How to Start a Dog Walking Business: Everything You Need to Know
As you are considering how to start a dog walking business, it is critical that you do your research and preparation.3 min read
How to Start a Dog Walking Business
As you are considering how to start a dog walking business, it is critical that you do your research and preparation. While you are spending time with dogs, it’s still fundamentally a business. You should determine how much income you would like to earn per year and how much money you expect to spend on the business. It might be helpful to research what other professional dog walkers are charging and what type of services they offer. Starting your own business requires you to wear a number of different professional hats, such as CEO, customer service representative, social media specialist, accountant, and more.
It should be noted that before you start a full-time dog walking business, you might want to consider pet-sitting. This will give you an opportunity to gain experience with dogs without losing your current income. It could also be good exposure to potential clients.
Research Area Businesses
Before starting a dog walking business, there are a number of initial aspects you should research to determine whether your business has a chance to be successful wherever you are. One of the most important things to determine before starting a business is whether there is a demand for your product. In this case, you must ask yourself whether there is enough of a client base in your general vicinity looking for someone to walk their dogs. After all, if there are not enough people that need a dog walker, you should consider getting into a different type of business. If there is a demand for dog walkers, you should look into who your competition will be.
Be Knowledgeable About Dogs
If you are looking to start your own dog walking business, it is safe to say that you should have a good knowledge base about certain types of dogs. Before advertising to the public about your business, you should first determine what types of dogs you are or are not comfortable with. If you feel better handling smaller breeds, then you should note that in your outreach.
If you would like to offer to take the dogs to the dog park, you should be cautious about how each dog interacts with each other. Social areas can be prime spaces for aggressive and unwanted behavior. You should always be aware of your surroundings and be conscious of where you decide to take the dogs for a walk. They might feel calmer if they are in a more serene environment as opposed to a city sidewalk.
Also note that a good dog walker should be able to handle six large dogs at a time.
As you begin to form a dog walking business, there are many legal considerations you must be aware of.
• Choose a business entity. There are different types of businesses you can form, such as a sole-proprietorship, a limited liability company, or a corporation. They all have their benefits and disadvantages, but most dog walkers run their business as a sole proprietorship.
• Obtaining the proper licenses. Most localities do not require a dog walker to get a specific license to start a dog walking business, but states often require a general business license. These requirements vary from state to state, so you should research the specific rules for your general vicinity.
• Local rules and regulations. Many localities have leash laws, which require dogs to be on leashes in certain areas and permit them to be off leash in others.
• Dog walking contracts. It’s important to draft a written contract that your business uses for clients. A contract will clearly set out your responsibilities, the terms of payment, and should also cover specific aspects of your business relationship, including an authorization for emergency care if necessary as well as the owner’s liability for damage done by a dog.
Challenges of Starting a Dog Walking Business
Building a successful dog walking business can be tough. Not many people will need a dog walker from 9 to 5; instead, the hours will typically be in the middle of the day, when most people are at work. Every client will have a different routine, and every dog will have a different need. Some dogs will need more care than others. The unforeseen events that could happen at any time as a dog walker reaffirm the need to do careful research and preparation before you start your own business.
If you need help with starting a dog walking business, you can post your legal need (or post your job) on UpCounsel’s marketplace. UpCounsel accepts only the top 5 percent of lawyers to its site. Lawyers on UpCounsel come from law schools such as Harvard Law and Yale Law and average 14 years of legal experience, including work with or on behalf of companies like Google, Menlo Ventures, and Airbnb.