Dog walking and pet sitting is not really a 9 to 5 job. It's a service business so you work when people need you.
With that comes the need to work on weekends and make after-hours visits outside of the normal Monday-Friday, 9-5 workday.
So should you charge more for these weekend and after-hours visits?
I'll make the case for both sides of the issue, but I definitely like one over the other.
Although I'm a fan of maximizing revenue and charging what you're worth, on this issue, my vote is for not charging different rates for different days of the week and different times of the day.
The reason is because clients like things that are easy to remember and easy to understand.
Sure, your average client is a smart person. But, if your pricing chart looks like a menu at a Chinese restaurant and has 100 different rates on it, you're going to confuse your client.
And, if you're trying to appeal to a new customer and they can't figure out your pricing, they'll move on to someone else.
Here's what I mean.
For example, if your pricing chart looks like this...
...then you're asking for trouble.
The chart above is not an exaggeration. I've seen pricing charts like this, except that they also have the equivalent chart for pet sitting rates and then additional rates for add-on fees like bringing in mail, giving medication, etc.
Why make it this hard? If you want to get paid for off-hours work, then just build it into your pricing to begin with.
For example, a lot of your pet sitting is going to take place on the weekends. That's just the nature of when you're needed.
If you know that upfront, then just have one price that accounts for the work you're doing at these times. Instead of 5 different rates for 5 different day parts, just have one rate all the time that's the average of those 5.
Make it easy on your client to understand how much it's going to cost them.
The last thing they want to remember is how much extra it is for them to have you visit Fluffy between 7-9pm instead of 5-7pm.
Having a varying pricing scheme like this also invites negotiation into the mix. Clients may ask if you can do the evening visits for the same rate as the afternoon visits. Or the weekend visits for the same rate as the weekday visits, etc.
Again, make it easy to understand and easy to remember.
Although this route isn't my choice, there's never one correct answer to do this business. So is there an upside to charging more for weekends and after-hours work?
Sure. The biggest potential upside to charging different rates for different day parts is obviously the potential increase in revenue.
I understand the point of charging more for weekends and after-hours. It's a matter of supply and demand and a matter of what the effort is worth to you, just like it is for pricing holiday visits.
Good clients understand that a visit at 8pm on a Sunday night may cost more than a visit at 1pm on Monday afternoon.
So, if you can get away with making $2 or $3 more per visit, then why not? Every dollar counts.
There's certainly nothing wrong with charging more when you can.
If you're going to do this though, all I suggest is that you make it easy for clients to remember and easy to understand.
Keep their customer experience enjoyable and convenient. When you do this, everyone wins.
Do you charge more for weekend and after-hours visits? Let us know in the comments.
John loves animals and business. He put the two together and built a multi-million dollar dog walking/running and pet sitting business with hard work, systems, and great people. He now teaches everything he's learned in the Pet Business Masters! community.