October 21, 2015

FAQS

Q. What does it mean to be licensed, insured and bonded?

We are a professional business licensed in the city of Chicago which means we pay taxes and must follow business ethical and legal requirements. We also carry an expansive pet sitters’ insurance policy which covers bodily injury and property damage as well as loss, injury or death of your animal and limited emergency veterinary care. Additionally, we have an expanded bonded policy which means you are covered if a walker is convicted due to a dishonest act or if we’re at fault for negligent acts by our walkers in your home. We want to make sure that every aspect of our business is professional and accountable.

Q. What kind of qualifications do your walkers have?

Each walker and sitter has passed a criminal background check, has prior experience professionally and/or personally working with animals, and completes a two part certification. Each walker also goes through an extensive hiring process including a lengthy online interview, face-to-face interview, shadowing with owners’ LeAnna and Brandon, and “trial visits” with the owners’ pet. After a 60 day probationary period they are brought on permanently (a minimum of six months contract is required) with a significant rate increase – we are proud to pay our walkers more than industry standard, too. You can learn more about each walker from the front page of our website where it says “Our Walkers.” We take great pride in having the best walkers and sitters and we trust each and every one of them fully!

Q. Will I have the same walker each time?

For regular recurring M-F walks, you will have 1 primary walker. If your regular walker is not available for any reason, you will be notified as soon as possible that an experienced substitute walker will be taking their place. For varying or “as-needed” service your walker may vary depending on availability, though we do try to keep the same few people on each pet whenever possible. We always take your pets’ emotional well-being into account first and foremost and we think there is an art to pairing the right people with the right pets!

Q. How will I know when my walker or sitter has taken care of my pet?

We proudly use Pet Check Technology for every service we provide. Each customer has a unique QR code in the form of a magnet that you can simply place on your fridge. When your walker or sitter arrives for your scheduled appointment they scan with their phone your unique code and you will then get an instant email and/or phone notification that they have arrived. The app we use tracks our time and location for the duration of your scheduled appointment and when your appointment time has been met, we leave you a report about how the visit went, what business your pet did and you even get pictures of your pet with their walker or sitter!

Q. What is your service area?

We are located in Hyde Park and we service exclusively Hyde Park and the immediate surrounding south side neighborhoods such as Kenwood, Bronzeville, and Woodlawn. We feel keeping our service small and local enables us to provide the best quality service quickly and efficiently. All of our walkers also live in the Hyde Park area. 

Q. What kind of pets do you care for?

You name it, we can take care of it! Everything from dogs to cats, to chickens to rabbits, to lizards to plants!

Q. What are your office hours?

Our office hours are Monday through Friday from 9am-5pm though we provide daily petcare from 6am to 9pm 365 days a year. If you need to reach us outside of normal business hours please email us at contact@hydebarkchicago.com and we will get back to you ASAP!

Q. What is the best way to reach you?

We all walk dogs and take care of kitties every day, owners LeAnna and Brandon included, so the best way to reach us is via email at contact@hydebarkchicago.com as both Brandon and LeAnna get pinged immediately when a new email is received. 

Q. Do you perform evening and weekend dog walks and cat visits?

Yes we do! There is an additional $5 fee for weekend dog walks Saturday and Sunday and evening dog walks 5 PM-9 PM. For cat-sitting there is an additional $3 fee for evening visits 5PM-9PM. There are no additional weekend fees for cat-sitting.

Q. What days and times do you provide dog walks and cat sitting?

We provide services from 6 AM to 9 PM 365 days a year. Major holidays, such as Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, New Years Eve (5pm-9pm) and New Years Day (before 12pm) are $10 more per service.

Q. How does my walker get into my home?

We ask for two sets of keys for your home whenever possible. One set will be kept with your walker and the second set will be kept in a secure lock box in the office. We ask for two sets in the event of an emergency and we need to assign a substitute walker last minute. Other options are an outdoor lockbox, or you can place your keys in your (locked) mailbox and provide us with a mailbox key. We try to flexible depending on different building rules and protocol. 

Q. Can I set a specific appointment time?

We ask that you allow us a two hour window in which to arrive for your service. For example, if you schedule a walk at 11 AM, your service will take place between 11 PM and 1PM.

Q. Do you train dogs?

While we are not professional dog trainers, we do know proper dog walking techniques. Some of our walkers do have backgrounds and special training in animal training and would be happy to work with your dog on simple commands and proper leash etiquette.

Q. Do you do group walks?

Unless specifically requested, we do not do group walks. Each walk is private one-on-one.

Q. Can you take my dog off leash, like to a dog park?

Unfortunately, our insurance policy requires your dog be leashed at all times when off your property.

Q. Can you administer medication to pets?

Yes, we can administer pill and liquid medication at no extra charge per your detailed directions.

Q. What is your cancellation or last-minute appointment policy?

Services must be scheduled or cancelled no later than 8 PM the night before. Services scheduled or cancelled later than 8 PM the night before will incur a $5 late fee. Same day services are subject to walker availability and are not guaranteed. We recommend if possible scheduling your walks for the week by Sunday evening in order to reserve the same steady walker for the week.

Q. How do I cancel a service?

You can cancel any scheduled service the day before via the Pet Check desktop site. This feature is not available via the app at this time.

Q. Do you provide service in my home or yours?

We offer pet-sitting in your home so that your pet’s routine and environment are not disrupted. We offer stop-in service, where a walker would come walk your dog 3-4 times per day, or overnight service which includes 3 walks and a sleepover in your home. We occasionally offer private pet-sitting in walkers’ homes but as there are only two of us who carry this additional special insurance, space is very limited and we get booked up quite far in advance!

Q. How and when do I pay you?

You are able to add a credit card onto your account and you will be auto-billed every Monday after services, or we can also take Venmo, Chase QuickPay, Paypal, and checks. For first-time cat-sitting and pet-sitting clients only we do require payment before starting services.

Q. May I give my walker or sitter gratuity?

Of course! When you schedule your services, you will see a list of optional add-ons, including the option to add a $1, $2, $5 or $10 tip to your walker. We also reward our walkers with a monetary bonus should you mention them in a 5-star review (Yelp, Facebook, Google)

Q. How do I schedule services?

You will have your own secure Pet Check Technology account in which you are able to schedule services online. You can schedule one appointment at a time or multiple visits. We strongly prefer all clients use this system so as to minimize the risk of any miscommunication.

Q. How can I communicate with my walker?

Simply click on any appointment scheduled and you can add a customer comment that will be visible to your walker.

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If you have any further questions please feel free to email us at contact@hydebarkchicago.com us or if you are ready to sign up now simply click here!