To think the nicer you are the more the people take the piss?

(69 Posts)
SecretsInSpitalfield Mon 14-Nov-16 13:13:42

First of all on a phone so apologies if it doesn't make perfect sense!

In a nutshell I look after other people's dogs. I offer dog walking where I'll drive to the persons house and pick up their beloved pet and walk him for sometimes nearly two hours then take the dog back home.

I also offer boarding where the owner will drop the dog off and pick him/her up either the next day or after their holiday.

I live on the outskirts of London and others in this profession normally charge £25 per night boarding and £12 per walk.

I charge £10 for walks (normally up to two hours whereas others do 45 mins to an hour) and £20 per 24 hours.

I have a dog currently that barks all the time. He has just pooed in two separate rooms and weed all over my sofa. The owners want me to have him all day for £7! They are not backing down and even the MIL got involved and said 'look they are not made of money you know'.

The most I will get from these people will be ten pounds a day (begrudgingly)

Another client - she said she'll drop her dog off 7.30 and now it's 6.30am. She said there's nothing she can do as her work hours has changed. I suffer badly with insomnia and sometimes I can manage an hour or two of extra sleep in the morning. I don't have to get up until 7.30 as DC start school at 9am. Also she's another that moans about money and I am going to get a pound an hour (my DC is livid with me for falling for their stories)

Client number three - me and DC don't live near family. Once (sometimes twice) a year we get a child free night. Said client picks up the dog at the same time every night. This particular night (after getting ready hair make up ) client texts at 8pm 'still at work haven't a clue when I'll be back'. To cut a long story short we didn't end up going out, client didn't say sorry and DH livid with me!!

Another client regularly goes on holiday and I have her dog. She is not short of cash! She never ever has the manners to tell me when she is coming back! Then when I eventually here from her she messages saying ' I'm so tired after my flight could you pleasebuy me x,y,z from sainsburys/waitrose'

Another one went on an exotic holIday and extended his trip by four days and didn't say a thing.

Another dog I look after regularly rolls in foxes poo. I use my time to clean the dog and the owners still moan!

I have just been on some pet caring websites and they charge extra for washing and drying dogs if they roll in mess.

I have had people pick their dogs up as late as 11.30pmand I'm exhausted.

My DH says I'm too nice and he's getting to the end of his tether (as I am)

Why do I let these people walk over me? I feel like an idiot.

We also have a chewed sofa, countless shoes chewed up among other things.

I haven't yet had the means to get a website made so no 'terms and conditions' have been made in print. That is part of the problem and downfall. In the meantime I'm thinking of writing T and C's on paper and giving to the clients.

My DH said if things don't change and if I don't say anything he will.

Sorry for the essay. Just wanted to see if anyone has ever experienced things like this and if so how they dealt with it.

Thank you for reading :-)

JellyBelli Mon 14-Nov-16 13:16:33

YANBU. And £7 a day would be taking the piss for a housetrained dog. Set your prices and stick to them, even if it means turning bad clients away - they take up a space that you could offer to a paying client.

My other piece of advice is chat to people first and never, ever take on a client who has a blaming personality. They will blame the last person they hired and in time they will blame you.

Arfarfanarf Mon 14-Nov-16 13:20:03

There's nice and there's nice though.

Nice does not = doormat.
You can be a nice, kind, generous person and be assertive with boundaries that you enforce.

'Spineless ' niceness (sorry. Hope you know what i mean grin ) is about lack of confidence and a need to be liked.

I'd say work on your assertiveness.

People will walk all over you if you let them.

You need to be less afriad of standing up for yourself. That's not about being nice. It's about being fearful.

You can change that and still be a nice person.

SecretsInSpitalfield Mon 14-Nov-16 13:20:03

Jelly - thank you. And you are right ..the lady who owns the dog who rolls in poo always blames me! Nothing is good enough for her.

Mellowautumn Mon 14-Nov-16 13:21:38

It's totally unprofessional not to have some at least basic T&C's printed up- plus a price list which you stick to. You are being treated as a friend who looks after thier dogs as a favour as you are not setting proffesional boundaries. It's not rocket science and it's not being nice it's being a mug smile

Trying321 Mon 14-Nov-16 13:23:56

You are allowing people to take the piss. It's nothing to do with how "nice" you are, you are acting like a doormat. Why are you allowing this?!

SecretsInSpitalfield Mon 14-Nov-16 13:24:21

Arf- I do need to work on assertivess. I used to think the older I get the more confident I'll get but it couldn't be further from the truth.

MadameCholetsDirtySecret Mon 14-Nov-16 13:27:49

I agree. T's and c's within a proper contract which stipulates fees and penalties for late/early pick etc. I have this with my dog sitter and it makes everything clear for both parties.
Do you have liability insurance?

BoopTheSnoot Mon 14-Nov-16 13:30:25

You need to draw up Ts and Cs and a price list (such as your hourly rate, extra charges for soiling/chewing, extra charge for having to bath the dog etc) and absolutely stick to it. Print a stack off and have the client sign it before leaving their dog with you.
You'll make the amount of money that you deserve and will find that your clients are more respectful of you. Plus it means that if Mr and Mrs X decide to add extra days onto their holiday without telling you, they can expect an amended bill on their return.

SecretsInSpitalfield Mon 14-Nov-16 13:31:02

Yes it is unprofessional of me.

Regarding why do I let them? I guess I don't expect people to be so rude.

Regarding client who made us miss night out I told her that she knew about our night out to which she replied 'well take the dog with you and I'll meet you there'

44PumpLane Mon 14-Nov-16 13:31:19

You are letting these people take advantage of you (sorry) and your DH is absolutely right that it needs to stop.

Your self esteem won't improve while you allow yourself to be treated this way.

Type up a list of terms and conditions and provide to your clients, have them sign a copy and return to you to keep on file, and they sign a copy for their records to keep too.

It might be a good idea to set up a standard weekly time sheet which details all the services you provide and their associated charges- you can fill in a sheet for each client for each week what services you have provided for their pet.

E.g. Showing that Monday, Wednesday and Friday you took their dog out for a 2 hour walk- each walk costing £10 so for walking services it costs them £30.
If they have opted in to the "wash my pet if it rolls in crap" service then you show Wednesday dog wash £3 (or however much it costs).
Tuesday day care at £x from 8-6 with any hours outside of this being charged at £y per hour (min billing period of 15 minutes)

This means you can bill them weekly and have very robust records for your tax returns.

If they don't pay in the agreed timescales then you stop providing your services.

If you negotiate an alternate payment rate or core hours schedule this can be detailed on their own personal billing template e.g. Doggy boarding core hours usually 8-6 but for client 1 it's actually 9-7

Anyway- I think this would help you to avoid being walked over and help you be more professional.

SecretsInSpitalfield Mon 14-Nov-16 13:31:45

Yes I have insurance.

VivienneWestwoodsKnickers Mon 14-Nov-16 13:32:36

Write up a list of your new business charges. Send them to all clients saying that due to lack of clarity, you are taking the opportunity to ensure costs are clear up front and that x, y, z messes etc will be charged for, effective 1st December.

Include overstay costs for non-collection of animals. £50, to be paid no more than 24hrs after they do it. Reasonable minor lateness or emergency situations could be overlooked, but you expect contact to make arrangements.

And get rid of the piss taking clients.

mickeysminnie Mon 14-Nov-16 13:33:43

Personally? I would sack them off and get your house in order 're t&c, contracts, etc. Then 're-launch your business. Charge a fee for up to one hour and a lesser fee for the second hour if they want it. Why on earth would you would charge so much less than other people in the same area? That is madness.
And really, grow up, as others have said your clients don't like you because you are being nice to them, they just like the fact that you are letting them take advantage of you.
Listen to your husband he is steering you right!

VivienneWestwoodsKnickers Mon 14-Nov-16 13:33:54

Oh, the £50 is just a figure plucked from the air rather than what you should necessarily do!

humblesims Mon 14-Nov-16 13:35:25

Asseriveness doesnt come with age it comes with practice.
State your prices and terms and dont allow anyone to take the piss. If they come back late charge accordingly and ditch repeat offenders. People will take the piss if you let them. Dont let them. Simple. Has nothing to do with being 'nice'. I'm nice. But I wont put up with that sort of nonsense.

SecretsInSpitalfield Mon 14-Nov-16 13:35:37

Thank you for the advice. Definitely going to take it on board and get things put it in writing.

TheProblemOfSusan Mon 14-Nov-16 13:35:52

Agreeing with PP - you need T&Cs carefully laid out. The good news is that you've had lots of outrageous behaviour to base these T&Cs on. You should make sure you get signed agreement from all clients and that there's stiff penalties for not showing up on time, including no further looking after the dog until said penalties have been paid. Include working hours, too, such as no earlier than 7pm.

I would also seriously consider putting your prices up. If I was looking for this sort of service I'd go with someone who was on the cheap side of average, and avoid the cheapest on the grounds of 'you get what you pay for'.

I'm not saying you're not doing a good job, by the way, it sounds like you are, but rather that you might not be attracting good clients, they might just be assuming there was something cut rate about your services. Also if you put your prices up you might find that the crappy clients disappear in a huff of smoke. You get what you charge for, I guess!

...you might also need a backup plan for when one of these obnoxious people just dumps a dog on you with no prior agreement - do we have dog pounds in the UK?

TheProblemOfSusan Mon 14-Nov-16 13:36:32

Am! I mean 7am! Otherwise those would be very odd hours for dogsitting!

SecretsInSpitalfield Mon 14-Nov-16 13:40:15

Theproblemofsusan - thank you that is great advice

JellyBelli Mon 14-Nov-16 13:40:52

Theres some great advice on this thread. You have the potential for a nice business doing this, so dont let chancers put you off.
Make sure you have the right insurance and plaster that at the top of your writing paper and invoices. Yopu can point it out to clients who try to bargain you down. Its not cheap.
Tell them if they dont like the service you provide they can go to an uninsured sitter and take their chances. smile

SecretsInSpitalfield Mon 14-Nov-16 13:49:25

Great idea Jelly re putting insurance on the paperwork

80sWaistcoat Mon 14-Nov-16 13:53:08

Charge the going rate.

Type up the T&Cs and get them copied and make the customers sign them.

Get shot of your bad clients.

WonderWine Mon 14-Nov-16 13:58:07

What everyone else has said.

Can I suggest you have a good look at how other dog care services present themselves on their websites. You can probably copy use similar T&Cs.

Here's one my SIL uses near where they live & she says they are super organised and efficient: edipawsdogwalking.co.uk/

Seriously, you need to become brisk and efficient over this!

WonderWine Mon 14-Nov-16 13:59:43

Also - if you give them the copy, there are people on www.peopleperhour.com who will knock you up a perfectly decent website for less than £50!

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