I am probably one of the few professional dog walkers who welcome the Uber-like services for dog walkers.
Instead of competition, I see them as calling attention to the need. For many years, dogs have had to “hold it” until someone got home. For too long, dogs have not gotten proper exercise. As work demands intensified, our precious pets paid the price.
Online app-based dog-walking services spend a tremendous amount of money to advertise and ensure the top spot in any Google search. What they will never be able to offer is the sense of relief that our customers have, knowing someone professional who really cares about their furry friend is coming day in/day out and entering their home. You can’t buy love or trust.
Some of my comrades think the solution lies in licensing dog walkers in the state. They want dog walkers to have to purchase pet-sitter insurance, be bonded, be background-checked, have a SSN or EIN, and complete a pet-sitter education course or certification. They hope this will cut down on the numbers of hobbyists available online. In my opinion, licensing will add another expense, another layer of bureaucracy to our plate, and an unnecessary headache. As it stands now, we reap the benefits of ongoing education without the requirement.
I fully expect these online services will implode under the weight of their crushing marketing budgets. This is not a sustainable business model. Someday, investors are going to want to see profits. And when that day comes, the marketing will stop or decrease.
It is extremely difficult to find good people and keep them so, I vigorously vet them and when a good one comes along, I pay them well for their work. My contractors get raises for awesome reviews. Hobbyists are going to graduate, find other employment, and move on. It’s a numbers game for the big companies. They hire thousands, pay them poorly, and expect them to compete for business.
When you spend money with one of these corporate giants, you are sending your money outside of the local economy (at least part of it). If you use a local small business, you are keeping your funds in our local economy where we can hopefully help each other. You are also be more likely to support women in business. In fact, Pet Sitters International recently surveyed their members and estimated 81.4% of pet-sitting businesses are owned solely by women.
At Sit. Stay .Grow., we always have your pet’s best interest in mind, not quotas.