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Local networking platform offers community and care for pets

Work & Lifestyle

The cost of caring for pets can often be a burden for owners, and we’ve already seen initiatives such as Coupawz stepping in to offer a helping hand. Now, hoping to relieve the financial pressures associated with pet care, we recently came across US-based Pet It Forward. The website — launching soon to cater to New York City residents — will operate similarly to a social network, connecting pet owners with local pet care providers. Once they have set up their user profiles describing both their pets and themselves, members of the site will be able to link with other pet owners to discuss the best providers of affordable pet care. They can then either connect with a care provider directly through the website, or they can post a pet care request for care professionals and other members to respond to. Once an appointment is set up, care providers will receive reminders through the website of the scheduling details, and users are able to post reviews after each appointment. The website also uses its own points based currency system. These points can be earned when members provide pet care for other owners, and then subsequently exchanged for care services from other members and professional providers. What’s more, the points are worth twice as much as a US dollar, meaning they can be bought and then exchanged for pet care at 50 percent less than is usually charged. Alternatively, points earned can be cashed in for US dollars. The emphasis of the site is firmly placed on community spirit, with members being kept up to date on the needs and requests of other pet owners, and receiving alerts when new users join. The site hopes that by creating a community, it will lead to frequent instances of free pet care being provided. Of course, owners aren’t the only ones to benefit, claims CEO Jenna Dreher, as professional care providers can also expect to receive more bookings once registered on the site. Dreher also told us of Pet It Forward’s plans to expand to other major metropolitan areas in the next few months. As websites such as Groupon increasingly mean that pricing deals are not only desirable, but often expected, platforms providing discounted services such as Pet It Forward are sure to be in demand. And combining that with a social networking service that brings together members of the local community sounds to us like a winning formula. (Related: Group buying and curated local deals for pet ownersFlexible pet ownershipFive business ideas aimed at cats, dogs & their doting owners.)



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