A few people have recently noticed that I no longer list dog boarding as one of my services and have asked why. Indeed it seems many dog walkers don’t offer dog boarding. Until recently I had my own theories why this might be. This article looks at what those theories were and gives my own reasons why I now no longer offer dog boarding.
What no dog boarding? – My initial theories
When I first decided to set up Northampton Dog Walker I wanted to try and offer the complete range of pet services. Naturally this would include dog walking and pet sitting but I also wanted to offer pet transport and dog boarding, two services that not all dog walkers offer.
I was curious why not all dog walkers offered dog boarding and had a few theories why this might be. One possible reason is that not all dog walkers own their own home. If you rent there is the chance that you have a no pets rule. I concluded another possible reason was the cost and hassle of applying for a home boarding licence from the local council. The licence cost me £128.00 and depending on what the council inspection found there could have been additional costs to comply. I sensed though that this was not likely to be a big reason to put people off.
My final theory was that many dog walkers had concluded that it simply did not make financial sense to offer the service. This last reason made the most sense to me. Typical boarding rates vary between £20.00 and £25.00 per night and these usually include the walks. Compare this to the typical charge for an hour dog walk of between £10.00 and £15.00 and you see that the 24 hour responsibility of dog boarding looks like a poor return.
Despite this I applied for my home boarding licence with the council. I wanted to try and offer the complete range of services. Indeed initially I had many more dog boarding enquiries than dog walking enquiries.
Dog Boarding – Why I no longer offer this service
So having gone through the process of obtaining my home boarding licence why is it that I have decided to stop offering this service? In my case the reason is down to cost. Not the cost of the licence but the cost of my home insurance. With my home insurance due for renewal I went on to the comparison websites. My best quote came out at about £91.00 which is reasonable for the level of cover for my two bedroom bungalow. When I called to take up this quote however I was refused cover because of the dog boarding part of my business which I naturally run from home.
I then decided to call my pet insurance company for some advice to see if this is normal. I was hoping this was a simple misunderstanding. Whatever the home insurer was worried about would probably be covered by my pet insurance. Unfortunately though Cliverton confirmed this was very normal and was one reason why they offer their own home insurance to their pet insurance customers.
Some hours passed before they called back with my quote…….£390.00! This represents more than 4 times my Admiral quote. The added £300.00 cost plus the council licence of £128.00 leaves me £428.00 worse off. At my boarding rate of £20.00 per day it would be 21 days before I would be in profit! So despite being a very popular service, I’ve taken the decision to drop it. Could it be that this is actually the reason so few others offer the service? It also begs the question why others decide to continue to offer the service. It’s highly likely that some are unaware that their home insurance does not cover their dog boarding, especially if they have remained with the same insurer from before they started home boarding. Perhaps some just decide not to tell their insurer but what are the consequences of this? I’d be interested to hear from others in the pet services industry. If you don’t offer dog boarding, why not? If you do offer the service is this something that you have encountered?
To those customers who have used my dog boarding service before I can only apologise. I do continue to offer pet sitting at the client’s home if this is an alternative you are interested in.