HouseMyDog.com is a cage-free alternative to kennels. The business was started by two Irish brothers, Timothy and James McElroy. They weren’t happy leaving their family dog Holly in caged and often overcrowded kennels, and they wanted to travel with peace of mind knowing that Holly was being cared for in a real home with a trusted and experienced minder. From that HouseMyDog.com was born.
We spoke with James to find out more about this new company.
Q1. Hi James. Can you explain to our readers what HouseMyDog is?
HouseMyDog is an online community that connects dog owners with vetted and experienced dog minders. All dogs are cared for in real homes and are given individual attention and care, while dog owners (or parents as HouseMyDog calls them) receive regular photo and text updates of their dog enjoying all of the exercise, warmth and affection that they deserve.
Q2. How did it start?
In 2013 Timothy returned from Berlin, where he had been working and together with James, began discussing the HouseMyDog idea with dog owners and minders around Ireland. We weren’t happy with the available dog boarding solutions for our own dog, Holly, and we shocked to discover that over 65% of dog owners we spoke with also had a desire for a cage-free alternative.
Q3. Can you explain how the service works?
Dog minders can create a free profile and once their mandatory verifications are complete they can immediately be viewed by hundreds of dog owners in their area. Minders have total control over their profile and services, setting their pricing, managing their schedule and choosing the breeds and size of the dogs that they wish to mind.
Dog owners on the other hand can simply visit housemydog.com and immediately begin browsing verified and experienced minders to find the perfect match for their dog. They can organise an optional meet and greet and book online knowing their dog will be covered by the HouseMyDog Guarantee.
Q4. What is the HouseMyDog Guarantee?
The HouseMyDog Guarantee is our peace of mind cover that we offer with every booking. This includes complimentary Emergency Vet care, 24/7 Customer Support and a Money-back Guarantee.
Q5. How do you make sure you only have the best minders on HouseMyDog?
HouseMyDog takes the safety of our community very seriously. All of our minders must complete mandatory verifications including email verification, address verification (profile badges on the way) and a full minder profile, this includes photos, qualifications a description of who they are and an outline of the care and services they will offer guest dogs. We also personally interview minders to discuss their experience and relevant qualifications and the home environment where the dog will be cared for. Additionally there are several optional verifications that a minder can attain to help build trust:
– 3 References from dog owners’ whose pets you’ve minded
– ID Screening (copy of official ID to prove identity)
– Police Clearance Cert
– Facebook connect
Q6. You have been selected for the Dublin Web Summit Alpha program. Can you tell me about that?
Each week the Web Summit selects 10 startups giving them a free exhibition stand where they can showcase their work to the conference attendants. We were delighted when we found out we were accepted and we are really looking forward to October. Many of the most successful tech companies will be there, and its also a great chance to meet other startup founders and investors from Ireland and abroad and to attend talks from some of the most influential people in tech.
Q7. How has business been going so far?
Great! Since launching in January HouseMyDog has grown to a community of over 2,000. In terms of activity in Ireland Dublin is the most active area, with Cork and Limerick also expanding quickly. In April HMD also launched in the UK and has been rapidly expanding in London, Manchester and Liverpool. At the moment we are only looking to create the best community for dog owners and dog minders throughout Ireland and the UK and we plan to soon introduce pet services such as dog walking, grooming, training.
Q8. What type of feedback have you been getting so far?
The feedback so far has been fantastic. Since launching over 95% of our minder reviews have been 5/5, and none of our minders have fallen below 4/5. We are very proud of that and obviously delighted with the quality of the minders in our community.
Q9. What would be success for you and Timothy?
We want our solution to help as many parents and their dogs as possible. If someday we can help dogs all across Europe to be happily minded in real homes instead of kennels that would be success for us.
Q10. What’s the best way for people to get in contact with you?
If you would like to have your company featured in the Irish Tech News Business Showcase get in contact with me on [email protected]