If you have a passion for a man’s best friend and are looking for a career change, then you should seriously consider starting your dog walking business.
People will always require dog walkers because many people own or want a dog but struggle due to their career and other extensive responsibilities.
This means that there is always a demand for this type of work, and it can be flexible, enjoyable, and rewarding while allowing you to operate from home and make a living, spending time with many different types of dogs.
Read on for some advice on starting your dog walking business.
Table of Contents
- 1 1. Improve Your Abilities with Dogs
- 2 2. Offer A Variety of Services
- 3 3. Set Up an Online Store
- 4 4. Transportation
- 5 5. Listen & Do Not Be Afraid of Asking Questions
- 6 6. Have Insurance in Place
- 7 7. Be Professional
- 8 8. Branding
- 9 9. Set Up A High-Quality Website
- 10 10. Use Social Media
- 11 11. Increase Visibility with Digital Marketing
- 12 12. Traditional Marketing
- 13 13. Ask for Reviews & Referrals
- 14 Conclusion on starting a dog walking business
1. Improve Your Abilities with Dogs
A simple love of dogs will not be enough to succeed in this industry.
You must possess excellent abilities when it comes to controlling dogs and knowing how to look after them.
It is helpful if you have experience owning a dog, but consider researching, taking classes, and practicing with dogs before starting your own business.
This will help you look after dogs more effectively while also impressing your customers with your knowledge level.
2. Offer A Variety of Services
It is also helpful to provide a few additional services to stand out from the crowd and attract as many customers as possible.
As well as walking dogs, you could also:
- Look after dogs in your home.
- Look after dogs in your customer’s homes.
- Provide dog grooming services
- Provide training classes
3. Set Up an Online Store
Leading on from this, another channel for making money in this industry could be setting up an online store as part of your website (more on this to come).
There are many different products that you could sell, such as:
- Dog toys
- Dog food and snacks
- Dog beds
Having your vehicle is essential with this type of business, and this should be a van or car where you can easily, safely, and comfortably transport multiple dogs. It is also a smart idea to have your logo and contact details on the side of the vehicle so that you can increase brand awareness while out and about.
5. Listen & Do Not Be Afraid of Asking Questions
It is essential to realize that every customer and dog will be different, so you need to listen to each customer and ask any questions that you might have. People need to know that they can trust someone with their beloved pet, particularly if specific issues, such as allergies or behavioral problems.
6. Have Insurance in Place
Several risks are attached to this work type, such as damaging dog property, hurting someone while out on a walk, or becoming sick after eating something they should not have while under your supervision.
You must have dog walker insurance in place if anything happens to have financial coverage and peace of mind. Showing this to your customers can also show that you are a professional and take the business seriously.
7. Be Professional
One of the biggest mistakes that people make when starting a dog walking business is lacking professionalism. While it does not make sense to wear a shirt and tie every day, you need to have the professionalism to take yourself seriously and put trust in your business.
This means that all communication forms should be professional; you should have a transparent system for handling payment and being presentable to customers.
Leading on from this, you also need to have a strong branding in place, which will help people see your operation as a professional business and make you stick in your target customer’s mind.
There are many good options for being creative and memorable when it comes to branding in this industry, and you should think about a company name, logo, and slogan to stand out from the crowd.
9. Set Up A High-Quality Website
Much like any industry, having a high-quality website for your dog walking business is essential. People will want to spend time looking around and finding out more about your services before deciding, so the website should be informative, stylish, and easy to use.
What a dog walking business should include:
- A detailed description of the services that you provide
- An “about me” section which outlines your love of dogs and why you have started a business
- A USP which separates you from the competition
- Customer reviews
- Contact details
Having a presence on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram is also a meaningful way to connect with your target customer. You should use these powerful platforms to promote your business, show your expertise in the field, and respond to questions and comments.
This type of business works well on social media because you can post lovely photos of the dogs that you are taking out (be sure to ask for the owner’s permission before posting) and show your expertise by creating/sharing content related to dogs – this might include dog training tips, advice for first-time dog owners and any other relevant content.
11. Increase Visibility with Digital Marketing
When people are looking for somebody to walk their dog, the first thing that they will do is use a search engine to find dog walkers in the local area. You can increase your visibility online using digital marketing, increasing brand awareness, improving your reputation, and directing more traffic to your store.
4 Websites where you can get dog walking gigs:
(Click on the one you desire to see the requirements and signup as a dog walker)
- Rover – Rover is the nation’s largest network of pet sitters and dog walkers.
- WagWalking – Wag is an on-demand dog walking app.
- PetSitter – Platform to connect with pet owners and get dog walking gigs.
- BarklyPets – A growing community of local, independent dog walkers.
12. Traditional Marketing
It is also vital that you use more traditional marketing forms to target people in your local area.
You can do this with:
- An ad in the local paper
- Radio adverts
- Attending community events
- Partnering with relevant local businesses (vets, pet stores)
13. Ask for Reviews & Referrals
Reputation is everything in the dog walking industry, as people will always go with a company with a positive reputation to feel that they are in good hands. This means that you should ask every customer to get a review and then place them on your company website and social media.
Additionally, it would help if you asked for referrals. This is one of the best ways to acquire new customers and build your reputation; this may require incentivizing the referrals, such as one free dog walk or a discount on their next booking.
Conclusion on starting a dog walking business
If you are a dog lover and are looking for a new way to make a living, then a dog walking business could be an enjoyable and rewarding career option. These tips should help you get set up and start attracting new customers from the get-go to build a reputation for your business.