According to the study “Pet Services in the U.S,” most sectors of the pet industry saw major growth in 2020, except for boarding and pet sitting services. With few people traveling, boarding was down 45% that year. Between vaccinations and less deadly strains like Omicron, it looks like the COVID-19 pandemic may finally be coming to an end. That means we should soon see a major increase in this business category. With that in mind, now is a good time to reevaluate your boarding services as you see an uptick in business. Not only will you see a flood of clients eager to drop off their pets while they vacation, you’re also going to see plenty of new pet owners nervous about their pets’ first boarding stays.
Are You Offering Complimentary Services?
While an animal is in your care, you have the opportunity to perform medical care without the owner having to take extra time out of their schedule. Health checkups, dental exams and dental care can be planned into the pet’s stay. Since you have the animal over long periods, these services can be moved around to fit your schedule, taking some of the stress out of your workload.
This is also a great opportunity to perform medical procedures. You can guarantee the pet has fasted before surgery, and have everything they need for recovery. This also does a lot to put owners at ease, since they knowing they aren’t caring for their pets at the most critical times before and after the procedure.
Other services can benefit as well. Microchipping can be part of your onboarding process for new pets. Grooming services can be packaged with boarding, so owners come back to a clean, fresh-looking pet. By offering the food, toys and products you use for pet care in your retail space, owners can pick up their pets’ favorites after their visit.
Is it Time to Upgrade?
Are your facilities due for a refresh? Are you missing key features that clients expect when they board their pets? Now is the perfect time to update your space. While you probably can’t afford a total rebuild, there are some less expensive options you may want to consider.
- Fresh air return systems to keep odors down and stop the spread of diseases
- Steps and bedding designed for elderly pets with mobility problems
- Separate quiet spaces for cats
- Improved play areas
- Pet monitoring for clients, including webcams and charts tracking the animal’s behavior and care for each day
It’s easy to focus on upgrades that look good to clients, like decor. However, practical considerations should take precedence to make work easier and more efficient for your staff. Talk to them about issues they’re having with your current setup. Is it easy to clean the suites? Is there space to move pets in and out during cleaning? Do you have enough space for food preparation and feeding? Is it easy to get animals in and out for exercise and play time? Do you have enough space for these activities? Would supplies be more accessible if they were moved to a different area? Addressing these issues saves time, keeps your staff happy, and makes the boarding experience better for pets and clients.
Are You Ready for New Pet Owners?
Pet ownership increased by 10 million dogs and 2 million cats in 2020. Many of these pets went to new owners who aren’t experienced with the boarding process. Taking action now to prepare for these new clients now will make the ramp up to pre-pandemic business levels easier.
Have information ready about what these clients need to bring and what they can expect during their pet’s stay. They may not realize you need vaccination records before the pet can be accepted, and they might be confused about the inclusion of food, particularly if their pet is on a special diet. These new clients are also sure to ask questions about where their pet is staying, and the types of activities they’ll have during the day.
It’s also good to outline exactly what will happen in an emergency. Knowing there is an attached clinic gives these clients peace of mind that they can’t get with a regular pet sitter. Giving these clients a welcome packet with a clear outline of the boarding experience, owner responsibilities and actions taken in emergencies helps avoid problems and gives them peace of mind.
Stay Connected to Your Clients
Positive Impressions, LLC offers the items you need to help you connect with your clients and their pets. Along with kennel labels and prescription labels, we also offer thank you cards, reminder cards, goodie bags and a range of promotional items. We can custom print most items, so you can add your clinic name and address, as well as graphics that match your practice. Not sure how to get started? Check outour current specials on our website, or by visiting our Facebook page.