Ever wondered about the price of puppies and why it varies so much? Take a Labrador puppy for example. One type of breeder might be selling it for $800, another for $1200 and yet another for $2200. And at the elite end the pup could easily sell for $3500. For all intents and purposes it is essentially the same puppy – a purebred Labrador. And yet some owners are more than happy to pay more than twice or in some cases three times as much for it. Sound impossible? I assure you that it isn’t. I manage it effortlessly every day with my Miniature Schnauzers in Australia.
Why are some owners happy to pay a heap more for a puppy?
It’s simple really. In their eyes the dearer puppy is worth more. The cheaper ones will eventually find owners, of course. But the quality of the owner will also be “cheap”. These are the bargain hunters, and spur-of-the-moment buyers who grab it without much thought going into it. The price of puppies is a pretty good indicator of the quality of owner they attract. The cheaper the puppy, the more likely it is to end up in a shelter. I’m sure worrying about the long term fate of their babies keeps breeders at the cheaper end awake at night.
At the high end are the educated buyers. They’ve been doing their homework, researching online, often also visiting breeders and their dogs before making a decision. High-end owners are not spur-of-the-moment so don’t mind waiting a few months to get the right dog from the right breeder.
It’s no longer about being a registered breeder or not!
And the price of puppies is not just about whether you are a registered breeder or not.
Some of the price of puppies we are seeing in Australia right now are for the mixed breed designer dogs!
Sadly, savvy owners are gravitating away from purebreds due to their growing reputation for health issues. But it doesn’t have to be that way. Smart breeders of purebreds are still getting the top dollar.
The fact is, if you want to attract the great owners and the great prices they are happy to pay, you have to give them what they are searching for…
So here are the top 10 reasons why the price of puppies you sell is lower than it could be:
You advertise on the same directories as other breeders.
Put yourself and your puppies in a long list of other breeders and to the buyers you all look the same. Sure, you can add “family reared” and “genetic testing clear” and nudge up the price a bit. But there is a distinct glass ceiling on what you can charge for puppies there. It might be higher than the cheap pups on the online general classifieds sites, and attract a better owner, but is limited to what other similar registered breeders are charging.
You don’t offer any guarantees or social proof.
These days buyers of all kinds look for reviews and guarantees before they buy. This is especially true for top-end puppy buyers. To them, adopting a puppy is just as momentous as bringing a new baby into the family. They’ve heard all the horror stories so crave assurance that the pup they settle on will live a long, healthy life and be a joy to own.
Your bedside manner is appalling…
Some breeders really are appallingly rude! Hey, I’m not talking about you 😉. But we all know breeders like that don’t we? It’s not unusual for owners to tell me they talked to six other breeders before they found me and were put off by their snooty attitude. So if you want top price try being nice 😊
Your emails suck!
Your first response to buyer inquiries is a golden opportunity to impress them and allay any fears they may have. It’s also a chance to qualify your owners and offer sound and helpful advice to those who can’t afford you (not everyone can of course) on how to buy safely elsewhere. So be transparent, talk about the health issues in your breed, who they are suited to, what you do that’s different and how they can come and view your operations.
Don’t be like some breeders who insist the buyers phone, then interrogate them and get irate if they ask awkward questions. Yes, there are breeders like that.
You don’t let people see your parent dogs
These days discerning owners want to satisfy themselves that they aren’t buying from a puppy mill, and that the parent dogs are kept in pleasant conditions. If you are a puppy mill of course you will not want buyers anywhere near your operations. If you aren’t one but keep owners away, they will assume you are!