A dog walking business involves taking dogs for walks on a commercial level.
This implies walking more than one dog at various times and getting paid for this service.
To start with, dog walking business is a business that is both unusual and unconventional, but still it is a good business.
There has to be an existing need for your dog walking business in the vicinity which you live in or you can create one if lots of dogs exist in the area.
BEFORE STARTING A DOG WALKING BUSINESS
BE SURE OF YOUR LOVE FOR DOGS
The first thing you need be sure you possess is a love for dogs.
This does not mean just liking for them, but a love for them.
Dogs are sensitive animals and as such they can sense if you feel frightened, unsure or plainly don’t like them.
You need to know how to handle dogs as they will act out if you mishandle them, handle them clumsily, show meanness towards them or charge at them.
FIND OUT ALL ABOUT DOG WALKING BUSINESS IN YOUR VICINITY
It is essential that you find out all there is to know about dog walking business in your area.
Ensure you find out about the basic and major things you need to do to run your dog walking business legally.
Find out what you will need to register your dog walking business, if you will need any permits or licenses to run your business.
Finding this out will let you know what you need to be ready for.
SEARCH AND IDENTIFY A PROPER LOCATION FOR YOUR DOG WALKING BUSINESS
Dog walking is mainly a domestic business but you need to be sure that your location is one that has lots of dogs.
Determine if there is a large population of dog owners in your community that you can service.
Look out for dog owners who are relatively busy working, studying, or attending to something important and do not have adequate time to walk their dogs.
Therefore, you should not only find out the number of dogs but ensures there is an actual need for your dog walking service in your community.
GET THE NECESSARY EDUCATION
To start a dog walking business, you do not require professional education but you will need to know what to do if in case a dog become frightened or aggressive or is acting out in any way.
Learn all there is to know about dogs:
- what they like to eat,
- their favourite toys,
- what a healthy dogs looks like,
- signs of illness in dogs.
Find out about health and safety issues involved in dog walking business.
Know the various types of dogs, the various types of breeds of dogs that exist in your local environment.
Having the appropriate knowledge will guarantee that you will provide an excellent service.
You can learn by having a dog of your own, working at a pet store and also by visiting a vet to learn from them.
DETERMINE WHAT TYPE OF DOG WALKING BUSINESS YOU WOULD LIKE TO START
Establish if you run your dog walking business on a part-time or full-time basis and commit to a schedule with regular hours.
You will need to decide if you want to walk only specific breeds and sizes of dogs or you want to walk all types of dogs or pick them by their level of energy and age.
Choose the type of walking dog services you will like to offer.
Determine if you will offer group walk service or favourite place walk or if you will rather walk just one dog at a time.
Also decide if you will you be providing other kind of services apart from walking dogs.
Note that offering extra services like bathing the dogs can boost your income.
ESSENTIALS TO RUN YOUR DOG WALKING BUSINESS
Now that you have decided all the above , take note of the following additional tips when starting your dog walking business:
HAVE A GOOD BUSINESS NAME
Get a good business name for your dog walking business, one that will be easy to remember and tell people about what kind of services you offer.
LEGALIZE YOUR OPERATIONS
To do this, you need to register your dog walking business.
The scale of your dog walking business will determine the necessary documentation that you need to start your business.
The larger your scale, the more the stress on documentation requirement for registering your dog walking business.
You should however start your business on a small scale to minimize your costs and examine your rate of success before evolving on a large scale.
Dog walkers do not generally need a license to operate but this is however subject to the provisions of the law in your community or vicinity of your business.
But note that an act of incorporation or registration would still be mandatory for you to legalize your operations.
DETERMINE THE PRICE RANGE FOR YOUR DOG WALKING SERVICES
Pricing is one of the most important commencement concerns for a dog walking business.
The most ideal way for pricing in a dog walking business is to charge on an hourly basis.
You can select the price you want to charge but you should know that the industry average charge ranges between as low as $10 to as high as $25.
You should also check other dog walkers in the area so as to set a competitive price to get customers.
Alternatively, you can charge the dog owner per visit rather than hourly.
INVEST IN EQUIPMENTS
Know that dog walking business does not only involve walking dogs.
It’s basically a type of babysitting dogs, consequently;
Will need you to possess a total set of dog basics from:
- dog foods,
- certain training or
- grooming items, etc.
Given that it is a business, you should regard the equipment and supplies you get as investments or inputs.
This is very crucial.
It is wise to get the necessary insurance for you and your dog walking business as you face the risk of getting bit or in situations where the dog bites someone else when you are walking it or in case you lose grip of the leash cause the dog to run into the street.
In most cases, dog walking insurance is cheap, and it involves insuring both pet sitters and dog walkers.
HAVE AN AGREEMENT OR CONTRACT FOR YOUR DOG WALKING SERVICES
Ensure you have a service contract or agreement which your customers sign before you start walking their dogs.
State your terms and conditions in the agreement; make room in the agreement for a detailed profile of their pets.
ADVERTISE YOUR DOG WALKING BUSINESS
This is the hardest part of your business as getting clients for your dog walking business can be time consuming.
You could get customers through the following means:
Making a flyer that best describes your business and posting it on bulletin boards all over.
Making official business cards with your name and contact and request to leave some at vet offices, pet supply stores and anywhere that dogs or their owners frequently go.
Ask your clients to recommend you to their friends and relatives who have dogs.
Offer an excellent service, if your customers are happy they will definitely tell others about your services
Dress and look professional. Dog owners trust you with their pets and as such clean and a tidy look will help them trust you quickly.
People want to feel like they can trust you with the keys to their home and beloved pet.
People generally develop a general impression about you (non-verbally) for the first 3-20 seconds when they meet you; use that time to your benefit when meeting the dog owners.
If you probably didn’t get enough time to look clean or tidy, re-schedule your appointment.
Also do not show up for an appointment in a dirty car.
DOG WALKING BUSINESS RESOURCES