How To Keep Compliance High During Renewal Season

How To Keep Compliance High During Renewal Season

In our last article (The Benefits of 365 Day Pet Licensing), we discussed how pet licenses have historically expired at the end of each standard calendar year.  Due to this, and the fact that a large portion of pet licensing programs remain on a calendar year schedule (versus 365-day, or mirroring the expiration date of a rabies vaccination), renewal season is typically from mid-November through January. Thus, right now pet licensing is top of mind for many animal welfare organizations with the number of applications increasing dramatically. In order to provide every pet with a safe and happy home, it is critical that the pet owners who have previously purchased a license continue to renew that license each year.

Attracting a new licensee is often much more difficult than marketing to pet owners who have previously seen the value in licensing. Therefore, it is important to keep these pet owners inside the loyalty loop, providing ongoing, annual value to them and their pets. Nevertheless, through our research and consultations, we have found that typically only  65% of pet owners actually do follow through annually.

It’s generally understood that the maximum renewal rate is 92%, with the remaining 8% not requiring renewal due to the pet passing away and/or the pet owner moving out of the jurisdiction. This means that 27% of last year’s revenue is lost simply because pet owners don’t renew as they should. These pet owners are critical to a successful licensing program as they are recognized pet owners who are already aware of the ordinance or by-law requiring that they license.

DocuPet has been successful in increasing renewal rates to a consistent +85% through a number of methods. Below we share a few best practices to help those of you who manage licensing programs boost your results this renewal season!


  1. Tell Each Pet Owner It’s Due. So many municipalities fail to take the time to compile a complete list and send messages to each licensee, letting them know that they need to renew their license. With renewal season well underway, it is essential to make your pet owners aware. Be it via email or mail, the majority of pet owners will need a reminder to know that they need to renew, with clear instructions for how to do it, what it will cost, and when the new license will expire.

  2. Communicate More Than Once. Ever get a single reminder to renew your license plates, and then completely forget to do it until the very last day? We believe that most pet owners don’t jump at the chance to renew a pet license at the first opportunity, but are more likely to follow-through if reminded multiple times. Send emails, letters, and try automated phone calls over a series of weeks leading up to the expiry date. Also be sure to send a message on the expiry date, and be sure to keep messages going out after the date to collect all of the revenue your department or agency is owed, and keep every pet safe.

  3. Make It Easy. Renewing a pet license should be simple in 2018. If you have an online licensing system, make sure that it can handle renewals easily and without the need to re-enter previously provided information. Your renewal communications should include clear instructions for how to license and what information is required to do so. The amount owed should also be included in your communications.

  4. Tell Them Why It Matters. In most jurisdictions, the majority of pet license revenue goes to animal care services at the local shelter. Take the time to communicate the great work being done by your shelter so that each pet owner can learn for themselves that they are improving the value and the condition of the local animal community each time they license. Further, let each of them know that pet license records are used to get lost pets home, often at no cost to the pet owner.

  5. Make It Matter. If you can, partner with local pet stores to offer financial incentives to pet owners who license. Improve your Lost Pet services to assist with the safe and cost-free return of lost animals after business hours. And communicate with pet owners throughout the year letting them know the value of their license, how it helps them, and how it helps the community.

How DocuPet Achieves an 85% renewal rate

DocuPet was formed to increase pet license compliance in North America, and to help achieve this goal we have developed a comprehensive renewal program.

How do we do it?

We follow the best practices described above, certainly, but with a more comprehensive approach for each best practice described. We take it further by ensuring that we communicate with pet owners throughout the year, we provide gift cards and deals at local pet stores, and we tell the stories of pets being returned thanks to our HomeSafe™ program.

Each pet owner receives email communication well in advance of their renewal date. Where we can we also send automated phone calls with one-touch options to connect licensees to our customer service team. We do all of this at no cost to our partners.

Only where we have to, will we send renewal reminders via mail. These can be effective for those who are less inclined to respond to phone and email messages, and necessary in cases where the mailing address is the only contact information on record.

Getting the messages, timings, and processes just right has been a long and systematic process that we continue to optimize. Certainly, this is just one of the many reasons we have been able to increase sales by more than 100% annually across our system.


Let us know if you’d like to learn more about how we do what we do. We’d love to chat any time.

Ready to Boost Renewals?

Learn more about how DocuPet can boost your annual renewal rate to more than 85% each year.