A love of dogs and exercise, a love for the outdoors and independence makes a great recipe for becoming a dog walker. But there is more to it than that. The business of dog walking is on the rise as more and more pet owners realize the value of having their pets cared for while they are at work. A professional dog walker needs to be insured, registered, licensed and at times bonded. Businesses are required by law to have a license for operating. And when you are dealing with someone else’s beloved pet, insurance is a must because accidents do happen.
Research, Build and Advertise
Determine in what location you wish to start your dog walking business and the distance you are willing to travel and establish a business plan, which is vital to the success of a business. Know and understand dogs. Become an educated dog walker; learn about dog behaviors, body language, and pack mentality. Research what rates others in your designated area charge. Determine if you want to do pack walks or one-on-one walks. Know approximately how many clients in a day will be your limit. Choose whether you want to offer one walk a day or multiple times a day. Determine if administering medicine will be a part of your service. Decide if you are going to offer any other benefits, such as watering the plants, picking up the dog’s waste, or bringing in the mail.
Create a company name. According to the Business.gov website, “the legal name of a business is the name of the person or entity that owns a business." Your business' legal name is required on all government forms and applications, including your application for employer tax IDs, licenses and permits. However, if you want to open a shop or sell your products under a different name, then you may have to file a "fictitious name" registration form with your government agency.” Obtain a license or permit for your company by contacting your local city hall. File for liability insurance and bonding for you and your employees. Professional insurance as well as bonding can be found with a professional organization like Pet Sitters Associates, LLC. Set up a company business checking account, a nd as the Dogtec website states, “always use a contract with every client that spells out what your responsibilities are and are not, and that contains legal waiver language.”
Determine how you will find clients. One way is to market your business through a professional website. Per the Dogtec website, referral websites are one way to go. A referral website is a go-to place for a specific service. Getting your business listed on these websites will give you the advantage of being on a large site that has a lot of traffic. Building your own website, brochures, car magnets, business cards, posters, flyers, or paid advertisements are also ways to market your dog walking business. Have references ready for potential clients because the best method of advertising is by word of mouth.