Question :
Hi there I own a small doggy day care costs are high with rent and wages. I have the wage subsidy so I have been able to retain my young staff members.  We dont have any reserves. I am struggling to work out how best to bring my clients back many of them will still be working from home. At this stage I’m not sure how to incentivize their return or how to advertise our opening up again. Any help would be amazingKia kaha Annette 

Question submitted 16/04/20 @ 10:33am
Industry: Services
  • Up

    Firstly I would go back and re-negotiate your rent. Do you absolutely need to be based in that location? Ideally your landlord should be understanding. I have seen landlords giving up to 50% discounts on rent for commercial businesses, so ask for a significant discount as this will preserve your cashflow. If I were in your shoes, I’d be bold and ask for one month of no rent payments, the worst case scenario is that you get into a negotiation and meet somewhere in the middle 😉

    I’m assuming your clients that work from home still need help with their dog walking? My understanding is that walking pets is still an allowed activity under lockdown. Is there a way that you can reach out to your clients to determine who still needs your services? I am sure there is a way to appropriately socially distance (ie tie the dog up at the letterbox at 10am, and a dog walker who lives close by comes by at 10:05am and collects the dog and walks it within the appropriate radius allowed by the NZ government.

    I’d encourage you to think creatively about how you can still help your clients (and generate revenue) during the lockdown. Are there other services they need that can be done by your team within the lockdown guidelines provided by the NZ government?

    The other alternative is to think about other services that can be provided by your team to potentially adjacent customers? For example, many seniors are scared, alone and struggling, afraid to leave their houses. Could your team offer services to these people (getting groceries for them etc), for a small fee? Or paid by their family members etc? It would help people in need, as well as give you the ability to have your team working and generating revenue for your business (and getting paid themselves).


    Morning Annette
    I would ring everyone of your clients, and ask them about there situation, and share your situation.
    We are all faced with challenges, and those clients may have ideas, they may also want to get a break from their pets. They maybe equally concerned you have closed.
    If you have a large database of clients, split the work load across your staff, and record feed-back. Maybe do a session with staff first to generate some questions and confidence. Those clients may also have friends with pets.
    Set a target with the business, and share with clients i.e if we used to take 20 pets a day, lets aim for 10.
    If your clients a close by maybe a ‘walk-by’ and wave.
    Personal contact is key, its the most real and its your point of difference.


    Just an opinion, for what its worth (from someone who has used dog walkers and dog daycare a lot over the years).
    When you are able to re-open I would be tempted to see how your customers react before incentives to get them back.
    You may find that they will be so appreciative of the opportunity to have their dogs active and fulfilled again that they come back as soon as restrictions are lifted.
    I would reach out to your customers and let them know that you are ready to re-open and wanting to service them.
    Within 2 – 3 weeks you should have an idea who is coming back and who isn’t then maybe you could personally reach out and offer some form of assistance (deferred payment for those impacted).
    What you do in looking after other peoples animals so they can take care of their other priorities is important so provided your customers are happy with your previous services, have the financial means and the need then you should get them back at fair (not discounted) market rates.
    Hope that helps…best of luck!

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