Every person you meet is a potential friend – or possible frustration. Since people come in all stripes, it’s hard to know what you’re getting into when you start engaging with them. Still, there are red flags you can spot, and the signs are easily recognizable. Most problem pet sitting clients are some variation or combination of the ones below. Don’t get blindsided by a difficult pet sitting client, look for these red flags!
The Time Waster Client – Doesn’t Respect Boundaries
Time wasters come in many forms, but it all boils down to them not being considerate of your time. It’s a common problem in the service industry. After all, we’re there to help them, correct? Clients with this problem may take forever to get back to you with essential paperwork or don’t seem to listen to plans. At their worst, they may schedule meetings and not even be there when you show up. At their simplest, these are the people that consistently try to call or text you outside of office hours. Outside of an emergency, that shouldn’t be acceptable. They seem to feel like their schedule is more important than yours and demonstrate very little respect for your energy.
The Wannabe Lawyer- Fights Your Service Agreements
You have a Service Agreement and contracts in place to protect your business and to layout expectations in a legally secure way. Anyone who takes it upon themselves to make edits to your service agreement because it “doesn’t sit right” should be regarded with caution. Worse, however, are the ones who straight up refuse to sign them at all. It is very different from asking questions about policies and sharing concerns. That’s normal. However, if a potential client is demanding that you change your policies for them, then that’s a problem.
The Cheapskate Client – Always Unhappy About Prices
It’s never a good thing when the first thing someone says to you is a complaint about your service price. It indicates that this potential client doesn’t view your services as being worth the price you are charging. They may even try to negotiate a lower cost just for them! You may consider giving in since they are still paying you for your service, but doing that can lead to more complications. You give them the lower price then, and later down the road, they will try to milk more value out of you. They may ask for little additional things, or maybe you show up, and there’s another animal that you were not expecting with no care instructions. These types of clients feel like you owe them more than your usual level of service and make assumptions. It is a toxic relationship for you and your team.
The Snob – Disrespects Everything
This client type is a hazard of being in the service industry. People often end up looking down on you because you’re serving them. After all, they’re paying you, so you owe them, right?. They complain about everything your team does, and nothing ever seems good enough for them. Sometimes, things don’t work out flawlessly, and pet sitters can only do so much with the time they have. Corrections like that have a time and a place, but these clients think that is all the time. If your team feels that nothing is good enough, it can lead to resentment, which might lead to more mistakes. The downside is that it is hard to tell in advance if a client will do this. Just be aware of how much a client seems to be micromanaging or judging your team’s performance, so you can do damage control if necessary.
The Schrodinger’s Client – Last-Minute Changes
Life can change on a dime, and that means plans need to be flexible. A client occasionally canceling an appointment, or suddenly needing services, is just par for the course. If they make a habit of it, though, this can put a strain on your business. Suddenly changing the schedule to squeeze in a new appointment on the day of can require some shuffling of your regular clients. Another problem is last-minute cancellations. If you’ve carefully scheduled your employees back to back so that they have an efficient path for the day, a cancellation can shake the schedule! You can help mitigate this by making sure there are policies in place. A monetary fee for last-minute changes will help keep instances down, but some people are still prone to poor planning.
The Control Freak – Unrealistic Expectations
Our clients love their pets, and when you love something, you want the best for it. Sometimes, those wishes can be unrealistic or difficult for you to accomplish. One example would be a client who wants their dog walked at 12:30 pm. Any time before or after 12:30 is either too late or too early. Scheduling pet sitting appointments requires a lot of careful balancing, and a rigid expectation such as this can put a lot of strain on you and your team.
The Overdue Account – Late Payments Abound
Late paying clients always have an excuse for why they can’t pay you. Pet sitting businesses do not have big margins, so there isn’t a lot of slush room in the funds for people to be late. Your employees have to get paid, after all. There is an easy fix to reduce the odds of this happening; if you require payment before the service is rendered, you can reduce the odds of this being an issue.
Steer Clear of These Nightmare Clients
It’s easy to feel obligated to take every client, but that isn’t always the best approach. If a client will not be a good fit for your business, it’s okay to pass. You may need to make some exceptions when you are just starting your business. Once you have a steady client base, you can afford to be pickier. Evaluate your existing clients, too; are any of them showing these signs? Your business will run a lot smoother if you can find ways to eliminate these emotional and financial time drains. It is not easy to deal with difficult clients. LinkedIn has some suggestions to help you deal with this type of client. Click Here to check them out. Try our Series on Email Marketing to help you find better, high-quality clients instead.
Speaking of your business running better, PetBrainy is here to help out. Click Here to schedule a 30-minute call for us to speak if you need support in your business.
Thank you for writing this article! Reading it has been very helpful and it confirmed my gut instincts on certain behaviors I’ve witnessed with a client.
It’s been a learning experience but now I know I’m not the only one!
Now I know how to protect myself going forward!