October 21, 2015

FAQS

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 all ethical and legal requirements in accordance with the law. We also carry an expansive pet sitters’ insurance policy which covers bodily injury to your pet or committed by your pet, and property damage. 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! Click HERE for a more in depth breakdown of our insurance policy

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 four part certification test. Because our walkers are actual employees and not just independent contractors, they are fully trained and go through an extensive hiring process including a lengthy online interview, face-to-face interview, and training alongside LeAnna and/or Brandon as well as 1-2 other long-term walkers. Finally, they do “trial visits” with the owners’ pets before taking on clients of their own. We are proud to pay our walkers more than industry standard, too, and offer benefits like paid lunches and paid time off for full-time employees. We hope to be able to begin offering health benefits in 2020. You can learn more about each walker from the front page of our website where it says “Our Walkers.” We take great pride our 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 1-2 primary walkers. 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 app notification that they have arrived. Pet Check then tracks our time and location for the duration of your scheduled appointment and we always take photos of your pet as well. After the visit is completed you will receive in real-time a personalized report about how the visit went, what business your pet did, photos, and a GPS map. You will always know that your walker or sitter is there when they say they are and for the full length of time they you are paying for!

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 area small and local enables us to provide the best quality service quickly and efficiently. Most of our walkers also live in the Hyde Park area.

Q. What are your hours? Our office hours are Monday through Friday from 9am-5pm though we provide daily petcare from 7am 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 do evening and weekend dog walks and cat visits? Yes we do! There is an additional $5 fee for weekend dog walks Saturday and Sunday. Evening dog walks and cat visits scheduled between 5 PM-9 PM are also $5 more. There are no additional weekend fees for cat visits.

Q. Do you offer services on the holidays too? Yes we do! Visits on Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, New Years Eve (5-9pm) and New Years Day (7-10am) are $10 more, and petsitting is $35 more.

Q. How does my walker or sitter 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. Other options are an ​outdoor lockbox (if applicable, please check with your building first that they are permitted.) We try to be flexible depending on different building rules and protocol. Most of the front desk people at the larger buildings in the Hyde Park know us as well.

Q. Do you offer any specials or discounts? We will add an extra 10% in credit to your account for every $100 prepaid via Venmo, Zelle, or direct bank transfer. This saves us money on credit card fees so we would like to pass that savings to you! We also off $1 off each walk for senior citizens over 65 and millenials under 25.

dQ. 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 dogs over six months of age and cats. For example, if you schedule a walk at 11 AM, your walker or sitter will arrive between 11 AM and 1PM. If you have a puppy that is under six months of age we ask for a one hour window. Please note we are NOT available for midday cat visits between 11am and 1pm as this is our busiest dog walking time.

Q. Do you train dogs? While we are not professional dog trainers, we do know proper dog walking techniques. Some of our walkers have backgrounds and special training in animal training and would be happy to work with your dog on simple commands and proper leash etiquette. We can also help you to field solutions for common issues like pulling, separation anxiety, etc.

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? NoUnfortunately, 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. Several of us are also experienced in administering insulin and subcutaneous injections.

Q. What is your cancellation or last-minute appointment policy? Services must be scheduled or cancelled no later than 8 PM the night before. This is so your walker or sitter’s schedule can be organized for the next day. Services scheduled or cancelled later than 8 PM the night before will incur a $5 late fee. Due the small size of our team, same day services are subject to walker availability and are not guaranteed. Same day services are $10 more in the form of a $5 late schedule fee and an automatic $5 tip for your walker or sitter. We ask that you schedule your walks for the week by Sunday evening in order to reserve the same steady walker(s) each 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. Please email us to cancel a same-day service. There is a $5 late cancel fee for same day cancellations. Please note cancellations must be received before the scheduled appointment 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 also offer pet-sitting in walkers’ homes but 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. How do I tip my walker or sitter? 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 (gratuity) to your walker. You can also add a tip by contacting us, or leaving a clearly marked envelope for your walker/sitter in your home with cash or check.

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 or via the app. You can schedule one appointment at a time or multiple visits.

Q. How do I schedule a series of visits, like if I am going on vacation for a week? When scheduling your service, click on Recurring Weekly from the Frequency dropdown menu. Then, you can enter your start and end date, and select the days you need services.

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, or you can add a comment in the customer comment field when scheduling your appointment.

OTHER RESOURCES:

Local Vet: Hyde Park Animal Clinic 1363 E. 53rd St 773-324-4484

Local Vet: Bronzeville Animal Clinic 203 E. 31st St 312-643-2901

Emergency Vet: Metropolitan 1556 S. Michigan Ave. 312-583-1921 (open until 10pm)

Emergency Vet: MedVet 3123 N Clybourn Ave 773-281-7110 (24hrs)

Pet supplies, food and treats: Sprocket & Stone 1013 E. 53rd St 773-966-4777

Dog Parks: Jackson Bark 6000 S Lake Shore Dr. 773-272-1307