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 Design Thinking, Innovation and Transformation Consultant, a popular innovation speaker and workshop leader, and helps companies use Human-Centered Change™ to beat the 70% change failure rate. 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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