How to Start a Dog Walking Business [Detailed Guide]

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If you like our canine friends and are also looking for a small business opportunity in your area, what can be a better option than dog walking? Yes, do walking can be a potential business opportunity for all dog lovers. 

All members working in a house or a lonely dog, in no new story in the world. Being busy with their work, these people often miss out on dog walks and exercise times. A helping hand in walking their dogs is always welcome. 

Of course, you are not expected to this for free. This can be a great low-investment business opportunity for entrepreneurs.

How to Become a Dog Walker?

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If you want to become a dog walker, the first thing you need is the confidence to handle every breed. Walking a pooch is not only taking a stroll in the park, but the responsibility also weighs more. 

Common responsibilities a dog walker is expected to take up are.

➦ Understanding the behavior of the canine.

➦ Caring for the dogs.

➦ Ability to walk multiple dogs altogether.

If you are not experienced in this field and only love dogs, it is recommended to get a certificate first. In a dog walking business, people prefer an experienced person to handle their fur babies.

The best way to gain experience before starting your business is by getting involved in volunteering work at your nearest kennel. Be prepared to handle extreme situations at times as well.

You should know how to handle medical emergencies as well while walking.

Apart from handling the pooches, one needs to be prepared for extremities in the weather. You can’t put a break in your business because of rainy weather and muddy grounds.

Guidance to Start A Dog Walking Business

You are experienced in handling dogs of different breeds. You even have all the certificates needed to get into walking dogs professionally. It’s time to start your business.

Now you must be wondering how to start a dog walking business? The process is very simple. 

Similar to starting any other business, you need to consider these general aspects first-

1. Business planning: Every entrepreneur needs to consider these points to plan their business-

➦ The amount to be invested to start a canine walking business.

➦ The expenses preceding in the business.

➦ The market you wish to target.

➦ The prevailing market rate for walking dogs.

➦ The amount you can possibly charge your clients for walking their pets.

➦ Profit expected in the business.

➦ Scope of improvement in the revenue flow.

➦ Choosing a name for the business.

➦ Forming the structure of your business.

2. Forming the legal business entity and registration: To avoid kind of future intricacies in your walking business, it’s best to get your company registered under legal entities. You can choose a suitable business structure like LLC, DBA, or Corporation for your business.

3. Tax Registration: Tax registration is important for any business if you wish to operate it legally. You need to acquire an EIN to proceed with this.

4. Opening a bank account for the business: Like any other business, you need a separate current account for this when you take this up as your profession. By setting up an account you need-

➦ Current account for the business.

➦ A credit card in the name of your business.

5. Proper accounting: You need to keep a good count of the transactions happening in your account. This will help you with taxation at the end of a financial year.

6. License and permit obtaining: In order to avoid any kind of heavy fines while walking dogs, you need specific licenses and permits for the same-

➦ Local and state requirements with regards to the licenses.

➦ Contract and documentation with the clients.

7. Getting insurance for the business: Insurance can help you under stringent situations.

8. Brand defining: To get more clients for your business, you need to create a strong brand image. Some simple ways that is followed for every brand are-

➦ Marketing and promotion of the business.

➦ Retaining repeat customers.

9. Online presence: In the modern world, regardless of the domain of your business, you need to have an online presence to grab the market

What do I need to Open A Dog Walking Business?

We have covered the major and general steps to follow while opening a canine walking business. Now let’s focus on the specialized steps exclusively required for this business.

1. Specialized Credibility: If you want to take this up professionally, some credibility like certification or previous experience creates a better reputation for walking dogs. Clients gain confidence in your work if you have the qualifications of handling animals. 

If you have previously worked with any kennel or have received training in any of these, it adds to your credibility-

➦ First-aid support to animals

➦ Knowledge of the behavior of animals

➦ Caring for animals

For entrepreneurs trained in these, it’s suggested to display their certificates on their website for getting more customers.

2. Background Verification: Walking a dog is as good as babysitting for pet owners. If you are taking their fur babies away for a walk, they need to be sure of your past records. Background verification and criminal record checks help in gaining that trust.

3. Understanding the Regulations and Rules Pertaining to Walking A Dog: If you plan to start a business in walking pets, it’s best for you to understand the regulations and rules for getting the job done. Some standard rules that prevail in the market are-

➦ Meet the pet owner before taking forward your first walking session.

➦ Take a maximum of 4 dogs out for a walk at a time. You must never indulge in taking more.

➦ Maintain a record documented of all the walks you conduct.

➦ Ensure that the personal statistics of your clients are well protected.

➦ Whenever you get out dogs for a walk, ensure all of them have their collar on with the details of their owners engraved in it.

➦ Whenever the dogs defecate in public, ensure you clean the area immediately. Forgetting this point might lead to getting fined on the spot.

4. A Typical Dog Walking Business Day: Before you set forth with your business venture in walking pets, it’s best to know what to expect on a typical business day.

In general, the activities are similar every day:

1. Take charges of the dogs from the owner.

2. Walk the dogs in public places like parks or footpaths. Avoid main roads as much as possible.

3. Clean The feces Wherever Needed.

4. Drop the canine back at its Home.

The duration of the walk might vary depending on the breed of the dog you take out and the weather condition. Usually bigger breeds require more exercise, hence the time is more for them.

Needless to say, you charge more based on the breed and the amount of time you spend walking them.

5. The Dog Walking Business: Once you start your pet walking business, concentrate on only one thing – customer service.

Their pets are your responsibility while they are out on a walk with you. You need to protect them from all kinds of extreme situations outdoors.

You might want to carry protective measures like sticks or pepper sprays to protect small dog breeds from stray attacks. 

While you are out on a walk, remember, dogs pull on the leash. You should be wearing comfortable shoes and hold on to the belts firmly to avoid any situation involving tripping as a result of the pulling.