Part of our series of articles on How To Grow Your Pet Sitting Business:
When you’re starting up your pet setting business, it’s often hard to know how to differentiate your new business from your competitors. Decisions will need to be made about the type and price of the services you are going to offer.
Should You Add Services to Compete?
You may decide you want to separate yourself by offering a wider range of services than your competition, thus creating more choices for your potential clients. However, more service options may not always equate to solid, long-term business practices.
Successful pet sitting businesses often find that dog walking is a critical service because it provides steady income throughout the year. Knowing that, you will first want to designate what type of walking services you will offer. Dog walking businesses tend to fall into two distinct camps: those who offer individual walks and those who offer group walks. Regardless of which model you follow, however, both can be adversely affected by a wide range of walk options. Why is that?
Individual Dog Walking Options
If you provide individual dog walking and you have decided to expand your services by offering additional time, for example a 30-minute, 60-minute and 90-minute walk, you are limiting yourself and your staff by the actual number of walks that can get done in the highly requested midday time frame. Meaning, if three clients request the 60-minute dog walk between 11am and 2pm, you are physically only able to accomplish those three walks for a very minimal upsell. Alternatively, if you are only offering 30-minute walks, you are able to schedule six walks during that same time frame, thus increasing your bottom line by sheer volume.
Group Walking Options
If you operate under the group-walk model, offering different time options is even more challenging. Considering you are walking anywhere from two to six (or more) dogs simultaneously, having each scheduled for a different length of time will lead to disaster. Once your business grows, you will find it extremely difficult to operate a 30-minute, a 45-minute and a 60-minute walk at the times your clients have requested.
“having each scheduled for a different length of time will lead to disaster”
There are only so many hours in the day, and you will need to be efficient with your time to maximize your profits. Because of time constraints, clients who have booked the 30-minute walk end up being scheduled to go on the 60-minute walk. And once your clients discover they are getting a 60-minute walk regardless of what they are actually paying for, you are subject to exploitation by those who would happily pay for a 30-minute walk knowing they are getting 60 minutes of your walker’s time.
What Your Clients Are Really Looking For
"So how do you get around this?" "How do you stand out in a competitive market?"
Our advice is to keep it simple by offering one or two of the most popular walk lengths. Clients aren’t looking for the most complex service out there, they are looking for a reliable, flexible, and trustworthy company.
Rather than focusing on price-based gimmicks, invest your time in building your reputation by solidifying your relationships with your current clients.
Establish a clear message and create a compelling marketing campaign based on your personal background and attributes.
Setting a standard walk length will make your business scalable, easier to schedule work, and in the long run it will make you more profitable.
Pet Sitter Plus can help you to easily set up your services, and also to apply automatic pricing changes for services, such as discounts and supplements for different times of the day or week, or on public holidays.