10 Ways To Know if You are Working With a Good Client
In the first few years of your business, sales calls can be sparse, but as your reputation grows and you work hard to continually offer excellent service, the calls will eventually flood in.
When you have been successfully running your business for 4-5 years, you will notice a major upward shift in the number of sales calls coming into your business.
At this point (or maybe even earlier), you can start to be a little more choosy with the clients you onboard.
It’s important you only take on clients that are a good fit for your team and the services you offer. Otherwise, your company could suffer from high turnover, difficulties in hiring, and you could suffer from burnout.
But, how do you know if you are working with a good client? That is what we aim to answer in this article.
Good Clients Don’t Try to Convince You To Offer Services You Don’t Offer
A good client will understand you don’t offer certain services for a reason, and they won’t try to push you into giving them special treatment. At our company we kept it simple because offering a standard service makes it easy to hire and train new sitters. Which allows our company to keep growing and reduces staff turnover significantly.
Good clients will respect your boundaries the first time you tell them no, and will leave it at that.
Good Clients are OK with your prices
It is common for some clients to ask if you have any deals or special pricing. To me, a client trying to get a good deal is totally understandable. However, if a client pushes back and continues to complain about the price, even after you offer them the best deal we have available, that is a red flag and a sign of disrespect.
Also, some bad clients will try to not book enough time for their animals in order to save a buck. For example, we have had dog sitting clients try to book one visit a day, then complain when the dogs mess in the house and have upset stomachs. Now we require three visits per day for dogs and one visit needs to be at least 30 minutes. (Clients with a doggy door can book 1-2 longer visits if that works for their dogs)
Good clients will agree to spend a little extra to ensure their pets are well provided for.
They are Within Your Service Area
Some potential clients will try to persuade you to offer service way outside your service area. Since pet sitters are naturally helpful people, it’s hard to tell a client, “No.” However, you need to be careful you are not being taken advantage of.
If you let a client convince you to drive way outside your service area, you might not have availability for a current client that is in your service area. A good client will understand you have your policies in place for a reason.
Their Pets are Not Aggressive
While a pet being aggressive is not always the client’s fault, you should be careful not to get into a situation where you are caring for a pet that can cause you serious injury.
We screen for aggression issues during our initial sales call, and during the meet & greet. If you find out a client was hiding the fact that their dog is aggressive, that is a sure sign of a bad client.
Good Clients Book Far in Advance
We all love to be spontaneous from time to time, but the best clients plan ahead. Be wary about any client who did not think about who would care for their pets until the day before they needed to head out of town.
However, it’s helpful to be flexible about current booking clients last minute, especially in the case of a family emergency.
It’s a good idea to to keep one or two emergency slots open in your schedule. However, if you decide to offer emergency visits as a feature, you should be upfront with your client that you cannot always guarantee availability in every single case, especially around the holidays.
Good Clients Want To Understand What You Need
The best clients will be concerned about what you need from them. They will have the foresight to ask good questions during your sales call.
They will ask you about how to set up a key to access their home, how you like to be paid, how far in advance they should book, and so on. Some of the best clients will actively try to put their best foot forward, because they know some of the best (or at least the most established) pet sitting companies are not always accepting new clients.
They Show Trust Right From The Beginning
It’s normal for a client to be a little nervous about leaving their home and pets in the care of someone they just met on the internet – even if you have an established pet care service with a good reputation.
While a little nervousness is common, good clients will show signs they trust you as a professional right away.
Sometimes it feels like pet sitters start out with a negative level of trust from many clients. If anything goes wrong with a client’s home or their pets, some client’s first instinct is to blame the pet sitter.
However, if a client is showing signs of distrust during your initial interactions, it is often much worse later on down the road.
They Let You Lead the Conversation
Good clients treat you like a professional and understand you have a process. Good clients are willing to work with you and make sure you get all of your questions answered.
If you get the sense a new client is trying to rush you through your processes, or you get the sense they are annoyed by all of the questions you are asking – you might be working with a bad client.
If clients interrupt you, ignore your questions, or completely take over the conversation, this is a big red flag.
Some Useful Outs
When you get the sense you are working with a bad client it’s helpful to have a couple of “outs” you can use to get off the phone.
If you have an agency style business with a team, you can say:
- I’ll need to check with a sitter to see if we have availability for those dates
- I’ll need to check with the owner to see if we can offer that type of service
If you are a solo sitter you can say:
- I have one client that may need that same time slot, I’ll need to check with them before I can confirm our availability.