Starting a dog walking business can be a fun and potentially lucrative means of supplementing part-time income, or could possibly become a full-time business venture. With so many pet owners working long hours and not being at home, this service is increasingly in demand. Before getting started, it's important to understand the basics of getting the business off the ground and running. This mainly includes selecting a business name, getting insured, setting rates, creating contracts and marketing methods.
Creating a name is usually the first step for starting a dog walking business. This is a rather simple but important task because having a catchy business name will help attract clients. It's usually a good idea to make it short, sweet and easy to remember. Also, including the business owner's first name can add a personal touch.
Another important part of starting a dog walking business is getting insured. This will prevent any complications or legal problems if a dog happens to hurt someone or cause damage. There are several plans available, but most require an upfront payment and yearly payment afterward. Although it's not legally required for a small scale business, it's still a good idea in case any problems occur.
Setting rates for one's dog walking services also needs to be done before getting started. It's important to decide on a rate that is both fair to the business owner and the client. In most cases, the rates will be determined by how many dogs are being walked and the length of the walk. Generally, the more dogs walked and/or the longer the walk, the more money the walker will charge. Most business charge either by the hour or half hour.
It is also important to create a contract to ensure that there are no discrepancies between the business owner and clients. In any case, the owner needs a simple contract that states the services being provided and the rates being charged. There should also be a line at the bottom for each client's signature. Then the business owner should have every client read over the terms and sign the contract before ever walking the dog.
An additional concern when starting a dog walking business is the marketing strategy. One method of attracting clients is to create materials like flyers and business cards to hand out. Placing these at places like veterinary clinics, dog groomers and kennels are all effective ways of reaching dog owners. Other marketing techniques include starting a website, placing ads online or in newspapers, and simple word of mouth advertising.