BusinessPaws: How to Grow Revenue in Dog Training

Megan Stanley

Want to grow revenue in your dog training business? Follow these steps and work your way towards healthy business and more time to spend doing what you enjoy most.

BusinessPaws: How to Grow Revenue in Dog Training

Starting a business is easy. Growing a business can be challenging. It’s important you outline clear revenue goals for your business and for yourself. Your business should provide you with financial freedom and your strategy should focus on ways to reach these goals. To help make 2022 a successful year for you, I am going to share some ways to grow your revenue. 

Currently, many dog trainers are experiencing high demand for our services. We are still seeing the increase from pandemic pups and tend to see an increase in the new year as many add dogs to their families over the holidays. I know many trainers are feeling at capacity, may not want to hire employees/contractors, or perhaps are struggling with staffing issues to manage the demand. The options for growing revenue below will also help to alleviate some of your time without the added pressure of expanding your team. Yes, there will be some time upfront, but when done well, the long-term benefits will be more than worth it.

Passive Revenue Streams
Passive income is money you can earn without much on-going effort and is an excellent way to grow revenue. Most people don’t do enough of this because it does require a fair amount of time investment upfront, and sometimes a financial investment as well. However, once the initial work is done, these revenue streams will continue to bring cash into the business with minimal demand on your time. 

Some ways dog trainers can add passive revenue to their business this next year are:

  • Online Training Programs: This can be done at a larger scale through online learning platforms such as Thinkific or Kajabi, hosted on your website behind a paywall, or clients can gain access to Unlisted Videos on YouTube. The key is to automate the process to minimize your workload. This is one of my favourite features of BusyPaws – you can build this directly into your services within their platform.
  • eBooks: These can be simple topics such as an eBook on house training or recall, or perhaps a more in-depth book on puppy training or helping a fearful dog. I’d suggest investing in quality editing and design. This can then be an excellent tool for acquiring customers, providing value to existing clients and expanding your reach. Simply add to your own website for dog owners to purchase and download. 
  • Retail: You don’t need to have a large-scale store but can focus on products that would be of value to your clients. Think of products such as treats, training tools or enrichment items. If you don’t have a physical location, you can create an online store. Or you can bring items to your training sessions and/or include them in your packages for additional revenue.
  • Affiliate Marketing: This is when you earn money for selling other people’s products/services. A great option for dog trainers may be through Dogwise. They’ve got a well-structured program that allows you to earn revenue and have access to their inventory with no cost up-front.

Recurring Revenue
This is revenue that is expected to continue in the future – it is predictable, stable and occurs at regular intervals. The most common form of recurring revenue we see with dog training is subscription or membership-based models. These can be offered on weekly, monthly or yearly schedules. Designed well, these may mean that you make less money on the service initially, but they tend to result in a higher retention of customers. Too many underestimate the cost of acquiring a new customer vs retaining an existing one. Your first focus on revenue growth should be on your existing customers and finding ways to incorporate recurring revenue into your business can be an excellent way to do this. I’m going to go deeper into this topic next month, but some examples are:

  • Online training programs
  • Group classes
  • Private training sessions
  • Renting your space if you have a facility

Add Complementary Services
These are the services that are offered in addition to any of your business's core services. This is a great option to focus on growing revenue through existing customers. It’s an easy way to increase the average transaction amount/client on a specific service while providing added value to your clients. Some great ideas for dog training are:

  • Behaviour assessments
  • Specialty training classes
  • Add-ons for day school such as enrichment, cooperative care, brain games, tricks, etc.
  • Training videos
  • Hosting events

Don’t’ forget products - treats, training tools or other items that would help your client with training their dog are a simple way to increase revenue through an existing service.

Price Increases
Finally, you should be reviewing your pricing strategy at least once a year and considering increases. When things are in high demand, if you have waitlists and can’t keep up, it’s a sign to raise prices. For any services that clients use regularly, you will want to give at least a 30-day notice. For other services, such as complementary services, you can easily increase as needed. 

Too often, business owners are worried that if they raise their prices, they will lose clients. Yes, you may see some leave, but if they are leaving strictly for financial reasons, they are not your ideal client to begin with. Plus, when experiencing high demand, price increases can help lessen the load, without losing the revenue. I often consider ways to decrease the demands on myself or team and increase revenue, and price increases can be a great way to do this. 

Make 2022 the year that you get your business working for you. Consider some of the ideas above, take one that you can easily implement and start it this month. For those that require more of a time investment, plan and start chunking out the time now. Your time is not likely to become freer, so make an effort to start the work now and enjoy the benefits sooner.

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