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Boarders: Occupancy Rate?

asked 2015-01-02 12:44:11 -0500

What's your average monthly occupancy rate? Meaning, how many nights out of how many available nights are you booked?

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I'm usually open for bookings unless I take myself off the calendar. You could have sits almost every week if you promote yourself. I've built up some regulars so I'm pretty busy lately. There are times of the year that are very busy around holiday season, summer and spring. Then there are slow times during February. If you promote your services to retired people who travel they fill in the slow times when everyone else is on a schedule based on school holidays.

Penny B.'s profile image Penny B.  ( 2015-08-26 22:39:44 -0500 ) edit

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answered 2015-01-11 16:52:27 -0500

I am marked as available throughout the year, unless I purposely go in and block off a date or two for my own personal reasons. Otherwise I am always available, UNLESS I am already booked for said dates. Obviously Rover automatically updates my calendar for days I am booked full.

I was curious after reading your post, so I just jotted down the days of 2014 on a sheet of paper and highlighted the dates I had at least one dog in my home with me (2014). I was booked for 82% of 2014. 300 days out of 365 I had at least one rover dog in my home (this isn't including a lot of the dog walking/doggie daycare I do in my community outside of Rover). Looking at the sheet, there are several bare patches where I did not work (possibly because I was busy, or I simply had no bookings). I had no bookings from JAN 11th-FEB 6th, which is right after the Christmas/Holiday/New Year rush, where most people are returning to work and not taking vacation. I also had a no booking period from FEB 10-19. My next breaks in bookings are MAY 18-21, I went out of town, and JUN 1-5, also out of town. I didn't have another break until SEP 2-14. My final break of the year was from NOV 8-13, and that was for personal reasons. There is obviously a break in September, because that's when people stop vacationing from the summer and their children go back to school, and parents go back to work.

It really depends on the time of the year, and the demand in your area. I live in a very dog savvy city, and so are the surrounding cities, so there are a lot more people in demand for a sitter. We used to foster often, so having extra furry feet running around isn't anything we aren't already used to. Also if you compare JAN 2014, and what I've completed so far in JAN 2015, there is already a tremendous difference in how busy I am. Simply because I am more established in my area than I was a year ago. Majority of my bookings are repeated clients, and most of them I did not have back then. As time passes, and the more experienced you become, you'll be swatting away clients with a broom! I almost feel bad turning away parents, because I have a limit that I can take at one time. Of course during the summer and holidays we are able to take more dogs because the kids are out of school, and I'm more available to care for the dogs, but during the school year we cut back on how many dogs we have because we are more busy. Our home feels incomplete without at least one dog with us, plus my Binky needs playmates. She gets depressed and sluggish when she's ... (more)

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answered 2015-01-02 13:15:05 -0500

We usually host 1-2 dogs per month, which is just about what we're aiming for. We're listed available about half the time, since I update my calendar based on my work schedule (I work 3 12s per week, including every other weekend). My partner is a student, so he is generally gone 4-6 hours on school days, so we try not to take new dogs on school days when I'm at work. We're more active around the holidays when he's on break. Unfortunately we had to stop for a few weeks over the summer months because of a particularly bad allergy season. We're both very mildly allergic to dogs, and it generally it doesn't impact our sitting unless our seasonal allergies are going nuts, too. We had a couple dogs in a row in late June that made us both miserable to the point that we could barely stay in the house with them (good for outdoor time, bad for anything else you need to get done), so we had to cancel a couple pending meet and greets and missed out on a few opportunities in July and August. We resumed sitting at the end of August and almost immediately started getting new requests.

I find requests tend to come in spurts.. it seems we'll get a handful within a couple days, and then nothing for a couple weeks. We're not actively advertising outside of Rover since we're already hosting about as much as we'd like.

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answered 2015-01-03 22:19:04 -0500

From May-August I think we had about a total of 2 full weeks (spread throughout) where we didn't have dogs! We were crazy busy and most of those days we had multiple dogs. We slowed down from September until Thanksgiving week and we've had dogs every day from then until January 5th. We'll slow down again until Spring break with only one booking for February as of right now. We cherish the slow months just because it gets very busy very fast! The most we took during the summer was 6 and that is the number we had over Christmas.

We only have ourselves marked as unavailable during our own personal vacation times.

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answered 2015-01-11 19:44:01 -0500

Thanks for the replies! I was just curious to see if my booking rate was comparable to others, and it sounds like it is. I've been boarding for the past 10+ years, but really started to get busy September 2014 when I began more advertising and joined Rover. Since then, my booking rate has been somewhere in the 80-85% range. My longest break (i.e. empty house) since September has been four days.

Isabella-- great thoughts on the slow times of year! Very logical, and not something I had considered. I prefer to serve one household at a time, so I often have to deal with telling owners "no" (once a day is taken, it's gone for anyone else). I'm right with you: I hate it! It's nice being able to refer them to Rover, though. Which leads me to...

Danielle-- WOW! How do you handle six dogs at once?! I don't mind multiples, but it's easier if they all come from the same family. I don't feel like I have enough experience to feel comfortable putting unknown dogs together. Our doggies often get very attached to me, as well, so if I ever have to separate them for some reason, they pitch a fit. Multiples just adds a lot more chaos to our house, but it does do great things for revenue.

Do you find yourselves... getting weary? When I take dogs it really is like work, and because they live with you, it's like being at work 24/7. I enjoy it for the most part, but I really look forward to my days off! I really have to guard against getting burnt out.

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YES!! Honestly, though, since we don't sit nearly as much as a lot of you do (again, full time employment for me, even if it only means 3 work days per week, and full time student for my partner, so free time is not something we have a ton of anyway), the hardest part is the first couple days with a new dog. After that we get into a groove, and with the two we had over Christmas/New Years, by the end of their stays it kinda felt like we'd always had 4 dogs. The place feels so empty without them! But every time a new dog joins the group, I remember why I only own two. :)

Laura R.'s profile image Laura R.  ( 2015-01-11 20:01:51 -0500 ) edit

I can relate a little bit, Laura. I work two, 12+ hour days (when you count travel time) that are physical with very little down time. My type A personality combined with trainer mentality contribute to the weariness, though. Living with dogs is a lot more intensive for me than most owners.

Leighann H.'s profile image Leighann H.  ( 2015-01-11 21:24:46 -0500 ) edit

I definitely understand taking less dogs when you have multiple dogs yourself! You may only have 2 guests, but you have 4 DOGS! There have been a few times that I have to remind myself that I also have my dog that adds to the occupancy. I started without a dog, so I could take more then versus now.

Isabella R.'s profile image Isabella R.  ( 2015-01-11 23:28:17 -0500 ) edit

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