Pet Boarding & Daycare

The “5 S’s” of Online Waivers

The “5 S’s” of Online Waivers

By Daryl McCarl

It’s safe to say that 2020 belongs in the doghouse. Pet boarding and daycare facilities have faced tremendous challenges during COVID-19. And as overlooked essential businesses, it’s critical that you do everything possible to adapt and overcome.

Operating hours, staffing, inventory strategies, revenue models…by this point in the crisis, you’ve likely explored every opportunity and option to keep your business going and your customers’ pets cared for. But there’s one simple solution you may have overlooked: digital waivers.

While you’re likely quite familiar with paper and PDF waivers, online digital waivers offer several simple, safe and smart advantages. Here are the “5 S’s” of digital waivers and how they can help your business avoid liability while streamlining operations:

1. Simplify 

Unlike sanitizing your surfaces every 30 minutes, digital waivers are a simple, quick way to keep your business protected. Within minutes, your customers can electronically sign and submit their digital waivers on your website without even setting foot in your place of business. This makes check-in easier, faster and safer for everyone involved.

2. Streamline 

During the pandemic, you’ve likely had to trim down on staff and/or hours to align costs with revenue. With fewer hands on deck, your staff is scrambling to take reservations, check clients in and out, and care for the animals. The last thing they have time for is to distribute, verify, file and chase down hardcopy waivers. And, if one falls through the cracks and something unfortunate happens to a client’s pet, it could take a bite out of your business and your bottom line.  

Secure digital waivers take the hassle out of handling paperwork by moving the entire process to the virtual realm. Choose a secure digital waiver system that stores all your waivers in a centralized, online location in an easily-searchable format so your staff can quickly find what they’re looking for. For added simplicity and savings, make sure the digital waiver solution you select integrates easily with the reservation system you already use. 

3. Sanitize 

You’ve done everything in your power to make your customers feel comfortable leaving their pets in your care during COVID-19. You’ve gone through thousands of sanitizing wipes, applied social-distancing decals to your floor, conducted temperature checks and learned to live with a mask permanently attached to your face. Further, you’ve made sure your customers know about all the extra work you’re putting in to keep them safe while in your establishment. 

Digital waivers give your clients—and yourself—more ways to stay safely socially distanced while the crisis drags on. With a digital waiver, your customers simply click a link on your website to complete the form from home, in their car or wherever. Some digital waiver systems even offer QR codes that can be scanned for an entirely touch-free signing experience. No need for anyone to handle a clipboard or pull a pen from the clean pen cup—or even enter your place of business for that matter—as all check-in and waiver-signing processes can be handled curbside for the ultimate customer and staff peace of mind.  

4. Smile 

Donald Duck. Frank Einstein. Some random scribble. You never know who signed your waivers, and on the rare but critical occasions that you actually need them, a customer could claim he or she didn’t sign anything.  

While customers can fake their signatures, they can’t fake their faces. Some digital waiver systems also capture photos of your customers as they sign using a convenient waiver kiosk. No more guessing or disputes. Every digital waiver has a signature and an option to include a photo for failsafe protection. This way, you can be sure to nip any identity verification issues in the bud before they ever get out of hand.

5. Strategize

If you’re like most pet boarding and daycare businesses, you thrive on repeat business. In fact, your most faithful customers have probably been key to keeping your doors open during the pandemic. Digital waivers give you another powerful tool to boost customer satisfaction, increase loyalty and keep customers coming back—now and long after this crisis is over. 

Stop looking at your waivers as a necessary but neutral nuisance. More than capturing users’ signatures, digital waivers contain a wealth of information about your customers—and put it all right at your fingertips. Some digital waiver systems will let you include as many customized questions on your forms as you like so you can glean all sorts of insights. Some solutions even let you add notes and comments to waivers after they’ve been signed.

With quick access to easy-to-read reports and analytics, digital waivers let you mine this rich data to:  

Armed with these invaluable insights, you’ll be able to personalize service to meet your customers’ individual needs and wants. You’ll also be able to leverage the customer data you’ve collected for more targeted and effective email communications and other marketing efforts. Then, you can easily target customer segments and create tailored offers to drive more business. 

Backed by the right digital waiver software, you have the ability to bring your daycare or boarding business to the next level—protecting your staff, customers and pets alike. Just remember the “5 S’s” of online waivers and what they can offer you! 

Daryl McCarl is the Director of Business Development at Smartwaiver (, the leading digital waiver service trusted by thousands of organizations around the world.