With more than 67% of households having pets, dogs are at the top of the list. Since dogs need walking and running exercise daily, the Dog Walking business has a very good demand. Therefore it is a great business idea for you.
A large number of households have dogs. However, they do not have time for their regular walk. That is why; there is a good demand for dog walkers which is a good chance for you to grow your business.
The first quality needed for your Dog Walking Business is your passion for dogs. You have to be a true pet lover to become successful in this business. It is a profitable business. You can do it all by yourself on a small scale. On the other hand, you can hire employees under you for a large-scale operation.
Is Dog Walking a Good Business?
Dog walking is profitable as well as a sustainable business. The amount, of course, depends on the scale of your operation. The rates depend on the time of walking wherein an hour of walk pays you more than half an hour.
Anyone can start a dog walking business as it does not require any certification, degree, or diploma and does not require a big investment. Furthermore, the market for dog walking jobs is also huge. As per the latest study, there are more than 80 million pet dogs only in the United States.
If you can do 5-6 half an hour walks every day, or a few 1 hours walk for five days a week, you can earn between $ 20,000 and 40,000 annually. After all the costs you need to make like accessories, taxes, insurance, etc. you will get a profit of 50-60%. That is quite a good margin!
Dog Walking Business is a simple business based on trust and companionship. If you can win the trust of the pet owners and love the dogs, you will get good returns from the Dog Walking Business.
13 Steps to Start a Profitable Dog Walking Business
1. Find Your Location for Dog Walking
Decide about the location of your Dog Walking Business. The place should have parks, grounds, or open spaces nearby. There it will be easier for you to take the dog for walking. If you want to give a dog-running service also, you will need grounds or parks.
2. Understand the Local Dog Walking Market
Research the people of the area. How many households have dogs? How is the demand for your Dog Walking Service? You should know these facts correctly. This will make your Business Planning easier.
Along with it, research the different breeds of dogs and their behavior traits. It is essential to do market research and explore the gaps that exist in the present market.
3. Know the Risks of Starting a Dog Walking Business
Before starting, it is worthwhile to understand the challenges associated with the dog walking business. Some of the biggest challenges you might come across while starting this venture are as follows:
- Handling people who do not like dogs
- Taking care of sick dogs
- Must remain fit to run with dogs
- Communicating with tough clients
- Negotiating fees
- Walking dogs in cold winters or extremely hot summers
4. Create a Dog Walking Business Plan
Making a Business Plan will make your business more organized and structured. Keep in mind to put the details of each step of your business. Your Business Plan must have important points like:
- Name of Your Dog Walking Business
- Investment Needed for Business
- Source of Funds
- Legal Formalities
- Equipment/Accessories Needed
- Expense Heads
- How will you work?
- How much will be your charges?
- Marketing and Publicity Plans
- How to Grow your Business
You can seek the help of an expert in making the Business Plan. By all means, it should be detailed and well-researched.
5. Name Your Business
Find a suitable name for your Dog Walking Business. It should be something relevant to your service as well as simple and catchy. Brainstorm your ideas, take opinions from your friends and relatives, and then finalize.
It is very important for you to get the domain in the name of your business. If the domain is not available, you have to change the name. Keep in mind; Websites are vital in today’s business. Along with the domain, get a trademark also.
Learn More: How to Name Your Business? Step-By-Step Guidelines
6. Register Your Business
After you have finalized the name of your Dog Walking Business, you have to legalize the business. If you are from the United States, you have many options like Partnership, Proprietorship, Corporation, or LLC. You can choose any one form. However, LLC will be the most convenient option for you as it protects your personal assets from the business ones.
You also need to register for paying the necessary taxes applicable to your business. For this, you have to get an EIN or Employer Identification number.
One can form an LLC by himself/ herself or hire a professional company formation service provider paying some extra charges.
7. Get the Necessary License and Permits
Get the necessary license and permits both at the federal as well as state levels. This is very important because, without proper permits and licenses, you may have to pay heavy fines.
8. Open a Business Bank Account
In the next step, open a Bank Account in the name of your Dog Walking Business. Along with it, get a business credit card that will help you in running the business.
9. Apply for Business Loans
If you are short in budget, you will need to apply for business loans. If you are from the United States, apply for an SBA loan. You will get a loan from SBA with a lower interest rate and a longer repayment period. However, you will need to do extensive paperwork to get approval.
Experts advise applying for an SBA loan even if you do not qualify. It is because the loan documentation process prepares you for availing of loans with other alternative lending companies.
10. Buy Business Insurance
Insurance is important for your Dog Walking Business because it will protect your business from risks. General Liability Insurance will serve the purpose.
The General Liability Insurance as a Dog Walker will protect you from two things. Firstly, you will be protected against any incidental injury. Secondly, any damage by the dog will also be covered.
In case you are hiring employees, you must have Worker’s Compensation Insurance.
11. Equipment Needed for Dog Walking Business
You will need several things in your Dog Walking Business. Some are essential, while you will need some to stand apart from the crowd. To sum up, the things you need are:
- Good Quality Leashes
- Waste Bags (Biodegradable) for the poop of dogs
- Good and attractive Chew Toys
- Balls and other toys
- Chew Treats
- Water and Water Dish
- First Aid Box
- Dog Whistle
- Waterproof and Reflective Jackets and Hats for you
12. Find Your Prospective Clients
This is quite simple. People with pet dogs are your clients. You have to take note of their affordability to pay your charges. The majority of households have dogs. Therefore you will hopefully have several clients.
13. How to Earn More Profits in Dog Walking Business?
This is the target of any business. To earn more profits and gradually expand your Dog Walking Business, you need to do a few things. Let us discuss them.
a) Value Addition
You can add value to your Dog Walking Business in several ways. Firstly, get yourself trained in dog handling. Professional training makes you more credible.
Secondly, add extra services like Dog Running, Dog Boarding, or Dog Sitting as and when needed. You will get extra charges along with the credit for the emergency service.
Thirdly, give some good food to the pets occasionally or offer a free vet check-up sometimes.
b) Make an Online Presence
Make a good website for your Dog Walking Business with different pictures of dogs of various breeds. This is a good method of publicity. Create options for online payment and online booking.
Learn More: How to Create a Website & Make Money
c) Social Media
Create pages in the name of your Dog Walking Business on social networking media platforms like Instagram, Facebook, etc. This will spread the name of your business among people.
d) Advertisement and Publicity
Spend money on Ads for your Dog Walking Business in local newspapers, TV, radio, etc. Also, distribute flyers and use banners, posters, and hoardings at prominent places.
e) Make Good Customer Relations
Just as you need to be friendly with the dogs, similarly you have to be very nice to their owners too. This will make you trustworthy as well as give you more referral clients.
f) Personal Campaign
A door-to-door campaign, as well as publicity, is very important. You can go for yourself or employ marketing personnel. Go to the housing complexes and residences of people and tell them about your Dog Walking Business. This is very effective as personal contacts work better than ads for many people.
g) Offer Discounts
Give discounts on a monthly membership. Also, offer special discounts on festival times.
h) Develop and Maintain Key Contacts with Suppliers
Keep in good touch with important persons like Vets, Vet Clinics, Bakers, and Pet Shops. Also, let your clients know that. This will make them more confident about you.
These are the important points for you to follow. With these points along with your true love for dogs, you are sure of achieving success in your Dog Walking Business.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is The Job of A Dog Walker?
Most people do not understand the meaning of a dog walker. The primary job of a Dog Walker essentially is to take the dog out for walking at a specific time and path. It may be directed and specified by the client. During the walks, you have to provide pets with food and water. Along with it, you have to dispose of the waste of the dog.
Keep a close watch on the behavior of the dogs. Report any abnormality to the pet owners. If you find any emergency during walks, you have to take the dog to the vet clinic immediately.
Apart from all these, you have to grow a deep bonding with the dog. This is also a part of your job.
What is the Cost of Starting a Dog Walking Business?
The startup cost to start a dog walking business is minimal. Apart from the equipment, you need to spend on tax, insurance, license fees, salaries, transport, website, marketing, and publicity.
On average, the cost of starting a dog walking business will be around $ 5000-$8000.
How Much Profit Can You Make in Dog Walking Business?
The normal rates are between $ 18-20 for a 30-minute walk and between $ 25-28 for an hour’s walk. For early morning or late night walks, you can charge an extra $ 3-5. If you can have 4 -5 dogs per day for 5 days a week, or 1-hour walks, you will be able to earn $ 20-40,000 per year. If you hire employees, your income goes up due to the numbers.
To earn more, you can provide Dog Running Service which gives you higher charges.
While you are planning to start your Dog Walking Business, you need to follow certain important steps. These will help you in getting quick success.
About the Author: 99businessideas.com led by Rupak Chakrabarty is committed to helping beginners, entrepreneurs, and small business owners in starting, managing, and growing their business. Our aim is to educate the entrepreneur on the various stages of entrepreneurship.