dog walking

Starting a dog walking business

Passionate about dogs? Bored with your current job? Then dog walking could be the business for you! Many people out there love dogs, have dogs, and want dogs: it’s time you make a profit from this! Learn how to start your own dog walking business and have a job you love with this guide below.

Dog walking is one of the easiest businesses to start, grow, and ultimately make profitable. It’s almost completely safe whatever the world throws at it, as humans love dogs and will continue to do so whatever the circumstances.

The world continues to spend more on their pets, with the rise of celebrity pet culture and Instagram contributing to this. No longer is it enough to own a pet, but also display them online too! Such a trend only exacerbates the need for dog walking, both globally and locally in your country. Start-up costs for dog walking businesses are low, with business registration, insurance, qualifications, and a passion for dog walking all you really need. Despite this, it’s actually one of the businesses which can turn a profit in almost no time at all.

However, beware (as with all business ventures) to research your local market before you begin. If no-one has dogs in your area (unlikely, but best to check) then it’s going to be more difficult to get clients and revenue. So, it’s best to do your research first:

  • Do I see dogs when I walk round my area?
  • How much are other companies (if any) charging for dog walks?
  • Is there a local park I could walk dogs at?

It’s also beneficial to ask questions to dog walkers when you see them out and about. How much would they pay? Would they feel comfortable handing their dogs over to someone? What time would they want their dog walked?

Such questions will help you build up a picture of your local area and understand whether or not it’s a viable business venture.

You should then consider transport: how will you get to the dogs to walk them, and how will you transport them – if you need to do so. It’s one of the areas most often overlooked by dog walkers: there’s dogs in the area, but no park – so a van is needed to transport these dogs to the park to then walk them. You’ll need to budget for a vehicle if you face a similar situation, which will increase your running costs. It’ll also impact how many dogs you can walk at any one time, as it’s unlikely you’ll be able to transport more than five dogs in a vehicle at any one time.

Experience is probably the most important thing when dog walking. If you haven’t handled large dogs before, it’s vital you have experience doing so before starting your own business doing this. They can be aggressive and unpredictable, so ensure you are fully trained in dealing with all sorts of dogs before you go out and try to walk one under your own business name.

Pet owners are also unlikely to trust you with their own pet if you can’t prove to them you have experience, so before starting your own dog walking business, do so.

Whilst running a dog walking business isn’t the most difficult of businesses to run (typically at least), of course, it will be beneficial if you know other skills related to running a business. Knowing how to improve your search presence on Google, filing accounts, and responding to inquiries will all help you earn and retain more customers. If you don’t know some of these skills, perhaps take a course before starting out, to ensure you don’t find out how not to do some of these things the hard way.

Finally, know your local area in case of an emergency. Where is the nearest vet’s? Where’s a safe place to park your car near the vet? Both of these things can. Save. Precious time if unfortunately, a dog you’re walking becomes sick and in need of urgent medical care. Having the required insurance and training local to your country will be vital here to prevent loss of life – which would not be good for your dog walking business either. It will lose trust with current and future customers: so make sure you know how to do all you can in medical emergencies.