How to Start a Dog Walking Business? What You Should Know
If you love dogs, then a dog walking business may seem like the perfect job for you. However, there are few important factors you should consider before diving in.
Managing a Dog Walking Business
Although most of your working time will be spent walking dogs, this business is not different from other kinds of businesses. You will be in charge of marketing, advertising, banking, invoices and a ton of other tasks.
You will have many responsibilities ranging from returning emails and calls to maintaining your website and filing taxes. You may hire someone to help you with some of the tasks or you may do them all by yourself—either way, they have to be done.
Running a business comes with a whole lot of responsibilities but it has many advantages too. For instance, you will be doing what you love.
If you are sure you can handle the non-dog-walking parts of this business, the next step is extensive research. This will help you know whether or not your business has a chance of being successful.
Is the demand for a dog walker there in your area? What about the competition? With too much competition and very little demand, you stand no chance.
Talk to those who work in pet grooming and pet stores. You can also get this information from classified ads.
Even though you love dogs and have a way with them, you need the experience and skill of controlling dogs. Either take a dog training course or volunteer at a local shelter. This will help you interact with different types of dogs and prepare you properly for the business. You will also gain confidence.
Do not fall into the temptation of skipping these steps until your business grows. This small mistake can attract huge penalties and fines.
Select a business entity: your dog walking business can be a sole proprietor (many dog walkers opt for this) but choosing a different form of business may be wise. You will be responsible for any damages done to or by the dogs and you may, therefore, want to think about choosing a limited liability corporation.
Licensing issues: a license specifically for dog walking may not be necessary in many jurisdictions but a general business license is required. Investigate what is required in your location.
Local rules and regulations: if you are going to be a professional dog walker, make sure you know about all the local regulations that could affect you.
Dog walking contract: a written contract is a must-have between your clients and your business. The contact should outline your responsibilities, terms of compensation, among other things. To be on the safe side, make it as specific as possible.
Whenever the dogs are in your care, you are responsible for them. Buy good insurance coverage to safeguard yourself.
Buying a franchise is a great alternative. While it may be expensive, the benefits are many.