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  • Investing in your Dog Walker

    by Jim Camut
    Co-Founder Dave Comiskey accepting on behalf of Barkly

    Last night in Washington, DC at the US Chamber of Commerce we were honored by The SCORE Foundation and Intuit, receiving their annual Outstanding Job Creator Award.

    It’s truly humbling to be recognized among the more than 55,000 new businesses SCORE mentors assist in creating annually. More than the recognition is the satisfaction of sharing this award with our dog walker community who are the true story behind our early success. Our dog walkers’ dedication to superior customer service and care is the engine of our organic growth as the majority of our customers come from referrals.

    This isn’t unintentional. At Barkly, we truly believe serving dog walkers serves our customers. It led us to build a business model that invests in finding, cultivating, and retaining the most caring dog and cat caretakers. It’s simple to say, but let’s show off some flashy numbers:


    If you want excellent people, you offer excellent wages — the simple supply/demand principle proven time and time again in labor markets (pro sports free agency…). The best dog walkers have a choice of where they want to walk, and we want them to choose us. That’s why we pay more than double the industry average for a 30-minute dog walk — $15.84 vs $6 and we have dozens of full-time dog walkers with wages pacing higher than $48k annually.

    Support and Protection

    The headline is high wages, but we also look to innovate in ways other than software by groundbreaking on-the-job medical insurance and 24/7 in-person support. All Barkly dog walkers receive on-the-job medical coverage, at no cost to them, covering any situation that requires emergency medical attention while walking on our behalf. This additional step emphasizes our commitment to their overall well-being, and fosters a long-term relationship with Barkly and our customers.


    The best places to work are usually those with amazing coworkers, and while hanging out with your amazing dogs and cats all day is the job’s biggest perk it also can make for a lonely work place. We foster workplace community among our dog walkers by offering monthly or quarterly events from everything to picnics with our own pets to baseball games.

    We value long-term relationships and consistency, and are committed to building our business around them. Over the past year, we turned over 18% of our dog walkers, a massive improvement over the industry average of 200%. In our eyes, that leaves us 18% to improve upon.

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