Dog walking businesses are springing up all over the world, and it is certainly a hot business to be in right now. That’s what Kara Kleindienst found out when she started The Barking Meter, a dog walking company that is about as high stakes as it gets.
The Barking Meter is trusted with more than 100 of the most pampered pups in New York City. Many of the clients names can’t be disclosed because the owners all want the utmost privacy, but some of their bigger named clients include fashion industry pro Lauren Santo Domingo, designer Phillip Lim, and actress Blair Brown.
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The company was started by Kleindienst over eight years ago, and back then it was a simple one woman operation. It all started when she got done her career in politics in 2007 after realizing that the cutthroat business of Capital Hill wasn’t for her. She moved in with friends in New York City, but that was as far as her plan went.
Her roommate was working for Phillip Lim at the time and offered Kleindienst a side job walking his dog. She loved dogs and couldn’t turn down the opportunity, so that’s where she began. With no venture capital, only one client, and no idea of what it takes to run a successful dog walking business, Kleindienst took a leap of faith.
Now she is the proud owner of The Barking Meter. The company turns a decent profit and employs seven other people. She’s built up the business so they not only offer dog walking, but training, and trips to the vet and groomer as well. In fact, she just expanded the company to the west coast with a new branch in San Francisco.
She says that it is the personal touch that sets her business apart from other similar ventures in the city. The same person shows up to walk the same dog every day. That way the humans and the dogs will get used to them, grow to trust them, and build a relationship with them.
Surprisingly, Kleindienst attributes most of her success to her emotional intelligence, not her mental intelligence. She says that before she decided to turn her dog walking business into a full-time gig she was actually trying to get into graduate school, but it didn’t work out. Although she was discouraged at the time, she admits now that it was a good things that things didn’t work out the way she wanted them to.