If you’ve ever fantasised about working in the fresh air with four-legged coworkers, you’ve probably pondered how to start a dog walking business?
After all, beginning a dog walking business is nearly the polar opposite of a regular office job: you get to spend time outside, remain active, and, of course, spend your day with dogs. What could be more appealing than that?
You may be wondering how to establish a business that will be profitable in the long run, or how to go about getting your dog walking business off the ground.
Starting a dog walking business isn’t always a stroll in the park (sorry, couldn’t resist), since there are several financial and risk-related considerations to be made.
To stay afloat during the difficult first few months, you’ll need to establish and nurture your clients as well as expand your revenues, as with any new business effort. You’ll also need to consider some aspects unique to the dog walking business, such as travelling to your clients and purchasing supplies such as waste bags and goodies.
However, learning how to establish a dog walking service may be well worth the effort. It offers a great deal of independence and flexibility, in addition to the obvious benefits (dogs!).
So, do you think you’re ready to start your own dog walking business? We’ll go over everything you need to know about starting a dog walking business, from the licences and insurance you’ll need to the financial options available to make your idea a reality.
Even when the business entails walking in a park, starting a business is not a simple task. However, if you discover something you enjoy doing and stick with it, you may develop a successful business and look forward to going to work every day.
Use this guide to figure out what it will take to get your business off the ground. Fortunately, compared to establishing any other small business, starting a pet care business may be extremely affordable – no need to rent shop space or purchase restaurant equipment!
The following are some fundamentals in article that every pet car provider will require. The rest is up to you after that. With just a mobile phone, computer, printer, and some poop bags, you can start a dog walking or pet sitting company!
Read more: How to start a valet trash business?
A step-by-step guide to starting a dog walking business
It may seem foolish to question how to start a dog walking business, but it isn’t as simple as putting on a pair of sneakers and heading out.
There’s a lot to think about before starting a business, just like there’s a lot to think about before starting any other sort of business.
You’ll have to think about money the same way you would with any other small business, and you’ll almost probably have to juggle administrative chores with your daily walk schedule.
Let’s take a look at what you should know before establishing a dog walking business.
Examine the dog walking business in your area.
The concept of “supply and demand” is certainly known to you, and it applies to almost any business. In this scenario, the demand for a firm in a particular location or speciality aids in determining how much supply should be available.
Consumers can pay more for services that are in higher demand, as long as there are more customers than firms.
If there are too many suppliers servicing too few clients, on the other hand, each provider is forced to decrease rates in order to preserve a competitive edge for the smaller pool of customers.
So, how does this relate to walking dogs? Everything. Make sure your target market isn’t already flooded with dog walking businesses; otherwise, you may find it difficult to locate clients and differentiate yourself from the more established businesses while still making a profit.
What is the maximum number of dogs I should walk at once?
An skilled dog walker may have as many as four dogs at any given time. When you’re just starting out, though, try to restrict yourself to two dogs every walk.
You don’t want to put too much pressure on yourself. Furthermore, each dog has its own personality. Some may be energetic, some would want to sniff about, while yet others will despise walking.
However, there is no legal limit to the number of dogs you can walk at any given time. Just be sure you’re capable of handling all of your dog’s comfort. It may appear to be doable if you’re walking four calm dogs.
You might only be able to handle two young dogs with a lot of activity if you’re walking them. It all depends on the dog you’re walking’s personality.
Is a Business License Required for dog walking business?
As a dog walker, you do not require an official business licence. However, if you want to walk dogs full-time, you should probably incorporate. Incorporating your firm helps you save money on taxes and reduces your risk as a business owner.
If you’re just beginning started, this isn’t anything you should be concerned about. You should only seek a business licence once you’ve established a successful dog-walking business.
This depends on your state, and you may not be needed to get a business licence at all. The Small Business Administration (SBA) may assist you in determining which licences are required in your location.
You’ll need an Employer Identification Number to apply for a business licence (EIN). It is completely free to obtain an EIN; simply visit the IRS website and follow the instructions.
Almost every town and state needs businesses to get business licences in order to legally operate. This is true for both large organisations and individuals and solopreneurs.
Even if you want to start a dog walking company with just you and your four-legged companions, you’ll need to register with your local government to ensure that what you’re doing is legal.
In most circumstances, you’ll be able to get by with a simple business licence.
A sole proprietorship, for example, is straightforward to start up and administer, but it provides less protections than other business forms, such as a limited liability company (LLC).
In contrast to sole proprietorships, LLCs assist in the separation of an individual from his or her business.
An LLC allows you to keep your personal and business funds separate. They also assist you in establishing a buffer between yourself and any legal troubles that your company may face.
This is especially beneficial to dog walking businesses: Without the proper corporate entity in place, you might be personally responsible if an issue arises with your clients’ precious dogs.
If you’re not sure what form of corporation your dog walking business needs, it’s always a good idea to speak with a small business attorney who can help you balance the benefits and drawbacks of each option.
You’ll have to pay a little more for the extra aid than if you went it alone, but you may save a lot of money in the long run if there’s a problem.
Beaware of the risks.
You should be aware of the risks associated with certain dog-walking services as you design your policy. For example, a customer may request that her dog be walked off-leash.
Dogs love to run and play off-leash, but this may come with hazards and responsibilities. Some localities have leash rules that prohibit dogs from ever being off leash, while others only allow dogs to be off leash in specific places.
Many pet sitters inform customers that all dogs being walked will be on a leash. Some dog walkers who do allow off-leash requests need pet owners to sign a release.
PSI’s Preferred Provider for liability insurance and bonding for professional pet sitters and dog walkers in the United States, Business Insurers of the Carolinas, recommends professional pet-care providers to be cautious when walking dogs.
Dog bites are the cause of some of the most expensive insurance claims, and the most common sort of dog bite comes when a sitter is on a walk and enables a third party to go too near to a pet.
Make a business strategy.
Even the simplest of new enterprises might benefit from having a thorough business strategy. You wouldn’t build a dog home without plans, after all. The same concept applies to your new dog-walking business.
A business plan gives your firm a framework to follow and can help you figure out the best techniques for growing it in those important initial few months.
- It doesn’t have to be difficult to learn how to construct a business plan. To get started, all you need is:
- A clear vision of what you want your company to become
- You should have an idea of the level of competition you may expect in your business and locality.
- Make plans for how you’ll run your company (especially if you plan to hire other walkers or administrative staff)
Consider what services you’ll provide (in this case, you may also consider including house-sitting or boarding services to your walking services)
Financial predictions (covering the cost of your services as well as predicted income) Marketing and promotion plans to assist you drum up business
Depending on how big you want your dog walking business to be, including a business plan when you start may seem like overkill. Creating a strategy early on, on the other hand, might help you prepare for future development.
It’s also preferable to write a business plan now rather than later when your company has grown and you have less time to dedicate to it.
Obtain the appropriate insurance coverage.
Most small companies, whether they are home-based or manufacturing organisations, require insurance, and a dog walking business is no exception.
In most circumstances, the more probable your business is to have anything break, someone get harmed, or something go wrong on your property, the more comprehensive business insurance you’ll need to protect your organisation in the event of an incident.
Even if your state or municipality does not mandate you to carry specific types of business insurance, it is still a good idea to think about it.
When you’re working with animals, like with a dog walking service, you’ll need insurance even more. For starters, you’ll want to check into a robust general liability coverage that will cover you in the event that you cause damage to your client’s property (or anybody else’s property during a walk).
You should also consider personal and commercial property insurance to cover any losses (or damages) if Fido gets loose and causes damage to you or your company property.
Last but not least, you’ll also want to purchase animal bailee insurance if you intend to carry dogs in your car, or if you decide to add animal boarding to your services.
Promote your company.
Even after you’ve completed all of the planning and logistics, you’re just halfway through the effort required to launch your dog walking business. You’ll still need to sell your services to attract new customers.
The good news is that successful marketing for your small business does not have to be expensive. This is especially true for dog walking business, where word-of-mouth marketing may be more effective than expensive advertising.
Creating a small business website is an excellent first step in getting your company off the ground. This should contain information about yourself and your experience, the geographic region in which you operate, price, and ways for potential clients to contact you. Building a simple website is typically affordable and straightforward to maintain, and it may help you develop a solid reputation for your business.
Small company owners frequently underestimate their power to impact word-of-mouth marketing. This is especially crucial for small companies like the dog walking sector, because people prefer to commit the care of their cherished dogs to the recommendations of their friends and relatives. Offering a client referral programme can also encourage satisfied consumers to endorse your services by paying them with pre-determined benefits such as free walks.
how much you should charge per walk?
This is dependent on two factors. How long do you walk your dogs? How much do other local dog walkers charge for a walk? Typically, you will give two sorts of walks. A 30-minute stroll and an hour-long walk are also available. people used to charge $20 for 30 minutes and $30 for an hour of dog walking.
This is still a bargain compared to the ordinary dog walker, who might easily charge $30 for a 30-minute walk. Because I was young, approximately 18 years old when I started my business, I was able to charge less. I also realised that the lower my fee, the more walks I could give.
I was happy to forego a few additional dollars in order to be the cheapest dog walker in my area. Because it was inexpensive, I was able to walk up to three dogs at once. When I walked three dogs at once, which happened about once or twice a day, I made $60 in only 30 minutes.
Again, keep track of how much the typical dog walker in your area costs. Try to keep your prices a smidgeon below the industry average. Don’t go too low, as this may appear shady. The idea is to get to a point where it appears to be a decent value. This is especially useful in the early stages of your firm when you don’t yet have a reputation in the community.
Dog walking business cost
It is not necessary to spend a lot of money to start a dog-walking business. In fact, it has essentially no expenses attached to it. If you’re walking someone else’s dog, they’ll be wearing a leash and collar, and most will have poop bags.
A bag of snacks, on the other hand, might be a wise investment for the dogs who are a bit more rowdy. This is very useful when walking many dogs at the same time. A reward is a terrific way to grab your dog’s attention and help it relax. You should also purchase your own baggies, as some dog owners may not always have them on hand. All of this may easily be carried in a fanny pack. The strap backpack was my particular favourite.
These were folks who didn’t have time during the day to walk their dogs. They might be at work for 9 to 12 hours a day, and their dog can’t go that long without a walk. They are also single, which means they have no one to walk the dog for them.
These business workers like having a dog walker come for a stroll in the afternoon and, on occasion, in the evening. Even if many of them return in the evening, walking their dog is the last thing on their minds. Many of them will employ someone to take care of it.
Because they are retired or have decreased working hours, the elderly do not work as much. They don’t have the stamina to take their dog for a lengthy walk even if they are at home with him. Those who have a dog that requires a lot of activity are the finest sort of older clientele. They will compensate you for longer walks, resulting in more money for you.
My favourite clients were those that were always on the move. This is due to the fact that most individuals are unable to travel with their pets, particularly while flying. So I’d have to not only walk their dog, but I’d also have to let them stay with me. You may charge more than simply the number of walks you give it during the day because you’re doing more than just walking it, such as feeding, watering, and amusing it.
When considering starting a dog-walking company, consider the following questions: “Where do dog owners congregate, and which owners are most likely to require my services?” When launching a business, the most essential thing you can do is put yourself in your customers’ shoes. If you follow the procedures indicated in this post, you will be 10 times farther ahead of anyone else starting a dog walking company.