A special report from Womply Research

How do online reviews impact revenue for pet services?

If you've read our full report, you've already got a sense for just how important review sites are for local businesses. But what about pet services like pet grooming, boarding, veterinarians, and the like?

Are reviews more (or less) influential on revenue for pet service businesses than other types of businesses?

Impact of Reviews on Revenue page masthead graphic. A special report from Womply Research.

To understand the correlation between reviews and revenue for pet service businesses, Womply's data science team conducted an in-depth analysis of transactions and online review data for more than 4,500 pet service businesses in every state.

Key findings include

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Pet service businesses that claim their free listings on 3 or more review sites earn 24% more revenue

Pet service businesses that don't reply to any reviews earn 12% less revenue

5-star rated pet service businesses serve earn below-average revenue—the sweet spot is 4.0 to 4.9 stars

Pet service businesses with more than the average number of reviews bring in 32% more in annual revenue

Pet services whose total number of reviews are 20 to 25% negative earn 18% more annual revenue than those whose reviews are 0 to 10% negative

Go deeper by reading our analysis for businesses in a different industry.

Claiming free listings

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Pet services that claim their listing on multiple review sites make more money

Key findings include

Pet service businesses that claim their free listings on at least 3 review sites earn 24% more revenue

Pet service businesses that don't claim their listing on any review sites earn 25% less revenue

19% of pet services haven't claimed any of their review site listings

Google is the most important review site for pet service businesses to claim their listing

The average annual revenue across all pet service businesses (veterinarians, groomers, boarding places, etc.) in our study was $590,000. As with all business in our study, we wanted to start our analysis on the importance of review sites on revenue at pet service businesses by first focusing on simple acts like claiming your free profile on prominent review sites.

As you can see above, claiming listings is extremely important for local pet service businesses. Those who don't claim their profile on any of the major listing sites earn 25% less revenue than the average pet service business in our study.

Pet service businesses who claim even just one review site profile, meanwhile, earn 1% more than average, and those who claim three or more earn 24% more than the average pet service business in our study.

When pet service businesses claim their free listing on review sites, they can reply to reviews, add helpful information about their business, and plenty of other things that clearly make an impact on potential customers and clients.

To see how much of an impact this might make on revenue for pet service businesses, look at the results this way—those who follow the simple practice of claiming their free listing on three or more of the major review sites (Google, Yelp, Facebook, etc.) earn an astounding $288,000 more each year than those that don't claim any.

More customers use Google to find pet service businesses of all kinds, which is likely why pet service businesses are most severely impacted by claiming or not claiming their Google listing.

But, as you can see, pet service businesses who don't claim their free listing on any of the major review sites are leaving money on the table.

Go deeper by reading our analysis for businesses in a different industry.

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Replying to reviews

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People spend more money at pet service businesses that reply to reviews

Key findings include

69% of pet service businesses don't respond to any reviews

Pet service businesses that respond to more than 25% of their reviews earn 30% more than average

Pet services that don't reply to any reviews earn 12% less in annual revenue

Pet service businesses that respond to even just one review earn 12% more than average

It's clearly important for pet service businesses to claim their listings on as many review sites as possible, but they should also focus on engaging their customers via reviews.

69% of pet service businesses in our study hadn't responded to even a single review, which goes to show just how few businesses are taking advantage of this beneficial practice.

Let's see how responding to reviews impacts revenue for pet service businesses.

As you can see above, pet service businesses who don't respond to reviews earn 12% less than average. Pet service businesses who responded on a more regular basis, up to 25% of the time, earn 24% more than average.

As the reply rate climbs to above 25%, revenue increases to 30% more than average, before dipping slightly when review reply rate climbs over 50%. This is likely because pet service businesses with larger response rates are newer businesses with fewer total reviews.

This becomes clear when you look at revenue by total number of review responses:

69% of pet service businesses don't respond to reviews at all, but among those who do reply to reviews, the average total number of reviews they respond to is 16. But, as you can see, pet service businesses only stand to benefit by engaging with their customers online.

Those businesses who respond to even just one review earn 12% more than average, and you can see the averages climb quickly the more frequently a pet service business responds to reviews.

By the time you get to pet service businesses who reply more than 35 reviews, they are earning an impressive $336,000 more each year than average.

When it comes to responding to reviews, it's clear that pet service businesses should focus primarily on giving genuine responses to both negative and positive reviews.

Go deeper by reading our analysis for businesses in a different industry.

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Star ratings

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How much does star rating impact revenue for pet service businesses?

Key findings include

Pet service businesses with a rating between 4.0 and 4.9 stars earn the most revenue

5-star pet service businesses earn 42% less than the average

Pet service businesses with a 4.0 to 4.5-star rating earn 8% more than average

Only 2% of pet service businesses have lower than a 3-star rating

Now that we've discussed things that a pet services business owner can control when it comes to review sites, let's examine the effects of the reviews themselves. We'll begin with what many pet service business owners consider the most important part of their online presence—their overall star rating.

The chart below illustrates how much the average star rating matters to revenue at pet service businesses.

As you can see, average star rating doesn't have a particularly clear impact on revenue for pet service businesses.

Pet services with a 4.0 to 4.5 rating earn the most. But at only 8% more than average, a high rating doesn't appear to have as much of an impact on revenue for pet services as it does for businesses in other industries.

On the lower end of the spectrum, pet service businesses with a star rating of 2.9 or lower earn the least, 19% less than average. But it's important to note that only 2% of the pet service businesses in our analysis fall into this category.

Pet services with a perfect 5-star rating, on the other hand, earn a shocking 42% less than average. This is likely partially a factor of the vast difference in average revenue at pet service businesses like veterinarians vs groomers. But, as is likely the case with 5-star businesses across all industries, a perfect rating can also make a business appear untested or that they're using unscrupulous methods like purchasing fake reviews.

91% of pet services have a star rating between 3.0 and 4.9 stars, further suggesting that customers browsing online review sites consider many factors in order to choose between several si

Go deeper by reading our analysis for businesses in a different industry.

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Number of reviews

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How much does the number of reviews matter for pet service businesses?

Key findings include

Pet service businesses with more than the industry average of 71 total reviews earn 32% more in annual revenue than average

Pet service businesses with fewer than the industry average of 71 total reviews earn 15% less in revenue than average

Pet services with 200 reviews or more earn 45% more than the average

An above-average number of reviews on Google has the largest positive impact on revenue of all review sites

Pet service business owners often stress about their star rating, but as we explain in the section above, chasing a perfect star rating isn't necessarily the best way to increase revenue.

On the other hand, our findings suggest that pet service business owners should perhaps focus on increasing their total number of reviews than just about anything else.

Pet service businesses in our analysis average a combined 71 reviews per business across all review sites. So we started by analyzing revenue at pet service businesses whose review counts fall above and below that average 71-review threshold.

As suspected, total number of reviews appears to impact revenue at pet service businesses.

Those who have more than the average 71 reviews earn 32% more in annual revenue than the average pet service business.

Those with fewer than the average total number of reviews, meanwhile, earn 15% less.

Looking closer at the numbers helps further clarify the relationship between the number of reviews and average revenue for pet service businesses.

Pet services with 25 reviews or fewer earn 33% less than average, and those with up to 50 reviews still earn less than the average pet service business.

Once pet service businesses get into the 51 to 70-review range is when revenue starts to rapidly climb above the average.

Then, as you can see, the more reviews a pet service business gets, the more money they earn.

Average revenue jumps all the way to a 36% increase when you get to the 100 to 200 review range, and climbs even higher from there. To emphasize how important a lot of reviews can be for pet service businesses, those with more than 200 reviews earn 45% more than average.

This strongly suggests that when a customer searches online for pet services like veterinarians, pet stores, groomers, pet day care, and the like, a large number of reviews may outweigh a high star rating.

Once again Google is clearly the most important review site for pet services, as those with an above-average review count on the site earn 33% more than average.

Either way you look at it, though, pet service business owners would be wise to get as many reviews on as many sites as possible.

Some pet service business owners may worry that pushing for reviews may expose them to getting more bad reviews, but as we'll explain in a section below, bad reviews can actually be a good thing.

Go deeper by reading our analysis for businesses in a different industry.

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Fresh vs stale reviews

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Fresh reviews are crucial for pet service businesses

Key findings include

Pet service businesses average 8.5 fresh reviews (posted in the last 90 days)

Locations with more than 8 fresh reviews earn 33% more than average

Pet service businesses with no fresh reviews earn 30% less than average

Pet service businesses with 9 to 20 fresh reviews earn 34% more than average

The number of reviews a pet service business has on review sites is clearly important, but how important is the "freshness" of those reviews?

The average total number of fresh reviews, (defined as reviews posted within the past 90 days) per pet service business in our analysis was 8.5.

In order to see how much fresh reviews affect a pet service's revenue, we analyzed pet service businesses that had received fewer or greater than 8.5 reviews in the past 90 days.

As you can see above, getting new reviews is perhaps even more important for pet service businesses than amassing a lot of total reviews.

Pet service businesses who don't bring in any fresh reviews in the past 90 days earn 30% less revenue than average. Getting more than the average number of new reviews, on the other hand, correlates with a significant 33% increase in revenue.

A closer look shows the importance of fresh reviews for pet services.

Pet service businesses with up to 4 fresh reviews earn 19% less than average, but those with just slightly below the average number of 8.5 earn 9% more.

Pet services with more than 8.5 fresh reviews all average significantly more than the average pet service business. And there is not a big difference between those businesses with 9 to 20 fresh reviews and those with 20 or more.

The takeaway here is that pet service businesses should focus on getting a steady stream of real, recent reviews rather than trying to chase a perfect star rating. And, even a handful of fresh reviews clearly holds more weight than a lot of glowing reviews from a year or so ago.

Go deeper by reading our analysis for businesses in a different industry.

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Impact of negative reviews

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Customers expect to see negative reviews for pet service businesses

Key findings include

13% of the average pet service businesses's reviews are negative

Pet service businesses whose reviews are 5 to 10% negative earn 11% more than average

Pet services whose reviews are 0 to 5% negative earn 13% less than average

Pet service businesses whose reviews are 20 to 25% negative still earn more than average

It's clearly important to get a steady stream of fresh reviews, but how important is the ratio of positive to negative reviews?

On average, 13% of the reviews posted about a given pet service business were negative. This makes pet service businesses one of the more positively-reviewed industries in our study.

Does this mean revenue at pet service businesses is more or less impacted by a large number of negative reviews? Let's find out.

As the charts above reveal, pet service businesses appear to be slightly more impacted by a large number of negative reviews than other industries.

As is the case with other industries, however, pet service businesses with a healthy mix of good and bad reviews earn the most on average. The ideal spot is a negative review rate between 5 and 20%. Pet service businesses whose reviews are 5 to 10% earn the most, 11% more than average.

Pet services whose reviews were 75 to 100% negative earn 27% less than average, which is a larger drop than similarly rated businesses across all industries.

Pet service businesses whose reviews were only 0 to 5% negative earn 13% less than average. This suggests that while customers browse pet service business listings on review sites, they likely expect to see some negative reviews. In fact, many customers actively seek out negative reviews first, and a business with little or no negative reviews might appear untested or even a little "too good to be true."

Our takeaway: pet service businesses that focus on getting as many real and authentic reviews as possible reap the rewards.

Go deeper by reading our analysis for businesses in a different industry.

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Kindest and harshest states for reviews

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Where in the U.S. are consumers kindest (and harshest) to pet service businesses in reviews?

Next we analyzed online reviews at a state-by-state level to see which parts of the country are kindest (and harshest) in their reviews of pet services.

*Note: Alaska, Vermont, and Rhode Island are not included as there was insufficient pet service business data in those states.

rank state positive review rate
FL TX NM AZ AK CA NV UT CO OR WA ID HI OK MT WY ND SD NE KS MN IA MO AR LA MS AL GA SC IL WI MI IN OH TN KY NC WV VA PA NY ME VT NH RI CT NJ DE MD MA DC

Pet services in South Dakota were the best-reviewed in the country, with pet service businesses in the state averaging a positive review rate of 94%. Wyoming, Minnesota, Nebraska, and Delaware followed close behind to round out the top five.

As we mentioned earlier in the report pet service businesses are among the best reviewed industries in our study, and were well-reviewed across the country. Even the bottom two states, Nevada and Colorado, average positive review rates of 85%.

Go deeper by reading our analysis for businesses in a different industry.

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States best at managing online presence

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Where in the U.S. are pet service businesses the best at managing their online presence?

Next we looked at which states' pet service businesses were the best at managing their online presence. We started by analyzing the percentage of pet service businesses in each state that had claimed at least one review site listing.

*Note: Alaska, Vermont, and Rhode Island are not included as there was insufficient pet service business data in those states.

rank state claimed at least one listing
FL TX NM AZ AK CA NV UT CO OR WA ID HI OK MT WY ND SD NE KS MN IA MO AR LA MS AL GA SC IL WI MI IN OH TN KY NC WV VA PA NY ME VT NH RI CT NJ DE MD MA DC

92% of Arizona's pet service businesses in our analysis have claimed at least 1 review site listing, easily claiming the top spot in the country. Illinois, Florida, and New Hampshire were next on the list with 88% of their pet service businesses having claimed at least 1 review site listing.

At the bottom of the list, only 50% of the pet service businesses in our analysis from Idaho have claimed a single listing.

Finally, we looked at how frequently pet service businesses in each state responded to reviews.

rank state responded to at least one review
FL TX NM AZ AK CA NV UT CO OR WA ID HI OK MT WY ND SD NE KS MN IA MO AR LA MS AL GA SC IL WI MI IN OH TN KY NC WV VA PA NY ME VT NH RI CT NJ DE MD MA DC

Pet service businesses in Utah were the most engaged, with 47% of the pet services in the Beehive State having responding to at least one review.

At the other end of the spectrum, only 5% of neighboring Wyoming's pet service businesses had responded to at least one review.

Go deeper by reading our analysis for businesses in a different industry.

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Conclusion

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Conclusion

In the digital age, online reviews are the new word of mouth. Pet services that engage customers online perform better financially than those that don't.

Specifically, pet service businesses experience the best revenue performance when they:

  • Claim all their free business listings on relevant review sites
  • Are actively responsive to customer feedback posted on review sites
  • Get and maintain a star rating between 4.0 and 4.9 on key review sites
  • Receive a steady flow of authentic reviews from real customers
  • Have an authentic review profile, comprised of about 10 to 20% negative reviews

Go deeper by reading our analysis for businesses in a different industry.

Read More

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