Are you a dog walker that gets clients from Wag? If so, chances are you’re looking to build your dog walking business and need more clients, which is why you turned to Wag in the first place. In this article, we’ll be shedding some light on Wag’s business model, the history of the company, as well as great strategies that you can use to make more money and get more 5 star reviews on Wag.
(source: Larry French AP)
THE DOG-WALKING INDUSTRY IS GROWING
Pets are a huge part of our lives, and recent policy changes make it possible for us to be even closer to them by sitting with us at restaurants to enjoy meals together and even tagging along with us at work.
Millennials have been having kids later in life so it makes sense that pet ownership has surged as a substitute for raising children.
Americans spent an estimated $70B on their pets last year. An increasingly larger chunk of this cash is going towards dog-walking services from apps like Wag.
Wag is a dominant player in the dog-walker industry. They raised $650M in funding and are referred to affectionately as the “Uber for Dogs”. It’s a fitting comparison because the app pairs walkers with dog owners in the same way Uber pairs drivers with commuters.
Wag was founded in 2015 by two ex-Facebook game developers, Jonathan and Joshua Viner.
There are so many savvy solopreneurs building their own dog walking and sitting businesses using a competing service called Rover (and its subsidiary called DogVacay).
Rover has been branded the ‘DogBnB’ because of the endless listings of dog care providers available for hire.
Wag, on the other hand, is earning lots of business from evolving beyond simple dog walking to things like pet grooming – specifically mobile dog washing.
Additionally, signing up to be a Wag walker is an entirely different thing from posting your dog sitting business on Rover.
Although easy to get onboarded, there are some limitations in using Wag as compared to Rover.
For example, unlike Rover’s directory-type setup (similar to AirBnB’s home listing model) the way Wag operates is more like a ride-sharing app.
To qualify to be a Wag Walker, you must be 18+ years old, legally authorized to work in the US, and be able to physically walk 20 minutes or more.
Once you sign up to be a Wag Walker, you’ll be asked to complete a questionnaire that rates your experience with dogs.
You’ll also be required to request some recommendations from friends.
You need to provide the email addresses of several references at which point Wag will send them an email with a form to fill out.
You will then be asked to go through a background check.
One thing to note is that you will most likely have to pay the $25 fee for the background check, which is not standard operating procedure for an online marketplace. Usually, marketplaces that do background checks cover the upfront cost of the check on their own and/or pass those costs onto only the service providers that are approved to join their platform.
Once you’ve been given access to the marketplace as a service provider, you will start getting new walking gigs as they come in.
It’s common knowledge that these opportunities typically get picked up quickly, so don’t delay.
Wag customers can choose between a 20-minute walk, a 30-minute walk, or a 60-minute walk. Once you get your first job, you’ll be able to see the address, the type of dog, and the length of walk options.
Wag’s hours of operation are between 7AM and 11PM, so you have a large window of time to claim jobs.
Wag also supplies lockboxes to the customer, so you are able to easily get in and out of the customer’s home to pick up the dog when it’s time for their walk.
Here’s how much you will get paid based on the length of the walk (not including tips):
- $9 for a 20-minute walk
- $12 for a 30-minute walk
- $18 for a 60-minute walk
HOW TO BE A SUCCESSFUL WAG WALKER
SET YOUR PEE AND POOP-PINS ACCURATELY
Yes, you read that right. Wag allows you to mark via GPS where the dog you’re walking went to the bathroom, and that is transmitted to the owner via their app:
Remember, each customer receives a ‘report card’ from you at the end of your walk with a photo of their dog, a map of the walk, and a “pee-poop” status update.
Remember to fill yours out accurately!
BE COURTEOUS – YOU’LL RECEIVE MORE TIPS
A big part of your income will come from tips, as it’s common knowledge that many of the customers using Wag will tip you – but only if you do a great job and are super-friendly.
Brush up on those customer service skills that you learned in the retail job that you had in college as these will help you earn more tips and ultimately a higher dollar-per-hour income.
Another benefit of being courteous and friendly is that Wag customers can request you for their next service, or even set up recurring walks with you.
TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THE REFERRAL SYSTEM
You can earn $25 for each new customer that signs up for Wag by downloading the app and booking a walk.
The customer will also receive a $20 credit towards their first walk, which is good enough for a 30 minute walk according to Wag’s pricing structure.
When you become a Walker with Wag, they will send you business cards that you can write your custom referral code on.
Try leaving these in the lobbies of busy apartment complexes (especially in the downtown area of your city) where time-strapped, high income professionals can find them and book you for a Wag Walk.
You should also target luxury apartment complexes and high-rises as these are apartments are full of Wag’s ideal customers.
You can also try pinning your business cards to bulletin boards in grocery stores and community centers.
WALK DOGS DURING YOUR LUNCH BREAK
A great way to use Wag to make money as a side-hustle is to take advantage of your lunch break at your 9 to 5 job and spend that time getting some fresh air and exercise!
You’ll also make some extra cash and you won’t ruffle any feathers at work.
Since you can choose which gigs to accept, you can choose one with a time interval that works well within your designated lunch break.
Say hello to more money in your pocket without sacrificing extra time outside of your working hours!
TREAT THE DOGS (AND CUSTOMERS) WELL
After news reports of Wag walkers physically assaulting dogs while supposedly caring for them during their walk, clients are wary of potential mishaps related to their Wag experience.
Avoid using any kind of physical force when coaxing or restraining your customer’s dog. Otherwise, you might even be subject to legal action.
Another tip would be to actually walk the dog – not just sit in the customer’s apartment pretending to walk the dog.
Remember – you are being tracked via GPS when you use the Wag app.
Lastly, remember to keep a firm grip on the dog’s leash, so you’re not blamed for a lost or runaway dog. Here’s an example of some Wag clients who had a walker that lost their dog.
In a worst-case example, your customer’s dog may even be hit by a car and killed.
Here’s another example of this unfortunate, but uncomfortable common occurrence.
Be careful out there!
BRANCH OUT AND BUILD YOUR OWN DOG WALKING BUSINESS
There are thousands of Canine pros using PocketSuite to manage every aspect of their dog walking, dog sitting, or dog training business.
If you’re already using PocketSuite, here’s how to set the app up specifically for Dog Walking pros.
If you’re sick of having to rely on Wag taking 40% of your revenue to provide you with dog walking clients, why not give PocketSuite a shot and build your own business?
Thousands of dog walking pros are already making six figures using Pocketsuite – why not you.