For those who love dogs, a dog walking business can be the ideal job. Here are our top tips for dog walking services. You need the proper preparation while approaching people who need dog walkers, in order to succeed.
A love of dogs is a big advantage in this business, but there are other factors to consider as well.
You will have to take the dogs out in all kinds of weather while doing this business of paid dog walking. In addition, you must also be physically fit, as you’ll need your strength to control several dogs at a time.
Tips for Dog Walkers on How to Start a Dog Walking Service
#1. Dog Walking Rates / Charges
- How much do dog walkers make?
The rates you can charge will depend on the location and the duration of the walk. You can charge per walk instead of per day or a dog walker pay per hour.
For instance, there are 15-minute walks or a half hour walk. Try giving discounts to those who need a walk throughout the week as opposed to twice a week. On an average, you can charge around $15 to $30 for a half hour walk.
You can also opt to become a part time dog walker.
#2. General Knowledge on Handling Dogs
- How to start a dog walking business?
It may sound overwhelming at first, especially if you’ve not been around dogs. Many people labor under the misconception that dog walking does not require any special skills. Maybe not, but you must have an idea about dog psychology and their behavior, especially when managing a pack fight or an emergency.
You can learn online about dog behavior or go through books, videos or become a certified dog walker.
- Training techniques while attempting doggy care.
- First Aid tips (check out the American Veterinary Medical Association for some great articles).
- Dealing with aggressive behavior while being a dog walker.
- Communication with dogs.
- Reading dog body postures.
- Dog socialization.
- Knowledge of various breeds and types. Some are territorial, while others are predatory, some independent and some adventurous, some fearful, etc.
Tip 1: Before starting a dog walking service, it would be a bonus if you were trained in first aid/CPR for dogs in case of emergencies.
Tip 2: What do I need to do to become a dog walker? Get some practical experience by volunteering to walk the dogs at the local pet shelter or just take an online course.
#3. Market Research on Dog Walking Business
You need a dog walking business plan, as it is an important step before you start a dog walking business. Go to Craigslist and search for dog walking services and dog walking companies in your city to evaluate the market in your location. Check out the services offered, whether only dog walking or additional services like daycare, dog-training etc.
Tip: Check the Gigs category in Craigslist and see the dog walkers wanted statistics to know how many professional dog walkers are wanted in your area to know how many people are trying to find dog walker or hiring a dog walker.
- How to become a dog walker?
Decide on what breeds or what size of dogs you want to focus on. Check out your specialization while trying to become a local dog walker. You can opt for smaller dogs or puppies and help them socialize with other small puppies.
With more research, you can find out more about the demand for the service, the rates and so on.
#4. License / Insurance Requirements for Dog Walking
Check out licensing requirements. Decide whether you want to start the service from your own home or in local parks or greenways, the number of dogs you’re planning to have at a time, while considering dog walking jobs.
Know all the rules and regulations before starting this business. Check out the local zoning laws and the laws in your state, regarding sanitation, leashing rules, etc.
#5. Marketing Your Dog Walking Service
- Use brochures, flyers and newspaper advertisements to let the world know about your new dog walking business.
- Create a dog walking website, listing the services you offer, the pricing, testimonials, references, certifications, contact information, an FAQ page and so on.
- Offer coupons and promotions. For instance, a dog walker I know gives dog collars to her client’s dogs, having the dog’s name and address with her company logo on the back side.
Tip: You could offer pick up services, in a truck with crates.
#6. Buying Supplies for Your Dog Walker Business
Supplies are mainly related to leashes. Buy different sizes of leashes and choose ones with easy grip. If you want to walk several dogs at a time, buy leashes with multiple tethers.
You will also need a tool or picking up dog poop. Clean up poop immediately and use plastic bags to keep the poop before throwing into the garbage can.
Other things you could consider buying are water dishes, treats, a mini backpack for yourself, good walking shoes.
#7. Awareness of Risks While Walking Dogs
Establish your walking hours, the route, the number of dogs, and the pick-up timings, walking in inclement weather and so on with your clients.
A client could ask you to walk her dog without a leash. While it’s true that dogs love running about without a leash, it also presents certain risks to other people on the road.
Also, some municipalities have certain laws pertaining to leashes. Be aware of rules, risks and insurance claims.
Dog walking services are still very much in demand, with so many people spending more time at offices and having to leave their dogs alone at their homes all day.
A dog walking business could be rewarding both monetarily and mentally. You could even add some other services beyond just walking dogs. For instance, you can offer dog sitter or pet sitter services and pet grooming services as well.
A few decades back, such professions like dog sitting or dog walking did not even exist. People used to just rely on friends and neighbors. But with the decrease in the stay at home moms, the demand has surged!
The field is open – so why not jump into it with both your paws, err, feet!!!