November 27, 2020

Is Your Business Ready to Welcome Pets?

by Sherry Jane Smith

 

Taking care of a pet is a big responsibility. This is true regardless if you’re a fur parent or the manager of an establishment that accommodates animal companions. However, it can’t be denied that having a pet in your home or workplace also comes with a lot of perks and advantages. For instance, the presence of pets in the office has been known to help reduce levels of stress and anxiety, improve work-life balance, and increase productivity.

If you’re running a commercial establishment, there are also many upsides to allowing dogs and cats on the premises. This move will endear you to customers who have pets of their own and want to share their everyday experiences with their furred companion. Your establishment will always be on their list of options if they’re planning to take their pets along with them on their next errand, meal, or holiday. Pets are also a hit in the online social sphere, so welcoming furred companions in your shop will offer you plenty of opportunities to attract new followers on social media. 

Accommodating pets in a commercial space also presents its own set of complications. To find out if you’re ready to welcome pets to your establishment, you need to answer the following questions:

Have You Prepared the Necessary Documents?

Check if there are laws that are barring you from accepting pets in your restaurant, café, retail outlet, or hotel. There’s no blanket rule for this, so it’s completely up to you to check if the authorities that govern your location or industry allow you to accommodate pets in your commercial space.

In some locations, for example, there are no issues with having pets in commercial locations. However, others may enforce a strict set of guidelines before they let businesses display signs advertising that their spaces are pet-friendly. Some locations even outright ban the presence of non-working animals in shops that don’t offer pet-centric products and services. 

Once you’ve confirmed that it is indeed possible to declare your shop a pet-friendly place, you can start investing in items that will fulfill the requirements set by the local government for all pet-friendly establishments in the area. You can also go a step further by providing products that pet parents will find helpful. For example, you can prepare a dog toy baskets filled with items that fur babies can interact with while their humans are preoccupied.

Do You Have Facilities in Place to Accommodate Pets?

Passing the basic requirements is not enough to stand out from the other pet-friendly establishments in your area. To make a good impression on your clients, you need to offer convenient services and products to your customers and their animal companions. This means investing in facilities and products that will provide both humans and their pets a good experience.

The pet-friendly features of your commercial space can vary depending on what your establishment primarily offers. For instance, a restaurant can add pet-friendly meals to its menu, and a retail shop can add pet merchandise to its products. Meanwhile, a café can offer humans and animals a space for friendly interactions. Regardless of the type of establishment you own, make sure that your store has access to outside spaces where pets can do their business. 

Have You Considered the Costs?

Admitting dogs and cats will come with additional overhead costs. You’ll likely need to have the place cleaned at more frequent intervals to get rid of fur and spills. There’s also the cost of pet toys, treats, meals, and other pet-related supplies that you’ll need to clean, replace, or replenish now and then. If needed, you may also have to rent additional space for the play area or install barriers between the pet-friendly and pet-free sections of your shop.

Do You Have Guidelines in Place for the Pet Owners?

It’s essential to maintain a semblance of order whenever you bring pets and people together. After preparing a welcoming environment for pets and pet owners, how do you want your customers to conduct themselves while they’re in your commercial space?

For instance, should the pets be leashed, or will you offer an off-leash area? Are pets allowed to sit on the chairs? It’s expected of owners to clean up after their pets, but some people need to see a sign pointing this out before they’ll start taking the initiative to do so. It’s also a good move to plan for unexpected scenarios. If an item in your restaurant or hotel is damaged by a pet, who will shoulder the expenses? 

After thinking this through, make a list of dos and don’ts that pets and owners should follow while in your commercial space. Next, print out signs and clear directions that can help everyone make the most of their stay.

 

A little bit of planning can go a long way in making your commercial space a safer and more enjoyable space for pets and pet owners. In time, you’ll be able to design and manage a pet-friendly business that will leave a positive impression on the entire family—furred and non-furred members alike.

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