Innovation in Pet Ownership?

Recently I heard a guy telling a story about how he goes out a few times a year on a buddy’s boat and that one day his buddy let it slip that he spends $30,000 a year mooring and maintaining his boat. My reaction? Wow! $30,000? In fact his buddy’s wife joke’s that the only reason she’s working is to support the boat. That made me think that if I ever find myself thinking about buying a boat, I’ll just rent one instead. I checked quickly online and found the going day rate for a nice ski boat to rent to be about $500 (depending on location). If the guy in the story is like most people who own a boat, he gets out maybe ten days a year, meaning it’s costing him $3,000 a day plus the cost of buying the boat. So maybe renting a boat is better than buying after all.

But what about renting a dog? Would someone actually rent a dog rather than buy one?

I came across an article in the now-defunct Business 2.0 magazine profiling a lady who is starting an innovative pet rental business called Flexpetz in San Diego and Los Angeles. Now, I don’t own a dog, but my daughter would love nothing better, and so imagine how surprised I was to learn that the average cost of owning a dog in the first year (not including adoption fee or purchase price) is almost $3,000 ($2,885 to be exact). In contrast, for $120 per month Flexpetz will rent you a dog, provided you rent the dog at least twice per month. That $120 per month is a fully loaded cost (doggie bags, leash, food, etc. is all included) which comes to $1,448 for your first year membership versus $2,885 if you buy a dog. No barking in the middle of the night, no surprise veterinary bills, and no rushing home every day to let the dog out before he has an accident. Just a dog to walk and love when you want.

What do you think? Is she on to something, or barking up the wrong tree?

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Braden Kelley

Braden Kelley is a Director of Innovation and Human-Centered Problem-Solving at Oracle, a popular innovation speaker and workshop leader, helps companies build innovation cultures and infrastructures, and plan organizational changes that are more human and less overwhelming. He is the author of Charting Change from Palgrave Macmillan and Stoking Your Innovation Bonfire from John Wiley & Sons. Braden has been advising companies since 1996, while living and working in England, Germany, and the United States. Braden earned his MBA from top-rated London Business School. Follow him on Twitter and Linkedin.

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