Pricing your services is perhaps one of the most anxiety filled steps in building a successful pet business. Too low and you’re not taken seriously, too high and no one can or will afford your services. It’s a wiggly tightrope to walk. Here are three steps to help you stay balanced and find the perfect pricing structure to meet both your needs and the needs of your customers.
Step One. What is your competition doing? Your competition’s pricing strategy is an essential metric by which you will measure your own pricing strategy. Take the time to examine the pricing of the pet service down the street as well as the pet service on the other side of the country. Use this information as a starting point, not the determining factor, by which you’ll establish your prices.
Be sure to examine your direct competition as well as the indirect competition. For example, perhaps you offer grooming services so other grooming businesses will be your direct competition however a boarding facility or a veterinarian who also offer grooming services are your indirect competition. Additionally, stores which offer do it yourself grooming products may also be considered indirect competition.
Step Two. What is your USP? USP stands for Unique Selling Proposition. What makes you unique and different from your competition? What can you do better or add to the services to demand a higher price? Make a list of everything your competition does. What benefits do they offer? What makes them unique? What do they do very well? What are their weaknesses? Now make a list of what you presently do very well and what you can offer to make yourself stand out above your competition. This uniqueness, this essential customer service is what you charge for.
Step Three. Market your uniqueness. A large part of the success of a pricing strategy rests in the success of your marketing. To demand higher prices, it is necessary to position yourself as the expert, as worthy of those high prices. Take a look at your current marketing strategy. What can you do to position yourself as a leader in your industry? How can you market yourexpert status to raise the value of your services?
Armed with the information you now have about your competition’s pricing as well as what makes your services better and unique, you can now create a pricing strategy which makes sense for you. Make sure that with the pricing you choose that you are able to cover your costs and make a profit that you are comfortable with.
Remember that no pricing strategy is set in stone. If you find you’re a bit too high for some services add an incentive or package your services differently to justify the price. Offer special promotions and use a lower pricing structure as a marketing opportunity. Likewise if you find you’re booked solid then consider raising your prices. Your customers won’t likely mind and the extra income is always good.