Today’s article is a follow up to last week’s, in which we debunked the myth that license cost is the biggest driver of low compliance in a municipality’s animal licensing program. In fact, there are 4 other separate but interconnected drivers that need to be addressed if your city is going to increase compliance. Today we look at the second driver: convenience.

One of the biggest drivers of low compliance is a lack of convenience. In many municipalities, even in 2017, there is no option to purchase a license for your pet online. Only 15% of municipalities in North America with a population of 100,000 or more have an online functionality for you to purchase from the comfort of your own home.

Is Online An Option In Your City?

15%!! No wonder people aren’t anxious to purchase a license. Even if they know about the legal requirement – which as we saw last week, they don’t – once they find out, they’re quickly let down when realizing they have to go to city hall to purchase in person. AHEM – pardon me, I didn’t realize we were still living in the stone age. The world has seen explosive and exponential growth in technology over the last twenty years, but certain services really lag behind the times.

The thought of bundling up one’s kids in the car, driving downtown to city hall, struggling to find parking, waiting in line, then waiting a little more, all to purchase a pet license(s) and avoid a possible fine, is a headache that many people are not looking to add to their list of ailments. And thus if people can’t do something online, they’re not going to do it. Sometimes it’s not city hall, sometimes it’s a humane society in the industrial outskirts of town.

The Benefits of Online Licensing

Bringing the whole system online provides a plethora of benefits, including but not limited to:

  • Ease of use for pet owners
  • Reducing the time and effort your staff dedicate to processing paper licensing forms manually and offline, allowing them to focus on higher level, value added work
  • Access to a real time licensing database, 24-7, to always see how your municipal licensing program is performing
  • Ability for your by-law officers to access this information in real time in the field, and determine whether of not an animal is licensed
  • The ability for automatic renewals, so people can automatically be billed (reminded first, of course!) that their pet’s license is up for renewal, to year over year compliance stays high and you can focus on licensing new and first time pets

If you make it easier for people, your city will see an increase in compliance. It’s that simple. And one of the easiest ways to make it easier for people is to allow them to purchase a license online, so they can do it in 5 minutes from the comfort of their own home, when it’s convenient for them.

Next week we’ll look at the third driver: Incentive.

Until then, Happy Licensing!

– Kevin