Dog walking is a pretty popular business. Many people think of walking someone's dog as a casual job youngsters do for some side-income. However, this is a huge misconception. This post discusses about the dog walking business—it looks easy on paper but comes with several challenges.
It's important to note that in the initial month or two, you'll have to experiment a lot. Walking for 8 hours a day and that too while having to deal with different kinds of dogs can leave you frustrated and tired. So you'll have to plan your schedule to ensure consistency while building your dog walking business. Here are six points to plan about and act on to start a dog walking business.
Security - Insurance
Once you have agreed upon to start a dog walking business, the first and foremost action item is to get insured. There are several insurance firms you can reach out to for this purpose. There are different packages and proposals you can rely on to secure your dog walking business.
You'll have to incur some charges on a monthly or quarterly basis but getting an insurance is totally worth it. The insurance will cover almost everything, from the dog going berserk, to someone on the street getting injured. It's certainly going to save you in the long haul. Also, plenty of clients don't take you seriously if you run a business without being insured.
It's imperative to get a criminal check done. Since dog walking involves interaction with people of all ages and you'll be visiting a lot of homes, having a clean criminal history helps. Several junctures will not be at home when you arrive and they will feel satisfied knowing that someone safe and responsible is entering their home.
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Full-time Or Part-time
Decide if you want to be a full-time dog walker or restrict it to a part-time gig. Your decision is going to impact how many dogs you end up walking in the long run. Not just your income, but the time it takes to build reputation as a dog walker also depends on this decision. You can also choose to walk only a single dog at a time or do gang walks. Though walking a group of dogs gives more money, it's difficult because the dogs may start clashing with each other. Also, not every dog can go on group walks.
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Email And Website
Digital presence matters the most today. And the same applies to dog walking. Own a website that provides comprehensive description of your dog walking services. You can have an about page, a contact page, etc. There's no creative limitation to what you can include in the website. Have a dedicated email id for your business. It helps in having a governed mechanism in place. Any kind of interaction with existing and prospective clients should happen only through this email. Moreover, it brings authenticity and professionalism to your dog walking business.
If you don't wish to set up an entire website, leverage the power of groups and pages on social media platforms. Get authorization to take pictures or tapes of the canines you handle from their owners. This gives visibility to clients on what their pets are up to during the day. Not only does it help with feedback and reviews, you'll build a closer connect with the clients.
Word Of Mouth Publicity
Word of mouth publicity is going to be the primary way to expand your business. Though social media reviews help in building reputation, when it comes to dog walking, word of mouth publicity trumps everything. Neighbors tend to talk about their pets a lot. If you can make name for yourself as a reliable dog walker in one street or neighborhood, there's a high chance that you will resonate in surrounding areas as well. Advise your clients to tell their friends and families about your dog walking services. Make use of flyers and business cards to the fullest. Target veterinary clinics because that's where your target audience frequents.
Facebook is a good example about the power of groups. Community groups are platforms where like-minded individuals interact and collaborate. Leverage this groups to move beyond your neighborhood and discover new clients for your dog walking business.
You must have seen people frequently posting photos and videos with their pets. Target them via groups and pages.
If you wish to be a dog walker or want to start professional dog walking business, you need to train yourself in handling dogs and building rapport with them. A dog is a man's best friend and building this friendship is the key to success as a dog walker.
You also need to purchase the right clothes and gear. The right walking shoes, strong dog leash, etc. are a few items you need to invest in. If everything goes right, people from different areas will approach you to handle their canines. Comment about your experience with a dog walker or if you have been one yourself.