Sometimes when it’s raining in Vancouver every live long day of the year you want to pick up your bags, throw them out an open window, repack your bags, and take a midnight flight to Hawaii.
When you have a dog, travelling ain’t that easy.
You need to find a dog sitter and if you don’t book years in advance it’s likely you will get the dreaded response, “I would love to look after your dog, but I am already sitting Johnny The Alaskan Husky who may try to sell your doggy to the neighbour in return for gluten free cookies when we aren’t watching”
So what’s the answer to being able to travel the world like Jay Z and Beyoncé and not worry about trying to look for a last minute dog sitter? Pawshake.
What is Pawshake Bruh?
Pawshake.ca is an online service where people can offer and find pet services like pet sitting, boarding and dog walking. What I love about Pawshake is that folk are rated, so you can see what other people think about the person you are about to hire. (Sorta like Yelp for doggies).
Because we find dog businesses and entrepreneurship thrilling, we spoke to Tanguy Peers co-founder of Pawshake about how to run a successful online biz…
Tanguy, how did you come up with the idea for Pawshake?
The idea came about after Dries Coucke’s, co-founder of Pawshake, life was turned upside down in 2009. His father was diagnosed at the age of 60 with cancer and during this time, Dries and his two brothers tried their best to support their parents. It soon became clear that his parents’ labrador Ibeau would need someone to take care of him.
Unfortunately, Dries couldn’t lodge Ibeau because his parent’s dog didn’t get along with his dachshund Brownie. Moreover, Dries’ two brothers had just become fathers and couldn’t take responsibility for Ibeau either.
He thought there must be a dog lover in his community that would lodge Ibeau temporarily. This is what sparked the idea and in 2010, Dries started Pawshake with a post on the Facebook page of a not-for-profit website to rehome rescue pets, which he founded in 2002.
The community responded positively and enthusiastically. Then Pawshake was born!
Do people have to pay to sign up with Pawshake?
It’s completely free to sign up on Pawshake as a pet owner or as a pet sitter. The fees for pet sitting do vary. The pet sitters set their rates on the website, and those are the prices you‘d pay if you booked with one of the sitters.
There are no hidden fees.
How has Pawshake been received so far?
It’s been going really well. Thousands of Canadians are already using the website and app.
Pet owners love it because we offer an alternative to a kennel. Pet owners want peace of mind, they don’t just want to take their dog to a kennel where they will sleep and eat – they want to leave their dog with someone they know will play with them and look after them in a loving environment.
Pet sitters love it as well as this is the probably the “best part time job.” Typically we have a lot of young families with children who haven’t yet decided if they’d like a full-time pet and university students or expats that live away from home and miss having a pet around.
On the other hand we have people who already have a dog and would like to have a second dog in their home perhaps for weekend play dates and to keep the other dog company.
If someone wants to get into the dog website/app business, what are 3 tips you have for them?
- Do something that is meaningful to you.
- Ideas are cheap. It’s all about execution.
- Find a great co-founder who has complementary skills.
Are you hoping to expand Pawshake? If so, how?
Our goal is to have a pet sitter in every neighborhood in Canada.
How important do you think it is to have a business plan or do market research before launching a dog related business?
Like every business having a plan is really important. But having a good plan isn’t always enough. Despite the fact that my co-founder and myself have over 25 years of online marketplace experience (Kijiji and eBay) and 15 years of online pet community experience, we have been surprised how much we still learn every day.
What’s the Pawshake team like? How many employees are there and where is your office located?
We have three main teams at Pawshake: an engineering team, a marketing team and customer support team. We have two offices in Canada, one in Toronto and one in Montreal.
What is the best and worst aspect of owning a website related dog business?
The best part is that we touch people’s lives and make people and their pets happy. The pet owner community is a really friendly community.
The hardest part is that we are a service company which operates 24/7.
Finit. As in Finish.
That’s the end of the interview y’all. If you would like to learn more about Pawshake download their app or visit their website. Thanks y’all for listening.