There’s a new dog walker in town — Los Angeles-based Wag! (yep, exclamation point and everything) launched in D.C. at the end of September.
The app allows dog owners to book a dog walk on-demand with as little as 30 minutes notice, or schedule routine walks when they’re unable to take care of their furry friend personally. Two year old Wag! (ok, we’re dropping the exclamation point from here out) is currently available in 12 cities across the U.S. — D.C. and Boston being the most recent additions. The company has raised $2.45 million in seed funding thus far.
Wag’s walkers are all background-checked and vetted through a three-part process — online application, phone interview and in-person test. According to spokesperson Channing Barringer, the company has one staff city manager on the ground in D.C., in addition to the walkers of course. Barringer declined to comment on how many walkers the company has available in the District, but said that “many of [the walkers] have some sort of involvement in pet services” — like a full-time job as a vet tech — and see Wag as an easy way to generate a little extra cash. “The business comes to them,” Barringer said.
Wag charges $20 for a 30 minute walk, and $30 for a 60 minute walk, taking 40 percent off the top of all transactions.
Despite some differences on the specifics, all this sounds pretty darn similar to a D.C.-born on-demand dog walking app — Barkly. So we reached out to cofounder David Comiskey to see what he had to say about the Wag expansion.
“It’s an exciting time to be a dog in D.C.!” Comiskey quipped, in an email. The local launch of a big West Coast brand like Wag, he went on to say, further “reinforces our decision to call D.C. home.”
Comiskey doesn’t seem too concerned about the competition, though. First, there are a lot of dogs in D.C. And second, he believes that Barkly’s commitments to its walkers set it apart as a company and as a service. “In offering industry-leading compensation, medical benefits and career-advancing education we’re attracting the best professionals in the industry to walk with us,” he wrote.
Barkly is available in D.C, Baltimore, Philadelphia and, most recently, New York City. An exciting time to be a ? indeed.