Posted by The San Francisco Dog Walker
YELP is not going away any time soon and it is probably the #1 way people compile a list of names of companies that provide a specific service in their geographic area.
So, for example, if you are wanting to know the names of all the dog walking companies in San Francisco all you would have to do is type in “Dog Walkers, San Francisco” in the YELP query box and up would pop a list of dog walkers that service your area.
How YELP decides which dog walkers are at the top of the list is a science called algorithms, which magically chooses who will be first on the list. It is basically a pretty simple concept, but to be at the top of the list, you must have a lot of positive reviews under your belt.
At first blush, this may seem like a good way to find the best dog walker in your area, but think again. All it really says is that you have identified a “large COMPANY with positive reviews”. They have more reviews because they have more employees providing service. So is bigger actually better in this type of service?
Just because a San Francisco dog walking company has hundreds of positive reviews on YELP, doesn’t necessarily mean they are actually the best dog walking company for your particular needs. Big does not always mean best in the dog walking world. Sure, they have a lot of customers and they are a big company with many dog walking employees or contractors, but they may actually have a high customer turn over rate if they are marketing to a younger demographics. If they have a lot of YELP reviews, their target market is most likely the young, shakers and movers who relocate often and never look back, which just happens to be YELP’s target market. These people are known as YELPERS.
So lets take a look. What do young people that relocate often actually look for in a dog walker? I would say that they are probably really price sensitive and are looking for a low rate because they are mostly single and are a one income household wanting to move up financially. Two, they are probably swayed by charming, athletic looking, equally young dog walkers that they can relate to.
Are these really the factors that make up a good dog walker? In San Francisco, dog walking employees can find it very difficult to make ends meet. There is a high turn over rate in employees because they take these jobs as summer jobs or just until another one comes along that pays more. Often this means they are not completely focused on their work, but rather on their money worries. Is this who you want walking your dog?
Just because a dog walking company has hundreds of positive reviews on YELP and they are one of the first to come up in your search, it does not mean that you have found the best company. It just means that you have found either a big company or a company with a high customer turn over, which often means that you have not found the best dog walker after all. In the dog walking business, small usually means more because the dog walking companies can be focused on keeping the customers happy, rather than on how fast their drivers can get to the next house to keep to the companies scheduling goals.