As a dog walker you will get to know a lot of different dogs, a lot of different neighborhoods, and with that, a lot of different people. Like most things, some will be great and some will be not so great. Here is a road map to guide you through what you may experience…
Your best clients
Your best clients will be understanding, flexible, kind, trusting, have good communication and pay you on time. They will keep you up to date with their schedule and needs, keep the dog’s food and bags stocked, trust that you come when they ask and walk the dog for the correct amount of time, and pay you by the time you requested.
They will also be understanding that you are human and things sometimes come up. This is a bonus, but some may even leave water out for you or give you a holiday bonus. You will meet some very nice people while dog-walking who are appreciative that they have someone they can trust their pet with.
When clients do their part in the dog-walking process, it is a breeze and creates a very good foundation for all involved.
Your worst clients
Your worst clients can be untrusting, unreasonable, and late on paying and scheduling. The only way around this is to set hard boundaries and to decide what is worth ignoring and working with and what is not.
You will run across people who are late or flaky on scheduling when they need walks. To some people this isn’t a big deal but once you start having a tight schedule it can really throw you off. If your schedule is full and they cancel last minute and you could have filled that time slot with someone else, it can be very annoying.
Obviously sometimes things happen last minute and you should be understanding just like you would want your client to be to you, but it is a good idea to set a rule in place so that your client doesn’t make a habit of it or take advantage. One way to do this is to have a 24 hour cancellation policy, where they cannot cancel on you last minute without paying you.
Other ways clients can be unreasonable is by constantly checking in on when you came and how long you walked for. This can be fine in the beginning, but eventually you want someone who trusts you are doing your job.
Lastly, some people will just be flaky on payment times. It is usually harmless but can be very annoying especially if you have several clients doing it at the same time. Keep on your clients about payment and do not be shy about asking for what you need. Most people are understanding and don’t mean to be forgetful.