Last modified on January 6th, 2016
By Stephanie Vernon
All things being relatively equal — location, square footage, access to public transit, pricing — value-add services often tip the scales in your favor when it comes to building loyalty and increasing retention among your current residents. This post about low-cost, pet-centric add-ons is the first in a series of articles about incorporating services that add value to your property and improve the resident experience.
A Word About the Numbers
The Humane Society of the United States estimates there are more than 83 million dogs and more than 95.5 million cats owned by humans. While most of these animals live in homes as the only pet, 20% of dogs and almost a third of cats share their home with at least one other animal. Considering the number of pets in our society, it makes sense to plan a program that caters to pet owners.
Make it More Fun
The downside of having a pet-friendly property includes frequently reminding owners to use the pet park, cleaning up after irresponsible owners and restoring property damaged by unsupervised pets. Engaging residents and their pets in fun activities promotes a better relationship — boosting compliance rates.
Consider hosting a pet party around the pool. Swimming has many health benefits for dogs. It improves circulation, strengthens muscles and relieves stress for some older dogs. Remind owners to rinse pets’ eyes with clean water after swimming to avoid chlorine irritation. Don’t have a community pool? When the temperature soars, set up wading pools on the common grounds.
Make it Less Expensive
Negotiate discounts for residents for services they use. Vet bills, annual vaccinations, grooming and pet-training can add up quickly. Negotiating discounts for your residents with neighborhood vendors is a value-add service everyone can appreciate. Below is a list of possible vendors and discounts to consider.
- Vet clinics and pet hospitals: Ask for discounts on services and supplies
- Groomers: Suggest a customer loyalty program exclusively for your tenants
- Pet sitters and walkers: You might find a current residents who is an animal lover willing to help you out with this one.
Make it Relevant
Many residents — especially those busy Millennials working, going to school and starting a family — rely on mobile technology to make their lives easier. Along with accessing payment options through your property’s tenant portal, make sure you are using social networking, email and text alerts to inform your residents about upcoming events. Posting updates on Facebook about workshops or new furnishings in the pet park keeps your residents engaged and informed.
Host a Professional
- Host an adoption clinic: Every year more than 2.5 million animals never make it out of the shelter. Invite a professional from the local Humane Shelter to host a workshop for pet owners and residents interested in pet adoption.
- Host a one-day pet clinic; invite local vendors to present information, show products and discuss health concerns with pet owners.
- Invite the Red Cross to discuss pet-focused services and safety during weather emergencies.Volunteers provide mobile shelters.
These are just a few ways to add value to your property with pet-centric amenities. For inspiration, ask your pet-owners what services they would like to see most. Then get creative and deliver.
Comments by Stephanie Vernon