You love dogs and enjoy being with them. Then, becoming a professional dog-walker can be a good gig for you. And recent statistics are showing that 75% of Americans own a pet and the number is on the rise. But starting a business is not something grabbing a leash and heading out to the park without proper knowledge and groundwork on how to start a dog-walking business.
Like any other business, this one is also a full-time responsibility. So, you need to invest a great deal of time and effort to gain success. Here are the steps you need to follow to make a successful entry into the dog-walking business.
Do some research
So, now you made your mind to set up a dog-walking business. What next? Before involving the business you should do proper research. To get confirmed if there is a possibility of dog-walking business in your locality, you need to check a few things initially. The first thing you need to find out is the ratio between demand and competition of this particular business. If there is no demand or too much competition, it might not be a good idea to start a dog-walking business in your locality.
Interacting with people at the local pet store and pet grooming services will give you a precise indication of the demand for dog-walkers. And if you are satisfied with the demand, now it’s time to look into the competition. Do some online research to get a clear and vivid view of the same.
This part is not a must to start your business, but extremely beneficial. The behavioral tendencies, food habits and exercise requirements differ from a dog breed to another. So, you can get fully prepared for any challenging situation with professional training. Moreover, professional training will increase your integrity among dog-owners.
Detect your limitations
Expose yourself to dogs from different breeds to find out if there are any that you find challenging to handle. If there is any, exclude that at the initial stage. With this, you need to determine the service area you are ready to cover. Then offer services accordingly.
Select a name for your business
The name of a business is the first contact with a potential client. Here is no different. The name of your business will make the first impression. So, the name must be carefully chosen so that the impression can be a pleasant one. Be careful about the following traits while selecting a business name.
- If you are willing to grow your business outside your city in the future, don’t include the city name in your business name.
- Try not to include any specific service in your business name, because it will hinder if someday you want to include or exclude your services.
- Your business name should be unique and easy to remember.
- Last but not least, once you have decided the name, check it’s remittable or not. Head to the trademark and patent office to check if the name already exists in your state or not.
You might need a general business license to run your dog-walking business. And the license requirements may vary from one place to another. So, you need to investigate the requirements that apply in your locality.
Understand local rules and regulations
To be a successful dog-walking professional, understanding and obeying the local rules and regulations is of crucial importance. Your authority might have sanitation rules and if you don’t know them properly, it might end up penalizing. Again, there might be some restrictions on where the dogs have to be on leashes and where allowed to run off-leash. You need to know and follow accordingly.
Decide on services and charges
Before launching your business, finalize which services you want to include in your business and decide the amount you want to charge for each service. This will help you approach your customers with precise and consistent information. To establish your business, starting with low prices can be a smart move. You can research your competitors to come up with a fair and competitive price.
While dog walking is considered a fun activity, running a business is not that much easier. There are risks involved while handling dogs with different modes at a time. You will be accountable for any kind of damage done by the dogs or the dogs while they are in your care. Accidents are not predictable, so why take a risk? Again, business insurance will also increase your reliability and dog owner’s peace of mind.
Insurance policies are available specifically for pet businesses, so check the options and purchase the one that suits your business the most.
Consider dog walking contract:
To avoid any kind of confusion in the future, it’s important to have a written contract to your company and each of the clients. The contract will state whether the dog will be walked alone or as a part of a group, your responsibilities towards the dogs while they are in your custody, agreement about emergency medical care, owner’s obligation for damage done by a dog, etc.
Preserve detailed records:
For each of your clients, maintain a record that includes all the information about that specific dog like its color, breed, birth date, health history, etc. This will help avoid the extra hassle if there is an emergency.
Spread your words to potential customers
Create a professional website
In this digital world, people do some online research first of all for any necessity. So, creating an informative, attractive and professional website will prove extremely beneficial to reach potential customers. Apply this dog-walking business tips and experience the outcome.
Use social media to get more customers
People spend a lot of time on various social media. Therefore, social media can be a great source to attract customers. Make profiles for your business on different social media like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and share what you are doing. Thus people will know about services and share with others.
Distribute business card
Get a business card designed for your business and distribute among friends and acquaintances, pet supply stores, veterinary clinics, and related places.
So, now you have gathered almost all-important knowledge and information about how to start a dog-walking business. To ensure a successful entry, follow the above mentioned dog-walking business plan. Always make sure you are providing quality service so that your customers love your service and share the experience with others. Do your job with love, the money will follow you.