Jobs With Dogs

How to Start a Dog Walking Business

Have you thought about investing in a profitable business that not only allows you to have fun but to spend some time outdoors while you play and walk with your favorite four-legged friends? The pet industry is huge and getting bigger and more lucrative every year. Because dog walking is one popular facet of this booming business, hesitate no more, and get started with your own dog walking business!

Your Easy Start Up Guideline

· Gather references. Before you embark on this venture, ensure that you have sufficient experience when it comes to taking care of pooches. Try asking the owners of the dogs you have walked or cared for, for written recommendations. Ask them if you can provide their contact information to your potential clients.
· Develop a billing system. In the beginning, you may think that getting your billing method structured and sophisticated is not necessary. However, once your dog walking service business builds up, you’ll need to stay on top of your invoices as well as client payments. Two easy computer programs that you can use are Excel and Quicken.
· Seek out legal advice. Lots of dog walkers tend to operate under the table. Although this can be lucrative and can save on paperwork, it can be a regretful choice. Bear in mind that dog walking entails liabilities since you are responsible for the dogs’ safety. Speak with a lawyer about how you can set up your business legitimately and legally.
· Secure the appropriate equipment. Your clients will usually provide a leash for their pet. However, because you’ll never know what might happen along the way, always bring extra collars, leashes, and harnesses. Also, take along plenty water and treats to keep the dogs hydrated and content. It’s also wise to invest in a small first aid kit that you’ll keep within reach at all times. (You never know when you might encounter a sandspur or bee sting!)
· Invest in the word of mouth. While it is true that advertising is good, your previous clients and other people’s impression and opinion about you and your services are the best. In addition, because competition in the pet industry is very tight, try offering incentives to your present clients that refer someone new to you. And, always carry a handful of business cards, passing them out wherever and whenever appropriate.

With a plan in mind and a clear set of your rules for conducting business, you’ll be a successful dog walker in no time! Most importantly, have fun and keep those dogs happy and well exercised!

The DogingtonPost has published a guide to establishing a Dog Walking or Pet Sitting Business. You can get it here:

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4 Comments

4 Comments

  1. Bark and Walk

    Mar 24, 2016 at 3:14 pm

    Brandy – I appreciate the article and I definitely think the dog walking industry is booming because it seems like a new dog walking company is opening on every corner. One important thing to note here is, the passion and love you need to be a successful dog walker. That passion will help you focus on learning about different types of dog breeds and providing the best care when you are walking them. From a marketing standpoint, to build a successful dog walker, you need to invest not only in word of mouth, but you need to invest in SEO and online marketing. Having a website and driving leads to your business phone or your contact forms is well worth it. Thanks for sharing! Here is an article that elaborates more on the marketing aspect: http://nycdogwalkingservice.com/start-a-dog-walking-business/

  2. michele

    Apr 2, 2013 at 8:02 am

    Really? you think that’s all it takes to be a dog walker? I am a PROFESSIONAL pet sitter and if you think for one minute that this job is all fun and money, think again. I have had training, pet sitting and red cross. I have insurance and it took me almost 5 yrs. to get a good possitive reputation. How about having to walk peoples dogs while they are on vacation…rain, snow, cold? You think going out in a snowstorm or pouring rain is fun? It IS great excercise, and if you love dogs is the best job you could ever have, but it is not easy getting started and to be successful you do need proper training.

    • Cheryl

      Apr 2, 2013 at 10:37 am

      I’m sure this is not an easy job whatsoever. Think of the responsibility, if a dog breaks free and gets lost? The owner would kill you!

  3. Sabee

    Dec 13, 2012 at 10:46 pm

    I love how you outlined the necessary steps, Brandy! From what I’ve learned so far, what I needed to learn was to be really good at business first before anything else. Got that tip from here: http://www.startingdogwalkingservice.com/

    But, you outlined those needed steps well. So, Thanks. I am considering starting my own dog walking service soon.

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