Archive for the ‘Your Business’ Category

Dog Sitters: How Many Dogs Should You Have at One Time?

Thursday, April 11th, 2013

dog walkers city mega

The dog sitting and walking business is currently booming particularly in metropolitan areas where owners spend long days at work or travel frequently. The process of hiring one of these professionals should be one that is well thought out and if possible, hired by word of mouth as there is a lot of valuable and reliable information a pet owner can get from referrals.

Although dog sitters made a decent living, committing to only one or two dogs is likely not going to pay the bills and this is why most have numerous clients at one time. It is common for sitters to also have to take care of several pooches all at once so that they can manage theirs and their client’s expectations as well as earn more money.

So how many dogs at one time are too much for the sitter? And as the pet owner, how many other dogs should you allow that sitter to supervise at the same time as yours? Here are some basic guidelines for both pet owners and sitters to follow so that the job remains through and manageable.

Laws of Dog Sitting

Though some regions such as the UK do have strict laws about how many dogs can be sat for or walked at one time, most US regions do not. The unwritten rule in the dog sitting community is that anyone, owner or sitter, can walk or sit for as many dogs as they can safely handle at one time.

Having said that, there will be differing definitions of ‘properly handling’ and the number of dogs in one’s care. It is a dog sitter’s responsibility to ensure that they are giving proper care and attention to each of their client’s pooches and just as with kids, at a certain point if that number is too great, something will be missed and the quality of care will naturally decrease.

Lots of things should be taken into consideration when deciding on how many dogs one should sit for at one time.

The Breed Matters

Just like people, dogs have their own quirks and personalities and not all of the different breeds will mesh well or get along. Some dogs are naturally more aggressive such as American Pit Bull Terriers and when put in the same areas as other breeds, it could be like mixing oil with water. Chances are if you are house sitting for several dogs at one time, the owners have already acclimated the different breeds to one another, but this may not always be case.

Sizing up the Situation

Regardless of how well the dogs in one given area get along, there are other factors that also need to be considered when accepting a dog sitting job. The first is the size and weight of all the dogs that you are expected to sit for.

Larger dogs that are weightier will be more difficult to handle and care for than if you are supervising a room full of poodles, whose average weight is about 5 to 9 pounds. The bigger canines will usually be more challenging unless they are aptly trained and this is especially the case when taking them out for walks.

running dogs

Each dog should have its own lease and take into consideration your own weight against that of the multiple dogs you are sitting for and walking. Even the best trained dogs can become startled or excitable and if they should decide to jet, if your weight isn’t enough to balance the weight of them trying for a fast getaway, you could easily lose control of one or all of them.

It is also important to acknowledge the size of the home in comparison to the number of dogs you will be sitting. Larger dogs should not be contained regularly in small spaces, while smaller, pint size dogs which don’t require as much roaming room or exercise may be perfectly content in an apartment.

Rambunctious dogs have the ability to hurt, even unknowingly, other smaller dogs as well as owners and dog sitters because of their sheer size and weight. If there are a mix of large and small dogs within one habitat they will need to be monitored closely and all should have enough space within the home to roam freely for at least part of the day.

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The Dog Walkers City Mega Membership is now available. Sign up today for a vast number of benefits ranging from premium members profiles to business guides and invoice templates. If you’re looking to be or you are a dog sitter, then this is the only membership you’ll ever need. Find out more here.

Dog Collars for High-end Luxury and Comfort

Monday, February 4th, 2013

Pet owners take very good care of their companions and accessorise them to make them stylish and unique. They purchase exclusive pet accessories to make them comfortable and fashionable. Pet lovers not only buy pet jewellery, but also collars for better control and mobility. All such pet accessories make pets look more beautiful. Today, there are different types of pet accessories available in the market for dogs, cats, fish, birds or other pets. You can easily choose the one that suits your pet in a distinguished manner.

One essential aspect to consider is that pet accessory should not harm your pet in any way. It should be according to your pet’s size, health and physical features. The different pet accessories that are available in the market offer high-end comfort to the pets without harming their skin. Pet boutiques commonly offer collars, purses, necklaces, harnesses, clothing, beds, leashes, bracelets for vests and much more.

However, pet lovers should understand the very requirements of their pets and then purchase pet products. In addition, a pet product should be extremely soft and made up of pure material so that it cannot react with the skin or harm pets in any way.

Dog Collars

Dog Collars

One of the most commonly purchased products is dog collars. Dog collars are perfectly adjustable and available in different shapes and sizes according to the size of the dog. These are available in various designs, soft leather material and are usually hand crafted to reflect exclusivity. Most of the people prefer high-end luxurious pet collars that offer extra padding, durable buckles, many hand set crystals and chrome plated hardware. These exclusive looking dog collars give exceptional look to the dogs. Even people feel well from inside after giving such exclusive gifts to their dogs.

In order to exhibit high-end opulence people buy specially made collars that deliver zing like nothing else. Figuratively, it looks ideal for your small companions! You can see class excellence in design, materials as well as craftsmanship in sophisticated collars. These boast latest fashion trends and exhibits unparallel brilliance & perfection.

Designer Dog Collars

If you want more luxurious pet products and specially dog collars, then online super stores or online pet boutiques are the finest option to consider. They not only provide different types of dog collars, but offer discounts, and other free gifts to their customers.

About Author:-

James Smith is a ghost writer and has written various articles on pet accessories, wholesale pet products, online pet boutiques, pet toys, designer dog clothing, and etc. for many years.

 

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The Dog Walkers City Mega Membership is now available. Sign up today for a vast number of benefits ranging from premium members profiles to business guides and invoice templates. If you’re looking to be or you are a dog sitter, then this is the only membership you’ll ever need. Find out more here.

Promoting Your Dog Walking Business (Offline)

Wednesday, May 16th, 2012

This weeks blog post is a follow from last weeks online advertising guide (If you missed it you can read it here). Today we’ll look at some more traditional forms of advertising and promotion. In last weeks blog post we discussed mainly free techniques, which is what the internet is perfect for. But in the real world advertising for free becomes a bit more challenging. That being said you can still get the word out effectively on a relatively low budget.

I think one of the best ideas I’ve ever heard is utilizing the free advertising already at your disposal – YOU! As a Dog walker I assume you’ll be out in public places walking Dogs a couple of times a day. This is the perfect time and place to advertise, what better place than where other people walk their dogs? Ok so I’ll get to the point here. Go down to your local t-shirt printing shop (or order online) and get a t-shirt made up with your company name and phone number on – in large text, so that people will see it easily. It’s obviously a good idea to make sure the phrase ‘Dog walker’ is on there somewhere but you get the idea! The t-shirt shouldn’t cost more than £10/$15 and after that – free advertising!

Flyers and business cards are the next items you should be getting printed. Even on a budget, these can be printed relatively cheaply and are easy to distribute. If you have a decent printer and know how to use Photoshop or similar software than you can even do this yourself for free (or ask a friend who you think might know what they’re doing). If you have Microsoft office you could use their flyer templates, found here: http://office.microsoft.com/en-us/templates/CT010104295.aspx

 

If you don’t have the know-how, there are websites that you can use to enter your details, choose from a number of templates, and get your flyers/business cards sent to you. Vista Print (http://www.vistaprint.com) is probably the most well known of these sites but there are hundreds of them, or you could use your local printers.

Distributing your flyers and business cards is a matter of being bold and asking anywhere and everywhere you think will be effective. Vets are normally willing to accept flyers, as are pet shops. Ask to put flyers in your local shop windows and on park boards if that’s allowed in your area. Always carry business cards when your out and give one to anyone that’s interested.

Local papers and magazines can sometimes have low cost advertising opportunities. Going down this route will always be a bit of a gamble, and it will be a judgement call on your behalf whether you go for it or not. Personally, I think the smaller the place you live the more effective this will be. Putting an ad in a city paper will probably not be as effective as a cheaper ad in a small town local paper. That being said there will be advertising space and classifieds in almost all papers and magazines so they’re at the least worth having a look at. Business listings in publications like the yellow pages are also worth looking into as they’re sometimes free.

The promotion of any business can be done in a whole range of ways. I think the best thing you can do is be creative and always look out for new opportunities. Word of mouth will probably always be the most effective tool at your disposal so make sure you’re always trying to spread the word about your business.

We hope you’ve found this two parter on promotion useful. Do you have any other advertising techniques that you’ve found effective? What do you think about the ones talked about here? Let us know in the comments…

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The Dog Walkers City Mega Membership is now available. Sign up today for a vast number of benefits ranging from premium members profiles to business guides and invoice templates. If you’re looking to be or you are a dog sitter, then this is the only membership you’ll ever need. Find out more here.

Catchy Dog Walking Business Name Ideas

Tuesday, April 3rd, 2012

dog walkers city mega
Having a catchy name
for your Dog walking business is a must if you want to stand out from the crowd when advertising. Of course in the long run it doesn’t make a difference to the quality of service that you offer, but remember; a catchy name will stick in potential customers head a lot more than a dull one. And if a name’s stuck in someone’s head they’re a lot more likely to think of you and your service in the future.

Running a dog walking directory we’ve seen a few funky and memorably names come through our digital doors. Let’s have a look at some that have stuck out the most…

  • Wiggles & Sniffs
  • Pawsitive Attention Pet Services
  • Unleashed
  • Pet Sit Pros
  • Pet Au Pair
  • Pampered Pets Co.
  • Pampered Pooches
  • The Urban Dog
  • Happy At Home Pet Sitting
  • Purrs & Woofs Pet Sitting
  • Critter Sitters
  • Pooch ‘n Pals
  • Purrrfect Pet Sitting
  • Lucky Paws Pet Care
  • Waggers Daycare
  • Fur-ever Friends
  • Creature Comforts
  • Furry Fella’s Pet Care
  • Paws ‘n Go
  • Happy Bones Pet Sitting
  • Paws On Palm Beach
  • Roll Over Rover

And the list goes on! I hope this gives you some inspiration to come up with something witty and imaginative. If you’re still stuck for ideas you could have a look through our directory at our members names.

You may of noticed that your full name rather than your business name appears on your Dog Walkers City listing at the moment. We’re in the process of amending this at the moment so soon you’ll have the option to choose between your name and your business name.

Got your own ideas or seen some others you want to add to the list? Let us know in the comments…

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The Dog Walkers City Mega Membership is now available. Sign up today for a vast number of benefits ranging from premium members profiles to business guides and invoice templates. If you’re looking to be or you are a dog sitter, then this is the only membership you’ll ever need. Find out more here.

An Interview With A Dog Walker

Monday, March 26th, 2012

Sleeping DogClarissa Dent is a professional dog walker and dog sitter based in South London. With a number of years experience, she has a wealth of knowledge about the industry, and tells us how she made the transition from a part-time dog walker, to a fully functioning, profitable business owner in the space of 12 months. 

Clarissa’s goal is to provide your pets with loving and attentive care and she strives everyday to succeed in providing her human and pet clients with the best quality, stress-free service possible. Clarissa believes in systems and routines to make sure the dogs are safe and secure in their surroundings, her pet care expertise will ensure that your loved ones receive the best care possible while you are away!

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What prompted you to start a dog walking and dog sitting business?

My brother in law runs a veterinary practice in Kensington, and from visiting from time to time with my own dog, I became aware of the huge demand for professional dog walkers and dog sitters. I was amazed at how many people require someone to look after their pet, for whatever reason it be, and saw the potential in turning a hobby, into something I could make a living from. As an avid dog lover, I have always been fond of dogs and have a dog myself, an Affenpinscher called Archie, who I walk everyday. So the transition into looking after somebody else’s dog seemed to come naturally, as I already had experience. I thought ‘how hard can it be’? From here, I started looking after friend’s dogs from time to time, and then later started to get recommendations from my brother in law, when people would ask him if he knew anyone to look after their dog. It naturally progressed to the point where I started to build up a client base and gain more and more confidence, and it occurred to me that this wasn’t just something I could do part time, if I focussed all of my attention to this, I could make serious money from doing something I love! And now, I couldn’t be happier, it has changed my life considerably.

What do you enjoy most about dog walking / sitting?

Well, what is there not to love about walking dogs through a grassy field on a summers day, with smiling faces looking up at you?! I enjoy the freedom it gives me, the outdoor lifestyle, but most importantly, the array of characters and personalities I get to deal with on a daily basis. Every dog is unique, every dog has it’s own quirks and nuances, and to be honest, I have a lot of fun, and I hope the dogs do too!

Are there any negatives of being a professional dog walker / sitter?

To be perfectly honest, I can’t say that there are many negatives at all! The only thing that I personally find is that I often get attached to other people’s dogs, and am sad to see them leave! Luckily for me, the majority of my clients are regular, so I get to see them all again!

Where are your favourite places to take dogs around the London area?

I generally tend to alternate between Battersea Park and Wandsworth common, both of which have large open spaces, but are also more than just a ‘patch of grass’ – the dogs can roam around and follow all of the natural smells and rummage around in the undergrowth, rather than just running around a field.

The pet sitting industry is growing immensely, do you think it will continue to grow and what will that growth mean to the industry?

I see and meet more and more people every day who are doing this for a living. I used to be one of the only ‘dog walkers’ on the common (apart from dog owners, of course!), but now there are many people who are profiting from this line of work. So, yes, I have seen the growth first hand, and it is a real boost to the economy, and a boost to general self esteem, as more and more people have the ‘get up and go’ to make money in a tough financial climate. This consequently results in more competition, but the industry itself is quite personal and friendly, not corporate and cut-throat, so I think people generally just get on with it. I never feel as though someone will ‘steal’ my clients, and it’s always a pleasure to stop and talk to other dog walkers and sitters and share experiences with them. 

How does a dog walker / sitter manage different dogs, all with different characters and temperaments?

I don’t think there’s a definite answer to this question, as no two dogs are alike. From my experience, structure is paramount, I believe routine and consistency when caring for any pet is really important, so the dogs familiarise themselves and feel comfortable from the start. I tend to ask the owners details about feeding times and walk times, and generally try to stick to what the dog is used to, therefore preventing the likelihood of any abnormal behaviour due to changing the dog’s routine. Remember, no two dogs are the same, so never presume you know how the dog will behave, try to get as much information from the owner as possible, as they know their dog better than anyone. 

What sets you apart from other dog walkers / sitters?

Well, I think my years of experience definitely work in my favour, as I have built strong working relationships with my clients, and trust is the most important thing in this industry. People feel safe leaving their dog with me, and I feel confident that I will take good care of them and return them safely and happily to their owners. Also, I feel the family connections with the Veterinary Practice give added security to my clients, as if anything did happen, I have a professional to turn to – thank god it has never come to that but it’s good to know!

What advice do you have for dog owners who are using a dog walker / sitter for the first time?

Ask, ask and ask again! Never feel embarrassed to ask as many questions about the person who is looking after your dog. Ask for references, whether they have insurance and speak to their previous clients in person, as this is the best way to find out about their experience. Don’t always go for the cheapest option, as this may not always be the best. Think about WHAT kind of person and environment you want your dog to be in…some sitters board many dogs at a time, others offer a more personal, private service where your dog may get more one-on-one time. This is up to you, so think about it and try to find the appropriate person for your dog.

What advice can you give to people thinking about starting their own dog walking / sitting business?

I would say go for it, you have nothing to loose! But remember, it’s a full time job that requires skill, patience and commitment. Not everybody can do it, you may think ‘looking after dogs is easy’, which to a certain extent, it can be, but there is a difference in walking someone’s dog as a one off, and running a professional business. There is no room for complacency, you have to be attentive and confident that people can rely on you. You have to give each and every dog the same amount of love and care, unconditionally. After all, the success of your business is down to your reputation, if you start to get slack, this will affect your ability to care for a dog and will show through. People will not feel comfortable leaving their beloved pet in your care. Lastly, enjoy it and have fun! Not everyone gets the opportunity to care for such amazing animals, so respect that and get the most out of it as you can. My philosophy is “I’m doing something I love, and the money comes second”, not the other way around.

Lastly, please can you share a story from your dog walking career?

There are so many to choose from! One story, however, seems to stick with me – I was looking after a small Jack Russell for a week, and took her out to the countryside with my own dog to visit family, who happen to have chickens. After a glorious walk, we returned back and the dog somehow found her way through the chicken fencing to the horror of my sister! Unfortunately, she made the most of this experience and killed one of the chickens! Lets just say my sister was not best pleased….not as pleased as the dog anyway! 

Visit Clarissa’s profile on Dog Walkers City here, or visit her website at: www.dogsittingsouthwestlondon.com

Would you answer any of these questions differently? Or do you have anymore questions you’d like us to ask Clarissa? Let us know in the comments…

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The Dog Walkers City Mega Membership is now available. Sign up today for a vast number of benefits ranging from premium members profiles to business guides and invoice templates. If you’re looking to be or you are a dog sitter, then this is the only membership you’ll ever need. Find out more here.

Optimizing Your Dog Walkers City Listing For More Exposure

Tuesday, March 20th, 2012

Signing up to Dog Walkers City is quick, easy and free, and I’m sure most of you have already signed up (if not you can do so here). Whether you have or haven’t, there are a few things you can do to optimize your listing to maximize your chances of being found by a potential customer. Let’s have a look at what you can do…

If you’ve already signed up you will need to login to the members area to edit your details. You can do this in the top right hand corner of the homepage. You’ll need to make sure your on your countries version of Dog Walkers City by checking the flag (US or UK) next to our logo in the top left hand corner. If you need to switch, simply click the flag.

Once you’ve logged in you can edit your details. The first thing to remember is to capitalise the first letters of your name and company name. The company name is one of the factors that is used when someone searches for a Dog walker or sitter so try and make it as descriptive as possible.

Although it is optional, I highly recommend adding your phone number to your listing. A lot of people will need to hire someone as quick as possible and someone who has a phone number on their listing could be quicker to get hold of than using the message system.

Your city/town section should be filled out as accurately as possible. This is another of the factors used when searching so try to think in the mind of the searcher. For example, ‘South West London’ is a lot more accurate than just ‘London’ but you could even just provide your borough, e.g. ‘Chelsea’.

The description is one of the most important sections of your listing. It will give someone an instant idea of what your about and what to expect from you. Try to be friendly, honest and accurate in your description. Breaking the text down into small paragraphs is a good idea as it reads easier. I recommend filling out this section, clicking update, then searching for yourself from the homepage to see how your description looks. If it fits well, great!

Next you should make sure you’ve uploaded a profile photo. It’s surprising how many people don’t but it does help your listing stand out from the crowd. Whether it’s a photo of you, your dog, or your companies logo doesn’t matter, but a bright, colourful photo will stand out from the crowd!

The final thing that’s important to optimize are your area tags. This is another search factor, and one of the most important. Again, try to get into the mind of the potential customers that are searching on Dog Walkers City. It’s a good idea for one of the area tags to be as concise as possible (e.g. your area) and other to be as broad as possible (e.g. the county or city as a whole).

Optimizing your listing on Dog Walkers City can be done in 5 minutes and it’s really worth the time.  

What do you think of your listing on Dog Walkers City? Is there anything we could add? or remove? Are you happy with how the system works? Let us know in the comments…

The Dog Walkers City Mega Membership is now available. Sign up today for a vast number of benefits ranging from premium members profiles to business guides and invoice templates. If you’re looking to be or you are a dog sitter, then this is the only membership you’ll ever need. Find out more here.

Finding Dog Walkers – An Issue Of Trust?

Tuesday, March 13th, 2012

I’ve recently come across a few issues concerning the trust of dog walkers and sitters expressed in some of the dog forums I frequently visit. It’s an interesting issue and one that we talked about when Dog Walkers City first began development. In fact, we asked the members of these same forums whether they would use – and ‘trust’ – the internet when searching for someone to look after their beloved pet. The answer was resounding yes – with a few preconditions.

Those conditions included interviewing the dog walker before hiring them, seeing proof of insurance and joining in on a walk with the walker and some other dogs (including your own) for a first hand experience of how they work. In my opinion, all of these are a good idea – especially the latter – and caution should always be exercised when trusting a complete stranger with your dog.

The forum issues I’m talking about can be found here and although it is worrying that this sort of thing happens, it seems to be extremely rare considering the amount of Dog walkers there are around. Like any profession, sadly you will get people who don’t take their job and responsibilities seriously enough.

All that being said, I think once you’ve taken the above steps to ‘screen’ a potential Dog walker/sitter you will get a strong idea of whether they’re suitable or not. The main point is simply not to just let anyone look after your pet.

When we were first designing Dog Walkers City our first thoughts on the subject were to include a ratings system (which we have), in which people could rate their Dog walkers out of five. Admittedly, we have seen one major problem with this approach – anyone can rate. Which means that people seem to be down voting their competition and up voting themselves (although the system works so that from your computer you can only vote for each walker/sitter once).

Although we have racked our brains we can only come with one solution to this problem, which is this; in your members area you set up a unique password/code (separate to your members area password) that you give to your clients after they’ve used your service. Your clients can then come to Dog Walkers City and rate you but will need to enter your unique code to prove that they’ve used your service. This will stop anyone and everyone rating people unnecessarily.

This will hopefully solve the problem but we are slightly concerned that this is a long winded approach to something that people may not use.

We definitely need your input here on everything we have mentioned in this post, whether you’re a dog walker, a dog sitter or an existing or potential customer. Have you ever had any trust issues? Or how wary would you be when hiring someone to look after your pet? What do you think of the ratings system proposed above? Or do you have any other ideas that would help in this area? Get involved in the discussion using the comments below…

The Dog Walkers City Mega Membership is now available. Sign up today for a vast number of benefits ranging from premium members profiles to business guides and invoice templates. If you’re looking to be or you are a dog sitter, then this is the only membership you’ll ever need. Find out more here.

Dog Walkers City Premium Membership Offer

Monday, February 20th, 2012

If you’ve logged into the members area at Dog Walkers City recently you may have noticed that we will soon be launching our premium membership package. This package has a number of great features that are sure to further your Dog walking business. To see exactly what we’re offering, simply sign into your account and click the ‘Upgrade’ tab.

Before we launch this package, we need to test the premium membership to make sure everything is working properly and to do that we need your help! We’re going to be giving away a number of free lifetime memberships (usually worth £5/$8 per month) to anyone who lends us a hand. That means if you help us out you can become a free premium member for life!

To get your free lifetime membership all you have to do is link to us (http://www.DogWalkersCity.com) from your website. It’s as simple as that!

So if you want to be participate, simply link to our website from yours then send us a quick message (http://www.dogwalkerscity.com/contact.html) telling us your email address and the page you’ve linked to us from and we’ll upgrade your account.

Remember, the premium membership has a load of great features that are sure to get you more customers, and we have a lot more planned for the future! This offer won’t last long so if you’re interested please act quickly!

Dog Walking Rates

Monday, February 13th, 2012

dog walkers city mega

One of the first obstacles a professional dog walker has to overcome is to set his or her rates. It can be hard to decide where to start and searching online can bring a whole range of results. There’s a few things to bare in mind when working out your price list, and a few variables that should effect your decision. Lets have a look at some of them…

First of all, starting off low is always better than starting high for a new dog walker/sitter. Especially if your initial clients are friends and family. Getting the word out that your rates are cheap is a great way to get new customers. Once you’re more established and have a fair sized customer base you can think about putting your prices up.

Let’s take a look at some average rates for walking one dog (in US dollars and UK pounds):

 

½ hour walk: $15/£10

1 hour walk: $25/£15

 

If you are being hired for multiple days during the week you could should add an extra discount as follows:

 

5 ½ hour walks: $60/£40 (works out as one day free/20% off)

5, 1 hour walks: $100/£60 (works out as one day free/20% off)

 

Remember, these rates will fluctuate in different areas and countries. For example if you live in a large city (New York, LA, London, Manchester) you could add an extra 20% on to these rates, depending on the competition in your area.

You should also charge for any food, treats, bathing and any other extras you provide. Make sure you price these extras accordingly so that they’re worth your time.

Do you agree with these rates? What do you charge and what do you charge extra for? Let us know in the comments! If you haven’t signed up to Dog Walkers City yet head to our homepage by clicking here.

The Dog Walkers City Mega Membership is now available. Sign up today for a vast number of benefits ranging from premium members profiles to business guides and invoice templates. If you’re looking to be or you are a dog sitter, then this is the only membership you’ll ever need. Find out more here.