Are you looking for info on how to start a dog walking business? Dog walking is undoubtedly a viable business venture to consider if you’re passionate about dogs.

Not only is the demand for dog walking high, but the business also has a relatively low barrier to entry and is highly profitable. If you are searching for a profitable recession-proof venture going into 2020 and beyond give dog walking some serious consideration.

Why Start A Dog Walking Business

Despite a potential recession in the UK on the horizon, It's clear that Brits haven't lost their appetite for pet products. A recent study shows Brits spent over 12 Billion pounds on pet-related products in 2018. And the figures are expected to increase in 2020 and beyond.

These numbers are a strong indication that dog walkers are in high demand right now. Mainly because people go to work most days and have to leave their pets behind. Thus, they need dog walking services to keep their dogs active and healthy in their absence.

Furthermore, the average dog walkers earns an average of 17 pounds per hour, which is more than the average salary for most people in the UK. Aside from high demand, this is one of the few businesses which require low startup costs. Yet has the potential to produce high profits in a short time.

If you're genuinely passionate about dogs, then this may be the perfect business to start today. Read on to find out the key tips you need to start and grow your dog walking business today.

Research Your Market

To succeed as a dog walker, you must carefully research your market to understand which dog walking services are in demand. You can use the internet to research your competition and find out where the gaps are.Typical questions to ask when assessing the market can include:

  • Which areas do most dog walkers cover?
  • What is the hourly rate of most dog walkers in my area?
  • Are group walks in demand?

Without a doubt, these are just examples of questions you can ask yourself when researching the market. However, the fastest way to find actionable feedback is to interview dog walkers face to face. Finding crucial information face to face is easy, because most dog walkers are usually friendly and readily available for a chat. This is especially true if you seek feedback in an area you’re not planning to cover.

Calculate Startup Costs

Dog walking has some of the lowest startup costs out there. Dog walking Insurance, registration and marketing are some of the expenses you'll incur as startup costs. Of all these expenses, it's marketing that takes up a considerable portion of your startup costs. Although you can also find inexpensive ways to market your business, and still be effective in attracting clients. Here are the primary expenditures you need to know at the beginning of establishing a dog walking business.

Liability insurance: This covers you against claims from members of the public in case of injury. Expect to pay around £80 to £150 per year on insurance.

Criminal background check: Although not compulsory, this is one of those costs you cannot avoid if you want to grow your clientele. Most people will not do business with you if you don't possess a police check certificate. Expect to spend around £30 to acquire your police check certificate.

Fliers and business cards: Distributing flyers and business cards still ranks as one of the top ways to target clients locally. On average you can print 5,000 flyers for around £100.

Gain Skills and Experience

Gaining experience in dog walking is essential if you want to succeed in this business. At the start you can offer your services for free to win the trust of clients who interact with your business.

For example, you can start offering free dog walking services to your friends and family in the beginning just to gain the required experience and reputation. Remember, no pet owner will allow you to walk their dog if you don't have the necessary experience.

Register Your Business

You can register your business either as a sole trader, company, or partnership when starting a dog walking business. If you opt to register as a sole trader, you will be personally responsible for the debts incurred by your business. A limited company, on the other hand, shields you from being individually culpable of any liabilities in your business. As your company finances are separate from your personal funds. If you are unsure about starting a formal business, visit the official UK government website to learn more.

Know the Rules and Regulations

Adhering to the rules and regulations set by the UK government is essential if planning to start a dog walking business. If you don’t follow the rules to the latter, you could see your license cancelled.

The National Association of Petsitters and Dog Walkers, commonly referred to as NarpsUK, can help you know the rules and regulations the government wants you to follow. Some of the rules you'll you need to be conversant with as dog walker include:

  • Rules on meeting dog owners before the initial booking
  • Restrictions on the number of dogs you can walk at a time
  • Procedures for recording all work done
  • Protecting customers personal information
  • Ensuring dogs wear collars with the address and name of the owner
  • Cleaning up dog poop to avoid hefty fines

Get Animal Boarding License

To start providing accommodation services for your client’s dogs in your home, you need an animal boarding license, and or pet sitting insurance if you wish to look after your clients pets on their premises. Expect to pay around £300 to cover everything from start to finish, even though the prices can vary depending on location.

Decide Your Pricing

On average most dog walkers in the UK earn between £10 to £20 per hour. Undoubtedly, your rates will vary depending on the location and the number of dogs you can walk at ago. Factors such as how many hours you're going to work, how much your competitors charge, your location, how many dogs you can walk at ago have a huge say on your hourly pricing.

Find Means of Transport

Based on the area to be covered, you may require reliable transportation to move dogs from one point to another. To use your car as a means of transportation, you'll have to adjust your insurance cover so that it works for your business. In addition, you'll have to gauge the size of your boot before you start transporting many dogs at once. In some cases, you may need to rent or buy a van if the number of dogs under your care increase.

Upgrade Your Business Skills

Running a dog walking businesses is a relatively easy and straightforward endeavour. However, sharpening your business skills and knowledge can help you take your business to another level. For instance, knowledge of accounting, marketing and customer care can increase your profits in the dog walking industry.

Prepare Form and Contracts

Having the right paperwork is essential if you are running pooch walking business. Contract and forms can help you avoid stressful scenarios that can occur when dealing with clients some of the forms you’ll get accustomed to as dog walker during your day to day dealings include booking forms, essential release forms, veterinary release, etc.

How to Grow Your Dog Walking Business

Starting a dog walking business isn’t hard, the hard part is growing your venture to profitability. To be effective at market your dog walking business, you need to have a carefully thought out marketing plan. Here are some of the steps you can take to start getting clients in the door as soon as you launch your business.

Design a logo

A professional logo shows how serious you are about your dog walking business For a dog walking logo, find inspiration on sites like Pinterest. Once you identify suitable ideas, go to Fiverr, or Upwork and hire a decent logo designer, to create one for you. Expect the costs of a pro logo to be between £5 to £30.

Invest in professional dog walking gear

Personalized dog walking gear can increase your visibility. To standout from other dog walkers, make sure you invest in neat dog walking apparel. Clothing such as waterproof winter parka, embroidered gilets, windbreakers, and hats are what you need to brand yourself as a professional dog walker. Expect to spend around £30 to £35 for professional quality gear.

Get professional photos

Sometimes, all you need to create confidence and grow your dog walking business are professional photos. If you are continually displaying your dog walking skills on your websites and social media sites, you are on the right path to getting noticed in your location. And if you perfect the art of posting professional photos of your business regularly expect lots of business inquiries to come you way.

Flyer marketing

Flier marketing can be an effective way of marketing your dog walking business. You can leave behind your flyers in shops, pet stores, vet clinics, and grooming parlors. You shouldn't just distribute fliers alone, also give out business cards to every person you meet as well.

Reviews

Having profiles on key business directories like Yelp can help create trust with your customers. If you have positive customer reviews on such sites, you'll undoubtedly gain the confidence of people, and that means getting more clients for your business.

Take dog walking training

To earn more profits from your dog walking business, focus on improving your overall dog walking skills and knowledge. Getting trained on topics such as advanced dog handling, first aid, animal care and animal behaviour can set you up for success.

Niche down

Dog walking is a popular and lucrative business idea.However, you have to be selective about the market you go after inorder to find success.To find success in your market try doing things differently.

For example, positioning yourself as a dog walker who specializes in walking and caring for a specific breed of dogs, like bulldogs can pay off handsomely. Because dog owners with bulldogs will likely hire your dog walking services. In short, picking a small niche and sticking with it is the best way to break ground and start getting clients fast.

Enhance your Online Presence

Let's face it, the majority of people nowadays search for information online before making a purchase decision. This means if you dog walking business is not online, you miss out on plenty of people looking for dog walking services in your location. It’s advised that you set aside time and budget, to create a substantial online presence that will convert visitors into clients. A dominant online presence for your dog walking venture includes:

  • Having a professional website
  • Having a search engine optimized-website
  • Promoting your dog walking business with paid ads
  • Keeping your blog active
  • Being a member of the main professional dog walking directories on the internet
  • Posting on the top social media platforms etc

Wrapping up

Starting a successful dog walking business can be your way to financial freedom. With low startup cost and high demand, this is a perfect business opportunity to start if you live in the UK. Use all the tips above to start a thriving dog walking venture today.