1) Why did you start your dog walking business?
After being laid-off from my corporate sales job in spring 2008, I had no desire to jump back into the traditional workforce. Walking dogs seemed like a great way to make money and enjoy the Chicago summer! Little did I know, it would work out so well that soon founded my first dog walking company. By fall of that year, I hired my first employee and before I knew it, I had a real business!
2) What do you enjoy most about running Let’s Walk Austin?
Hanging out with dogs all day is the perfect job. I’m not an office person, so I need fresh air & exercise to maintain my sanity. It does get pretty darn hot here during summer, but I definitely do NOT miss Chicago winters / the polar vortex.
3) What are the biggest challenges you face?
The biggest challenge is finding and keeping good employees. We maintain a very high standard for our staff. They need to be able to handle working outside rain or shine for long hours, M-F. Dog walking can be much more difficult than anticipated. It’s certainly not for everyone.
4) What are the biggest industry challenges you foresee?
The industry certainly has changed significantly in the last 10 years. When I founded Let’s Walk Chicago, we were using handwritten paper notes, Excel spreadsheets, and clients paid by cash or check. Fast forward to 2019 and everything is essentially online — from payments to GPS-enabled walk reports. Keeping up with technology takes time and increasing competition demands advances. Fortunately, I don’t think robots will be taking our jobs anytime soon :-)
5) Why did you join the Pet Industry Coalition?
Being an entrepreneur can be lonely. There are days when I talk to more dogs than people! Having a support system is critical to my sanity and motivation. The PIC’s dedication to compliance embodies the spirit of why I got into this business: taking care of BOTH pets and employees the right way. Improving the life of dogs while treating employees ethically and fairly is extremely important to me.