If you are wondering how to start a dog walking business, then you have come to the right place. There are many things to take into consideration when you want to make a legitimate company that provides dog walking services, and that can be daunting. Thankfully, everything you could ever want to know about starting a dog walking business is listed below.
Dog walking is becoming increasingly popular, and it can be a good source of income. Those of all ages can do it, and can even start their own business with it if they are interested. Keep reading to discover the eight things you need to do to start your own dog walking business.
1. Make Your Business Marketable
The first step to starting a dog walking business is making sure the business is marketable. In order to ensure you have a marketable business, you will want a name and logo that fits the needs of your business. Making a marketable business is necessary to guarantee success. Without an image or name that can be associated with your brand, it can be difficult for clients to believe your business is credible, or they may not be able to remember what it is that you do
The image that you use for your brand should be consistent. If it is displayed in various locations across your town, you will want potential customers to recognize it as the same business, rather than multiple businesses. Having a consistent logo will allow customers to remember your dog walking business and will therefore aid when promoting it on billboards, or social media (Facebook and Instagram work best to promote a dog walking service).
When choosing a logo or image for your dog walking business, you will want to make sure that your purpose is clearly communicated. In this case, you are trying to demonstrate that your business walks dogs. A potential logo could be one of just a dog by itself or of a dog on its leash. No matter what you choose, it should remain appropriate to the purpose of your business.
Choosing a brand name is arguably even more important than the logo. The brand name will either catch the customer’s attention, or it will cause them to immediately forget it. You will want those who have dogs to recognize and remember the name of your business, as they are the target audience that you are trying to reach.
2. Figure Out Pricing
The second step to starting a dog walking business is figuring out the pricing. Pricing is an important part of every business as it can make it either thrive or fail. It can be particularly difficult to price a service such as dog walking because it is subjective. While quality dog walkers know that it takes an ample amount of dedication and hard work to walk dogs as a living, some customers may disagree with that notion.
Because of these different opinions, the prices for your dog walking business must align with what the customer believes is the value of your services.
When prices are too high, potential customers may choose to go with the less expensive competition. However, prices cannot be too low, or else a profit cannot be made and you will not be able to break even from the cost of the startup. Pricing should be fair and should align with other competitors’.
To get customers as a new business, you will want to start your services off at a more reasonable price. If you start off charging too much as a new business, then customers will go with the other more experienced dog walkers.
Experience is key when determining your prices, so when you do not have too much of it, then you will have to start off at lower prices. As soon as you get more experience and customers, however, then you can decide to increase your prices a bit to be a closer match with competitors’.
Depending on the services you offer, you can get paid more. For instance, if you do more than the average dog walker, then you can raise your prices because you are offering to do more than just walk.
3. Get a Dog Walking Insurance
The third step to starting a dog walking business is getting insurance. While insurance may not be necessary to start this kind of business where you live, it can be an important step in protecting yourself and your customers. In addition, if you do not have insurance, then potential customers may find another business that does because they want to ensure that their dog is in the best of hands. They may not want to take a risk of anything happening.
Dog walking is no easy job. No matter how experienced you are, accidents are bound to happen, even when they are least expected. You cannot be sure of the temperament of every dog you walk, and you will want to be prepared for every possible outcome.
There are different options when considering insurance for your dog walking business. Below are some of the possible considerations:
At Simply Business, dog walking insurance and pet sitting insurance can cost as little as $29.95 per month. This is nothing when you take into consideration that it will make your business more reliable and it will help protect your newfound investment. The insurance will protect your dog walking business from specific claims and it can help cover damages.
At Kennel Pro, there are different packages available depending on what kind of services you offer. If you are planning on just dog walking, then you will likely want to consider the Silver Package. Kennel Pro will be able to offer you competitive prices for insurance and will make you and your clients more confident in your business.
4. Determine Services
The fourth step to starting a dog walking business is determining your services. Before you start your business, you will want to ensure that you have set in stone what you offer and that you accurately advertise it. You do not want to get done walking a dog and then have the client be disappointed with what you did. In order to avoid any sort of awkward encounters or confusion, you will want to make sure that your services are widely known.
If you offer a variety of services, then it will make your dog walking business all the more competitive. There are many different things you can consider doing that will help you grow and expand your company.
Below is a list of the services that you could consider providing in addition to dog walking:
- Yard cleaning
- Dog sitting
- Dog running
- Going to dog parks
- Going to dog beaches
- Being a pet taxi
- Selling toys/treats
As you can see, there are numerous services you can provide as a dog walker. If you are looking to expand your dog walking business, you may consider even branching out to other pets. For instance, many dog walking businesses go beyond just walking dogs, some also take care of cats or birds if you think it may help your business. If you need more ideas you can check out 50 Unusual Pet Businesses to Start. This will provide you with ideas that may make you stand out from the competition you are likely to face.
5. Prepare for Potential Competition
The fifth step to starting a dog walking business is preparing for potential competition. There are many dog walkers, and it is becoming an increasingly popular occupation. Everyone loves spending time with furry friends and so it can be a fun option for those who are trying to make a living.
If you live in an area with a lot of dogs, then there is likely already a neighborhood dog walker. If this is the case, then you will want to do everything in order to make your business more appealing to customers. This includes every item listed above, including having insurance, having fair prices, providing extra services, etc. All of these things combined will make your dog business highly competitive and will give you a better chance of building and maintaining a customer base.
If there is an abundant amount of competition in your local area, then you will want to consider reaching out to other places. It may be a longer drive, however, it may be worth it in the end. If you can find an area with a lot of dogs but no dog walker, then you can likely make up the cost of gas with the number of clients you have.
Dog walkers are in high demand so you might need to do a bit of searching before you find a location that does not have a neighborhood dog walker on hand. Once you are able to find one of these areas, however, you will save the day with your new business!
6. Create a Seperate Business Bank Account
The sixth step to starting a dog walking business is creating a separate bank account. Creating a different bank account that is solely for your business can make it much easier to keep track of all your endeavors. You can easier identify your startup cost and income so you can make more accurate decisions regarding finances. Many small business owners find this easier than having to keep track of what was for business purchases and what was for personal purchases.
In some instances, it may even be a legal obligation to create a separate bank account. It is a requirement from the IRS for incorporated businesses to create a different account. Even if your dog walking business does not qualify as an incorporated business, however, it is still a good idea to make a separate account.
7. Register Your Dog Walking Company
You may also need to register for a business license in your town to operate a dog walking or pet sitting business legally. Most dog walking businesses are formed as sole proprietorships. A sole proprietorship is a business created by one individual whose personal and business assets are not separate from those of the business, this means that the business owner would have to pay personally unexpected liabilities such as lawsuits, veterinarian bills, etc. This is why some dog walking companies are registered as limited liability companies (LLCs).
8. Determine Cost of Startup
The eitgth step to starting a dog walking business is determining the cost of the startup. While some may think that this kind of business requires no startup money, that is entirely incorrect. There is a lot that goes into a business, no matter what it is for, and dog walking is no exception. No matter your previous beliefs, you must put in some money in order to have a successful dog walking business.
Determining the cost of the startup of your company will help you to realize whether or not you can afford to become a dog walker. If you are unable to purchase everything that is necessary, then you may have to wait and save up before you can start your business. Keep in mind that you will likely not break even until you are a more established business, and that is okay. It is all part of the process!
Below is a list of everything you need to purchase in order to become a dog walker:
- Extra leash
- Extra collar
- Water bowl
- Poop bags
9. Find Your First Clients on Dog Walking Apps
Dog walking apps are like Uber for dogs. As a business owner, you can sign up as dog walkers and get paid to take a quick walk or a long romp in the park. When it comes to dog walking requirements, these apps usually require best to have at least some experience with dogs. Most services do some background checking with their walkers. You also have to provide a name, a photo, and a tagline.
To learn more about how to find clients on dog walking apps, feel free to read our ranking of the best dog walking apps.
10. Make a Website to Promote Your Services
The final step to starting a dog walking business is making a website. Having a website can help promote your business and it will make it easier for your customers to book appointments and get answers to their questions. Your website should be user-friendly, have your prices listed, and should have a phone number or email address listed if they need to get ahold of you.
If you want to build a website for your dog walking business, then you will want to consider SquareSpace. There are many templates and fonts available that allow for customizability. In addition, you can get a free trial to make sure that you like SquareSpace for your business.
Wix is another great option if you want to create a website for your dog walking business. Wix has over 500 templates that you can use, all of which look great on a mobile or desktop device. You can make your own domain so that way, customers can find your company more easily and you will get more clients.
Network Solutions is a very popular option for creating your own website for your business. It offers many great benefits that the other options do not. Below is a list of the services Network Solutions provides:
- A free domain name
- Stock image library
- Professional design
- Email that matches your domain
- Online storage and file sharing