As we continue to monitor the status of the Coronavirus and it's spread throughout our community, we wanted to share with you some more information about how we are handling it from a company-wide perspective. Many clients have inquired how they can help and continue to support our business during this uncertain time. We are truly grateful for your support and understanding. It means the world to us and to our employees!
We have never experienced something where everyone is impacted in some manner. For us, and many other service businesses, this is an extremely vulnerable time and there are many unknowns. We don’t know how long social distancing will remain in effect and we simply don’t have a guarantee of when we will return to normal operations.
While schools are closed and businesses are downsizing their operations, many of our customers are working from home. This week alone our dog walking and pet sitting services are down 45% and our daycare operations are down 40%. As a small, service-based business, that does not have a teleworking option, this has a huge impact. This uncertainty makes it difficult to know how long we can continue to fully operate, cover our basic expenses, and our employees will ultimately be negatively impacted by this. We wanted to be as transparent as possible regarding our services and how your service fees are utilized, should you continue to support us during this time.
Dog Walking & Pet Sitting
- All of our dog walkers and pet sitters (i.e. field team) are part time employees. We carefully screen and interview them, pay them for training time, provide workman’s compensation insurance, and support infrastructure (payroll, billing, management support, customer support team, schedule management) so our dog walkers and pet sitters can focus their time on caring for animals. Our team works together to support our customers.
- Our field team is paid based on the number of visits they conduct. If a customer cancels their reservation, we don’t charge for the service and your sitter is not paid. Their total wages fluctuate based on customer demand. There is a direct line from your bill to their paycheck.
- Your service fees support more than just your sitter. To deliver the service in the manner we and our customers expect, requires we have a support team in place to conduct our hiring, conduct employee-training, provide customer service, handle reservations, bill our customers, and process our payroll. Your service fees are helping to support the support team’s wages as well. Most of our support team are full-time employees with benefits.
- Some customers have inquired about how they can continue to support their walker/sitter and Fur-Get Me Not during this time. If you are telecommuting from home and your salary is not impacted and you are financially able to continue to support our business or other service businesses that you would normally use, please feel free to do so with our gratitude.
- Please notify our office with any reservation changes. By default, we will continue to operate as normal. Please notify us if you’d like to continue to pay for the service but not have someone conduct the visit, or if you have any schedule changes. Our Office Team will make the appropriate adjustments and notify your sitter. Our team’s safety is just as important. We will notify you if your regular walker/sitter has decided they need to quarantine themselves.
- We can also work with you to minimize contact by asking our field team member to alert you when they are arriving to facilitate access to your dog while minimizing any exposure. Our team will continue to wash their hands when entering and leaving your home and/or use hand sanitizer.
Dog Daycare & Boarding
- Our daycare attendants are hourly employees, both part-time and full-time with benefits. Our shifts are determined by the number of dogs using our service. We add more shifts when peaks are high, we reduce shifts when times are slow.
- Your service fees support more than just our dog daycare attendants. As with our dog walking and pet sitting services, we have a support team that handles hiring, employee-training, customer service, reservations, payroll, and billing.
- The normal daily operations of our dog daycare provides the ability for employees to operate with social distancing in mind. However we recognize that some of our customers are not working right now and need to cut back on services. We do ask that if you have any reservation changes, to please notify our office so we can adjust. Any packages you have paid for the month of March will rollover to April.
- To minimize contact, we can also provide curbside drop-off and pick-up. Text us when you are in the parking lot, and we can come to directly to your car to retrieve your dog.
- We will continue our cleaning practices on high touch surfaces in our lobby and facility.
- Our trainers are hourly employees. They are part-time and are paid based on the hours they work. When classes are cancelled or a client cancels a private consult, the trainer is not paid.
- At this time we are pausing all dog training classes and socials. Effective today, we will pause classes through March 31. We will monitor the situation and resume classes when we feel it is a good time to do so. We will evaluate and may adjust this date in the coming weeks.
- All classes will resume where they left off and all upcoming classes that are scheduled to start while we are on pause, will have delayed start date, so that we can complete the classes that are already in progress. If you have any questions feel free to email the training department Students will receive a direct email with these details and we will continue to keep you updated.
- If you are currently using us for private lessons, we will continue as as long as the both the trainer and client are healthy and feels comfortable proceeding. If you need to reschedule, there is no penalty to do so.
- We do offer a remote training option also. If you are seeking training advice, we offer 30 minute consultations by phone for $45. You can register on our website.
We hope the above outlines where your service fees are going as it applies to our employee wages. In addition to the above, a percentage of your service fees pay our base operating expenses such as rent, utilities, healthcare costs, supply costs, taxes, etc. which we anticipate remaining unchanged during this time.
We are continuing to ask employees to stay home if they are experiencing flu-like symptoms. Some employees have decided to remain home due to their exposure risks, either because they or someone in their household is a high-risk candidate. Other employees feel comfortable implementing the recommended safety guidelines of hand washing and social distancing and cannot afford to have a disruption in their wages.
Please know that as business owners we believe in fair practices for all. We believe that a lifelong partnership with you is more important than any individual transaction. We understand the broader impact the Coronavirus has had on all our lives and how schedules are changing daily. We will continue to be extremely flexible with our cancellation policy and reservation changes.
We are doing our best to balance the needs and safety of our customers, the safety of our employees, while being a good community partner. We will continue to support our employees’ personal decisions and be transparent with any service impacts to our customers. We ask you to alert us if there any flu-like symptoms in your household too.
Thank you for trusting us to care for your pets.
Tammy & Steve