Pet shelters are on the front lines of local animal welfare. Typically, they rely on a 5:1 volunteer to staff ratio to handle the massive amounts of work and, even at that, they are chronically underfunded. In consultation with hundreds of shelter managers and workers, we learned that the majority of their funding comes from municipal pet license fees. Hmm.
Then we learned that, on average across North America, only 13% of residents license their pets. Wait, what?! Why so low?!
Herein lies the origin of DocuPet. When we learned about this opportunity, we had a purpose. We had to figure out why pet owners weren’t complying with mandatory local laws, and see if we could solve the puzzle.
Why don’t people licence their pets?
Over the past five years we’ve learned that pet owners tend not to license their pets for four primary reasons:
- Awareness is Low - Despite local laws mandating pet licensing in more than 90% of municipalities, many pet owners don’t know that they need to register their animals. As importantly, it isn’t well known that these fees go primarily toward funding local pet shelters.
- Licensing is Inconvenient - In many places, licenses can only be purchased in person at municipal offices or pet shelters. In fact, online license purchases is available in only 50% of municipalities in North America, and often for renewal purchases only.
- There’s Nothing In It For The Pet Owner - Many pet owners see a municipal license as “just another tax”. They don’t know how a municipal pet tag can help them be reunited with their pet if it becomes lost.
- Communication is Lacking - Most communities don’t communicate with the pet owner community as much as they should or would like to. They don’t gather feedback, provide key information or meet with pet owners on the street to explain (or enforce) pet licensing laws. In fact, it’s common that the only communication a pet owner will receive from their municipal office is a letter telling them they need to pay for an annual renewal.
And so, armed with these insights, we have been tirelessly developing and honing North America’s foremost pet licensing program.
To drive awareness, we canvas every neighbourhood we serve, run media campaigns, attend local events, send mailers, advertise on social media, and place signage throughout the community.
To make it easy, we offer a modern online licensing system that makes registration easy and provides ways for pet owners to update their profiles, add important information, and renew registrations automatically.
To make it valuable for pet owners, we provide North America’s best lost pet service, HomeSafe(™), offer gift cards and rewards, and connect on social media with contests and deals.
To improve communications, we send helpful advice to pet owners, share local news, and provide multiple friendly reminders by email, phone and mail to improve program information and, accordingly, annual license renewal rates.
We provide our solution at no cost to municipalities to remove any risk so that they may increase their services, save time and money, and source much needed revenue to support animal welfare programs with local shelters and elsewhere.
Since launching in 2014, we’ve launched more than 20 community licensing programs. We have steadily improved our systems and offerings, and are now regularly increasing annual license sales by more than 100% across our network of communities. With the support of thousands of pet owners, we are expanding quickly across North America.
DocuPet aims to help provide a safe and happy home for every pet.