What a shock so many of us are in. If I had told you 3 months ago that people would be panic buying loo roll and stocking up on pasta in preparation for being isolated at home for weeks on end, months for the more vulnerable you would have thought me barmy.
But it's happenned. And for many, aside from the health worries and the practical worries of day to day life during the most turbulent phase, there are many who are already feeling the harsh hit on their businesses and financial stability.
I've been a professional dog walker for 6 years now and whilst being self employed always has it's ripples of downturns, I have never seen anything like this. The industry is in a panic, so many have already had such dramatic losses to their businesses that they fear their businesses will have to shut up shop and very soon too.
There are pet sitters and dog boarders who have had practically all their bookings cancelled and had to refund deposits and payments in full to clients who are no longer travelling. They face month's ahead where they are unlikely to recoup those losses. Whilst they are insured for the dogs in their cares wellbeing most people across the industry do no have loss of income insurance. These people currently can't access any financial support as what is on offer at the moment is Statatory Sick Pay for self employed who have had to isolate due to Covid_19 or a business loan they can apply for which will be interest free for 6 months. This is of no help at all, the demand for this service has ground to an unpredicted, practially immediate halt. These individuals are not in a position to borrow 6 months worth of salary plus business costs to keep them afloat. And if they do then how on earth will they repay it? There are limits on the number that licensed boarders can board and petsitters only have a limited capacity too. Even if there is a sudden surge in bookings in a few months time, it is incredibly unlikely that these people will be earning so far beyond their usual revenue that they can make up for months of no income.
Next consider the dog walker's in your community. Unless they are walking huge numbers of dogs their profit margins are modest, contrary to popular belief! I have heard from so many dog walkers that owners who are now working from home have cancelled their services with little or no notice. This isn't something any of us could prepare for and as self employed service providers we don't have a redundancy package to safeguard the transition from working to being practially unemployed.
If you are working from home and are healthy, still currently employed with a monthly income which hasn't dipped, then please do consider keeping your dog walker on. If you've had to cancel a trip and can afford to pay your dogsitter or boarder in spite of not needing them, even if only a portion of your booking then please do, even if they protest! They have hopefully served you and your pup and taken incredible care of your pooch when you couldn't be there. Please do what you can to take care of them and keep them in business so when all the dust settles and everyone returns to work, business trips and holidaying, you still have really wonderful, dedicated, professionals there to continue taking care of your beloved dog when you can't.