Dog walking is a popular service, but it has traditionally been difficult to start up a business. This case study will explore how one entrepreneur created her own dog-walking empire without relying on franchises or taking out loans for startup costs.
The “risks of starting a dog walking business” is something that many people are afraid of. However, it can be done with the right amount of planning and research. This case study will show you how to start your own dog walking business.
So you want to be a dog walker. It’s a fantastic company. You don’t have a boss, you get to set your own hours, and you get to work with fantastic people (the dogs of course). You aren’t cooped up in a desk all day. You’re burning calories while moving about and passing the time by listening to podcasts, YouTube videos, and music. Dog walking is, without a doubt, one of the most rewarding occupations available. What evidence do I have? Because I owned and operated a dog walking service for more than ten years.
I know precisely how to establish and expand a dog walking company after a decade of experience. I’ll share all I’ve learned from dog walking in this piece, as well as how you may get started.
In your neighborhood, start a dog-walking business.
You’ll need to live in a dog-friendly community to start a dog-walking company. These dogs should be able to go to your place on foot. You could drive, but it would be inefficient since you earn the most money walking numerous dogs at once.
What is the maximum number of dogs I should walk at once?
An skilled dog walker may have as many as four dogs at any one time. When you’re just starting out, though, try to restrict yourself to two dogs every walk. You don’t want to put too much pressure on yourself. Furthermore, each dog has its own personality. Some may be energetic, some would want to sniff about, while yet others will despise walking.
However, there is no legal limit to the number of dogs you may walk at any one time. Just be sure you’re capable of handling all of your dog’s comfort. It may seem to be doable if you’re walking four calm dogs. You may only be able to manage two young dogs with a lot of activity if you’re walking them. It all depends on the dog you’re walking’s personality.
Is a Business License Required?
As a dog walker, you do not need an official business license. However, if you want to walk dogs full-time, you should definitely incorporate. Incorporating your business helps you save money on taxes and reduces your risk as a business owner.
If you’re just beginning started, this isn’t anything you should be concerned about. You should only seek a business license once you’ve established a successful dog-walking company.
Is It Necessary To Be Certified As A Professional Dog Walker?
While there are dog walking qualifications available, they are not required. It isn’t like becoming a doctor, where you must attend medical school. The majority of customers choose a dog walker with experience over one with just qualifications.
Consider this: who would you employ as a coach if you wanted to run faster? Is it someone who has read a book on how to run faster or someone who is a professional runner? The question is rhetorical, yet it demonstrates that experience is more important than academic achievement.
I’m not sure how much I should charge each walk.
This is dependent on two factors. How long do you walk your dogs? How much do other local dog walkers charge for a walk? Typically, you will give two sorts of walks. A 30-minute stroll and an hour-long walk are also available. I used to charge $20 for 30 minutes and $30 for an hour of dog walking when I was at the top of my game.
This is still a bargain compared to the ordinary dog walker, who might easily charge $30 for a 30-minute walk. Because I was young, approximately 18 years old when I began my company, I was able to charge less. I also realized that the lower my fee, the more walks I could give.
I was happy to forego a few additional bucks in order to be the cheapest dog walker in my area. Because it was inexpensive, I was able to walk up to three dogs at once. When I walked three dogs at once, which occurred about once or twice a day, I made $60 in only 30 minutes.
Again, keep track of how much the typical dog walker in your area costs. Try to keep your prices a smidgeon below the industry average. Don’t go too low, since this may seem shady. The idea is to get to a point where it seems to be a decent value. This is particularly useful in the early stages of your firm when you don’t yet have a reputation in the community.
What Is The Cost Of Starting A Dog Walking Business?
It is not necessary to spend a lot of money to start a dog-walking company. In fact, it has essentially no expenses attached to it. If you’re walking someone else’s dog, they’ll be wearing a leash and collar, and most will have poop bags.
A bag of treats, on the other hand, would be a wise investment for the dogs who are a little more rambunctious. This is very useful when walking many dogs at the same time. A reward is a terrific way to grab your dog’s attention and help it relax. You should also purchase your own baggies, since some dog owners may not always have them on hand. All of this may easily be carried in a fanny pack. The strap backpack was my particular favorite.
What Kind of Pet Sitting / Dog Walking Insurance Do You Need?
It’s a good idea to get insurance if you want to take your dog-walking business seriously. The reason you need insurance is to cover the costs of legal claims brought against you if your dog is injured. While we never intend for a dog to be injured while in our care, certain circumstances are beyond our control.
An attack by another dog is the most frequent kind of injury that a dog may suffer. That’s why, while dog walking, it’s critical to make sure that if your dog wants to associate with another dog, you first ask the owner. Up until they’re within biting reach of one other, dogs may seem friendly. One nice bite is all it takes to send your dog to the vet.
Fortunately, dog walking insurance is not prohibitively costly. A decent insurance plan should never cost more than $500 per year, and you may get insurance for as low as $200. Just remember that the less you pay for insurance, the less coverage you’ll get. If you wish to look at their website, Alternative Balance is an excellent source of economical insurance for dog walkers.
Advertising Concepts for Dog Walking
I was roughly 13 years old when I began my dog-walking company. I promoted by distributing leaflets to all of the nearby laundromats in my co-op. My co-op consisted of ten buildings, each with its own laundry.
I made a flier with pull-off tabs having my phone number on it. “Local dog walker,” I wrote at the top of the flier. My years of experience or any qualifications were listed underneath it. Finally, I had the fee I charged for walking dogs (which was just $5 for a half-hour at the time). Then I put my phone number on the pull-off tags and told them to contact me if they had any questions.
I’d hang them up all around the neighborhood laundromats and check on them once a week to make sure they were still there. Another wonderful spot I could have posted my fliers if I could do it all over again would have been in the dog park itself. “Where do the majority of dog owners go?” you should ask yourself if you want to perfect your advertising. Perhaps you could place your advertisement at a pet groomer or a pet shop. Try to put yourself in your audience’s shoes and imagine where they’d go.
If the pet shop or groomer wants to charge you for advertising, consider if you can come to an agreement with them instead. Tell them you’d like to be able to advertise for free at their location in exchange for referring all of your clients to them. This is a win-win scenario for both of you since it will help you produce more customers.
Knowing Who You’re Marketing To
If you want to establish a dog walking company effectively, you must first understand your target market. Who needs to take their dog for a walk? This is a legitimate concern, since not everyone has one. The vast majority of my customers fell into one of three categories. I’ve included a list of them below.
The Professional in Business
These were folks who didn’t have time throughout the day to walk their dogs. They might be at work for 9 to 12 hours a day, and their dog can’t go that long without a walk. They are also single, which means they have no one to walk the dog for them.
These business workers like having a dog walker come for a stroll in the afternoon and, on occasion, in the evening. Even if many of them return in the evening, walking their dog is the last thing on their minds. Many of them will employ someone to take care of it.
Senior Citizens don’t work as much as they may be retired or have reduced working hours. Although they are home with their dog, they don’t have the energy to take their dog out for a long walk. The best type of elderly clients are those that have a dog that require a lot of exercise. They will pay for longer walks, which will lead to more money for you.
Those Who Travel Frequently
My favorite customers were those that were always on the go. This is due to the fact that most individuals are unable to travel with their pets, particularly while flying. So I’d have to not only walk their dog, but I’d also have to let them stay with me. You may charge more than simply the number of walks you give it during the day since you’re doing more than just walking it, such as feeding, watering, and amusing it.
This is a terrific method to earn money and save time since you are not need to travel to anyone’s home. During the holidays, when people travel to visit family, dog boarding is very profitable.
Important Points to Remember
Starting a dog-walking company is a dream of many individuals. It’s enjoyable, you have the finest clientele in the world, and when walking the dogs, you can listen to anything you want. To get started, you don’t need a company license or years of expertise. It’s a wonderful way to get some exercise, and the weather doesn’t really come in the way as long as it’s not too cold or too hot.
When considering starting a dog-walking company, consider the following questions: “Where do dog owners congregate, and which owners are most likely to need my services?” When launching a company, the most essential thing you can do is put yourself in your customers’ shoes. You will be 10 times farther ahead than anybody else seeking to establish a dog walking company if you follow the steps indicated in this article. Check out our booklet, How To Start A Side Hustle And Make Money In The First 90 Days, for more ideas on how to start a side hustle effectively.
The “dog walking business plan” is a real life case study on how to start a dog walking business. The author of the blog post, who is an entrepreneur, has created a detailed plan on how to start and run a successful dog walking business.
Frequently Asked Questions
How do I write a dog walking business plan?
A: There are many business plans that you can choose to write. You should look into the different types of businesses and figure out what type of plan will work best for you.
Is it hard to start a dog walking business?
A: No, it is not particularly hard to start a dog walking business. There are many resources available online that will help you create your own website and promote yourself as a legitimate business owner with an established track record of experience in the field.
How do dog walkers make money?
A: I am not sure how dog walkers make money. They might get some money from a place like the pound or do it for free if they are very good at taking care of dogs and have small children back home who need their time to be fulfilled.
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