Day in the life of
Local Pet Care Company Owner – Ben Doyle
I’m the owner of a local pet care company called Pet Checkers that provides dog walking, pet sitting, dog grooming, and pet photography services.
Working with animals is super fun and as ‘the boss’, my day is made up of lots of different tasks.
A typical day for me is to get up early and go through my emails and calls. I’ll book consultations and meet and greet sessions. Then I’ll go out walking dogs from mid-morning, through midday, and into the afternoon. We find most people want their dogs walking in the middle of the day while they’re out at work. Any photoshoots happen in the late afternoon/early evening.
My wife spends her days dog grooming and we have 8 staff who do most of the walking and pet sitting. So we have to manage them too. There’s plenty of other things to do besides spending our days having fun with all the pets we take care of. Paperwork is one of them!
My wife and I are also responsible for:
- Marketing & Lead Generation – Even though we’ve been in business for 7+ years we still need to bring in new customers.
- Free Consultations – Before taking a new client on, we offer a free consultation to understand their specific needs.
- Client Onboarding – Setting a new client up on our system, assigning them a pet carer, getting the client to sign the relevant paperwork (t&c’s, veterinary release forms, off lead disclaimers, etc.).
- Managing the Schedule – We currently look after around 130 pets a day. All of who need to be visited at specific times and have specific needs. We need to manage this schedule carefully to make sure all clients are well cared for. This schedule can change multiple times a day, if a client changes their schedule, a pet takes ill, or if there’s heavy traffic.
- General Running of the Business – This includes interviewing for staff, health & safety, keeping customer records up to date, hiring new staff, training, and other paperwork like insurance, invoicing, bookkeeping and tax.
A breakdown of my day might look like this:
- 8am: Go through emails and voicemails to see if we need to change the days schedule and sort out any new enquiries
- 8:30am: Make sure the schedule is up to date before team starts their day
- 9am: Call any leads from the day before to arrange consultations with them
- 10am: I’ll go out and walk some dogs and my wife will start grooming
- 3pm: Call each team member to check in with them and make sure things are going smoothly
- 3:30pm: Prepare the paperwork and onboarding forms for the day’s consultations
- 4:00pm: Deal with any other emails and messages, these could be from supplier, accountants, press etc.
- 5.00pm: If there’s any other paperwork, filing, ordering supplies or miscellaneous tasks, we’ll do them now
- 6.00pm: Go out and do the days consultations. We usually have to do these in the evenings when people get home from work
As well all this we need to react to problems that might arise. These might include, pets getting ill or injured, staff taking sick, and any number of other things that could upset our schedule of care.
When we first started Pet Checkers, we had no idea how much work (especially paperwork) would be involved. At first, we did everything manually. From keeping a paper customer database to recording and paying mileage, invoicing, and payroll. These days, much of our business is run off a central piece of software that stores our clients’ details, calculates their invoices, calculates our team’s work hours and mileage, payroll, etc. This saves us around 100 hours a month that we can put into the work I’ve already mentioned.
Working with animals is awesome. There’s a certain satisfaction and contentment you get from working with animals that you don’t get from working with other humans.
It’s not all fun though as things can and do go wrong. I’ve been attacked twice by dogs and I had a chunk of bone bitten out of my shin. My wife nearly lost a finger after being bitten. Then we’ve had animals get ill and die and that’s hard. Especially after being such a big part of their life for so long, it can feel like losing your own pets. The more animals you take of, the more you’ll experience this loss. People say you get used to it but we’ve been in business for 7 years and we’ve never gotten used to that feeling.
That said, the fun and satisfaction you get far outweigh all of the negatives. It’s the best job in the world!
The primary responsibility of a dog walker is to walk dogs. They will have different clients who have varying needs. Some clients may work full time and need a dog walker five days a week, and others might need a dog walker temporarily while they are out of town. Dog walkers need to have excellent time-management skills to schedule their clients throughout the day and arrive on time.