Setting up a pet sitting business takes a lot of forethought, time and careful planning to get things right. Even after you are up and running, you will continue to learn and develop as a business owner. As such, you will need to make needed adjustments to make sure your business is tailored to meet your personal needs and the needs of clients. Once you are established, you will be able to gradually build up a client base. However, you will come across issues along the way that you had not expected, such as late paying clients. How should you handle late paying clients?
Leave a Friendly Note or Message
Many clients you will come across will be quick to pay up each week and will never miss a payment. However, some clients are sometimes late in paying, which can be awkward. After all, you are a pet sitter, not a debt collector.
A handwritten note or an email letting clients know that they owe you for the last couple of week’s walks is normally all that is required to remind them of their outstanding obligation. Keep the message friendly, brief and to the point. Avoid sarcasm, jokes or thinly veiled threats. Just focus on the current charges which are due and have a deadline in place for when you expect to be paid.
Postpone Future Bookings Until Payment is Made
If a client has a momentary lapse and is late in paying at the end of the and quickly settles up with you next time you come by, that is fine. But if it has been four or more weeks you have had to wait without being paid, you really need to have a talk with your client.
The longer you continue to work without pay, the higher the client’s debt will be. That is why you should postpone any future bookings until they have settled with you. Let clients know how much they owe and that you have expenses. This will remind clients that you are not working for free, but are a business owner in need of payment.
Call it a Day
Occasional late payments will not break the bank. But if you are dealing with a client who is habitually late in paying you and has flimsy excuses each time, then you should consider calling it a day. Would a client defer paying their hairdresser, mechanic or accountant for a month or more?
Arrange to collect payment for what is owing, do not accept any further bookings and then let them know that you cannot continue to work for them. Remember, you are running a business, not a charity. As hard as it may be to say goodbye to Fluffy or Fido, you cannot keep working for a client who does not respect you enough to pay for services rendered in a timely manner.
Pet sitting is a rewarding and satisfying job. But it can also be difficult when you have clients who are often late in paying what they owe. Do not allow clients to walk all over you. Be friendly, but firm, as you lay down your guidelines and expectations and if a client continues to be late in paying for your services, you should call it a day.
More from this contributor:
How to Avoid Misunderstandings with Clients as a Pet Sitter
How to Get Along with Difficult Pet Sitting Clients
Pet Sitters: How to Protect Yourself from Non-paying Clients