3 Reasons to Avoid Giving Your Dog Training Clients Discounts

3 Reasons to Avoid Giving Your Dog Training Clients Discounts

Dog Training Clients Discounts

As small business owners, we’re always looking to acquire new dog training clients. Discounts are a popular option that we think you’d better avoid.

1. Dog Training Clients Who Compare Prices Are Not The Right Clients For You

In reality, clients who are looking for the cheapest trainer in town are not looking for the most qualified and skilled dog trainer. You’re better off focusing your energy trying to get clients who will value your time and qualifications. If you’re looking to give back to the community, limit your free or discounted lessons to one or two lessons a week for those in need, but don’t make it the norm for all your clients. Consider creating a scholarship program for those that need your help, but cannot afford it immediately. This will weed out people who are just looking for a quick bargain and you’ll find some truly dedicated clients who simply can’t afford your usual price.

2. It Is Very Hard To Wean Customers Off Discounts

Once they’ve had a taste of your services at a discount, it can be difficult for clients to adjust to higher prices. They may continue to ask for discounts for one reason or another. This conflict could drain your energy and it may damage the relationship between you two.

3. Cutting Your Own Profit Margins

When we give discounts as dog trainers and small business owners, we’re emptying our own pockets. Discounts cut the profit margins and they devalue the product or service a client purchases. Unfortunately, the client is less likely to follow through with training plans and are less likely to sign up for full-priced services in the future.

Fortunately, there are hundreds of alternative ways to attract new clients.

The Best Alternative To Discounts

There is a simple alternative to offering discounts for your services. Consider providing add-ons for “free” so that the client perceives that they are getting a better deal by getting additional products or services. This way you can maintain your desired income and they are getting a great deal. It’s a win-win for both sides of the client-trainer relationship.

What are some ways you attract new clients? Leave your ideas in the comments below!

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4 Reasons Why This Is The ONE Tool You Need To Run Your Dog Training Business

4 Reasons Why This Is The ONE Tool You Need To Run Your Dog Training Business

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The majority of dog trainers run their business out of their car. They are always on the road going from home to home. We use a variety of tools to track our clients’ progress, send invoices, and schedule lessons or day training. Some of those tools include notebooks, iPhones, tablets, laptops, and desktop computers. Switching between this many devices can be a recipe for disorganization, missed appointments, and worst of all – the client’s dog not making as much progress as they should.

Fortunately, there is a new app available for FREE to dog trainers. PocketSuite is an iPhone app that allows a dog trainer (or other pet business) to run their business right out of the palm of their hand. This iPhone app is designed for solopreneurs and mobile professionals just like dog trainers. It allows you to send quotes, schedule appointments, track revenue, message clients, and get paid right in one location on your iPhone.

1) Schedule a Lesson and Never Think About It Again

Pocket Suite 4With Pocketsuite, you can schedule a lesson or package of lessons with a client and rest assured they will receive a reminder notification at a set time before their lesson(s). Never worry about forgetting their lesson, forgetting to send a reminder, or purchasing a separate reminder service for your business.

Worry about client’s keeping their commitments? This app allows you to ask for confirmation with the client’s credit card. If they cancel last-minute, you can charge an automatic cancellation fee for the inconvenience.

2) Send Invoices With An Auto-Reminder

Group all your client’s purchases in a single invoice that you can send via text or email. Then, if they don’t pay immediately, the app will send automatic reminders every day, every three days, or once a week depending on your preference. You won’t have to remember to remind your clients and it will be more likely that you’ll get paid on time!

3) Pay A Smaller Credit Card Processing Fee Than Any Other Service

That’s right! PocketSuite only charges 1.99% per charge as compared to PayPal (2.9%), SquareUp (2.75%), or Stripe (2.9% + 30¢). The app allows you to track your previous and predicted income easily. Clients can pay safely with their credit card or Apple Pay. With the app, you will never see their credit card information which will make clients feel more secure about purchasing services from you.

4) Integrate PocketSuite With Your Website & Accept Appointment Reservations

pocket suite widgetPocketSuite integrates very simply with any website. Through the app, sign up for the widget and it will send you instructions on how to set up online registrations on your website. You can adjust your availability within the app – on the go – and it will seamlessly update with your online widget to prevent double booking.

Read Their Frequently Asked Questions or Sign Up for PocketSuite For FREE By Clicking HERE!

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4 Reasons Why This Clicker Will Revolutionize The Way You Clicker Train Dogs

4 Reasons Why This Clicker Will Revolutionize The Way You Clicker Train Dogs

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Clickers are absolutely wonderful to help dogs and their owners communicate effectively and quickly. They make the dog’s learning process easier, but they can make things a bit more complicated for their owners.

Presenting the Clicker Ring

Josh Pitts, the founder and creator of Clicker Plus, has designed a revolutionary new clicker that will make clicker training less of a juggling act for the average dog owner. The Clicker Ring is a ring with a mechanical clicker built into it. This innovative tool will make clicker training easier and more fun for everyone!

1) Anyone Can Clicker Train With The Clicker Ring

The benefit to turning the clicker into a ring is that it will allow dog owners with disabilities or movement restrictions to train their dog. They no longer have to worry about dropping the clicker if they accidentally open their hand which will improve their timing – which is so important during training!

2) Everyone Will Be Able to Wear One

The Clicker Ring comes in a variety of sizes which means people short and tall, large and small will be able to wear them. It is discrete so even self-conscious client’s will be able to use a clicker to train their dogs.

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3) Fast & Easy Access To A Clicker

How many times have you told a client to keep the clicker ready during classes or when working with reactive dogs? Now they will have no choice but to have the clicker available to them at all times. This will keep them from fumbling around to find their clicker when they need it most – usually when they least expect it!

4) Less Juggling, More Clicking

Between the leash, treats, listening to instructions, and a dog pulling on the other end of the leash, dog owners can quickly get overwhelmed during classes or private lessons. They are learning a lot of new information in a very short time frame. The clicker ring takes away a small, but challenging variable to their, and their dog’s, learning process by making it more convenient to use during training.

Learn more about the clicker ring and pre-order yours today!
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5 Approaches To Teaching “Come”

5 Approaches To Teaching “Come”

Image by Erin Bessey - Bessey's Positive Paws

Image by Erin Bessey – Bessey’s Positive Paws

It’s a life saving behavior and one that needs to be taught like any other behavior. It is one of the most difficult behaviors to get reliably but it shouldn’t have to be. With practice, patience, and consistency anyone can achieve a reliable recall. There are many different ways to teach “Come” and below we’ll examine 5 of them.

“How to Train a Whistle Recall” by Pamela Dennison

Pamela starts with the first steps of teaching the whistle recall. It begins with charging the whistle. With every blow of the whistle she delivers high value treats. She puts a lot of emphasis on the use of the high value treat versus commercial treats. She gives a timeline of how long your should work on charging the whistle and the importance of not rushing the first steps of any recall. This video does not cover it but with the following videos you will see how to gradually add distraction to begin proofing the recall.

“How to train “Come!”” by Emily Larlham – Kikopup

Emily teaches the first steps of “Come”  with the dog on leash. She begins by just simply backing up, clicking & treating when the dog moves with her. Once this becomes reliable she adds the recall cue. Once the dog is reliably coming, Emily then works on adding distractions while the dog is on leash. The art of teaching come on leash first is to set the dog up for success so that it never learns that not responding to the cue has any value.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PL9Rk-8KF9I?rel=0&w=560&h=315

“How To Train Your Dog to Come” by Training Positive

In this video, the fundamentals are brought into training the recall. The focus is on rewarding your dog for checking in while in a distracting environment and utilizing a “watch me” cue. These behaviors are a precursor to letting your dog off leash so that your dog remembers that you exist while in a stimulating situation and increases the likelihood that they will continue to check in with you. The other aspect of teaching come that Training Positive uses is once you have your dog come to you engaging them with other behaviors or tricks.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nLo8YP4-D8Y?rel=0&w=560&h=315

“Come When Called” by Zak George

Zak George begins teaching the recall by making it a fun game for you and the dog. Making it fun will get a faster recall.  In his video, Zak uses a footage from training a puppy recall for the first time which is useful because you are able to see when real life issues arise and how to troubleshoot them when they happen.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rwldfBjFsdE?rel=0&w=560&h=315

“Come Here and Sit” by Ian Dunbar

In Ian’s short video, he starts with luring the dog backwards to follow him, then into a sit and as he delivers the treat he is touching the dog’s collar. Ian explains the importance of touching the collar as part of the recall because if you need your dog to come to you it will do you no good if you can’t actually catch your dog. As in other videos he keeps the distance short and the distraction low while practicing the sequence of events.

While all these videos are similar, they offer different perspectives on teaching the recall. The one thing that is consistent within these videos is that you can’t rush this behavior. If you want to get a reliable recall you have to practice and build the behavior by starting with low distractions and always proofing.

What ways have you found most effective to teach a dog to come?

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Guest Post: How to Build a Successful Dog Training Business

Guest Post: How to Build a Successful Dog Training Business

dog training business

All dog trainers want to build a healthy and successful dog training business. But as your dog training business grows, so does the stress of managing your expanding client list, schedule, and income stream.

The act of putting best practices in place to help you manage your growth sounds like both a daunting and tedious task. But the truth is it’s not. There are simple tips to follow and free technology available to make the act of building a successful and scalable training business a breeze.

Your Client List

To provide the quickest and highest quality service to prospective clients, you need to know who your client is, how to reach them, and what their needs are.

Keeping all this information in a single location will pay large dividends as your customer base grows. Mobile tools these days allow you to keep all your client contact information, notes, transaction history, and payment statuses in an easily accessible spot. Client data and access to information in the most convenient way possible will save you a tremendous amount of time, especially as your days start filling up with more and more client visits.

Schedule & Appointments

The days of pen and paper scheduling are over!

Keep an organized daily, weekly, and monthly calendar in place that’s easily accessible and able to be updated on the fly. Appointment details constantly change, so give yourself a digital tool that allows for easy edits and updates. Not to mention, new clients reach out to you at random times throughout the course of the day, so put convenient systems in place to efficiently field these appointment requests and add them to your calendar without having to play phone tag.

Make sure your clients stay organized too. That means automating and customizing notifications and reminders sent to clients about upcoming classes, sessions, or private lessons. This will ensure your clients are always on the same page, and will ‘professionally and politely’ remind them of upcoming appointments with you, so you never experience a no-show again.

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Payments

Everyone likes getting paid. The trick is to ensure that no payment ever slips through the cracks.

Protect yourself before walking into any training session. Ask clients to put their card down to reserve appointments ahead of time. This will not only reduce flaky clients and last-minute cancellations, but will professionally demonstrate to your clients that your time is valuable. Not mention, your entire payment process is streamlined once your appointment is complete – say farewell to those awkward “How much do I owe you?” conversations…Simply charge your clients as you’re walking out the door, and move on to your next appointment.

If you still prefer to invoice, then make sure no invoices are ever left hanging. Part of this is setting up a simple monitoring system to enable you to get notified with each invoice that has been paid. Then give yourself an easy dashboard to keep yourself up to date on any invoices still outstanding. This will also give you a sense as to who your best clients are (and even who your worst ones are).

Putting These Ideas Into Practice

Pocket Suite - dog trainer screen shotThe question now becomes how to implement these tips in the easiest and least disruptive way possible.

Good news! There are now tools out there that help solo professionals run their business from their phone. The key is to find the tools that are simple, that are affordable, and that move with you wherever you go – mobile. The more a single app does, the easier your life becomes.

As you start growing and winning more business, you’ll be able to bring these clients on in the most efficient way possible, maintaining your ability to serve them well – all the while making your day-to-day a lot less stressful.

Ready to be more efficient and professional with your clients? PocketSuite is a free iPhone app that provides all of these services for free! Download and access it through the Modern Dog Trainer’s referral link here.

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About The Author

Entrepreneur.com HeadshotSam Madden is the co-founder of PocketSuite, the first mobile business tool for independent professionals and solopreneurs. Sam spent most of his career researching and investing in business technology for small and medium-sized businesses. He has since shifted all of his focus to build great technologies like PocketSuite to help eager and independent professionals succeed. You can read more about Sam’s mission on Entrepreneur Magazine.

PocketSuite is a new mobile app for dog trainers helping them run and build a better business. PocketSuite empowers pet professionals with the ability to schedule appointments, invoice customers, collect payment, track income, and communicate with clients…All from a single app. PocketSuite is a free iPhone app to download and can be accessed through the Modern Dog Trainer’s referral link.

Product Review – Ruffwear Haul Bag

Product Review – Ruffwear Haul Bag

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A Review Of The Ruffwear Haul Bag

Behind every great dog trainer is a great training bag. Between treats, clickers, toys, notepads, treat pouches, harnesses, and leashes, it can be difficult finding an appropriately sized bag that isn’t super bulky and half the size of Ohio.  So when Ruffwear introduced their new Haul Bag, dog trainers everywhere rejoiced in expectation.  Ruffwear has a history of making extraordinary products and this bag was expected to hold up to their standards.

Ruffwear was gracious enough to send The Modern Dog Trainer a bag to try out.  To nobody’s surprise, this bag stands out in a large crowd of training bags.

This bag appears deceptively small.  It is 16.5″ long, 11.81″ wide, and 12.2″ tall.  It comes with two small handles for hand-held carrying as well as a shoulder strap.  It has a zippered top.  On one outer side, there is a large zippered pocket that goes the length of the bag.  On the other side are three mesh pockets, one perfectly sized for business cards, and then two larger ones.  On one end is a label that can be filled out with your contact information.

Notice the three pockets. The smaller pockets is perfect for business cards.

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Notice the label for your personal information on the bag.

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Inside Compartments Of The Haul Bag

It is upon opening the bag that the wow factor really kicks in.  The bag is gigantic.  It has what Ruffwear calls a “gatemouth” opening, which opens the bag to a full rectangle.  The inside, like the outside, has both a zippered pockets on one side and mesh pockets on the other side.  The bottom is wide and flat.

Notice one side with a zipper and one with pockets.

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IMG_4192I was pleasantly surprised to find that all the training gear that had maxed out my other training bag fit into the Ruffwear bag with plenty of room to spare.

Even when fully stuffed, the bag is lightweight and comfortable to carry.  When slung over a shoulder, it is less prone to knocking into furniture, vehicles, dogs, and people than other training bags due to the smaller dimensions and tapered top.

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The Haul Bag is not inexpensive; however, with the sturdy materials and craftsmanship, as well as the lovely yet simple design, it is a bag you will not have to replace in the near future. If you are a professional trainer, be sure to join Ruffwear’s Pro Purchase Program for a discount on their items!

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*This bag was given to The Modern Dog Trainer for free for the review. Our opinion of this product was not affected by Ruffwear’s generosity. We participate in Ruffwear’s affiliate program in order to support this blog and our dedicated contributors.

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