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Dog walkers - Do you provide pick-up windows, or exact times?

Discussion in 'Dog Chat' started by venusinlibra, Jan 12, 2020.


  1. venusinlibra

    venusinlibra PetForums Newbie

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    Hi everyone!

    I'm new here, so I hope I'm posting in the right place!

    I've been running my dog walking business for about 9 months now, and it's going well so far!
    However, I could use your advice please! Either from dog walkers or those of you who book dog walkers yourselves!

    I live in a city, and all of my dog walking and visits are done on foot, with walks done around the neighbourhood parks. I walk dogs solo or in pairs, usually for around 30 minutes each. (Though some are 1 hour). My initial clients asked for specific pickup times, and so I've been doing that for them ever since.

    However, I'm now finding that this makes it difficult as I take on more clients. I'm also finding that I have awkward gaps where I'll finish one booking and not have another for 30-60 minutes, which leaves me unable to use my time efficiently.

    What would you recommend I do, moving forward?

    I'd considered setting time "windows" for pickup (for instance, between 11.30 and 1.30 for lunchtime walks, etc.), but I don't know if this will work. Most of the dogs in my area are toy/small breeds, and I'm concerned that giving a 2-hour time window for pick-up might not be feasible, since they may not be able to go much longer than 4 hours at a time without being taken out to relieve themselves?

    TLDR: How do I "stack" daily dog walking and pet visits in a flexible yet fair way?!
     
  2. Cookie393

    Cookie393 PetForums Junior

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    Personally I have group walks with a maximum of 4 dogs with a morning walk at 11am, an afternoon at 1.30pm and later afternoon at 3.30pm. I use a car though and the walks are one hour.

    However, all clients are aware that this flexes slightly depending on traffic and if anything unforeseen happens and everyone is happy.

    I think a 2 hour window is quite large for a 30 min walk (although some people will be fine with that). Can you give an hour window but vary it per client? I find most people are fairly flexible if you give them options. So say that you need to change things slightly and ask which window they would like to be in. That’s what I did once I changed to a car as I was on foot first and did all solo or pairs.
     
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  3. venusinlibra

    venusinlibra PetForums Newbie

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    Thanks so much for your reply! Yeah, that's what I'm thinking too! I really like the idea of varying it per client. So for instance, maybe if a client is looking for a 12pm walk, I could offer a pickup slot of 11.30-12.30 or 12-1, kinda thing?
     
  4. Torin.

    Torin. PetForums VIP

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    @Tillystar, @Teddy-dog, and @StormyThai are the regular members I know of who currently do dog walking, so may be able to give additional perspectives.
     
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  5. StormyThai

    StormyThai Moderator
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    I do solo or training walks.
    My morning shift is between 7am and 11am, and the afternoon is 12pm to 4pm.
    I only offer 1 hour walks and clients are booked in for a set time, if the client isn't happy with that time and I can't rearrange anyone then I refer to another walker.

    I used to let the client decide what time they wanted me but as everyone wants pretty much the same time I found it better for all to have set times so that I could manage my time better.
     
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  6. venusinlibra

    venusinlibra PetForums Newbie

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    Thanks so much for tagging people @Torin I really appreciate that! :D


    This is really helpful, thank you! Your schedule is what I was originally planning to do too - have people booked in at specific times. I live in a kind of creative/techy neighbourhood, so I find that most of my clients have flexible jobs where they work from home when they feel like it, and I've found that people vary in terms of what they need. I'm cool with that in theory, because I like the variety of it too. But as you say, clients tend to all want the same time (the golden 12-1pm, haha), so I think I'll have to figure out some slots and then shuffle clients into them based on their ideal pickup time!
     
  7. Tillystar

    Tillystar PetForums VIP

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    All my clients are happy with pickup anywhere between 10-1pm.
    But again I'm in a van & do group walks.
    So not much advice except you could maybe send a email to all clients explaining now your business is expanding & getting busier that set times ain't available & give them a time slot (maybe 1 1/2 hours?) & see the response!
     
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