Why are you giving a discount?
Recently I was working with a wonderful young dog trainer on a lengthy contract for specialized training services. She wanted her prices to be part of her contract, so she would be able to record which pricing method her clients chose.
As I prepared the Scope of Services addendum to the contract, I noticed that she offered single weekly training sessions at an per-session price. If her clients purchased training sessions by the month, the per-session rate was discounted, and if they paid by the quarter, the rate was even lower. She also included two weekly check-ins with each payment method. As a result, the more her clients purchased, the less she earned per hour. These are not her numbers, but the structure looked like this:
- Individual training session $75 per session
- Pay monthly: 4 training sessions, $280 $70 per session
- Pay quarterly: 12 training sessions, $780 $65 per session
I could see that her pricing structure would encourage her clients to buy their sessions all at once, and maybe to buy more sessions than they would have otherwise, but she also allowed them to “roll over” extra sessions, so the result was that she would almost certainly end up earning less overall. If all of her clients did what she was encouraging them to do and paid by the quarter, she would earn less than if they paid by the hour. For example, if this trainer could work with 10 clients per week, and could work 48 weeks per year:
- 48 weeks per year x 10 clients per week x $75 = $36,000
- 48 weeks per year x 10 clients per week x $65 = $31,200
So I asked her whether she had considered package pricing.
“I don’t guarantee results, so all I can sell is training hours”
This was her answer, and it is understandable. Responsible dog trainers do not guarantee results. It is important for trainers to make clear to their clients that dog training is a process, one that the dog owner has ultimate control over.
However, this does not mean that the only thing that you as a dog trainer have to sell is hours of your day. What you are selling to your clients is your expertise and knowledge, and there are many ways that you can provide transmit knowledge. Think about it! There’s one-on-one training, written instructions, video examples, trouble-shooting, support, feedback, group instruction, check-ins, video review, product recommendations . . .
A Simple Change
In the case of my client, I made a few suggestions, and she mentioned that she had thought of creating a Facebook page where her clients could find a community. Putting those together, here’s what a package structure might look like:
- Individual training session: $75 per session
- Monthly package: $300 per month
- 4 training sessions, one check-in per week
- Quarterly package: $1000 for 3 months
- 12 sessions, 2 check-ins per week, membership in Facebook group
The additional services provided with the monthly and quarterly options still encourage customers to choose the monthly or quarterly options. They get additional value with minimal additional time commitment by the trainer, per client. But NOW if all of her customers were to go with the quarterly package pricing, she would earn $40,000 a year — almost $9,000 per year more than in the “before” example.
I was happy to be able to offer a slight tweak to my client’s pricing structure that will allow her to provide more value to her clients and to earn more income. If you would like your pricing structure reviewed, or need other advice about your business, consider joining Trainer’s Growth Group, our very own support group for dog trainers like you.