Owning a dog can be a huge responsibility, and ensuring that they get a good walk everyday is important. For some though they have difficulty in doing this, they could be at work all day, they may have had an accident that is preventing them from walking for a while, or it could be that they are older and are now unable to take them out.
Due to this there is more of a demand of dog walkers, so setting up a business in your local area to do this can seem like a really good idea. Here we take a look at what it will take to set up a dog walking business.
1. Where to begin
Before setting up anything, you need to know if there is a demand in your particular area, or will you need to advertise in the next village or town. The easiest way to do this is to speak with family and friends, see if they know dog owners and get them to find out if they would use search a service. You could even use your own Facebook and Twitter account to ask local people too.
2. Your Business Name And Logo
Now that you know there is a demand for your service, you need to think of a catchy name and a logo. Try and choose one that can bring in the name of the local area and about the service you provide. By having a logo, you can then have your own flyers and business cards printed; and even have it on clothing or your car.
3. Insurance and CRB
As you will be looking after other peoples pets and taking them out into public, and sometimes this could be more than one dog, it is is best to get some form of liability insurance. Not only does this protect you, but is also there in case any accidents happen to the dog in your care, or if they cause harm to others or their property. A CRB check is not necessarily needed, but it can give people more security knowing you have a clear criminal record.
4. Training And Qualifications
There is no formal training needed to carry out this job, although having experience with dogs and walking them in groups is going to be beneficial. There are courses out there that you can do, and this could benefit you and the service you provide. It may also be a good idea to find first aid for dogs courses too.
5. How Many Dogs To Walk
If you are thinking about walking a few dogs at a time, it is best to know your own capabilities and limitation. Don’t take on more than you can handle, a recommend amount is no more than 4. Also check with your local council as there are different rules regarding walking dogs in packs, and you may need to check where you can walk them like this, as some areas may be restricted.
Typically £10 per hour for one dog is the going rate, of course if someone has more than one dog for you to walk you can offer a discount. Also you may find that some people only want a half hour walk, so make sure you can offer this too.
So whilst things are rolling with the startup of your business you need to get advertising. Make use of the logos that we talked about before, getting flyers out to local shops, church halls and schools is a great way to start.
Advertising on you car; make sure you wear branded item of clothing when out walking so people can see who you are and what you are doing. You could even make a website and buy some local seo services to get it to rank in Google for search terms such as ‘local dog walkers’ etc.
One great way is to talk to other dog owners whilst out on your walk, by coming across as friendly and passionate about what you do, word of mouth is going to be your best advertising tool.