I hear it all the time that people don’t exactly get into dog training for the money. I certainly didn’t. I remember starting out thinking I’d be happy if I could just get one client per week for $50. I was aiming way too low. Truth be told, I was going into it seeing it as a little side hobby business. Everyone around me spoke about it and viewed it in the same way. Clearly this was just the way it was going to be. After all, I knew no one in my area, a regional town, was going to pay someone else much if anything to train their dog for them.
My mindset was totally wrong.
Eventually I reasoned that I have to aim at least a little higher. I figured if I just make a few hundred per week, I can cover my bills. The bare minimum. I’d have to rely on my husband’s job forever and we would never have more than the basics. At the time, this seemed preferable (and honestly still would be) to the full time job I was miserable in. At least if I were dog training, I’d be doing something I enjoyed – money isn’t everything. Right? Well money may not be everything, but it is important. It’s also important to charge what the results are worth, which for most trainers, is much more than what they’re currently charging. Why should dog trainers just accept scraping by while working their butts off all hours? It doesn’t have to be that way! It took me a while to figure this out and I wish I had sooner, but people will pay higher prices – because it is worth it. And you DO deserve it.
Realise The True Value
Think about it. You’re working closely with someone to improve something they’re struggling with that impacts their daily life. You can literally change their life for the better. You’re problem solving, thinking on your feet, adapting to circumstances. It’s no easy job! You’re spending your time not just with them and their dog but time researching and improving your skills, attending seminars, buying books, doing business paperwork and travelling in your vehicle. You’ve spent thousands on your education, on furthering it and on travelling. Not to mention the cost of the vehicle itself. You put your heart and soul into it. You use all your energy and brain power to find the best solution. You and the results you can achieve are invaluable! Maybe you already believe this, but even though you know your services are worth a lot more, you’re scared to raise your prices. I get it because I’ve been there too. Sometimes you have to feel the fear and do it anyway and those are the times that usually lead to great things once you get to the other side.
Happy Side Effects of Charging More
When you charge more, you get clients that are truly invested and so they’re more likely to really put in the work. When you charge more, you may get less bookings. But you may be pleasantly surprised that you actually get busier. When people see higher prices, they see that this is a service with real value. And if you do get less people making bookings to start with, you’ll find you’re still being paid as much, but now you have more free time to grow your business, or to spend however you want. And the people that do say no, the ones that don’t want to pay? They aren’t your clients. Let them go and focus on the ones that value you and what you can provide.
It didn’t take long for me to realise that I was seriously undercharging. I raised my rates gradually – this made sense as my experience grew with time. It also made it less scary than one big rate leap. But truthfully, it was because I still didn’t realise the full value of what I was offering and I still didn’t believe that people would really pay more. Enough to make a really good living. No more scraping by. And if wanting to make more money sounds greedy to you, you might want to check out this post
I guess for some people they need to go through a gradual process. But I wish more dog trainers knew what was possible and that all they have to do is believe it. I know that sounds corny as but sometimes corny stuff is true. In fact, while we’re at it, I can take the corniness even further – I wish everyone knew that they could do and achieve so much more. That they could quit their jobs and run a business that looks exactly how they want it. First it takes that belief, then the work and the action to make it happen. But when it comes to putting in the work to make more money, there’s smarter ways to do it than slogging it out all hours seeing as many clients as you can for peanuts. I much prefer quality over quantity. I don’t like burnout and would rather not go there. I’d rather stay on top of my game for every client because I’m not exhausted and burnt out. And I’d rather get the more of the type of client that does their homework as best they can and really listens to my advice. Charging higher rates gets more of that and less frustrating clients – you know the ones I mean 😉
If you want to learn more about how I changed my dog training business and raised my rates, even though I was scared to at first, and how it worked out better than I could have imagined, you should check out my free online training where I explain in more detail – register here