Supporting small, local, woman owned businesses vs large corporations...
Our clients believe in supporting a small, local, grass roots, business that is managed by an experienced animal professional, not a tech start-up financed by millions of investment dollars.
We have kept our staff small on purpose. We did expand at one point and had multiple walkers, but the people applying were so poorly qualified to be allowed in someone's home to care for their pets, it took us weeks to find just one walker to take on to train out in the field before we would let them walk clients dogs alone. Honestly, the interviewing process was frightening. Seeing who wants to be a dog walker and why they think they are qualified (because they already have a dog). We feel this is THE most important job out there, we are taking care of a live animal, someone's "baby" we are responsible for their safety and well being and do not take this job lightly. For us this is not a part time gig in between finding a "real" job.
Regarding these new companies that are now everywhere on line and via an app, it seems that the hiring process consists of filling out a multiple choice questionnaire, answering some more questions over the phone, watching a video, and attending an “in person” exam in which the object is to fit three kinds of harnesses to a dummy dog in 3 minute test. Granted, knowing how to put a harness on a dog correctly is important (many owners are out there using incorrect fitting harnesses), but if this is the only hands on training, from years of personal experience, this is not enough. We recently saw a dog walker, walking a dog down the street w/the harness around the dog's neck like a collar. What we have seen happening in the pet industry throughout the years has been very disheartening. Those with no professional dog experience have jumped in because they saw this industry as a way to make money. Pet parents are hiring inexperienced walkers or caregivers expecting to get a pet professional.
Sadly, you get what you paid for, and if the price is too good to be true, it probably isn't worth putting your pets life in the hands of those wishing to get rich off your pet with their more is better philosophy. Google the name of the business you are thinking of hiring and look for pet deaths caused by them, with these big businesses, it's unfortunately not hard to find story after story... http://www.ajc.com/news/national/pet-dies-after-dog-walker-error/KbTHksxT6VuUdjXaFmySYJ/ https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-10-16/wag-the-uber-for-dog-walking-is-drawing-uber-like-scrutinyhttps://nypost.com/2017/12/07/app-hailed-as-uber-for-dogs-keeps-loosing-pups/ https://nypost.com/2017/12/07/app-hailed-as-uber-for-dogs-keeps-loosing-pups/
We are not in competition with these companies as we can only walk a finite amount of dogs per day, we are concerned for the safety of pets whose lives are entrusted to these companies.