I recently received an inquiry from someone who wanted help with her puppy. She was looking for midday visits around noon, Monday through Friday. She had emailed me directly through the website, so there was no doubt that she had seen our rates yet she still asked what the rate would be for this service because she was “not willing to pay $300 or more a month for this service”. No problem I thought. We DO offer a discount to our midday clients who use us three or more visits every single week.
That still wasn’t enough of a discount.
She proceeded to tell me that not many people would be willing to pay for such a service so I should offer a much deeper discount. I had to explain that yes, we have many clients that utilize our midday service and the 12pm time slot is the most coveted. I politely asked what she thought would be a reasonable rate for this. She advised me that $15 per visit was her number and she refused to pay any more. For the record, our discounted rate is $17 per visit for this service.
Now, let me tell you. It was hard to turn down a consistent, daily dog walking client. But I had to. Once I pay the employee, pay mileage for them to get there, pay state and federal taxes, social security, disability, liability insurance and other expenses we may not even make a profit. We are in business to care for pets, but all businesses have to make a profit in order to stay in business.
We cater to our midday clients and go over and above the call of duty on a regular basis and we want clients who value that. This person was most concerned with cost. I sent her a link to our blog on Why You Shouldn’t Choose A Pet Sitter Based On Cost Alone. It still didn’t sway her, so I had to thank her for contacting us but we would not be able to help her.
Are there cheaper pet sitters in this area? Sure there are. They may do a great job too. But I know how much it costs for us to continue offering quality service and I’m not willing to cut corners and offer deeper discounts. It just doesn’t make sense. I liken this to going to a fancy steakhouse and saying “I want the filet mignon, but I’m not willing to pay the $35 listed on the menu”. You wouldn’t do that, would you? No, because you’d probably be thrown out of the restaurant!
It certainly doesn’t hurt to ask for a discount. You just never know. But don’t be insulted (or insulting) when the answer is no.