How To Develop An On-Demand Dog Walking Service: Top 8 Insights
Originally published at opengeekslab.com on August 21, 2020
Nowadays, a dog walking service is a relevant and useful niche. Around 63.4 million households in the USA alone own a dog. Meanwhile, at least 40% of pet parents should work 40+ hours every week, though they often lack time for taking care of a dog. But no matter how hard you work, your dog needs proper care. Here is when interactive dog walking platforms come to the rescue.
In this post, OpenGeeksLab has prepared a complete guide to dog walking app development.
In 2019, the pet sitting market was valued at $2567.5 billion. It is forecasted to reach $2,567.8 billion in 2020. The main factors that influenced market growth are the increase in spending on care, health maintenance, nutritional needs. That growth is expected to only pick up steam at a CAGR of 8.7% from 2020 to 2027 and reach $5001.6 billion by 2027.
Some renowned niche representatives are Wag (the U.S) Rover (the U.S) Swifto (the U.S) Barkly Pets (the U.S) DogBuddy (Europe) Pawshake (Australia).
How Does a Dog Walking Service Work
As it is with other on-demand apps, a dog walking app connects pet keepers with dog care service providers. That is, a dog owner registers themselves, providing detailed info about a pet: breed features, nutritional needs, vets and medications, collars, leashes, and harnesses. After that, a user can search for an available dog walker/sitter and book a service on-demand or on a scheduled basis.
Jumping into the market, especially when you have to compete with popular dog walking apps like Wag! or Rover, is an extremely challenging task. To make your application competitive, consider its compelling value. And here is how.
1. Evaluate Your Idea
The evaluation process usually involves several stages that help in understanding a future dog walking service’s basic advantages/disadvantages, viability, and must-have features the app must provide.
You need to choose among two business models (either a dog walking agency or service aggregator), decide on a target audience. Explore current and upcoming niche trends like pet wearables integration, smart pet toys, smart feeders and bowls, smartwatch support or social media integration to hit the niche with your own unique service.
2. Business Analysis
Business analytics help in defining critical problems the target audience has, building productive business strategy, and providing a service to tackle them. Business analysis commonly covers project planning and budget estimation.
3. Market and Competitor Research
Thorough market/competitor research is a must before starting app development, as it outlines whether your idea concept is competitive or needs to be modified. Browsing solutions of niche leaders and prevailing industry trends, you get vital data to modernize the application’s capabilities. Competitor study is one more significant stage, as it helps improve your business model and avoid possible pitfalls by learning from other’s experiences, analyzing strengths/weaknesses.
4. Value Proposition
Being a copycat of popular dog walking apps will bring harm to your brand image and overall success. Consumers opt for exclusive solutions. One must come up with a unique value proposition that will attract and retain customers. For pet owners, a dog walking service should provide good care, dogs’ safety, walking, sitting. For dog walkers, your app should be a way to earn extra money. By providing pet parents and pet caregivers with unique functions, you increase the app’s chance to succeed and be one step ahead of competitors.
5. Choose Appropriate Business Model
Dog walker marketplace offers two options:
- Dog Walking Agency
The model is used by branded businesses that offer professional dog walking services of a separate agency or agency chain. It presupposes pet parents getting dog care service from a particular agency through its own app avoiding engaging third-party pet care service providers.
- Dog Walking Service Aggregator
An aggregator unites several agencies across the area on one platform, so dog keepers could search for pet care services from different places. This model unites several agencies at hand. When a pet owner requests a walk, all nearby dog walkers are notified.
6. Loyalty/Referral Programs
The right loyalty system is an opportunity to reward users. It can be, for example, a discount to pet owners who brought new users. Or extra bonuses to dog walkers for a good job. This practice will help retain existing customers and expand users’ base.
7. Find Tech Provider to Develop End to End Software Solutions
Hiring a proper software vendor makes a great deal of your dog service app’s success as they cover each stage: from business analytics to after-release platform maintenance.. When choosing partners to be engaged in creating on-demand solutions, pay attention to their case studies and tech stack.
8. Mind UI/UX Design
The key factors to keep in mind when creating UI/UX design are simplicity and usability. Make sure your service is intuitive. Since the design for dog walking apps must include a lot of detail, make the navigation button shapes easy to understand. Don’t add too elaborate features or extra images to the interface.
Must-Have Features of Dog Walking Service
Developing apps for dog walking business must be approached thoroughly. An app must serve three distinct user groups: pet owners, dog walkers, service managers. Hence, you should utilize basic as well as advanced functionality to cover the needs of all user segments. Let’s uncover features for each specific user base.
Pet Parent App
Here are features a pet parent app must provide:
- Two-Factor Authorization
Pet owners should pass two-factor authorization, which involves password authorization via email or phone number. This will help protect data more effectively.
- Social Media Sign-in Option
Users can register and log into the app using their social media accounts.
- Profile Creation
Dog keeper creates a personal account to manage the walking and sitting stuff. They also provide information about pets, behavior features, medications, breed-specific needs, etc.
- Multilanguage & Multiple Payment Options
Providing multilingualism as well as various payment options (cash, card, digital wallet), makes your dog walking app accessible and understandable. What’s more, these options help cover a wider target audience.
- Find Dog Walkers
With a navigation feature, pet owners can easily find the nearest available dog walker. After the match, a pet owner can schedule a walk as well as customize it regarding specific needs.
- Schedule/Cancel Appointment
Managing appointments allow households to book immediately the next walk or schedule needed date and time on a regular basis.
- GPS Tracking
Pet owners can track walking routes in real-time: distance, starting/ending time.
- View Dog Walker Profile Information
Dog owners can see pet walker’s information: gender, age, location, experience, photos, social networks.
- Advanced Calendar Module
This feature will help households easily book or cancel walks. Dog walkers, in turn, will add times/days when they are available to the calendar. Thus, everyone will be aware of future walks in advance.
- In-App Messaging
This is an essential feature for any popular dog walking apps. Through messaging, owners and walkers discuss details with each other.
- Walk Log
With this function, dog walkers can cover everything that happened during their walks. The walk log can include walk length, who the dog played with, what other dogs it met, etc.
- Detailed Report of Dog Walker
During a walk, pet care service providers can send a photo report or text pet owners about walking success.
- Notification Alerts
Push notifications are an integral part of any dog walking business app. With timely alerts, dog owners will learn about various changes and important information.
- Live Streaming
The function of sending videos or photos while walking is a good way to build a trusting relationship between owners and walkers. With this function, pet owners can make sure that their beloved pets are safe and sound.
- Ratings & Reviews
Add the ability to leave reviews or wishes to your dog walking service. This feature will help pet owners more trust in the services they want to use.
- Referral Earnings
Rewarding users and supporting loyalty programs have a great impact on user retention as well. By providing referral programs, coupons, special offers, or discounts, you encourage people to become regular customers of your service.
- Filtering Feature
With this feature, pet owners will be able to select and sort walkers based on their preferences and requirements.
- Curated Professional Advice
Your dog walking app can act as a community so that its members, both newbies, and pro, could provide or receive tips on pet care, nutrition, training, etc.
- Doggy Playdate
The playdates function will help establish contact between two or more dogs.
- Community Feature
Create in your dog walking service the ability to unite into groups and communities. This will help owners and walkers exchange important information, ways of care, feeding, etc. It will also build trust and bring users closer to each other.
App Managers’ Dashboard
- Manage at One Place
An interactive panel will help you view and manage complete information in real-time. This feature includes: monitor profiles, check licenses, resolve requests, add grooming features, important details, and more.
- Catalogue Management
Managing dog walking list to optimize supply and demand. An admin can create, store, modify digital content in one place.
- Auto-Allocation of Jobs
Using algorithms for auto-allocation of appointments as per the schedule of dog walkers.
- Loyalty or Rewards Program
Administrators can manage bonuses for owners and walkers.
Dog Walker App
- Easy Login and Registration
Add a clear and simple registration function in your dog service app. It should include personal data with photo, name, age, gender, address, phone number, and email.
- Social Media Sign-In Option
They are created so that dog walkers are not anonymous and dog owners can check social media accounts of a potential walker.
- Real-Time Requests
Dog walkers receive booking requests instantly to manage them efficiently.
- In-App Messaging
In-app messaging function for dog walkers to discuss details with pet parents.
- Live Streaming
Dog walkers live stream the walk details as well as send a photo report.
- Report of Dog Walker
Pet walkers provide full reports about the walk and arising issues.
- Availability Hours
Dog walkers can set information about available hours for walking or seating.
- Order Status & Management
Pet carers can accept or reject orders as well as inform dog owners on the walk status (approved/rejected, started/completed).
- Dog Owner Information
Pet owners provide information about themselves and their dogs. It can include references to pet’s habits, behavior, diet, health status, quirks, etc. It is necessary for dog walkers to know in advance all about pets.
This feature will help walkers find the optimal route for the walk.
- Profile Creation
Dog walkers provide information regarding competency and provide rates.
- Earnings Summary
Dog walkers can track and monitor their orders, appointments, and earnings.
Dog walkers are notified of new requests and service updates.
- Filtering Feature
Pet carers are able to choose dogs depending on areas or breeds.
- Loyalty or Rewards Program
A loyalty program rewards stuff for a well-done job or bringing new users. They can also receive additional bonuses or gifts
How You Can Monetize Your App
When creating an application, mind how to receive income from your brainchild. Let’s consider the main ways to monetize dog walking services:
- Commissions from transactions
You will receive a percentage of payments through your dog walking app.
- Promotion through advertising
Dog walkers can be more visible and stand out in searches with ads.
- In-app ads
You can advertise supplementary goods and services.
Conquer the Niche!
Dog walking app is a profitable and relevant field today. Despite the market being saturated, there is always a place for a new amazing idea. Drop us a line or schedule a call without hesitation. We have everything at hand to develop custom dog walking service solutions.