Frequently Asked Questions
Q: How does it work?
A: It is meant to be as simple as possible!
- Step 1: Start by selecting a service, date, and/or location. Then look at the list of service providers, who will list their services, prices, and any other detail they think is important to differentiate themselves. You will also see our user ratings for that user.
- Step 2: Start communications on our platform with as many, or as few providers as you want to, then pick the one you feel the most comfortable with.
- Step 3: Book, confirm, and securely pay for the service through our platform.
Q: What does it cost?
A: As a user, it is free to search and communicate with service providers. Our mission is to connect you with the best service provider, so you don’t even have to book through us if you are comfortable to do so outside of our platform. Only if you book through us, will we charge you for the services you are booking.
A: It is free to list your service with us. We pass the merchant processing cost (the cost of using your credit card, dictated by www.stripe.com) to the service provider. We charge a small $1.99 fee per transaction + 3% of the service fee to cover the website and operating costs. This service cost is much smaller than the cost of listing on competitor websites which range from 20-50% of the service fee.
Q: As a service provider, when will I receive payment?
A: We will add all of the work you did as a provider on Paws Inn in each calendar month, and send a check to your address on the 15th of the following month. Please make sure your registered address, and name are correct so the check is made out appropriately.
Q: How do service providers deal with taxes?
A: As each provider will have a unique tax position. It is your responsibility to collect any appropriate sales taxes for your state, and to declare the income derive from Paws Inn on your tax return.
Q: What happens when things go wrong?
A: As we try to be as close to free as possible, we unfortunately cannot guarantee any promises made by a service provider. In the event of cancellations, there will be some situations where our affiliated companies may have availability to assist. We recommend in the event of cancellation, that you attempt to make another reservation with a local business. In the event of disagreements about services, we will withhold the payment until a solution is reached.
Q: Many other online booking platforms offer insurance, why don’t you?
A: Fundamentally, we are trying to be an intermediary, rather than a guarantor of service standard. Insurance provided by an intermediary like us can often give people a false sense of security and we would rather people consider each provider on their individual merits. Some of the providers and businesses, especially those that make their livelihood with these services, may provide insurance themselves. We also recommend having your own pet insurance for those unexpected situations.
Q: What makes you different or better than other competitors?
A: Our key differentiators are that (1) we are built on the strong foundations of a physical business that has been looking after pets in one of the world’s most vibrant urban centres for 25 years; and (2) we try to offer a place for all animals, all customers, and all pet care providers to meet and help each other share in the love for animals.
Q: What is your no-show policy?
A: We will remove repeat offenders from our platform. We will also eventually show reservation history of when a service provider has been a ‘no-show’ and/or cancelled an already booked service.
Q: What are your walking policies?
A: We don’t have policies which we impose on our service providers. Nevertheless, we do have our opinions on what constitutes best practice. These include:
- Try to avoid group walks where possible – we understand the desire for socialisation, but we have seen on too many occasions, walkers with multiple dogs lose a dog and not be able to deal with the situation appropriately (they have relied on nearby good Samaritans).
- Use a harness where possible – we have seen dogs slip their collars regularly when these haven’t been sized correctly. Also, with just one buckle, we have seen these break. If a harness isn’t available, we may suggest using a second collar.
- Never trust a walker that leaves dogs unattended. We attach a photo of a group walker who presumably wasn’t allowed to bring dogs into a building to pick up a walk, leaving the pack attached unattended to a street fixture.
- Always ask for permission before introducing dogs to each other, whether on the street or otherwise. Every dog is different, and like their humans, may have different moods.
- Be careful of any loud noises, or nearby surprises. These include skateboards, children, flying debris, or anything else which may alarm or cause your dog to give chase.
- Never walk a dog in an urban environment without a leash. In many cities this is illegal, and too often it can lead to catastrophe.
- Always have a plan, and communicate the plan, for adverse weather condition such as rain (does the service continue) or snow (are there boots to help with salt on the roads).
Q: How can we share access to apartments/keys?
A: There are various different ways to go about this, but we recommend fixing these details with the service provider at the earliest convenience, to avoid last minute rushes. There are various systems in the market which are designed to help, such as neighbourhood key-lockers, or inexpensive products (https://www.ebay.com/bhp/combination-key-box )
Q: What happens in the case of an emergency?
A: Always put in place plans for emergency. It is important to have, or have access to, all necessary medical records, including:
- Latest vaccinations
- Phone number and address of the regular vet
- List of any medication, and instructions for giving it
- Medical history, including allergies
- Know where the location of the nearest 24 hour emergency veterinary service
- Back-up contact information
Performance under these circumstances are the service provider’s responsibility. We recommend getting comfortable with the service provider’s ability to perform in these eventualities.
Q: Do you check on the service providers and their backgrounds?
A: We do not check service providers. We recommend users look at the service providers’ rating history, and in the absence of a history, look at the testimonial of their family/friends/customers. We will try to avoid service providers creating new accounts to avoid poor service ratings.
Q: How does the rating system work?
A: Every transaction booked on our system can lead to a rating (0-5 stars). We ask that users try to rate based on the following guide:
- 0 – 1 Star: Had a terrible experience, would never use again.
- 2 – 3 Star: Had a below par experience. Wasn’t terrible, but unlikely to use the service provider again.
- 3 -4 Star: Had a good experience. Would probably use the service provider again.
- 5 Star: Had an excellent user experience. The service provider went above and beyond, was good value for money, and you would recommend them to friends and family.
As every booking is rateable, we expect that service providers will trend towards the extremes (1 or 5 star). This will hopefully help users differentiate based on true user experience.
Users should not be swayed by requests for high ratings, or exchange cheaper services for higher ratings.