The Pet Rental Business


The basic idea of a pet rental business was probably around for a long time before anyone tried it. Some people don't have the time nor desire to commit to full-time guardianship of a pet, so why not let them have a week-end pet, or just share a few days monthly with one? So far there is only one major company doing this, and only with dogs, but they offer the service in New York, Los Angeles, and London, and have plans to expand to Paris and other cites.

At first glance, it seems like a terrible idea to have a dog moved from home to home. Even after researching the subject, I am skeptical of claims that this is healthy for the animals, but perhaps it isn't fair to compare the situation to some ideal world, rather than the reality. If it's true (as at least one company claims) that the dogs used are rescued from shelters where they presumably might have been put to death, and that they are first prepared and socialized so they enjoy being shared by several people, it may not be so bad. I'm not entirely convinced that making animals a commodity in this way won't lead to abuses, but I still like to report on every way to make money that is interesting, and this certainly qualifies.

How Much Can You Make?

I couldn't get any revenue or profit figures from pet rental companies, but the rates they charge are high, so a decent profit must be possible. For example, FlexPets charges a monthly membership fee of $99.95, and then $45.00 per day with a minimum of four days per month. That's a minimum of about $280 monthly for each part-owner, before other expenses. There is a $25 drop-off fee, for example, and a $75 charge if a pet is returned late. They also charge $150 for an "in-home training/introduction session" when a customer first signs up.

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Fish tank rentals, provided complete with fish and regular cleaning, seem like a better idea to me. Fish almost certainly don't suffer as much as dogs from being moved, given that their whole environment is moved with them.

Qualifications / Requirements

The business may not be regulated in many areas, but of course compliance with animal welfare laws is required. Liability insurance seems a must, since a client is sure to sue at some point for the destruction of their leather couch by a rental dog.

First Steps

Consider carefully if you want to be involved with a business that is questionable ethically (at least for some of us), and may even be legislated against in the future. Massachusetts has outlawed the renting of dogs and cats, and other states or cities are likely to follow.

Resources - A dog rental company.

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