The recently launched Swifto aims to provide busy New Yorkers with experienced and responsive dog-walking assistance. The fledgling web-based service connects people to a fiveborough- wide squad of handpicked, independent dog walkers. Unlike similar services that rely mostly on location to make recommendations, Swifto uses an algorithm that also factors in dogs’ specific needs and challenges and walkers’ past jobs, skills and ratings. In addition to helping broker long-term dog-walking relationships, Swifto’s other handy service is a “quick match” for clients in a bind. The company promises that within 60 minutes of a customer request, a walker will be in touch to sort out details and—with the customer’s go-ahead—have the dog’s leash in hand. Walks are $20 for one dog for 30 minutes and $5 for an additional dog; for $10 more, the dog gets a full hour walk.
Pet Check Technology
As in so many spheres, technology is making dog walking more transparent —no more wondering if, when and where your dog got her constitutional. Pet Check Technology launched the first dog-walking software and mobile app in 2001, which provides a homebased barcode that walkers scan to signal the start and the end of a walk. In addition, people can track each jaunt online using real-time GPS and email updates.
“Our hope is, of course, that customers will begin to request this service, so they can have peace of mind that their dog is being properly walked and/or exercised,” says Doug Simon, founder of Pet Check Technology. The Pet Check Technology software is also designed to function as a business- management tool for professional dog walkers, and includes scheduling and billing applications. Membership starts at $29.99 per month.
Jogs for Dogs
When he started Jogs for Dogs in 2007, founder Brendan Fahey imagined a fairly traditional dog-walking service, with a twist: the walkers would be runners. But he soon learned that this small adjustment to his Seattle-based business had big implications. Runners can only take one or two dogs at a time, and two hours of pounding the pavement is most runners’ daily max. It wasn’t, as they say in the business world, scalable.
After a few years, Fahey got out of the time-intensive business of managing a small army of bonded, insured runners—mostly University of Washington students—and, last May, launched JogsForDogs.com, a matchmaking website that brings dog-loving runners together with dogs who need runs.
In the new paradigm, a dog is most likely to be paired with an avid runner and dog-lover who works in an unrelated field. “It’s about connecting people with dogs and people who love dogs,” Fahey says. “It’s more like hiring a babysitter than a nanny.” Joggers set their own prices and dog owners do their own interviewing and reference-checking. Currently, Jogs for Dogs has runners in 22 states and eight other countries, including Canada, the UK, Sweden, Italy, France, Spain, Slovenia and New Zealand.