America is one of the countries of the world where dogs are really esteemed. When it comes to pets – then dogs sure have been declared by many as one of the friendly animals that is able to co-habit with man appropriately.
In fact they are man’s best friend. In some parts of the world where pets are really held in high esteem, there you will find a land slide of homes where dogs live in. Overall, dogs easily adapt to the living conditions of men. There are several businesses that have continued to stem out from dogs. There are various dog services businesses; amongst which is the dog walking business. The business of dog walking is such that have and would continue to prosper for a long time to come.
It is one industry that have continued to yield profits because of the lucrative nature of the business. Hence, it wouldn’t be an over statement to say that the dog walking business is a money spinner for those that engage in it. There will always be the need for dogs to take walks. This is because of the health benefit, as well as feeling it gives the dogs.
However, that might not be possible in most cases because of the busy nature of dog owners. This means that dog owners may have little or no time at all to spare to walk their dogs. This is where those who have the business acumen to come up with the dog walking business came to fore. These business people have created what is called the dog walking trade.
They offer dog walking services, so that despite the fact that they are away, the dogs can still be walked. This is one business that is very profitable. In addition it is a low risk job and it can be started from anywhere in the world. Therefore, if you are looking to make good money from the dog walking business, then it becomes important that you take some very necessary measures so that you are not found wanting in the long run.
Becoming a dog walker isn’t a huge task, as it does not require that you get a certification whatsoever. All that is required of you is the love for animals, as well as the time to walk these animals.
It is very enjoyable to start a dog walking business, because it establishes a relationship between you and the dog and in the long run you smile to the bank. So it wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say that the walking business is a clear case of getting paid for what you love doing.
21 Steps to Starting a Dog Walking Business as a Kid
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1. Understand the Industry
The Dog Walking Services industry without uncertainty have continued to grow. As a matter of fact, its growth rate has even become to alarming. In 1999, uphill 2014, it maintained growth- and this is despite the economic meltdown that ravaged America and other parts of the world.
This can be attributed to the fact that so many people still see pets more steadily as members of the family. Experts have gone on to project that there will be continuous growth rate till 2019. It has also been found that consumers do not hesitate to spend of their dog pets.
Interesting Statistics About the Industry
Research has also shown that the Dog Walking Services industry is highly split, so much so that no individual player makes up a large share of the market. The report says that ‘total sales for franchised Fetch Pet Care locations barely push above 1.0% of total industry revenue’.
This is because most players are small and cater to local markets. There are challenges that also keep then industry disjointed; they include; logistical and organizational problems for the dog walking business owners, and this makes it difficult to overcome the challenges.
The American Pet Product Association (APPA) says that, Americans lavish approximately $47.7 billion on pet products and services in 2010, an increase of 4.8% over 2009. Ever since 1988, pet ownership has lengthened from 56% of households to 62%; which amounts to about 71.4 million homes.
To most people in these places, one animal just isn’t enough: some 46% of all households own more than one pet. This is one of the reasons why those who are in the dog walking business make good money
2. Conduct Market Research and Feasibility Studies
- Demographics and Psychographics
A general growth in the number of pets in the US and enlarged spending per pet are the main factors that will fund the pet’s industry growth in the years ahead; so says experts.
Even though it seems as if the economics of the united states is dragging a bit behind, the annual revenue growth in pet services is projected to scale in at some 4.4% through 2016). This means that as the economic picks up and spending increases, so will there be increase on spending on pets.
3. Decide Which Niche to Concentrate On
The dog walking business as the name indicates; means that dogs needs to be walked. So, it wouldn’t be a misfit to say that the only niche that should be faced and taken seriously is the dog walking art. This goes to show that there cannot be other areas of specialization in the dog walking trade, asides from the areas that still has to do with dog care. So, here are a few area you may want to look into;
- Train dogs on walking
- Train dogs for security purpose
- Train dogs for gaming purposes
- Dog Consultation
- Dog Breeding
- Dog Grooming
The Level of Competition in the Industry
It is true that dogs are men’s best friend and that there are tons of households that have pets. Be that as it may; it can be said that there is no stiff competition in the industry, but there is still competition. There are dog walkers indeed in the profession, but it cannot be said that it is a saturated industry. As a matter of fact, the number of dog walkers are still minute compared to the population of folks who own dog pets.
4. Know Your Major Competitors in the Industry
The dog walking industry since its inception have recorded a great level of success. This is because of the developments that the exercise has brought about. So, the industry can boast of well-known brands that have grown from a small level to becoming a household name. These are some of the top dog walking companies;
- Dog Walkers
- Passivity Dog Services
- Trauma Service Dogs
- Warrior Canine
- Wow Dog Walkers
The dog walking business is such that you can start with not too big a capital. You do not need a huge startup because you aren’t into production but the rendering of services. If you really want a business that would cost you nothing as such, then choose the dog walking business.
One area where you will need to spend more would be in the area of advertisement. Just like every other business, you will need to let people to know about your dog walking services. You will need to adopt different means; and this is after sampling various means before arriving at the very best.
5. Decide Whether to Buy a Franchise or Start from Scratch
It is a wonderful idea to start your dog walking business from the scratch, but there are times when you just want to ride on the back of successful dog services brands. In the dog services trade, it appears that leveraging on franchises might be a very good idea after all.
It is a thing of truth that franchises that offer grooming, dog training and pet daycare services are prosperous. Franchises may seem as if it really cost an arm and a leg – since it costs $30,000 to start. However, in the long unit will pay off. Franchises exists for the following services In America;
From dog walking to pet sitting to pet adventure camps, and franchise chances exist to make sure consumers’ pets are cared for during work hours.
Franchises occur for obedience, agility and show training
Franchises exist for caring for dogs when the owners are out of town.
6. Know the Possible Threats and Challenges You Will Face
Every business has got its own fair share of threats and challenges; this is also same for a dog walking business. As a matter of truth there are conditions that the average dog walker faces. Here are some of it.
- Harsh Weather
- Some people don’t like dogs
- Leash aggression
- Straying dogs
- Sick dogs
7. Choose the Most Suitable Legal Entity (LLC, C Corp, S Corp)
There are several legal entities that exist, that you can choose. You have to choose the best legal entity so that you cannot be limited in growth. This means that you will need to project and plan well so that you have a limitless opportunity to grow. In doing this; you may look at consulting a lawyer- who is an expert and will be in the best position to advice you rightly.
But, ordinarily, you have the option of opting for general partnership, a limited partnership, an LLC, a “C” corporation, or an “S” corporation. It is very important that you weigh the pros and cons of using a legal entity before you embark on it.
For you to be knowledgeable, you need the advice of an expert as earlier said. There are some things that you have to be on the lookout for; they include; limitation, knowing if it is a kind of entity that can be passed on to another person, if new owners can be added, and a whole town of other things.
8. Choose a Catchy Business Name
It is very important that you choose very attractive names for your dog walking business. This is important because you may attract people with it. Here is a list of catchy names to choose from;
- Pet Lovers Dog Services
- Canine care Givers
- Pet Walkers Hub
- Friends of Dogs
- Pets Alone
9. Discuss with an Agent to Know the Best Insurance Policies for You
There are several insurance policies that is available for the dog walking business. There is also the need that you choose the best that will work for your business. First of all, you may consider asking an expert whom you will work closely with to put you through. You should not just sit about doing nothing; you too can start your research too. In the meantime, here are some simple insurance covers that you should plan to purchase.
- General Liability Insurance.
- Property Insurance.
- Business Owner’s Policy.
- Professional Liability Insurance.
- Workers’ Compensation Insurance.
- Umbrella Insurance.
10. Protect your Intellectual Property With Trademark, Copyrights, Patents
Intellectual property comes to fore only if you are offering training that has to do with humans. Therefore, the dog walking business isn’t such that needs for you to protect any brain child. There are several other industries that needs to think about this step and the dog walking business isn’t one of it.
11. Get the Necessary Professional Certification
Professional Certification is one sure step that helps experts scale through in their business endeavors. However, there is a limitation for other industries. One of such industries that has a limitation in the regard is the dog walking business.
This only goes to means that you do not need a professional cortication whatsoever in this business. All that is needed is your passion for pets. Please note that you may get some trainings on how to care for pets, but not in the certification regard.
12. Get the Necessary Legal Documents You Need to Operate
First of all, it is very vital that you register your business to start with. This is necessary so that you will not be found wanting by the responsible authority. Here are some legal document that have been tagged important. Which you need.
- Business License
- Certificate of Incorporation
- Insurance Policy
- Business Plan
- Non – disclosure Agreement
- Employment Agreement (offer letters)
- Operating Agreement for LLCs
- Contract documents
13. Write a Business Plan
A first glance at a business plan makes you to realize that starting a business indeed is a serious business. All over the world experts have continued to stress on the need to have a well thought out plan on how to run business. This is the same with the dog walking business. You have to write a business plan.
There are several things that must be contained in your plan. If you do not know how to do this, you can hire a business plan writer, whom you will arm with all the information necessary to put together a standard business plan for you. These business consultants do not do this for free, so you have to agree on a fee.
Some information that must be in the plan include; your aim of starting business, your marketing plans, how you want to drive your business, the number of employees to start with, short term and long term goals for your business, and so on. You may also want to browse the internet to get guidelines and templates on how to write a business plan.
How Much Does It Cost to Start a Dog Walking Business?
Starting a dog walking business might not be so very expensive, but the truth still remains that you will part with some good amount of money. All of the licenses that you require, the registration of your business, the space and location you will operate from, and some other things that cannot be neglected are some of the things that will gulp some money. Here are some of the cost that you may likely incur;
- The Total Fee for incorporating the Business: $750.
- The budget for Liability insurance, permits and license: $2,500
- The Amount needed to acquire a suitable Office facility in a business district 6 months (Re – Construction of the facility inclusive): $40,000.
- The Cost for equipping the office (computers, printers, fax machines, furniture, telephones, filing cabins, safety gadgets and electronics et al): $2,000
- The Cost of Launching your official Website: $600
- Budget for paying at least two employees for 3 months and utility bills : $10,000
- Additional Expenditure (Business cards, Signage, Adverts and Promotions et al): $2,500
- Miscellaneous: $1,000
This means that you will need approximately $60,000 to set up a small scale dog walking business in the United States of America. You will need over a hundred thousand U.S. dollars to successfully set – up a medium scale one.
If you are considering starting a large scale dog walking firm with several employees under your payroll and offices in key cities in the United States of America and other parts of the world, then you should look towards budgeting from 1 million United States dollars and above.
14. Raise the Needed Startup Capital
In businesses, getting the adequate start up might be a challenge. This is particularly if you do not have much capital in your savings. But, this does not mean that once you do not have the capital to start a business, you cannot get some money from elsewhere to start. As a matter of fact there are various ways through which you can raise good money to start. Here are some of the ways you may want to walk to generate money from your business;
- Raising money from angel investors
- Raising Money From business partners
- Raising money from savings
- Raising money from personal stocks
- Applying for Loan from your Bank / banks
- Applying for business grants
- Seek for soft loans from your family members and your friends.
15. Choose a Suitable Location for your Business
It is true that you run a dog walking business, but that does not mean that you wouldn’t have a base from where you operate from. Truth is that your clients would want to meet you up in some place to talk business with you. So, you need to get a befitting location that is well furnished. Remember, that first impressions last, as such you do not need to act mediocre. You need something that isn’t necessarily expensive, but excellent.
Therefore, in looking for a location for your dog walking business, you may consider situating it in a residential neighborhood. This is because dogs live mostly in residents than in corporate settings. You may also ask those who are already in the business, and then learn the ropes from them.
This location that you plan to get must be located in the main town of the city. There would be different offices like; the reception where guests would be received, a sick bay, where a vet doctor can check out the pets where they are ill, a store where the pet foods are stores as well as other things that helps in the smooth running of the business.
16. Hire Employees for your Technical and Manpower Needs
In the dog walking business, you do not need to have a degree, or PhD to be qualified to join the trade. As a matter of fact, all you need is the flair. So, if you start small, and you peradventure are the only one on ground, as time goes on you may want to hire people who have the same interest as you. On the average, all that is needed is the passion and thereafter training can come up.
You would need computers that are internet enabled, furniture, and a host of other fittings and décor that would make your office a palatable place. As time goes on and you scale your business, you would need other employees that would occupy strategic positions like; supervisors, managers, dag walkers, vet doctors, cashier, Clarets, and so on. By and large, you will need a total of 7 – 10 employees to run a medium sized dog walking business.
17. Write a Marketing Plan Packed with ideas & Strategies
One of the challenges that people face in getting clients for their businesses using the right marketing channels that work. That is why it is needful that you plan how your marketing trip goes from the very beginning. The truth remains that people would not get to know about your business if you do not work at it.
Working at it means you have to act fast and smart. First of all, you can call for a business consultant to help you brainstorm on possible ways to reach your target market. This is of course for a fee, since that is what business experts do for a living.
On the other hand, you do not need to relent. You have to do some research on your part. This means that you can ask those already in the business, how they have been able to fare and all. So, here are some marketing strategies that you can choose to use to make your dog walking business visible to all;
- Print colorful handbills and brochures about your dog walking business. Be sure to be detailed, with pictures, description of the services you render, your location and the type of facilities you have.
- Advertise your business in business magazines
- Advertise in business directories.
- Advertise on radio stations and TV stations.
- List our business on yellow pages
- Build a website to promote your dog walking business.
- Employ the word of mouth mode of advertisement.
- Engage the services of marketing executives and business developers to carry out direct marketing
18. Develop Iron-clad Competitive Strategies to Help You Win
It is a competitive business quite alright, but that does not mean that you have to throw in the towel. You have to face it hard. There are several ways through which you can surpass the challenges of competitors. This is especially because of the fact that the market in America is a very wide one.
One of the ways to surpass your challenges is by offering probono services. This means that you have got to seek out busy folks and then offer to care for their pets by walking them. This is one way to win the hearts of clients.
Yet another way to do this is by going the extra mile,; for instance, you may want to treat the dogs when you find something abnormal with them, groom then, train them on some etiquettes and what have you. Also you can choose to offer discounts.
19. Brainstorm Possible Ways to Retain Clients & Customers
If you want to increase customer retention in the dog walking business, then you have to keep the quality really high. Once clients suspect that quality has dropped, they main begin to seek alternative services. Hence, the watch word for you and your team has to be excellent. This means that you have to keep training your employees so that they can maintain a standard operating process without decline.
20. Develop Strategies to Boost Brand Awareness and Create a Corporate Identity
It is okay to start a dog walking business form a city, but you may want to increase and spread your tentacles by moving to other cities. This cannot just happen overnight, plus you will need to be conscious of your brand by spending good money in the media and for awareness. As such you may need the services of a business expert who will help you do a good job in this regard,.
21. Tips for Running a Dog Walking Business Successfully
Running a business can sometimes go from good to bad. This is one of the things that you will need to avoid. This means that you may consider creating some procedures and steps that every member of your team must follow in order to run the business successfully.
First of all, it becomes mandatory that all clients have to be given the best treatments. This is one way to run a business and have it grow successfully. Remember; customer is king. One other thing that you will have to enforce is the treatment of pets. You should have procedures in place that says that all workers has to go the extra mile in caring and protecting the pets that are in their care.
Finally, starting a dog walking business is a very good thing, and truth is that millionaires are made every passing day. However, you need to stay with it from the beginning without being discouraged. This is because every business would have to face a teething stage.