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Pricing- Getting away from per animal charges

Posted By: Nathan Krause

Pricing- Getting away from per animal charges - 05/30/10 03:00 PM

So I am thinking about getting away from per animal charges even though that is how everyone in the area works.

I am tired of sitting around and waiting for peoples payments to come in and having to keep track of who is late and all the hassles. Now that I am getting more busy I just have less time for that stuff.

I guess my biggest question is for a simple call. (Raccoons tearing up yard) how would you charge that?

For instance charge for my service call and then figure out how many animals I will catch over the course of the week (say 6 animals over 7 days) and then figure in distance (say 20 miles one way) and figure out a weekly rate.

I also think by doing things this way I can come in and include catches, repair, and exclusion all in one price. Right now I am charging per animal for the catch and then giving them another price for repair/exclusion.
Posted By: Robb Russell

Re: Getting away from per animal charges - 05/30/10 06:54 PM

Time + materials + profit = works for me
Posted By: Paul Winkelmann

Re: Getting away from per animal charges - 05/30/10 07:18 PM

Nathan, if that works for you let me know. Like you said, everyone charges per animal so it might be hard to look competitive in the customers eyes.

For every job that I wish I would have charged by the job there is one where we get way more animals than either I or the customer expected. A good example is a muskrat job I'm doing right now. Small pond, customer said one muskrat. I looked it over and that's all the sign I saw too. Caught mom, dad, and two young so far. I'm usually pretty accurate on small ponds but this one had me fooled. I'm glad I'm getting paid for all of them!
Posted By: ccary

Re: Getting away from per animal charges - 05/30/10 08:17 PM

i always had a few customers, even tho i explained to them everything up front, that felt like i was robbing them because i kept trapping animals. They thought i should catch one or two then seal it up. I explained it all to them but they still had that tone in their voice. One price and theirs nothing to complain about.
Posted By: Paul Winkelmann

Re: Getting away from per animal charges - 05/30/10 08:44 PM

And how do you decide on that one price? Is it the same for everyone? How do you make it fair so there is nothing to complain about? Do you have more people turn you down with one price?
Posted By: Nathan Krause

Re: Getting away from per animal charges - 05/30/10 09:21 PM

Paul you bring up good points.

It kinda stems from what crtrgtr was saying. I did a job last month where the home owner thought she had a skunk. I was confident she had a wood chuck. Well I caught 2 raccoons and 2 wood chucks. I told her that I believe the raccoons came from the woods behind her home and the wood chucks were under the porch.

Well she still hasn't paid. I called and asked why and she told me because she shouldn't pay for animals that she didn't call about (she called about a skunk). If I would of told her a price and made her pay up front then I wouldn't be going through this right now.

Paul if you charge per animal how do you have them pay up front? I could see if they were always home and wrote the check when you show up for the pick up. But most of my jobs the customer is not around.
Posted By: Paul Winkelmann

Re: Getting away from per animal charges - 05/30/10 10:46 PM

With new customers we collect the service call when we set the job up. If they aren't going to be home we get the service call on a credit card over the phone.

If we get the service call we almost always get the rest when we bill them at the end of the job. If they don't pay, well collection agencies gotta live too.

The customers that are not around usually pay the best!
Posted By: ccary

Re: Getting away from per animal charges - 05/30/10 11:47 PM

Sorry there Paul, i was simply commenting on the fact that one price would fix that.
I charge a flat hourly fee. Does not matter if i catch 20 animals per visit or 1. I know what i am getting paid and they do to. If a customer insist that i seal up the entry before i feel like its complete i have them sign a waiver, which has not happened since i went to hourly charging.

No my price is not the same for everyone, depends on distance to sight and time of course.

Fairness, they are told up front my hourly rate and i give them different cases for example, one of my shortest jobs and one of my longest jobs. I go thru a good explanation of why some jobs take longer and that it is necessary to SOLVE the problem sometimes.

I actually have fewer turn me down.

Now SAME QUESTIONS BACK AT YA. LOL
Posted By: Paul Winkelmann

Re: Getting away from per animal charges - 05/31/10 12:26 AM

No need to be sorry. Fact is, I'm not always real happy with our pricing system; that's why all the questions. Any time I can learn and improve, I will.

Nathan lives just south of me and if he finds something that works, it'll probably work for me too.
Posted By: ccary

Re: Getting away from per animal charges - 05/31/10 02:25 AM

i hear ya. I am still not satisfied with my system (or maybe just my hourly rate), i am however liking it better than the per animal for my area. Everyone was always ready for me to quit trapping darn squirrels and fix the hole.
I have found the communication is key no matter the pricing.
If you figure something good out or have any suggestions please pm me. I need to learn and improve, much more than you.
Posted By: Vinke

Re: Getting away from per animal charges - 05/31/10 05:06 AM

I have found that a hard Number beats a variable every time....
Posted By: Ron Scheller

Re: Getting away from per animal charges - 05/31/10 05:40 AM

Originally Posted By: Vinke
I have found that a hard Number beats a variable every time....



Exactly. If I take my vehicle in for a slight transmission slip and the guy tells me it's going to cost $800 to fix it, I'm good with that.

If another guy tells me it might only need a filter and fluid change at $175, but might need some more parts, and it might need an entire tranny.... and I'll tell you the cost WHEN I'M DONE..... he's not working on my vehicle.

There is no "set pricing" on jobs.... each is priced according to problem, distance to site, possible exclusion work, etc. The customer is given a cost for the job, but it will seldom be the same for any two customers, even with the same animal.... all depends on the variables.

The key is excellent communication during the explanation of the service you will provide, as well as the desired result and/or the "best result possible" in the particular situation.

If you tell a customer it "may only cost $275" but it might be as much as $550, the only number in his head is the $275... every time. The customer hears what he "wants" to hear. I worked in the service department of a huge motorcycle shop for 20 years.... and only about 5% of the customers can come to grips with costs of major repairs. Same goes for wildlife control.

I would like to add..... why do I see so many who do bat work on a regular basis (which is never priced per animal) and obviously can price those jobs, but then can't figure out how to price animals other than bats? Try pretending your next coon job is a bat job.... maybe it will be easier to price it out?
Posted By: Nathan Krause

Re: Getting away from per animal charges - 05/31/10 10:42 AM

I will let you know what I learn Paul.

I think the next 4 calls that come in I am going to price (per job) and see what happens.

It is funny you said collections. My wife asked yesterday if I will let her be the collection agency. lol
Posted By: ccary

Re: Getting away from per animal charges - 05/31/10 12:13 PM

good post guys!!
Posted By: Chad Kamolz

Re: Getting away from per animal charges - 05/31/10 01:11 PM

I'm going to try that afew upcoming jobs, with pricing by the hour or the job. I had one guy turn me down for beaver control the other day. I think i'll call him back, and give him a new offer. I actually like the idea, of the per hour charge. I mean think about it, everything in life from working at a "job". To the service of your truck, plumber, electrician, basically everything today is billed hourly. I think around here that pricing all together, by the job. Would get me in trouble, if i did'nt charge enough up front. Chad
Posted By: swampdonkey

Re: Getting away from per animal charges - 05/31/10 01:23 PM

How would you determine what your time is actully worth per hour...I know depending on travel, job situation on hand ect...ect... but what kind of a ball park figure would you start out as ?? In making yourself & customer both feel like it's a good deal
Posted By: Nathan Krause

Re: Getting away from per animal charges - 05/31/10 01:57 PM

Originally Posted By: swampdonkey
How would you determine what your time is actully worth per hour...I know depending on travel, job situation on hand ect...ect... but what kind of a ball park figure would you start out as ?? In making yourself & customer both feel like it's a good deal


That is a good question. I know if I put down $100/hr I would never get a job. If I put $30/hr I would lose my shirt in a lot of situations.

Also how would you charge for those jobs where all your doing is picking up an animal? On an average pick up I am on location for less than 10 minutes. Do you plan to charge for a whole hour or will you just charge for the 10 minutes you are there? If you have 5 calls at 10 minutes each you just burned a quarter of the day and only made a hours pay. Just things to think about when considering hourly.
Posted By: swampdonkey

Re: Getting away from per animal charges - 05/31/10 02:17 PM

I'm thinking this would be extremly difficult to adjust...It' not like being a mechanic were they are stationary (for the most part)and customers bringing a vehicle to them.. there are alot of questions to this type of pricing that need to be aswered...I dont like the thought of cheating the customer or myself
Posted By: Chad Kamolz

Re: Getting away from per animal charges - 05/31/10 02:48 PM

Originally Posted By: swampdonkey
How would you determine what your time is actully worth per hour...I know depending on travel, job situation on hand ect...ect... but what kind of a ball park figure would you start out as ?? In making yourself & customer both feel like it's a good deal


Yes, their are alot of variables. But just like the per aniamal charge, your hourly rate could be ajusted. According to the situation, travel time, ect. You don't have to have a price that's set in stone. Each job can be quoted, by what needs to be done. That way theirs no set up fee, and no extra per animal fee. Chad
Posted By: nccoyote

Re: Getting away from per animal charges - 05/31/10 09:27 PM

Originally Posted By: Ron Scheller
Originally Posted By: Vinke
I have found that a hard Number beats a variable every time....



Exactly. If I take my vehicle in for a slight transmission slip and the guy tells me it's going to cost $800 to fix it, I'm good with that.

If another guy tells me it might only need a filter and fluid change at $175, but might need some more parts, and it might need an entire tranny.... and I'll tell you the cost WHEN I'M DONE..... he's not working on my vehicle.

There is no "set pricing" on jobs.... each is priced according to problem, distance to site, possible exclusion work, etc. The customer is given a cost for the job, but it will seldom be the same for any two customers, even with the same animal.... all depends on the variables.

The key is excellent communication during the explanation of the service you will provide, as well as the desired result and/or the "best result possible" in the particular situation.

If you tell a customer it "may only cost $275" but it might be as much as $550, the only number in his head is the $275... every time. The customer hears what he "wants" to hear. I worked in the service department of a huge motorcycle shop for 20 years.... and only about 5% of the customers can come to grips with costs of major repairs. Same goes for wildlife control.

I would like to add..... why do I see so many who do bat work on a regular basis (which is never priced per animal) and obviously can price those jobs, but then can't figure out how to price animals other than bats? Try pretending your next coon job is a bat job.... maybe it will be easier to price it out?


Ncely said Ron, and I agree. I have tried it both ways and prefer to give a set price, or a price for set up and then per day of trapping. All exclusion is priced case by case. To each his own though...
Posted By: ccary

Re: Getting away from per animal charges - 05/31/10 09:45 PM

Krausen, 5 calls at 10 minutes is only 50 minutes. I charge time from my place back to my place, yes even if i have two jobs close, they are both charged for the time because i may only visit one place the next day and it saves confusion and makes sure i'm getting paid. Maybe breaking the fairness, but like you said you can't burn a whole day and get paid for an hour.
Posted By: NMCritterRidder

Re: Getting away from per animal charges - 05/31/10 11:48 PM

I give a set price on everything except skunks. I have a set up fee and a per animal removed fee for them. Everything else I price after looking at the job. I give them a price to remove and then a price for exclusion. This has worked well for me.
Posted By: Jason Johnson

Re: Getting away from per animal charges - 06/01/10 09:47 PM

I like to give the customers two options. Option #1 is pay per catch and I make it high per animal assuming I catch less than I expect to. As mentioned above, this is a good way to advertise as it shows your confidence in your work. Option # 2, I then give them a set price that is the minimal amount that I will do the job for. This covers me in every area and typically saves the customers money over paying per catch due to how I set it up. They will normally go with the set price due to it being smaller, even though there is no guarantee.

For example, I had a fox job where I knew there were four problem foxes. After figuring out my travel expenses, I told the customer that it would be $105 per fox (105 x 4= $420) or the set price of $370 no matter how many I caught. The first option showed him my confidence (showing that I would take the job even with no guarantee of getting paid unless I was successful) while the second offer gave him a firm price that could save him money. He took the firm price (as usual) and I caught all four problem foxes, made him happy with his choice, and I made money.

This is working good for me, I'm not going to change. Hourly seems like it could potentially scare people. Customers are not just paying us for our time, they are paying us for our equipment, knowledge, experience, and time. Hourly wage makes it look/sound just like they are paying us for our time.

I am open minded and would love to hear what is working out there and will try something new if it might be better.

This is a good post keep it going.

-Jason Johnson
Posted By: swampdonkey

Re: Getting away from per animal charges - 06/02/10 12:38 AM

JASON, I like your thinking !!!! Makes sense to lay it out like that..
Posted By: Paul Winkelmann

Re: Getting away from per animal charges - 06/02/10 12:50 AM

NMCritterRidder,
Tell us something about Roswell New Mexico! I'm sure I'm not the only one interested in what kind of work you do in one of the most famous science-fiction areas in the world.
Posted By: NMCritterRidder

Re: Getting away from per animal charges - 06/02/10 02:31 AM

Paul I deal with lots of squirrels in attics, skunks and gophers. Have had a couple of bat calls and some snake calls. All of my work is referral as I have not done any advertising yet. We have a ton of hay farmers here and that keeps me going with the gopher work.

Luckily I have not had any calls for little green men yet.
Posted By: LT GREY

Re: Getting away from per animal charges - 06/09/10 04:08 PM

Stop billing! That's the problem !
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