How to Start a Dog Walking Business

For people who spend their days sitting in their chairs or working indoors, the concept of a job like dog walking, where they are physically active and get to be outside, can be very enticing. On the other hand, Dog walkers reap a slew of additional health benefits in addition to daily exercise and fresh air. 

If you love dogs and want to start your own dog business, a dog walking business could be the right fit for you. Just keep in mind that establishing a business is not simple. Even when things appear to be going well, an unforeseen occurrence can knock the wind out of your sails at any time. So you need to obtain some tricks, maintain some rules and follow your dreams!

How to start a dog business

Self-employment or growing a business allows you to be your own boss and choose the clientele you work with. Here are a few tips on how to start a dog walking business:

Create a business strategy

Before you start your dog business, you need to prepare a business plan to ensure you identify the potential, your competition, and how you’ll really operate it. Doing so at the start of the process allows you to answer all of the pertinent questions and address any potential issues early on. 

Conduct your research 

Prepare the essentials, such as your pet sitting business name and a separate bank account. Research is necessary to determine an acceptable price to charge potential clients, understand possible market share, and identify your rivals. As a professional dog walker, you must be aware of where you can and cannot walk dogs. Contact your local authorities to ensure you understand which parks and beaches accept dogs and when they must be kept on a leash. 

Make a rough of bills

Before starting any business, you should do your homework. The average hourly wage for a dog walker in the UK is £8-£15 per dog. However, you must analyse all of your business costs to verify that the prices you offer cover the cost of operation.

Aside from your time, there’s also the expense of gasoline (if you want to drive to work), vehicle wear and tear, business insurance, and supplies like spare dog leashes, poop bags, first aid kit for dogs, goodies, and game items.

Speaking with other dog walkers, pet sitters, and industry professionals is a wonderful method to have a thorough understanding of the equipment you may require as well as any additional fees you may have forgotten.

Remember that it is not uncommon for start-up experts to work two jobs while growing their primary firm. 

Make rules and regulations

Make a list or estimation of what kinds of services you are willing to provide. Ask yourself if you will be offering any additional services besides dog walking? Be ready if that’s the case. Acknowledge which services you will accept and which you will refuse. How much will you charge for the services you are happy to provide?

Begin by asking yourself as many potential questions as possible to establish your procedures. Consider the questions that a pet owner might pose to you. Here are a few examples:

  • Is it necessary for pet owners to pay in advance, daily, or weekly?
  • What is the maximum number of dogs you can walk at the same time?
  • Can you teach my dog how to behave?
  • How big are the dogs you walk with?
  • Are you qualified to treat my dog’s injuries?
  • In case of an emergency, what steps do you take? 

Consider business insurance

Dog owners entrust you with their pets. Therefore they expect you to be cautious and dependable. Obtaining a customised dog walking insurance policy might help you demonstrate to clients that you are serious about your business.

Aside from that, professional insurance will protect you and your company from potential threats. What if a dog you’re walking bites a bystander or jumps up at you, injuring you? It’s not worth thinking about, but it’s important to have adequate protection.

Consider professional indemnity, public responsibility, and personal accident as a starting point. Then, if something goes wrong while you have pets in your care, you know you won’t have to pay for someone else’s vet or medical fees, and you won’t lose income if you are inadvertently hurt. 

Choose the appropriate form of transportation

Even though you could utilise public transportation to bring you and the dogs around, having your own vehicle is far more convenient – especially if you don’t live near places where you can take them for a walk. It is also more ensuring for the owner. 

Create a strong customer base

How to attract clients is a crucial topic in any business. You need a well-defined plan of action to appeal to potential new clients, whether you want to make letterbox drops, use social media, or advertise in your local newspaper. There are a plethora of clever and unique ways to market your dog walking service. It only needs confidence and a proactive attitude. Maintain your determination, and your dog walking business will rise.  Here are a few suggestions:

  • Visit your nearest veterinary clinic. Introduce yourself and request that you post a sign on their wall or leave some flyers or business cards on their counter. Don’t simply drop and run. This is an excellent opportunity to meet and socialise with other well-known pet industry experts.
  • Contact experienced dog walkers and pet sitters in the area, offer to fill in for them while they are on vacation or unwell and ask if they can refer you to their clients.
  • Make a limited-time offer. Offer a one-time discounted fee to new clients to entice them. Just make sure folks are aware that it is a special price and inform them of the regular ongoing pricing to minimise disappointment.
  • Attend pet-related events in your area. Prepare to introduce yourself, converse with pet owners, and market your service. Bring flyers to hand out or, if possible, set up your own stall with information about your dog walking business.

Essential Traits For Dog Walkers

When it comes to caring for those cute fluffy adorable creatures, you’ll need a few abilities. Dog walking is a vocation for a competent dog walker, not just another job. To be an excellent dog walker, you should possess a few characteristics. A handful of these characteristics are as follows:

  • Appropriate Work Experience: Nobody will entrust their best buddy to an inexperienced dog walker. The dog walker’s goal is to not only get the dog to exercise and walk around but also to know everything you need to know so you can be fantastic friends. You must understand how much activity the dogs need when they should be fed, what medications they require, and much more. You must be willing and able to complete all of these activities. A good dog walker has the necessary experience to address your dog’s requirements and desires. 
  • Physical Fitness: Exercise and playtime are essential for dogs. To provide it to them, you must be physically fit as a dog walker. You might not only walk around with them but also play with them and, on occasion, run with them. Every dog moves at its own speed. As a result, you should be able to keep up with them, not at a marathon-running speed, but something that will keep the dog entertained. 
  • Responsibilities: Dog owners welcome the dog walker into their residences and the hearts of their dogs. So certain duties are associated with that profession. When you’re out with the dog, you should always keep an eye on them. Cars, building sites, and even other dogs should all be considered possible hazards while walking a dog. An alternate escape route and strategy should always be prepared; you never know when you’ll need it. A dog walker’s additional responsibilities include carrying extra poop bags, treats, and a first-aid kit; it’s always best to be safe than sorry. 
  • Excellent prospects in communication: A skilled dog walker should have excellent client communicative skills. You must be able to communicate with both the client and the dog in order to be a good dog walker. Any issues they might have will go unaddressed if you can’t talk openly. It’s also necessary to share the good times. It’s critical for the client and the dog walker to have a good back-and-forth. 
  • Comfortable in the presence of animals: This is possibly the most significant characteristic of a dog walker. You don’t have to own a pet to be at ease among animals; you simply have to love them. Dogs will trust you to take care of them if they witness your affection for them. As a good dog walker, you should be enthusiastic and responsible. If you possess these abilities, you will be considered a keeper. You must introduce yourself, learn your client’s needs and requests, and ensure that their furry friend is in good care.

Rules and Regulations

Anyone working with dogs, whether as a dog owner or a professional dog walker, should be aware of the law on both a national and local level:

  • Dangerous Dogs Act 1991
  • Dangerous Dogs Act (Amendment) 1997, 2014
  • England and Wales Animal Welfare Act, 2006
  • Scotland Animal Health and Welfare Act, 2006
  • Northern Ireland Welfare of Animal Act 2011
  • Dog Control Orders
  • Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000 (England and Wales)
  • Highways Act 1980 (England and Wales)
  • Land Reform Act 2003 (Scotland)
  • Scottish Outdoor Access Code
  • Clean Neighbourhood and Environment Act 2005
  • EU Regulation for transport of animals
  • Distance Selling Regulations
  • Data Protection Act
  • Privacy Policy

Although you don’t need any training or qualifications to become a dog walker, possessing them can help you increase your customer base. When you highlight your qualifications in your advertising, it might help your business appear more professional.

Most importantly, you’ll have the assurance that you’re providing excellent service and that you’re capable of caring for the animals in your care. So what are you waiting for? Go ahead and enrol in this marvellous course, Dog Walking Business Training.

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May 20, 2024

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