What Time To Pet Sees for the Future of Our Industry
So, it's been a bit of a strange year — to say the least. Business as usual was completely upended earlier this year when COVID-19 came into our lives. Even now, COVID-19 continues to impact our lives, our work, and our world. We are all too familiar with how the global pandemic has affected friends, family, and small businesses worldwide. Pet sitters and dog walkers were not spared from the effects. In an industry that relies on people heading into the office and leaving their homes for trips and vacations, our new way of life has definitely forced pet care pros to adapt. Luckily, pet sitters and dog walkers are known for their ability to adapt!
Now, let's get on to the good news. We here at Time To Pet are incredibly optimistic about the future of the pet care industry. Not only have we seen business start to improve month over month for pet care pros as they safely ramp back up, but there is also promising news about vaccines becoming available shortly. While many companies have begun to adopt new remote work practices, a large portion of the workforce will be returning to the office once it is safe. And that doesn't even take into account the surge of pet adoptions that have occurred over the last year. We see a very bright future ahead for pet sitting, dog walking, and pet care businesses!
Reasons Why Time To Pet is Optimistic About the Future
There has been a massive surge in pet adoptions!
One of the few good things that has come from COVID-19 is that there has been a massive increase in the number of pet adoptions. With everyone spending so much time at home, they quickly realized that there was a loving pet missing from their lives! We have read stories from all over the country about shelters and rescues that have seen record numbers of adoptions. That means more pets finding forever homes and more resources available at shelters — yay!
Vox news website spoke with petfinder.com earlier this year and learned that Petfinder's web traffic increased by 43% by the end of March. They also saw adoption inquires increase by over 116%. From that same article, adopt-a-pet.com saw a daily traffic increase of 60%. The ASPCA also reported a 500% increase in applications for their foster pet programs in New York and Los Angeles. And Seattle even ran out of pets to adopt! This is all great news for pets and their new families that adore them. It's also great news for pet care pros.
With the considerable surge in pet adoptions, there will definitely be an increased demand for pet care services — especially experienced professionals that can help first-time pet owners. And not only will new pet parents be looking for dog walking and pet sitting, but old clients will also be coming back too once things return to normal.
A return to normalcy for office work.
There is no doubt that some aspects of how we work have changed forever. Some companies have already announced that they will allow remote work or some form of remote/in-office hybrid indefinitely. And while some people may work from home for extended periods of time (or forever), we believe that eventually, the majority of people will return to the office. There is also roughly 60% of the workforce that cannot work remotely. A few larger companies, like Netflix, have announced that employees will return to the office once the majority have received a vaccine. And at the time of writing this blog post, an effective vaccine is already being prepared to ship in the US.
It seems like a hybrid-work model will become more normal than fully remote teams. Sure there might be an increase in Zoom calls and video conferences, but pet parents will still need help caring for pets when they have meetings all day. Another benefit for those working from home or working remotely is that they will be able to travel easier and more frequently. Having a reliable pet sitter is crucial for pet parents that are trying to get away.
Vacations are going to return in a big way.
This year has definitely thrown a wrench in a lot of our plans. Whether it was a vacation, wedding, or family visit, we've all had to adjust and adapt. And while most people are willing to put off travel for the safety of their family and community, there is definitely still a desire to eventually head out on those trips they've been planning. There will also be a lot of family time and activities to catch up on next year. Once it's safe to travel again and travel returns to normalcy, we anticipate that all those canceled trips will come back in full force! According to Forbes, 2021 will be the year of travel.
An enduring love for pets!
No matter what has happened this year, one thing definitely hasn't changed — people love their pets. If anything, this year has made us all realize how important our pets are to our happiness and wellbeing. About 85 million American families own a pet, and they are spending more on their pets every year. In America, pet spending has increased every year since 1994 — even during the economic turmoil of the 2008 recession. This led many people to refer to the pet industry as "recession-proof."
While people may have cut back on spending this year, they haven't cut back when it comes to caring for their pets. The pet care industry has felt the effects of people spending more time at home, but with a surge in pet adoptions and a return to normalcy soon, we are excited about the future. When things do return to more of a business as usual way of being, it's important to have all of your ducks in a row.
How can pet sitters and dog walkers ensure their success in the future?
Commitment to marketing
Now more than ever, marketing is crucial to your business. With many new pet parents looking for pet care, they will be relying on internet searches and referrals. Make sure your business is easy to find and professionally displayed across the web. This includes setting up your Google My Business profile and optimizing your Local SEO. Also, make sure that you are taking full advantage of social media platforms to advertise your pet care business. At the very least, make sure you are getting the most out of your Facebook Business Page. Millennials make up about 25% of the population but account for more than 35% of pet ownership. It's essential to appeal to tech-savvy pet parents and the ones used to doing all their research online. To help connect pet parents with local, professional pet care, we created Local Pet Care. Make sure your free profile is fully optimized!
Commitment to being industry experts
With so many people adding pets to their family, pet professionals can and should share their expertise with their customers and potential customers. Being a pet care pro means you have experience and knowledge that can be incredibly beneficial to new pet parents. Creating specialized blog posts and social media posts with informative content could be an excellent option for your pet care business. If you don't already have a blog on your website, you might want to consider adding one. Content marketing is a great way to attract new clients organically. Another idea might be specifically offering services to new parents. Definitely get creative!
Evaluate your rates and the services you are offering
Now is a great time to examine your business's operations to ensure that everything is running smoothly. Maybe things have been a bit slower this year than usual, but they will return to normal. Having a reliable infrastructure to build on will help your business to adapt and grow. As the world changes, pet care pros should be sure that their pricing reflects the value they are delivering. Make sure that you are getting fair compensation for your hard work.
Another thing to consider is modifying and adapting your services to the needs of your clients. This could mean offering virtual services like training or meet and greets. It could also mean expanding your services to provide new ones like delivery or pet taxi services. You know best what your clients and pets will find most useful. A little creativity can go a long way!
We are optimistic about the road ahead!
And we hope that you are too! No one could have anticipated the events that have occurred over the past year. But we know a few things to be true. Pet care providers are a group of some of the most resilient and adaptable professionals out there — we have to be; it's part of the job! We also know that everyone loves their pets and wants the best for them. Pet care pros are now in a unique position to help pet parents through these unprecedented times. We, as a group of pet care professionals in our industry, need to work together. By sharing ideas, staying positive, and providing compassionate care, we can be as successful as possible post-Covid.