How to Write and Send the Perfect Rate Increase Letter

In the last blog post I wrote about the importance of raising your rates and how, by simply raising your rates $2/per walk with 10 clients you can increase your earnings up to $5,200 a year.

Now, it’s time to actually do it!

Below are 5 tips around writing and sending the perfect rate increase letter for your pet sitting clients:

1) Composing a rate increase letter. Above all, keep it simple. Do not apologize in any way, shape or form about raising your rates. Here’s a sample of the rate increase letter that I send out to my own pet sitting and dog walking clients each year:

Dear Wonderful Dog Walking Clients (or Pet Sitting Clients),
It’s been such a pleasure to work with you and your pets this year. Thanks so much for the opportunity of letting us care for your pets.

Due to the rising cost of doing business we will be raising our rates slightly in 2009. Our rates will go up $2/per walk and $2/per pet sitting visit. Our overnight sitting rates will go up $5/per night.

As always, we are committed to providing you with excellent pet care service and we look forward to doing that for you this year.

Thanks for letting us serve you and your pets,

Your Name

Your Business Name

2) When and how to send your rate increase letter. If you regularly mail or email your dog walking or pet sitting bills simply include the rate increase letter in your next round of bills. To make sure everyone is aware of your rate increase you can gather the email addresses of your clients and send out a mass email to your business email list. If you are a smaller company and deal with clients more on the phone rather than email or mailing them bills then just verbally tell them. However, due the fear that may arise in declaring your rate increase, it’s sometimes easier to write a letter or email.

If this is your first time raising your rates I encourage you to take the easier route and write your clients a letter or email. Don’t make it harder on yourself than you need to and do remember to give each client at least a month’s notice before the increase takes effect.

3) If you are afraid that they won’t want to work with you anymore, read this. I’ll bet that they won’t leave you if you raise your rates a dollar or two. Why? They are used to working with you. They like you. You like them. Their pets like you. You know the house. Just one of the above would keep them wanting to use you no matter what you charge. Let me tell you a little secret: no one likes change. And how that applies to raising your rates is that most people don’t want to go out looking for a new pet sitter or dog walker when they can just keep you and pay you a little bit more. Finding a new pet sitter is a hassle. Staying with you is easy. And they like working with you. And remember they don’t like change (and nor do you, which is why it’s hard to let your clients know you are raising your fees – even positive change can be hard for us humans!)

4) If they do leave. I know, I just said above that they probably wouldn’t leave but be prepared that one or two might. But, hey, out of 30 or 50 or 100 clients, one or two isn’t bad. And really: do you want to work with clients who are unhappy that you are simply charging what your time is worth? I don’t think so. My experience has been that the clients who leave when I’ve raised my rates have been clients I’d secretly wanted to let go of anyway.

Here’s another secret I’ve learned in my years of pet sitting: After a client has left simply due to my raising rates, soon after I’ve had well-paying and enjoyable clients fill their slot. Having had this experience happen over and over in the course of the fourteen years I’ve owned my pet sitting business has helped believe in the power of raising rates! I now let those who do want to leave, leave. . And I let them go gracefully and gratefully because I know that having them leave makes room for clients to show up who will respect me and respect my rates.

5) Write your own rate increase letter. Now. It’s great to read about this but you won’t make any more money unless you actually write and send your own rate increase letter. I encourage you to do this today and send it out to your clients tonight or tomorrow. If you love what you are doing then you are meant to thrive financially and this is one simple way that you can easily and effortlessly make more money this year. So what are you waiting for? Stop reading this and begin writing your own rate increase letter now!

5 thoughts on “How to Write and Send the Perfect Rate Increase Letter”

  1. Excellent advice! I’m so glad you put included not apologizing. I talk to many pet sitters who feel they have to apologize or justify their rate increase. I know it’s hard for some to announce an increase, but it’s just a part of doing business.

    PS Welcome to the world of blogging!!

  2. We raise our rates yearly (the cost of doing business goes up constantly) but we don’t do everyone at the same time. We first raise our rates for new clients then we start with the existing clients. We have our clients stay at the same rate for one year. So our clients are at various rates. We are glad we have software to help keep track with the various pricing for different clients. We don’t think it is fair to raise someone who has been with our company for 9 months or less. We do not send out notices. It would not be cost effective for us.

  3. Do you send a letter to ALL your clients? Even if they haven’t used you in awhile or just one time? Or just tell them your new prices when they contact you next time?

    1. Hi Lori,
      It depends upon how big your company is. 🙂 If you have a huge company then I recommend sending a rate increase letter to everyone (most pet business software systems will allow you to send a mass email out to all your clients). If you have a smaller company then it would be better to email those who use you a lot and for those that rarely call, you can let them know when they book their next service with you. Good luck. 🙂 ~Kristin

  4. This is great!

    Many people have told me I should offer a rewards system with extra time added to a visit so that my clients don’t feel cheated when I raise rates to almost $25 a half hour. But that’s the cost of doing business with employees. I can’t apologize for the cost of business and I don’t think I should have to work extra for free. Does anyone else offer a rewards system with like minutes accrued for X amount of services paid for? I want to end my price increase email on a positive note.

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