A lot of dog walking companies advertise GPS tracking so their clients will know the dog is actually being walked.
This is a gimmick.
I’ve owned a dog walking business since 2008, and my clients generally don’t care about GPS tracking.
This is because a good dog walking business is built on TRUST and good relationships.
If someone trusts her dog walker, there’s no need to check in on some app to make sure she showed up on time and actually walked for 30 minutes.
If you’ve hired a dog walker, let me know if you agree or not. Do you care about GPS tracking? How about using a nanny cam to check on your dog walker?
In my opinion, checking a GPS app or receiving a message that your dog walker showed up becomes yet another automated message in a world that is becoming less and less personal.
As a business owner, I’m not interested in that.
If you’re a dog walker, should you offer GPS tracking to your clients?
Maybe, but it’s not necessary.
Many dog walking businesses do offer GPS tracking, and I’m sure some of their clients love this. Let me know if that’s you!
If you’re just starting your dog walking business, I wouldn’t stress out about offering GPS tracking. It’s more trouble than it’s worth, but maybe it’s something you could offer down the road.
My experience with GPS tracking
I use a simple GPS watch to track all of my dog walks and dog runs.
I like to know how far I’ve gone, and I like to be able to report to my clients how many miles the dog and I covered. This is something I report back every now and then casually.
HOWEVER, I find that my clients just aren’t all that interested in receiving a report on how far Clyde ran every single time I’m there or which route Bailey and I took.
Most dogs move at the same speed on all of our outings anyway, so it would get pretty boring to report “Zeke walked 3.35 miles” day after day.
What my clients DO want to know
What my clients do want to know is that their dogs are out and about having FUN with a person they trust.
This is why I text a picture and brief update to many of my clients after each walk.
Many report back that they appreciate seeing Ranger or Zoey out and about on a beach walk or at the park while they themselves are out of town or stuck at the office.
They thank me for the personal message and seeing their dogs’ “smiling” faces.
Options for GPS tracking if you’d like to offer it
If you love the idea of offering GPS tracking as a service through your business, I recommend a couple options.
A Garmin GPS watch
This is what I use. I like to know how many miles I cover each day, and I like to track how far each dog walks or runs for my own knowledge.
If you use a GPS watch, you could report the mileage and route to each client by text or email. Many watches will allow you to upload the information such as your pace, distance and route. This is different than your clients tracking you in real time.
I wear a simple Garmin similar to the one pictured. I’ve used more complex watches in the past, but I love the simpler watches. Click here.
An app on your phone
The app I recommend is Map My Run. This shows the exact distance with a map, and you could easily save each run to email to a client or send a screen shot.
A ‘pet tracker’ like Tagg
There are all sorts of dog-tracking devices available for dog owners. Usually the dog wears a tracking device on her collar, and any information on where the dog goes can be tracked on the dog owner’s phone through an app.
These devices are designed to notify dog owners if their dogs ever leave the yard or get lost, but they can also be used to track where the dog goes with a dog walker.
Am I wrong about downplaying GPS tracking?
What it comes down to is offering GPS tracking might be a nice service you could offer, but ultimately your business should be based around trust and having a relationship with your clients.
Maybe at some point, all dog walkers will be expected to provide GPS tracking. So far, I don’t see it as a priority, but let me know what you think.
If you’ve hired a dog walker, would you like to see GPS tracking?
Let me know in the comments!