A typical day as a dogknows business owner.
Running a Dogknows business is a full-on, but rewarding job, says Sally, manager at Dogknows Greenwich and Lewisham.
My day starts early, when I switch on my mobile phone and computer, and check for emails and messages that tell me whether anything has changed for today's schedule. More often than not this doesn't happen, but when it does, and whatever the reason, my job is to rearrange the schedule to suit the dog, the client and the team member.
Somehow we always manage it, but never at the expense of the dogs. And of course if need be I will walk a dog myself.
I can do this because I've met every client and every dog. In fact it's the Dog Knows way to take every dog out during his or her first week with us to get to know them, to fully understand their temperament and their exercise needs. That means I know all our dogs very well, and I know which dogs to put together for maximum enjoyment of a walk.
Once I know the day is running smoothly, I look at any changes to the monthly schedules that might have been requested - here we might have a client who has to go away unexpectedly, and needs their dog boarded or looked after along with the house while they are away. I get back to the client as quickly as possible to let them know which team member will be available and to find out more information. Very occasionally the answer has to be no - its very important we only promise what we know we can deliver, but usually with good planning we can avoid this and meet our clients needs.
Throughout the day, I will check in with the team, and they check in with me, to make sure that we deal proactively with any issues that come up. In a real emergency I will down tools and resolve the issue myself.
Depending on the schedule, I'll have my own dog walks or puppy visits to do. As the manager, I make sure I don't have too many, so that I am available for backup and client liaison and because I'm the central point for the team and for clients. This is a really enjoyable part of the work for me.
Part of my day is spent back at my desk, checking my emails, and in between I'll be invoicing clients, putting together the schedules for next month, sending them out to clients for approval or adjustment. Basically you have to keep ahead of everything in this job. There's a lot to manage and the key to success is to keep on top of it, other wise you'll let people down.
If I am meeting new clients, usually this is in the afternoon, but I occasionally do these visits in the evening as that is when the owners are free. It's important to meet the client and their family and to see them with their dog. It's a crucial part of the Dogknows assessment process.
Finally, around 6:30 to 7:00pm I do a final check of my emails and a final sending out of anything the team need to know in the morning. Then I switch my phone and computer off. It's important to make sure you have time off, especially when you work from home, so I do make a point of doing this.
Sally changed her career and trained to be a Dogknows Manager.