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we dog care

We Dog Care is high-quality community-oriented doggy day care center

San Jose, CA
services industry Services

At a glance

  • Ability to grow and run their business utilizing Deputy and Gusto
  • Save time and money by minimizing unnecessary admin work
  • Stay compliant and avoid overscheduling with Deputy

The Story

For hard-working professionals who are also dog owners, finding the right kind of doggy daycare is a big priority. They want peace of mind that their furry friends – whether it’s a dainty 5-pound Chihuahua or a giant 220-pound Saint Bernard – will be loved and cared for when they’re not around.

Yet when it comes to doggy daycare, while there’s a prevalence of spa-like facilities at the top end of the market and rag-tag operators at the other, there are often next to no affordable, yet professionally run facilities available in many locales.

Former venture capitalist Ruben Serrato recognized the need for affordable, yet high-quality doggy daycare in San Jose. “For most people, their dog is a member of their family. Owners want to give their pets the best possible care when they’re at work and can’t look after them,” comments Serrato. “There was a big gap in the market for reasonably priced quality services that accommodate dog owners’ lifestyles.”

And so the idea for his community-oriented doggy day care center, We Dog Care, started to take shape. Serrato set about finding the perfect premises with lots of room for exercise and socialization and devised a value proposition that puts customers first. This unique approach includes 24/7 access, affordable prices, and education events designed to bring dog lovers together.

We Dog Care opened in March 2014 in a location with a lot of open space, and natural sunlight. Dogs are given plenty of exercise and opportunities for socialization and interaction. Amenities include an indoor dog park, an outdoor run, as well as rooms for quiet time and naps.

"There was a big gap in the market for reasonably priced quality services that accommodate dog owners’ lifestyles."

we dog care

The Challenge

True to his value proposition, We Dog Care puts the customer first and is uniquely designed to support busy people. With a flexible drop off and pick up times, dog owners can leave their beloved pets during the day or overnight in a safe and caring environment. The center is staffed with a friendly and experienced crew who genuinely get to know the dogs and understand their needs.

“Just like childcare, it’s absolutely essential that we know the name of each dog that comes here, and that we retain records about them. We have to know precisely what they did when they came in; who they played with; how their poop was; and how much sleep they’ve had. It’s really important for us to discuss each dog’s day with their owners when they pick them up.

“Plus, for added peace of mind, we have cameras dotted around the center so owners can check in via the webcam to see what their four-legged friends are up to throughout the day,” explains Serrato.

To provide this high level of service, We Dog Care operates on a high ratio of staff members to dogs. Serrato employs a young team of 23 experienced dog handlers. Each member of staff is a self-described dog person and well-tuned to normal dog behavior. They are quick to spot signs of stress and intervene in any inappropriate play.

“While our staff members are all experienced in looking after dogs and positive training techniques, most of them don’t work for us full time. Many are studying and some have other work commitments. When your people’s availability changes from week to week it can be difficult to run a tight ship.”

“Before we moved on to Deputy, employee scheduling was a predominantly manual task and incredibly time-consuming. Each week, my assistant manager had to lock down 24-hour schedules with the team whose flexibility – particularly the students – was always fluid. Assigning shifts, communicating changes and filling any unassigned shifts was highly manual. And managing around their constantly changing availability meant endless calls and emails to assign and confirm shifts.”

“Then, once staff members had completed their shifts, managing timesheets, reviewing and approving them was another time drain. This process seemed to take forever. I knew we had to find a better way.”

"Before we moved on to Deputy, employee scheduling was a predominantly manual task and incredibly time-consuming. I knew we had to find a better way."

we dog care

The Solution

“We were already using Gusto in the business and this led us to Deputy. We liked the idea that the software works together to minimize duplication and double-handling. When I realized that all timesheets are automatically created in Deputy based on when an employee clocks in and out, and that I could approve the timesheets in a click, I was sold. And for me, the fact that this data is then pushed directly into Gusto – no rekeying, no reconciliation or double checking is a godsend. It’s a real game changer.”

“Deputy and Gusto have been a huge help to us in running and growing the business. Deputy really comes into its own in terms of being able to schedule our very fluid workforce. The ability to share information quickly has transformed how we operate. Each and every staff member now log into Deputy to modify their availability. This means that when we come to do the schedule we can see who’s available and who isn’t. And everyone has the chance to claim any open shifts. This has helped us minimize unnecessary admin and save so much time creating our worker’s schedules.”

“It’s also really useful if someone is running late or has called in sick. Rather than having to scramble to get someone to fill their shift, we can post an urgent open shift on Deputy which automatically alerts the team giving everyone the opportunity to take on extra work.”

“We’re also now more precise in staffing up and down depending on the time of day, or the day of the week. At We Dog Care, customers drop dogs off here throughout the day from around 5 am. From 6:00am to 7:00am it tends to get really busy with our customers rushing in before they set off to work or head out to the airport to catch a flight.”

“As staffing is my biggest cost, Deputy has really helped me optimize my resources by accurately managing work volumes with the right number of available staff. We use data from Deputy to drive efficiencies and make better decisions regarding our workers and the service we provide.”

“With real-time labor and staffing information available at our fingertips, we can better manage around staff availability which is reducing absences, and lateness. Plus being able to see who’s on shift at all times means we can couple customer feedback with this information to better understand our staff’s strengths and weaknesses.

“And in terms of compliance, I’m not an HR professional or an employment lawyer, so being able to set rules in Deputy we’ve been able to minimize risk. What this means is we can’t inadvertently break the law by over-scheduling our employees which is of great peace of mind to me.”

Favorite features

“Everyone clocks in and out on Deputy on the iPad which automatically creates timesheets, which I can view and approve by logging into the app wherever I am which saves so much time.

“The communications tools in Deputy have also been a real bonus for us, especially when we’re greeting a new dog for the first time. We send a brief alert on Deputy notifying staff of the new dog’s name and breed and to look out for them. This is particularly useful when the owner drops off their pet for the first time, as we can instantly greet the dog by name as they walk in. When they pick up their pet later in the day, any staff member they choose to speak to will know their dog from the get-go. This is so important in reinforcing our high service credibility and establishing trust”

"Deputy and Gusto have been a huge help to us in running and growing the business. Deputy really comes into its own in terms of being able to schedule our very fluid workforce."

we dog care
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