Living in the Washington, DC Metro area, the term contractor is one that we often hear. However, a contractor for the government is a very different position than a contractor for a private company, like a dog walking company.
In fact, the debate over whether to use contractors or hire employees is one of the largest debates in the dog walking industry. Tails on Trails has thoughtfully engaged in this debate and has come away with a firm belief that the benefits of hiring employees far outweigh the benefits of hiring contractors.
Perhaps the most important reason we believe hiring employees is the standard of care that we maintain for our clients.
If we were to hire contractors, the amount of control we would have over their standard of care would be quite low. For example, contractors once hired to do a walk, could do whatever they want, they could even subcontract the work out to someone else. They only have to take direction from the clients, they would not have to follow any of the Tails on Trails procedures. They also cannot be required to check in and out of a walk.
Furthermore, they would not take part in Tails on Trails training or following our guidelines for work done. Essentially that means that they would not have to be using properly vetted equipment, or gone through safety and behaviorist training. Because we believe so strongly in maintaining a high level of care, this scenario is unacceptable.
Tails on Trails prefers to be able to provide training, monitor work to ensure it’s up to the highest standards, and have employees that follow our policies and procedures to keep both them and the clients’ pets safe.
When we use employees instead of contractors, we are also able to better insure them. All of our employees are bonded and insured with a liability carrier. Additionally, they are covered under workers’ compensation insurance. Keeping employees with these types of safety nets in place allows us to create a company that is able to support its walkers no matter the situation they find themselves in. Doing so generates walkers who are more vested in their jobs and thus better walkers when interacting with clients’ pets.