Big Pawfits Await Those Who Welcome Pets
Americans’ desire to own a furry friend or two is one most of us can admire and understand. So it’s no surprise that over 67% of U.S. households own pets, far greater than the global average of 57%. Maryland’s 49% of households who own pets isn’t enough to land it in the top ten states for pet ownership but shows there’s a healthy love for four-legged friends in the Free State. Maryland is one of the smallest states in the country, and it’s largely populated in urban clusters that aren’t always conducive to pet ownership.
Pets and America
Americans love their pets, and who can blame them? It’s no surprise so many of us long for the companionship that only a furry friend can provide. Pets are scientifically proven to make us happier and can even help us live longer.
As mentioned above, well over half of U.S. households own at least one pet with most people owning dogs (63.4 million households) though cats are a close second (42.7 million households).
Millennials make up the majority of renters today and are also the largest pet-owning demographic. So, how can you fetch your slice of this lucrative paw-portunity?
Pet-Friendliness Can Bring Big Business
According to 2020 CoStar data, pet-friendliness ranks in the top three amenity searches and remains a competitive advantage for apartment communities, general rental properties, and vacation rentals. Bearing in mind the number of pet owners in the country, it’s fascinating to consider how many landlords and property owners limit their market by not allowing pets — especially given that pet owners are more likely to earn more money and spend that money on their pets. In 2020, there was an estimated $103.6 billion spent on pets, and projections for pet spending in 2021 show an increase to around $109.6 billion.
Pet owners love to spoil their four-legged loved ones and that’s continued to rise in the last decade. Luxury grooming and boarding services have become the biggest trend, with some lucky few floof friends staying in resorts well above our means.
Businesses like hotels, restaurants, brick and mortar stores, and even office buildings are reporting pawsitive upticks in business and productivity.
Brian Harris, general manager of Kimpton’s Hotel says about 10% of his guests bring their pets. “Most pet owners consider their pets as part of their family, like their kids. They want to be able to travel with them and not being able to accommodate those guests would definitely affect our business.”
More hard data will be available in the future, but we can say anecdotally that pet-friendly businesses are gaining more clients and profits by welcoming four-legged guests.
Maryland & Pet-Friendly Living
While less than half of Maryland’s households own pets, more than 72% of renters in the U.S. own pets, which is great news for those looking to rent out property in Maryland. Thanks to Maryland’s small size, close to 90% of the population lives in an urban area and likely rents. Cities like Baltimore have higher rates of renters than homeowners, creating a large market of possible tenants.
Maryland also has a number of dog parks and pet activities that allow pet owners to enjoy their state with their four-legged friends. The state boasts over 40 dog parks and state parks where your furry friends can frolic and have fun.
How to Be a Pet-Friendly Business
Welcoming all pets is good for business, regardless of breed or size. Renters often have trouble finding housing that welcomes their pets, with most rentals setting limits on the weight, breed, and number of pets in a unit. Restrictions like these turn away good business that can lead to lifetime clients. Being recognized as a pet-friendly business will help you stand out, and create buzz around your services, bringing in more clients. Try adding these easy pet-friendly services to your business:
- Keep water bowls out for thirsty pets
- Have a jar of treats ready for four-legged friends
- Make a sign that welcomes pets and their owners inside
As an agent, listening to your clients’ needs and their pets’ needs is important to get a balanced idea of what they’re looking for in a new home. Let your clients see your love for pets by being the information center on your community’s dog parks, vet offices, groomers, kennels, or even great pet watchers you know. Help them envision themselves enjoying their new property with their pet companion by their side.
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