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Just as dog walking services are now keeping up with the changing demands of flexible work hours, one dog training company based in Melbourne, Good Dog Behaviour & Training is now doing the same. Instead of limited class times in set locations, dog owners can opt for an in-home training service.
Three years ago, Tim Watson, was at a crossroads with his office job and looking for a change so he chose to focus on his love of dogs and the frustrations dog owners commonly face.
“I wanted to do something where I knew I could help people, but I also wanted to work with dogs, so I went and studied dog training and behaviour with my own dog Elliot by my side and I haven’t looked back,” says Watson.
He founded Good Dog Behaviour & Training to provide a flexible service to cover anything from general obedience to house manners to undesirable behaviours such as aggression, jumping up and digging.
“It’s not necessarily encouraging people to train their dogs to sit and drop – all that stuff’s really important, but getting in the appropriate amount of socialisation and training so that these dogs can be welcome more places and more businesses are opening up their doors to these dogs as well,” says Watson.
Good Dog Behaviour & Training’s customers are generally hard working individuals, typically working long days. Watson says that they love their dogs but they don’t typically have a lot of time to put in the work required to get that well behaved dog that they really want.
“I just do private sessions. So whether it be in the home or in their neighbourhood, wherever the behaviour or the concerns of their training is present,” explains Watson.
“There is a bit of a stigma around dog training in that by calling in a dog trainer you’re calling them in because you’ve got a dog with a problem, but it’s a lot more than that. It’s about the prevention of problem behaviours and having a dog that can go everywhere with you, which is really, by definition, a companion animal.”
With the business gradually growing a loyal client base, managing cash flow became a big challenge for Watson and starting out he wasn’t able to find technology that supported him as a sole trader. He was spending around six hours a week creating, sending, tracking and chasing invoices rather than concentrating on things like lesson plans and larger projects.
“At the time that I heard about Square my business was growing quite a lot and instead of being really excited about it all as I should’ve been, I was pretty overwhelmed by all of the invoicing and the paperwork that I had to do. So I was looking for a technology that could assist, automate a lot of that sort of stuff.”
“With Square I don’t have to worry about meeting my financial obligations, I know that I’ll get paid on the day and I’ve got it automated with QuickBooks as well, which means that all the transactions are shared across all devices and I can access it wherever I need to.”
In the same position as many sole traders, Watson felt EFTPOS or a credit card facility were not affordable – until he discovered the mobile payments technology, Square. This simple technology has opened up a lot of opportunity to start accepting credit card payments without those overheads.
Square launched its flagship device Square Reader in Australia earlier this year, a device billed as the smallest, most mobile and most affordable card payment reader for small businesses. The reader plugs into the headphone jack of a mobile phone or tablet, allowing business owners to accept payments anywhere.
Square has helped Watson increase business as clients don’t have to worry about payday to book in another session. So typically, due to the ability to take card payments, clients will book in regular sessions and have the ease of being able to pay in credit card.
“I found that since we’ve been offering card there’s a lot less people paying in cash. With our service being all about convenience it really highlights that in terms of being able to provide a card option, and people go ‘Oh, great, I don’t have to go down to the bank and get money out,’ and I get paid on the go as well, which is really great.”
With stress about cash flow significantly lowered, Watson has big plans for the business over the next six months including community training programs and educational talks within some rescue organisations.