Posted by The San Francisco Dog Walker
I remember when I was in my twenties and thirties, there was no way I could afford to take a Taxi to work or home after an evening out in San Francisco. They were just so darn expensive! But along came Uber and for people that could not afford a Taxi ride, this opened the door for a whole new class of customers, those with lower disposable income. So now, Uber is affordable for most everyone.
The same could be said for dog walkers. Dog walkers seem indispensable for people that work or are limited in their abilities to walk long distances. What once seemed like a luxury for the richest people, all of a sudden became a must-have for the working class. Longer hours required at the office made it impossible for people to have a pet unless they could get someone dependable to help them out. Ozzie and Harriet days of 9-5 are long gone. Everything in San Francisco is so expensive, therefore people must work more hours to afford the extras. And San Francisco is the capital of dog ownership! Everyone has a dog!!
Lower middle class citizens now-a-days seem to demand house-keepers too, so that they can have time to relax on their weekends. I never had any of these luxuries in my young corporate working days and am very surprised by this turn of events. What it means is that young people are making larger salaries in San Francisco, so they can afford the extras and are putting off the purchase of a house or increasing their savings accounts – to a much future date, if ever.
Picking a dog walker is very much dependent on your income level. There are some of us that are at the top of our game, have years of experience under our belts and can offer subtle differences, (but important differences), that the newer dog walkers can’t possibly have under their belts.
So pricing may or may not be an important factor in choosing your walker. Kind of like the Taxi vs. Uber debate. By hiring a San Francisco dog walker that does not have a business license and chooses to evade the laws, you are taking a risk. Uber drivers are employees and must abide by the rules set out by their company, but they get away without purchasing a costly special license. Dog walking companies seem not to abide by such rigid set of rules. The companies they work for can be very lax in their expectations of their employees. Most of them do not hire employees, but rather use contractors. This is a big no-no and if caught using contractors on a regular basis as if they are employees, the fines are hundreds of thousands of dollars. But there are many dog walking companies that do this and seemingly get away with it. Most of their employees (contractors) are not certified dog walkers, nor do they have park permits. Very few dog walking companies actually do a background check on their employees (contractors). Everything is fine until one day when something goes terribly wrong.
So, if these companies are willing to cheat at dog walking they are more likely to cheat you in small, unnoticeable ways. Instead of a one hour walk, they take your dog to the park for 20 minutes. Or on rainy days, they just sit in the car and then give your dog a pee break, not a walk. Most of them never clean their autos regularly and your dog might get trampled under foot of bigger dogs. Most importantly your dogs are extremely aroused by the time they arrive at the park. They arrive at the park in a truck, barking and snarling at each other, while the driver pulls into the parking lot. And many times when the dog walkers get to the park, they just stand around and don’t tend to the wants and desires of their dogs.
Like I say, the differences between dog walkers are subtle and mostly go undetected. Make sure you ask the right questions, so you know the type of person you are dealing with. People without ethics in their business practices are hard to hold accountable, if the time ever comes for that need. But it may never come to that, since they seem to get away with it. They will grin and tell you how accomplished they are, but some of us know the real truth. There is no short-cut to doing the right thing.