3 Reasons Why You Should Be Offering Dog Training Classes
By Steven Appelbaum
I am often asked what types of businesses should ally with dog trainers and offer training classes. For 35+ years I have suggested the importance of this alliance to groomers and pet retailers. Over the last 20 or so years, I have added boarding kennels and daycares to that list.
Here are three reasons why offering dog training classes in your boarding or daycare business is worth serious consideration.
1. Customer Loyalty
One of the challenges boarding and daycare facilities face is that their services aren’t always associated positively with dogs or their owners. Most dogs don’t like being separated from their owners, so they don’t like going, and most owners look at the boarding process as necessary but not always pleasant for them or their pets. This doesn’t create a positive association on the part of the owners, which is one of the reasons why pet sitting has captured market share. Boarding facilities understand this, which is why the days of dreary concrete runs and almost no real socialization are relics of the past.
Now pets can enjoy the benefits of pet hotels with playtime, elevated dog beds and, in some locations, even swimming pools and massage. Engaged owners can look for pictures of their dog posted on the facility’s social media accounts and even receive video of their pet’s fabulous experiences. All of these amenities are designed to make the boarding experience something the dog and owner associate positively.
Training classes are simply another powerful and constructive way for the owners to associate great things with your business. Think of it this way: an owner takes their dog to a training class at your facility every week for six weeks. The dog learns basic cues and the owner learns various positive techniques designed to help them address minor, pesky behavior problems. Perhaps owner and dog make new friends in the class and each has a good time. In this example, it is very likely this owner will make a positive connection to your business. What’s more, you can maintain contact with them and increase the chances of them utilizing your services when they need to board their dogs.
Daycare locations face similar challenges to boarding kennels and have taken incredible steps to make the owner and dog experience a very positive one. Generally, the association owners have with daycare is more positive, as they are leaving their dogs for much shorter periods of time. That doesn’t mean classes are bad idea. Any cost-effective activity that engages owners and allows them and their pets to have positive experiences at your facility is a good idea.
2. Increased Business
Training classes add to the number of services you offer, and thus increases the likelihood of more clients. Instead of just offering boarding or daycare services, you are also offering behavior services as well. This means greater numbers of dog owners, some of whom have never been to or considered your facility, may be interested in what you offer if they are in need of behavior services for their dog.
3. Increased Profits
Dog training classes can add profits from both tuition amounts collected and possible products sold to students in class. Average tuition amounts vary by region, but $120 for a six–week class is a reasonable number. A class of 6–8 students means a gross of $720–$960. Say you pay the trainer $35 per session and the profit retained will be $510–$750 per 6–week session. A busy facility with a good trainer can run a minimum of one new class each month. Run classes 10 months out of the year, and you could generate $5,100-$7,500 worth of extra profit.
Many boarding and daycare businesses can utilize already existing space to conduct their classes. These businesses can also use advertising economies of scale to promote training classes. For example, adding class information and sign-up forms to your website, promoting the classes on social media etc. Additionally, dog trainers can be expected to generate some of their own sign-ups for classes. That’s because many dog trainers lack the all-important location to offer classes from. By supplying this and paying them a generous teaching fee for conducting your classes, this becomes a win–win relationship.
There is also the option of product sales. Not every boarding or daycare company wants to sell products, but it is worth noting that the average student in a dog training class will spend anywhere from $35–$140 on various products the trainer recommends in class. This could be anything from a six–foot leather or nylon leash that all students will require, to a harness, head collar or flat collar, to chew toys, crates, premium food, odor neutralizers, poop bags and more.
Product sales and customer loyalty are among the biggest reasons why pet stores including such giants as Petco and PetSmart offer these types of classes. Why not you?
Steven Appelbaum is a professional dog trainer and founder of Animal Behavior College (ABC), a vocational school specializing in animal career training programs. ABC offers pet grooming, dog training, cat training and veterinary assistance programs and will be launching an aquatics management and zookeeper assistant program in 2019. The school also offers a variety of continuing education programs on subjects including; pet nutrition, pet massage, dog walking, pet sitting and training shelter dogs. Aside from managing ABC, Appelbaum works as a freelance author, lecturer and pet business consultant. For more information about Animal Behavior College, please visit the website at www.animalbehaviorcollege.com