Many certified dog trainers struggle with the question of how much. How much should they charge for their services? How much are clients willing to pay? How much must they charge to earn a living?
There are several factors to consider when setting prices.
What are local competitors charging?
Check out your local competitors to see what they’re charging. This is merely a starting point. As you’ll see below, a number of additional factors will play into your final pricing strategy. Regardless of the pricing strategy that you choose and how that strategy compares to your competitors, you should be aware of where you fall within the pricing spectrum of your local market.
How does your niche choice impact your pricing?
Specializing frequently allows you to charge more. If you’re an expert in an underrepresented area, if your niche specialty requires specialized training or experience, or if your niche attracts clientele who are willing to pay more for classes, then you might be able to increase your class prices to reflect this.
How does your target client market impact your pricing?
You can use pricing to encourage or discourage certain clients. Certain types of training require a strong commitment to change and a great time investment from the client. For example, training involving dogs with separation anxiety and certain types of aggression can be very involved and time consuming for the client and trainer alike. Professional dog trainers may choose to discourage less committed clients by raising their prices. Alternatively, you may choose to represent a specific geographic area in your community. Doing so can either place limitations upon your pricing or offer an opportunity for the sale of premium and add-on services.
Consider the Concept of a Working Wage
Professional dog training is not a hobby, it’s a career. As a certified dog trainer, you are responsible for training dogs that are considered family members by many owners. You may also have a direct impact on the safety and well-being of families and their pets, especially if you work with reactive and aggressive dogs. Becoming a professional dog trainer involves study, practice and maintenance of practical skills, and ongoing continuing education. When setting your prices, consider the concept of a living wage. What do you need to charge to earn a sustainable living as a professional dog trainer? A dog trainer who will be there for clients tomorrow and in 5 years, and in 10. You may not be able to set prices purely based upon your living requirements, but the concept of a working wage should influence your pricing if you’re committed to a long term career as a professional dog trainer.