of reviews spread out over a large period of time. This is my full time job and I don't even try to compete with the people charging ridiculously low rates, my professionalism and experience speaks for itself and I've not had any problem losing clients to those people charging much lower rates.

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answered 2018-11-08 17:58:37 -0500

Part of the problem might be that you are marked as unavailable until April 2019 other than some availability this week. If you are booked that far in advance, go you! Otherwise, most of my requests are for visits that are more than a week away, so you won't be showing up if I search for a visit that starts 11/20 or later.

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Just updated my availability. (I limited it because I will be working full-time soon). Even over the summer when I had availability for months in advance, I wasn't getting lots of new requests. Do you have any idea how to compete with cheaper sitters?

Jean D. & Ray P.'s profile image Jean D. & Ray P.  ( 2018-11-08 18:20:33 -0500 ) edit

Personally, I don't even try. I find that the people who want to pay lower rates end up being a problem later down the road, and if people think I am too expensive for their pet, then I'd rather find a client who values me.

Paige S.'s profile image Paige S.  ( 2018-11-08 18:33:09 -0500 ) edit

With Rover's percentage and taxes, you really only take home half of what your rate is, so making anything less than $20 for an overnight isn't feasible to me. My time is worth more than $5/hour.

Paige S.'s profile image Paige S.  ( 2018-11-08 18:36:24 -0500 ) edit

So how do you find clients who value you? One thing I know is I could get much better at marketing my services via flyers and such. Maybe then I'd get more people than via the site since they would go directly to my profile without seeing everyone else's. :-/

Jean D. & Ray P.'s profile image Jean D. & Ray P.  ( 2018-11-08 19:58:47 -0500 ) edit

I'm spoiled because I live in a big, high density city. I carry business cards with me when I am out in the neighborhood and hand them out after I ask to say hi to pups who are out for walks. But otherwise I think you are doing all you can. Others might have input!

Paige S.'s profile image Paige S.  ( 2018-11-08 20:33:56 -0500 ) edit
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answered 2018-11-08 18:19:49 -0500

I agree with Paige if you cannot be more available to provide services you won't show up at all in searches and therefore won't acquire any new clients. Thanksgiving is a busy period and you aren't available, unless you are already booked?

Concerning rates, what would you rather be the cheapest sitter in the area or get paid for the value you provide? You've been at this awhile and you know the amount of work it takes to care for dogs when they are with you or at the clients house. Also most of us don't want the bargain basement clients, they prove the be harder to deal with and even with low ball prices they tend to try and discount you even more. Be proud of what you provide and stick to your rates and honestly they are low already

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Thanks for your thoughts! I'd definitely rather get paid my value for sure (or at least closer to it). But how do you compete with cheap sitters who also have good reviews? Even when I've had lots of availability, I have this problem. :(

Jean D. & Ray P.'s profile image Jean D. & Ray P.  ( 2018-11-08 18:23:22 -0500 ) edit

Jean - I think I've seen you post before - at one time did you home board dogs? The outservices aren't as popular in lots of area's as home boarding is.

Walt G.'s profile image Walt G.  ( 2018-11-08 19:54:57 -0500 ) edit

Interesting. What makes you say that?

Jean D. & Ray P.'s profile image Jean D. & Ray P.  ( 2018-11-08 19:59:20 -0500 ) edit
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answered 2018-11-15 06:23:51 -0500

Unfortunately, like many good and services the value is determined by what people are willing to pay. The other sitters charging less are also hurt by this, else they would raise their rates. The fact that they get good reviews shows they're good sitters as well. You'll either have to lower your rates to compete with them or develop a 'specialty' that people would pay more for because it's in short supply.

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