I haven’t been coming up with many personal finance blogging ideas lately. My dog sitting business is going extremely well. Last year, as vaccines happened and people caught up on travel, I made twice as much as I had ever made in any other year. This year, I’ll make around 80% more than last year. Overall, it’s more than four times what I made pre-pandemic.
When I started dog boarding in 2015, it was just about making a little extra money, maybe $500 a month to complement my blogging income. Now, it is my blogging income that complements my dog boarding income. Make hay while the sun shines, right? The only issue is that dog boarding doesn’t scale. Every extra dog adds exponentially more complexity. Also, there’s a limit to how much people will pay to board a dog. That means there’s a ceiling to how much I can make.
One way that I’m trying to raise that ceiling is to add other services. Some suggested I should offer to bath dogs, groom dogs, or get into dog training. I’ve thought about all these, and they can be challenging to do when we’ve got a fairly full house. I’m looking for other ways to grow. For example, I’ve seen a mobile dog grooming truck come down my street. Maybe I could partner with them and get some money for the referral. I got a tip on a dog photographer. We might be able to work out something where she photographs dogs for an additional fee.
One of the easiest ways for me to grow is to eliminate Rover.com’s service fee. I think Rover.com is excellent and provides great value with booking software, escrow and merchant services, etc. They even do all my advertising and client acquisition. However, if I create a brand and advertise myself, I don’t want to send people to Rover.com to book me. Actually, I don’t mind booking Rover for the first stay, but when I’ve had a regular client for more than five stays, I’d like to manage that myself. Rover typically keeps twenty percent of the booking fee for itself, but I’m grandfathered in at fifteen percent. If I can transition a customer to my own website and booking software, I can give them a discount and still keep more money for myself.
My Kid Adds a Business Idea
My wife saw a thing about a local business doing a small business Saturday at a local restaurant. A table is $20, and she’s going to promote the dog boarding business as well as sell some high-end clothes she acquired over time – whatever hasn’t sold on Poshmark. The $20 also includes unlimited Bloody Mary’s, which may have been a draw for her.
My 10-year-old son has decided he will put his cooking skills to good use and make dog biscuits to sell. It’s a perfect fit for him. He got a recipe from the local animal shelter’s summer pet camp. Another of his favorite summer camps is cooking camp.
He’s picked a name for his biscuits, and we’ll co-brand them with the dog boarding business. The individually-wrapped bags will have a coupon code that will give the customer a dog boarding discount. I’ll also give my son a cut of any dog boarding sales that come from it.
My 8-year-old is contributing as well. He designed the logo for the business. It looks like an 8-year-old designed it, but that’s the point. He’s one of the best artists in his class, so it’s not bad.
I love these little experiments. Try a little tweak here and there and see how things go. Of course, I’ll keep you updated on how it goes.