Starting a dog walking business is a great way to do something you love, create your own hours, and work with puppies and their parents.
There are many different things to consider when learning how to start a dog walking business, and it’s not as simple as it sounds.
Here are some expert tips on how to get your business off the ground and ensure it succeeds.
take out civil liability insurance
Liability insurance is essential when providing pet walking services. insurance may cover you if one of the dogs you’re walking gets sick or injured.
Insurance shouldn’t cost too much, but it can save you thousands of dollars out of pocket if something happens. You can also get an additional level of insurance, also called a bond.
“I would suggest getting pet and bonding insurance,” says Diana Ludwiczak, canine scent detection trainer and CEO of Wolfie’s Place. “Having this will let your customers know that you take their dog’s safety very seriously.”
With so many liability insurance providers, choose the one with the most coverage at the lowest price and make sure it has a good reputation.
be certified in first aid
When customers use pet-walking services, they want to know that their dog is safe with you. That’s why Colby Lehew, owner of Dogletics, a Chicago-based dog-walking business, recommends learning dog first aid.
“The first thing you need is a business license, liability insurance, first aid certification, and a website,” he says. “Dog first aid is a must. Most clients won’t use it without it.”
learn about safety and equipment
In addition to becoming certified in first aid, take extra precautions by learning about dog walking safety and the different types of equipment you’ll need. For example, you could enroll in an online dog walking certification course and go to a pet store to research the best leashes, collars, and harnesses to use.
While you’re there, stock up on a few essentials for your dog-walking business, too. “I would recommend [buying] a leash, poop bags, and treats,” Lehew says. “It’s crazy that most customers don’t have the basics.”
hire people with experience walking dogs
When you grow your dog walking business, you will need to hire employees who can walk dogs. according to jen jones, founder of your dog advisor, you shouldn’t hire just anyone.
“Hire people who are experienced and well-versed in dogs,” she says. “Don’t hire people who don’t have experience with animals, as this could be detrimental to your business. Remember, your employees are the face of your business.”
invest in a pet software system
To make sure your dog walking business runs smoothly, you need the right tools, like pet software. Lehew says he can use companies like Timetopet and Barkly Pets for online scheduling, billing, GPS tracking, and more. They will not only make your job easier, but also much more convenient for customers.
“Doing it with pen and paper is very frustrating for customers,” says Lehew. “Besides, people don’t want to deal with cash these days.”
promote your business
When starting a dog walking business, you need to set aside time and money to market it. According to Jones, you should ask current customers for help with word-of-mouth marketing, since dog-walking businesses are often local.
dale buchanan, owner of k9 business coach, says you should start building a following on social networking sites like facebook, tiktok and instagram. He “posts pictures and videos of the dogs you walk on a daily basis,” he says.
In addition, he suggests establishing contacts with dog trainers, groomers, veterinarians and other related companies.
start up your dog walking business
When starting your pet walking service, keep in mind that it requires a commitment.
“This is a serious business and should not be treated as a side job,” says Ludwiczak. “The most important thing to keep in mind is that dogs are treated like family members, and caring for a beloved family member should be taken seriously.”
People need dog walkers for different reasons. some work in an office full time and have to hire help to care for their dogs. others work from home and don’t have time to take their puppies out during the day.
Whatever your reason, you could create a lucrative dog walking business and become a successful entrepreneur just by following these tips.