Searching for Ideal Profitable Clients?
By Laura Laaman
Hopefully you’ve finished up a fabulously busy and profitable summer. Since summer is one of the busiest seasons for overnight pet care, you’ve ‘made hay’ and filled the coffers with lots of revenue so you can finish the year financially strong. When done properly, this business can and should be profitable for pet care facility owners.There is, however, one huge mistake pet care facility owners can make that will derail their long–term success. Before we get to that, let’s review recent and relevant history.
For the longest time, this industry had strong demand and not a lot of supply. Meaning, there were a lot of dog owners looking for safe home–away–from–homes for their dogs when they traveled. Yet, there weren’t a lot of facilities to provide this valuable service.
Profitability in this business is strongly dependent on high volume. All things being equal, profitability goes up when a facility is full. Unlike veterinarians that charge more for individual services, pet care facilities charge less per transaction. Therefore, high volume is important.
With the vast number of clients that come through your doors, it’s easy to feel like your business will always have a lot of clients. It’s also understandable that you and your staff treat customers as ‘common’ and not particularly special. Due to the evolution of the now ‘pet parent’, this is a huge mistake most pet care facilities make every day. Pet parents have now evolved to being highly caring and it shows with the amount of money they are spending on their furry best friends.
The average length of stay for pets in your facility is probably a little over 5 nights. If your average cost per night is $30, that means your average stay brings in around $150. Not a lot to get excited about. My firm’s consulting client numbers are more than double the national average. But still, that’s about $300 per stay for five nights. And from a revenue perspective, it’s still not a lot to be jumping up and down about. With these numbers, it’s pretty easy to not think of customers as special.
Let’s say you had a prospective customer call your company tomorrow and say, “I’m likely going to spend $5,000 on my pet in overnight care and daycare this year and I’m deciding on which facility to choose.” Would you do anything differently than you do today? I anticipate and hope you would. Hard to imagine a single client would spend over $5,000 in a year? Consider the example illustrated above.
Even if your prices are different or the client doesn’t participate in every service, they could still easily be spending thousands. So now that we agree certain clients can be especially valuable, how do we identify and capture them? Step one is to identify what clients are interested in when they first come to you. This can be done verbally or in writing. It would be especially helpful if you had a great trained person or people on the phone who could confidently ask how many times per year or days per week they will likely use your services.
Step two is to have a meeting with new clients to better understand their pet and the pet’s current needs, including exercise, behavioral issues, and/or any health issues. I’m not suggesting you offer medical advice, but some health issues may be important for you to understand and possibly adapt your overnight or daycare services. Often the most sensitive and needy pets can translate into the most rewarding clients. They realize their pets require extra special care that very few other places could offer.
Step three is to circle back with your clients from time to time. Revisit what you’ve discussed and see if there are any changes that have come up or are anticipated.
If this seems uncommon and like a lot of work, it is. But just as this industry has evolved, so will smart business owners. I’m not suggesting you can do this with every client, but wouldn’t it be great if you could? The initial intake process can help you identify your ideal clients. Making them feel truly special and not like a common occurrence will help propel your success.
If you’re interested in taking your revenues to new heights, contact Laura Laaman and her team at Outstanding Pet Care at 1-888-735-5667 for a private consultation.