Build Relationships with Local Pet Care Businesses and Rescue Groups - dummies

Build Relationships with Local Pet Care Businesses and Rescue Groups

By Kim Rodgers, Sarah Sypniewski

Talking up dog photography is a heck of a lot easier if you do it in the right places. Do some research to map out all the pet care businesses in your area, including pet boutiques, groomers, dog walking services, and even doggie daycares.

All these businesses have the same clients in mind — dog lovers! Begin by targeting a few businesses you like and try to build a mutually beneficial relationship with them.

Most local small businesses are receptive to cross-promotional relationships as long as you have something good they can offer to their clients (and obviously, your photography is much more than good by this point or you wouldn’t have started this business in the first place).

When it comes to helping others in your community, don’t be stingy. Consider trading your photography services for promotional opportunities for your own business. For instance, approach that brand-new doggie daycare and offer to photograph its facility free of charge if it agrees to hand out your business card to new clients.

Get your business name and logo on your local pet boutique’s monthly “Yappy Hour” promotional material by offering to be the event photographer. Have your web designer friend build your fancy new site in exchange for photographing his dogs. The possibilities are endless; you have a valuable skill that can help others, so use that to everybody’s advantage!

If you’re into animal rescue, you probably already photograph adoptable animals for your local rescue groups, but be sure to offer your support in other ways as well. Consider donating a gift certificate to a rescue group’s next silent auction fundraiser or hold a studio session day in which all proceeds benefit your rescue of choice.

These actions are a fantastic way to give back to the community while also meeting other dog lovers (who may one day become a client).

Keep your eyes open for local pet-related events that you can get involved with. Perhaps your favorite pet boutique is holding a “Howl-o-ween Extravaganza” you can be the official photographer for or maybe there’s a yearly “Bark in the Park” charity event where you can set up a display table.

Los Angeles has no shortage of pet festivals, expos, and adoption fairs, and most major cities across the country are following suit. Break out the newspaper, scour your city blogs, or visit your local pet boutiques to find out which events all the cool canines go to.