Dog Walking & Pet Sitting App Development – A Feature Insight

pet sitting marketplace

Have you ever caught in a situation when you are about to finish your hectic day at your job, but your messenger alerts you with a new message from your boss to finish a couple of last minutes tasks?

Well, you have no choice left but obey your boss to save your job, and your appraisal is coming up soon too.

Do It!

But wait a minute, what about your cute little Ollie?

Ollie is hungry, thirsty, helpless and waiting for you anxiously at home.

Also, remember you haven’t got a chance to take him out for a walk due to your hectic schedule?

Yes, Ollie is your poor little puppy who is missing you, missing those days when you were playing with him in your backyard.

This is just a hypothetical situation which is enough to worry about your pet.

You will never want to happen this with you and your pet, right?

But you can not neglect the possibility of similar situations in the future.

As per a recent study, 44 percent of Americans own a dog. Every, nine in ten Americans consider their pet to be a part of their family, hence pets are no longer pets now but a family member. No wonder pet owners pay a lot to take care of them.

As per the research was done recently

  • Every six in ten American owns at least one type of pet.
  • 44% of total Americans own a dog.
  • The US pet industry was worth $86 billion in 2017.
  • Veterinary care industry was estimated about $17 billion in the United States alone.
  • The global pet market is estimated at $109 billion.
  • Walking the dog is more fun for Americans and 70% of dog owners take their dog for at least one walk per day.

Total US Pet Industry Expenditures

Pet owners know well that having a pet isn’t always easy and fun. Caring for a pet and walking a dog is a common problem when you are on job or out on a business meeting. No matter how busy you are, pet care and walk is a need.

But every problem has a solution. Pain point and statistics described above are combinedly pointing to a serious opportunity for pet sitting and dog walking startups. The traditional way of dog walking and pet care services are offline and too slow. Pet owner had to find a pet sitter or dog walker in advance. In this fast-paced and busy life, pet owners need an easy to use, hand-held digital solutions. Pet care & Dog walking app are the answer to this problem.

Uber-like peer-to-peer marketplaces like Wag, Rover, and Pawshake provide a bridge between pet owners and sitters who provide in-home boarding, pet sitting and dog sitting services. Pet owners can book pet sitter or a dog walker in advance through the marketplace apps offering these services.

Also Read, On-demand Laundry App Development Service

How does Dog Walking app work?

For Service Providers (Pet Sitters & Dog Walkers)

  • Service providers can register and apply to become a provider on the platform.
  • The service provider can choose the type of pet he/she wants to care for, hourly pricing and calendar schedule.
  • Platform owner ensures reliability, qualification, certificates and background check before allowing service provider on platform.
  • Once approved, service providers can accept the service request from pet owners.

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For Service Buyers(Pet Owners)

  • Pet owner can search for a nearby service provider with the best price, reviews, and star ratings
  • The service provider receives a real-time push notification on their app and confirms or deny a booking according to their convenience
  • Pet owners can track the live GPS location of the pet.
  • Service providers can upload a photo, pet activity reports, emergency alerts and more things about the pet to keep pet owners fully aware and worry-free about their pets.
  • Pet owner can chat, call and personally meet service provider and see if the service provider can have a good bonding with the pet or what.
  • Pet owners pay online for the service provided by pet owners and service providers get paid for the service. A platform like Rover & Wag charges 20% and 40% respectively to the service providers from their earning.

Revenue Model

Pet boarding platform can be used as a DIY model or marketplace model.

Marketplace Model – This revenue model is known as a peer-to-peer marketplace which acts like Uber. You as the owner of a marketplace platform do not need to hire own service providers(pet sitters and dog walkers) but allow an independent service provider to register on the platform as a provider, make available to be booked by pet owners and charge commission or service fee on each booking.

There are several ways of generating revenue from the marketplace model.

  • Charging pet sitters/dog walkers a commission after every sitting job completed successfully.
  • Fixed membership fee from either pet owners or pet sitters/walkers or from both.
  • Charging a one time fee from service providers for on-boarding, background check, profile verification or awarding a specific badge on their profile.
  • Advertising pet products on the platform.
  • Featured or paid to list for pet sitter profiles.
  • Charging additional fees for delivering express or guaranteed services to pet owners.
  • Selling merchandise to pet owners and sitters.

Business Model

DIY Model
– Under this model, you can start your own pet sitting and walking app where you are the only service provider as an agency instead of the individual service provider. You can hire and train service providers and make them available for booking under your own brand name.

There are several ways of generating revenue from the marketplace model.

  • Earning a direct fee from pet owners after every sitting job completed successfully.
  • Fixed membership fee from pet owners.
  • Advertising pet products on the platform.
  • Charging additional fees for delivering express or guaranteed services to pet owners.
    Selling merchandise to pet owners and sitters.

Mentioned above are all revenue models you can choose to go with all of them or a couple of them as per your needs and business logic.

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Features Insight

As mentioned earlier, pets are nothing less than family members for their owners. Hence trust is the first and foremost factor to engage and maintain long term relationship with the pet owners. Understanding the anxiety and trust issue of pet owners for their pets is a real challenge for pet sitting business model. Earning trust won’t come from just saying “Trust or pet sitters or dog walkers” but you must have mechanisms that make your platform safe and credible for pet owners.

Based on our years of experience and extensive research we have put together some of the best features you can include in your Pet sitting and dog walking platform app which will help you establish a strong relationship with your customers. The more you keep your paying customers happy, the more you generate revenue.

Service Providers (Pet Sitters and Dog Walkers)

Become a Sitter:

This feature is actually a part of sitters onboarding module. If you choose to go with pet sitting marketplace business model as explained above then this feature is an entry point for service providers on your platform.

Become a sitter module will be a combination of multi-step forms which will allow sitters to fill their all information which are required to prepare a compelling and appealing pet sitter profile. These forms may include pet sitter’s personal information, contact information, services and rates, sitter profile, skills, and calendar schedule.

Background Check:

Pet sitting marketplace should allow all sort of pet sitters. Experienced one and also inexperienced one. However, performing background check and screening is the responsibility of platform owner on each and every sitter who want to become sitter and offer their services on the platform.

The background check can be done using one of the 3rd party API services like checkr, accurate and goodhire or can be done manually based on provided personal and contact information by service providers.

Sitters Quiz:

Testing skills and their knowledge about pet sitting and dog walking is an excellent way to know about their skill set and their experience with pet caring or dog walking. The platform should inspire these service providers to take part in such a test or quiz from time to time to improve their profile and skills.

Sitters those who are new to the marketplace or in pet sitting profession can learn a lot from these kinds of tests and quizzes. The platform can provide learning material to these newbies on general dog care, safety tips & tricks, platform’s terms use and policies.

Sitter Success Quiz

Activity Updates:

Your platform should offer an easy to post activity update feature to ease the anxiety of pet owners. These frequent updates about what is happening with their beloved family member will help you generate and improve the trust of pet owners. Sending and receiving updates should be easy and user-friendly. Push & SMS notifications for smartphone users and email notifications for desktop/pc users are the easiest way to deliver these updates to the pet owners. There are several ways you can notify pet owners with different types of updates as described below:

  • Check-In & Out: Pet owners should be exactly notified when pet sitters come in their house for pet sitting or dog walking. Similarly, pet owners should be also notified when pet sitter leaves the house or returns the dog after a walk. Pet owners should be easily able to update their check-in and check-out time through the mobile app.
    GPS Tracking: If pet sitting services also involved taking the pet out for a walk, then your pet sitting platform app should offer live GPS tracking feature. Pet sitters can turn on their GPS tracking to let pet owners know how far their pets went and how much distance they covered during the walk.
  • Diet & Digestion: Food, water, pee, and poo are the most important updates pet owners wants to know about their pets. Pet sitters should be able to easily update pet owners with these updates during sitting walking service.
    Photos: Single photo or video of beloved pet enjoying its day is enough to rejuvenate the pet owner’s mood. It would be a great feature for your app if pet sitter can send such tiny packets of joy to the pet owners.
  • Special Notes & Quiz: Pet sitter should be able to add special notes which are important for the pet owner to know. Your dog walking and pet sitting platform app should also ask sitter a few important questions related to pet’s behavior, meeting with other pets or people and so on.

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Service Buyers (Pet Owners)

Search Pet Sitters:

The business model of pet sitting or onboarding platform depends on a number of services booked and paid successfully by the pet owners. Hence pet owners should be able to not only search but filter pet sitters and shortlist exactly as per their requirements.

But wait, not all pet owners are tech-savvy and proficient in using digital platform with complex search features. This feature should be user-designed and developed user-friendly by keeping users of all age group, gender, and demography.

When it comes to searching a perfect pet sitter for a pet, there are many options available to choose from.

Pet Care

  • Pet: First and foremost option is to allow a pet owner to search a pet sitter matching with their pet. Meaning if pet owner owns a dog or a cat or a hamster or all of them, a pet owner should be able to search a pet sitter who can provide service for one or all of his/her pets.
  • Type of Pet: Pet comes in all size and shape and there are pet sitters who may or may not provide service for a particular pet breed. Once an owner selects the type of pet he/she owns, there should be an option for an owner to select at least a size or weight of pet to allow filter sitters with a matching profile.
  • Sitting Location: Pet owners may look for pet sitters for different reasons like when a pet owner is going out for a trip or an occasion or going for work. Dog sitting service may differ depending on the pet owner’s requirement. Pet owners may look for pet boarding, house sitting, drop-in visit, daycare or walking services. Pet owners should be able to search pet sitters with any of these services from your platform.
  • Area: It is easy to trust and deal with someone who is local right? Your pet sitting platform should allow pet owners to search sitters who are local to them, located nearby geographically for easy face to face meeting and transit.
  • Date & Time: Professional and expert pet sitters always keep their calendar up to date with their upcoming booking sessions. Your platform’s search engine should filter in only available pet sitters as per the date and time service entered by pet owners to avoid any clash between booking sessions of pet sitters.

Reviews & Ratings:

Whether buying products from Amazon or hiring someone for a house core from TaskRabbit, checking reviews and ratings from other buyers for the same provider or the product is the latest trend and gives a buyer more confident for their purchase. Similarly, this mechanism is very useful for pet-sitting platform where a pet owner can rate and review a pet sitter after service provided which will be helpful for the other pet owners for their booking. Vice versa pet sitter should be able to also share his sitting experience and review with pet and pet owner which other pet sitters may also find very helpful and alert.

Online Payments:

The revenue model of a pet sitting platform mainly depends on online payments made by pet owners for each booking sessions as it makes easy to take service fee from pet sitters or the owners. This online payment facility also offers a great level of safety and convenience to both pet owners and pet sitters which is not possible to deliver in cash payments. Hence your platform should offer an easy to use online payment transfer features with popular payment options like a credit card, debit card, PayPal, wallet payments and bank wire.

In-app Message:

Allowing pet sitter and pet owner to chat before they get involved is a great way to build trust between users. In-app chat or instant messaging feature can provide an effective and efficient solution to the pet owner and pet sitter’s questions and concerns they may have before service is booked.

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Safety & Value For Money:

It is always hard to attract and retain paying customers. Your platform must offer something unique which pet owners on your platform may find value for their money.

For example, Wag! A Popular dog walking app allows dog walkers a feature to publish a live video while walking with the dog owner, and the dog owner can view this video from his/her mobile app just like an Instagram story. This feature may greatly reduce the trust gap between both users and pet owner can feel safe while booking service from the platform.

Each pet is unique and has different priorities, hence pet should be treated uniquely as per their needs. For instance, some dogs may need to drink water while walking and some kitty may need food every 3 hours. Some hamsters are freak of light and some rabbits like cabbage more. Pet owner should be able to describe their pet priorities and requirements, so that pet sitter can follow instructions exactly as per the description.

There are some unique challenges which need to be identified and fixed to give extra comfort to the pet owners. Wag! The dog walking app went ahead and fixed the Pet peeve of pet owners. Wag is offering a free lockbox to the users and allow them to leave a house key for pet sitters before they leave for the work. Pet sitter will get a passcode for the lockbox as soon as their booking is confirmed. This unique service offers a great, easy and safe deal to both users.

Whereas on the other hand, Rover realized that all these safety and feel-good features are not enough until any sort of guarantee is not offered. Hence Rover came up with Rover Guarantee. Rover provides guarantee on each booking and covers reimbursements up to $1 million per incident in case if something goes wrong during service.

The success of your on-demand pet sitting and dog walking platform depends heavily on your approach. This is rapidly changing digital age where you can not afford to lag behind with a traditional way of dealing with your customers. Thus your platform should seamlessly offer services to both desktop and smartphone users. It is also important to offer unique experience and safety features as mentioned above to attract and retain users on your platform. Developing such on-demand pet-sitting platform seems quite easy, however, it is very important to fill the trust gap between your users and your platform. Once you succeed in filling this trust gap by offering reliable platform you will be able to create a large user base and eventually them into paying customers.

Contact us if you want to develop and discuss business model, strategy and requirements of your pet-sitting platform.