Passionate about pooches, want to keep yourself active, and physically fit, or maybe just looking to make some money? If you answered yes to any of these questions, chances are you’ve considered starting your own dog walking business.
Setting up a dog walking business may seem like an easy way to earn some money, but in reality it requires a lot of research, and groundwork to be done, if you want to succeed and earn a decent sum. There are a number of things you need to consider, before launching your business, below are five easy steps you can follow to set up and successfully run your dog walking venture.
Assess the local market
When you’re about to set up any business, big or small, it will require time, money, and effort. Before you go about making these investments, you need to take some time to carefully examine the local market.
Assessing the local market will help you understand if there is a demand for your business, which areas may have a higher demand, and what kind of expertise clients are looking for. This will also help you find out about competitors, and the services already being offered, and provide guidance when deciding the prices you should be charging.
Gauging your market is the foundation to build any successful business. Once you know there is a client base, and you’ve understood the demographics and behaviors of your target market, it makes conducting business easier knowing there will be a clientele interested in your services, thus helping you establish a successful dog walking business.
Build a solid business plan
After you’ve determined the market for your business, the next step is to work on a comprehensive business plan. This will act as a blueprint for your business, a framework to guide you throughout your journey, and also when you are on the lookout for a loan or need to explain the technicalities of your business to others.
Writing a business plan is not as difficult as it may seem. There are a few essentials you need to pen down when doing this, which include:
- Come up with a name for your business
- A clear idea of what your business is, through listing its aims, goals, and a mission statement
- Analyzing the competition through the use of a competitive analysis matrix
- Details on how you’ll be organizing the business, including whether you’ll have employees, an office, and any other assets
- The specifics of the services you will be offering and pricing strategy you’ll be following
- Numbers! A good business plan must have the relevant financial projection, including forecasted cash flow, revenue, expenditure, break-even, and profit and loss figures
- A marketing plan, specifying the promotional strategies you’ll be implementing to get the word out about your services
Creating a plan earlier, rather than later can help you prepare your business more efficiently and act as a guiding light when coming up with contingency plans.
Invest in some training, qualifications, and experience
Though you don’t need a degree to start your own business of walking dogs, it’s a good idea to get some experience by investing in some training, gaining some certifications, or volunteering. You need to be comfortable around all sorts and sizes of dogs, so it’s essential that you have dealt with all types of pooches and are confident enough to handle them.
Consider taking some courses to give your clients peace of mind in knowing their dogs are in safe hands. It’s helpful if a dog walker knows pet first aid and animal care along with walking a dog.
Get your license and other legalities sorted
Depending on which part of the world you’re in you may need to register your business, or apply for a license. In the UK for example, you need to register your business with the HMRC (Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs) to operate your business as a self-employed individual.
In other parts of the world, you may need to register with your local authority, go through due diligence criminal checks. Depending on the services you offer you may need specific licenses too, such as a license for dog boarding services.
Make sure you’ve read up on all the canine and animal laws applicable to your locality, such as laws about pet littering, pet control mandates, dog protection acts, and any others that apply to your country.
Promoting your dog walking services locally
Marketing your dog walking business is necessary to get the word out amongst the locals. Your main source of referrals will probably be word-of-mouth. However, there are other ways you can spread the word in your locale, easily, quickly, and affordably.
- Business cards – as mentioned above, word-of-mouth is one of the most effective ways to market your dog walking business. Leave a few extra business cards with clients who avail your services so they can pass them along to their friends. Alternatively, you can hand out business cards to your friends and family, and get them to pass these along to people they know.
- Flyers – you can never go wrong with some old-fashioned marketing. This is probably one of the most effective ways of getting your message across to local residents. You can use online tools such as PosterMyWall to easily customize dog walking flyer templates, print these out and hand these out to people or put them up in veterinary clinics and shops around the neighborhood.
- Social media – People often look to social media to learn more about businesses and to hear the experience of others. If you haven’t created any social media business accounts, you may want to consider doing so. Share pictures and videos of your time with the dogs and any services you’re providing, so people get an idea of what goes on. Social media is also great for paid location-based marketing, allowing you to publish paid adverts targeting people in the local community.
- Feedback from clients – collect written and video testimonials from your clients, which you can then share on your website, social media or your print material. Good feedback helps build brand trust, an essential factor that comes under consideration when potential clients choose someone to trust with their pets.
Time to start dog-walking
By following these simple steps you’ve now set up your dog walking business. All that’s left to do now is invest in some comfortable shoes, and clothing for the various weather types, and you’re set to start scheduling appointments with clients.
Originally posted 2022-02-17 16:35:08. Republished by Blog Post Promoter