What To Know Before Starting a Dog Walking Business
If you are an animal lover, then a dog walking business may be the perfect solution for you to earn some extra income, or even branch out and begin to work for yourself. Operating your own business takes some thought and careful planning to be successful, but it's entirely possible to do. If you follow these tips you will be ready to get going and start earning some money in a fun way.
Be a Dog Person
This is quite obvious, but if you're going to start a dog walking business then you need to love dogs. The animals and owners alike will pick up on any negative vibe that you're giving out. You don't want to invest your time into a venture that will make you miserable, either. If you want to start something with animals, then you need to genuinely enjoy being around them. If you get excited at the thought of spending your day with some furry friends, and can't wait to see them each day, then this could be a good fit.
Have Resources In Place
Pet owners want to know that their beloved dog is safe in your care. You should also want to be secure in the knowledge that you are prepared to handle most situations. Have a vet's number readily available on your phone and know the nearest one to your normal walking routes in case you run into a problem. Knowledge on dog behavior is a must, as is some basic first aid. Accidents happen sometimes and you need to be able to notice any signs of trouble and be able to take the necessary steps to fixing the situation.
People won't know that you are available for hire if you don't advertise. A digital marketing platform is an excellent way to get the word out and interact with potential clients. You can easily compile an email list to keep all of your customers informed and chat with them on social media. Include some photos of you in action to showcase how much fun your charges have with you each day.
Know Your Market
The services you offer should be tailored towards the types of clients that you can reasonably expect to attract. Maybe you can team up with a local veterinarian who can recommend you. Or, if you discover that your client's could use a reliable dog sitter, in addition to the dog walking services, you can look into expanding your business to offer these types of things that would be appreciated and likely to bring in more income.
It's important that you make sure you set clear prices for your sake and that of the clients. Have a price list available on your website, or a hard copy to share with anyone who asks. You may want to offer a discount for any client that signs their dog up for daily walks, or one for dogs who get walked multiple times a day.
Be firm with your prices and remember that you deserve to be paid for the service that you offer. This is a job, and you need to pay your bills, even if you are making money at something that you enjoy.
Have Clear Client Agreement
A contract is a good idea so you and the client both know exactly what to expect. Discuss your terms and policies regarding any cancellations or refunds of services. Make sure that you include information regarding when payment is due, and the types of payments that you will accept. This can make things less awkward in the event that a customer doesn't want to pay, or tries to put off payment. A signed contract will spell out the rules and terms of the business arrangement in advance to protect your interests.
Keep Good Records
Record keeping is a must for a successful business. You need to track your client's contact information, the dogs' behavior patterns, and keep a detailed schedule so you earn a reputation as a competent and trustworthy dog walker while being able to easily tell when you can take on more clients.
Good records are also necessary so you can report your earnings and file all tax forms and expected payments. The better the records that you keep throughout the year, the easier the filing process will be.
A dog walking business can be a highly enjoyable way to make a living if you're a dog person. Instead of spending your days in a stuffy office and feeling chained to your cubicle, you can instead have fun exploring new neighborhoods and parks with your furry friends.