After figuring out what dogs you’ll board, you might start out dog boarding wondering who uses this kind of service? I’ll admit, we had never actually been a dog boarding client ourselves before doing it ourselves. I don’t think that’s uncommon, or I don’t think it was when we started. When we had a husky, I had such extreme fears of her escaping that I wouldn’t have considered it. I also didn’t think anyone would be crazy enough to do this! Now, I’m thankful to know that there are plenty of likeminded folks out there!
I find there are three main kinds of clients:
Travelers as dog boarding clients
This is a no brainer. Of course, most people who become dog boarding clients will be people going on vacation. It’s almost the easiest kind of client. They come by, they meet, you greet, then you care for their dog while they go to Disney, or Paris, or to visit the inlaws.
A subcategory of this group is the business traveler, and that’s a great type of dog boarding client to have because business travel often breeds more business travel. We have clients like this who travel all. the. time. One client goes out on consulting jobs for weeks or sometimes months at a time, returning for weekends in between. We’ve developed a special weekly rate for him, because the daily rate times many weeks would be more than his expense account could handle.
The other type of traveling client doesn’t travel for as long but she does travel often. She used to hate leaving her baby behind because he would be so upset. Now she is fine with it because her baby gets excited when he gets close to his dog boarding host’s house, just as kids might as they approach a favorite babysitter!
Travelers to your city as dog boarding clients
Some of your business may be with clients traveling to your city. We’ve a number of dog boarding clients like this. The downside of business like this is that you don’t get an opportunity to have a meet-n-greet ahead of time, so both of you are taking bit of a chance. However, this is a great way to also meet people from different parts of the country.
So far, we’ve hosted dogs whose families are relocating from one side of the country to another. Visitors to festivals in New Orleans. Even a couple of dogs whose families were going on cruise ships that port out of New Orleans. Every one of these experiences has been great! Although it’s more common now to find hotels and B-and-Bs that take dogs, it’s not universal. Dog boarding lets people sill travel with their pets but gives their pets the freedom and flexibility of being in a home while the humans are playing tourist.
Daily dog boarding clients
One other type of boarding client is daily boarding, or daycare. We don’t honestly do a lot of this because it can interfere with vacation boarding. That said, we have done a little of it. For two years now, we’ve taken in three dogs on New Year’s Day while their family hosts a big party. We have another vacation client who has used us sporadically when her regular daycare host has been unavailable.
You could choose to specialize in daycare, especially if you work from home or are home much of the time. Of course, if someone wants their dog not to be lonely, it wouldn’t quite do if you then leave them alone. Make sure all parties understand the parameters the dog will be under. I find a lot of people assume that if you are boarding dogs you are home 100% of the time. Make sure to manage all expectations.
I’m not going to talk about drop in clients here. We’ll see that for another day. For now, this gives you a good idea of the types of dog boarding clients you might have.