Questions from the Tank
By Dog Daycare Business Think Tank
A Member of the Dog Daycare Business Think Tank asked:
Should boarding and daycare facilities be reducing their pricing as we come out of COVID?
Your pricing says a lot about your business. This was true pre-pandemic, and it continues to be valid during this crisis and beyond. How you price your services communicates to your customers the level of care your business provides and what they can expect.
People tend to value higher-priced products and services more than low-cost items. It’s just human nature. We expect things that cost more to be worth more—and we treat those businesses differently.
I have an online course that teaches people how to become successful dog trainers. I’ve tested a bunch of different pricing options over the years, and this has shown me how cost affects the quality of the customer as well as the level of participation.
When I priced my course low, less people completed it, they asked more questions (customer support) and more people asked for a refund (I have a 30-day money-back guarantee). When I raised the cost, I attracted a more motivated customer who did the work, put in more effort and got better results. The other surprising statistic was that the number of students enrolling did not go down when I raised the price.
Big discounts attract deal-seekers who don’t ever want to pay full price for anything (no matter how valuable it is). These are bad customers who will nickel-and-dime you for the rest of their time doing business with you. This is exactly why I never recommend using Groupon for your business. You’ll get a lot of bad customers who will most likely cause you lots of grief and, because they are only there for the deal, won’t be long-term patrons.
So, even though we are living through an unprecedented tough time right now, I don’t think you should lower your pricing. Your level of service has not changed—you’re not giving them less value—so your pricing shouldn’t change.
You’re marketing, however, should definitely change. The world is different right now and people are in a very different mindset. You can’t continue on with the same messaging you’ve always used, pretending there’s no pandemic going on. Instead, acknowledge the situation in the world and proclaim that dog daycare is not only still available, but needed now more than ever. Highlight how our dogs need to get out and be social, and how being home for months with our dogs is causing separation anxiety and attachment issues.
You’re providing the same level of service (and in many cases, a higher level with curbside drop-offs, etc.), so keep your pricing stable but figure out ways to market effectively in this new world we’re currently living in.
You can also come up with creative ways to provide more value to your customers, like offering new services and better customer service. Make it easy for them to bring their dogs to you and throw in some added perks while they’re there, like added enrichment, baths and/or anything else that makes sense for your business and customers.
If you’re honest and open with what’s happening and how your business is responding to this crisis, step up your service and understand what your customers are going through. You’ll be able to adapt to this challenge and come out of this with a stronger business.
Questions for this column come from the Facebook group The Dog Daycare Business Think Tank and are answered by Fernando Camacho (Fern). Fern runs Overdog Digital, a digital marketing agency specializing in working with dog daycare and boarding facilities. He does private business consulting, staff training and helps pet businesses utilize modern resources to expand their customer base and grow their businesses. Fern is also the author of six books and is a speaker at national conferences and private events.
To join the group or ask a question, go to