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Exploring Life & Business with Erin Schnute of Bed and BARKfest

Today we’d like to introduce you to Erin Schnute. 

Hi Erin, so excited to have you on the platform. So, before we get into questions about your work-life, maybe you can bring our readers up to speed on your story and how you got to where you are today.
The Bed and BARKfest was born from two young dog lovers joining forces to save up for a wedding. I’ve always been passionate about pups and people, and having my now husband join me in my side hustle of house sitting and dog walking was bliss! Eventually, I realized that what we were making from our side-hustle was outpacing our other jobs, and we started dreaming bigger: 

What if we had a house where dogs could come and stay and be part of our pack while their doggie parents were traveling? Surely, they would have more fun hanging out with other doggos in a family atmosphere with plenty of walks and games than just missing their family at home? 

This caught on quickly, and the Bed and BARKfest was born! We outgrew our little condo and moved into our dream home to find more space for dog guests. Our home backs up to a nature preserve with trails and streams where our furry friends can run and play with us. And even better yet, we are growing by working with new houses and training up a whole team of dog lovers to help bring owners peace of mind while they travel. 

We are also an active part of our community, hosting events, coordinating hikes, and prioritize giving back locally. We’ve been voted Click on Detroit’s top five Pet Sitters for two years running! We continue to make this grow by providing dog PAW-rents top-level care, excellent customer service, and a twist on conventional dog boarding that our customers love. 

Can you talk to us a bit about the challenges and lessons you’ve learned along the way? Looking back, would you say it’s been easy or smooth in retrospect?
A huge struggle for us came after covid. As many with many other business- especially travel-based businesses we were completely shut down for a lot time. Only just before these shutdowns started we had listed our little condo for sale in hopes to close on our dream house. We went under contract with our buyer so that we could have the funds needed to purchase our next house. Only we all got stuck in place. Delays led to unemployment for my electrician husband as well- as there was not enough essential work to keep his family company running. 

We no longer qualified for a mortgage, had sold our home, and needed to restart. Thankfully we were able to live with Justin’s grandparents while we planned to sort out a new plan. Searching for rentals was difficult with so many folks in a similar situation to us. In a bright moment we did adopt our own sweet puppy, Cully. Our relationship and training time filled the gap for us and kept us hopeful for more pups soon. 

3 months after we sold our house and moved out, we got a call from one of our house-sitting clients. They got word that the dream house we wanted- conveniently next door to them- had their own delays and hadn’t been able to sell. They were going to re-list and wanted to know if we could try and buy the house. With the help of our superhero realtor and Justin getting back to work, we were able to close on our home and relaunch the Bed and BARKfest in our new upgraded space. We so appreciated all of our clients sticking loyally with us throughout. They came back in droves after we reopened. 

Great, so let’s talk business. Can you tell our readers more about what you do and what you think sets you apart from others?
The Bed and BARKfest is a personalized twist on conventional dog boarding. Providing safe, enjoyable, residential dog care for those looking for boutique options. With huge shifts in working from home, our dogs have become more use to spending time with their humans. Kennels can be overwhelming and overstimulating for dogs who aren’t use to the loud chaotic environment. 

Currently, we are training our newest hires and opening their homes to more dogs. We have group classes, first aid training, and fun get-togethers planned to keep our employee community focuses on goals and living our lives to the fullest. Professional pet sitters with so much to offer your dogs are the heart of our business. 

I am also excited to be launching my e-book- combing my background in Childcare with my Dog experience. The BARKfest Club e-book is full of videos and pages designed to help the whole family get the most out of their relationship with their dogs. I’ve personally learned so much working with dogs- I believe children and dogs have taught me everything I know about Calm, Confident, and Kind leadership. 

We plan hikes and events that are designed to bring value to our online and in-person community of dog lovers! 

Lastly, we launched our Dog Taxi Services this year and have big plans to help so many more dog families. We can make having your dog at your Wedding or Big event a smooth and easy experience. We also transport Show Dogs to their events and make sure they get to their handlers and humans safely! 

Any big plans?
With over 150 dogs on our ever-growing waitlist, we need continue to expand. We steadily bring on motivated individuals who want to work with animals. To make sure we set our sitters up for success, we provide the expected, like pet first aid, and also include customer service training, sales coaching, financial stability workshops, and goal planning sessions. 

It has always been important to me that my home is a sanctuary for those in need, animals or humans. An open door and an extra room are always available, and we have had many people live with us over the years. Some worked for us, some didn’t, but all needed safe housing and FAST. One of the ways that I was able to get out of my own astronomical medical debt was by being a live-in nanny, so I am no stranger to the way that an affordable housing situation can help a person get back on their feet. 

With this growth, it is my goal to combine my successful model for dog care with my mission to aid in safe and affordable housing. This translates to more buying homes for our business expansion. I have my eyes set on a beautiful farmhouse that will be a haven for fur babies, and also be a safe and equitable housing situation for our hard-working, goal-oriented pet sitters. 

We hope to have you follow along on our doggy adventures and also our strides towards buying and opening new homes. We also would love to have you join our group walks, upcoming Doga classes, and more. Check us out on Instagram @BedandBARKfest 

We Let the Dogs Out- and so much more! 

Pricing:

  • Dog Boarding starts at 75$ per day per dog
  • Wedding Taxi and handling 150$ per hour
  • House Sitting starting at 110$ for one dog
  • Leash Skill Practice Walks 25$ per human-dog team
  • Doga Classes 35$ per human-dog team

Contact Info:


Image Credits

Kristi Gugel
Becky Schnute

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