Just like having a day care center, dog walking has become a good business for dog lovers. But before venturing into this field, consider these factors first:
Are you qualified to be a dog walker? There are no licenses needed to walk dogs for a business, however, the basic “qualification” would be whether you are a dog lover or not. It is very difficult to baby sit if you hate kids. In the same way, it will be difficult to walk dogs if you are not into dogs, or pets in general.
The next consideration on whether you can walk dogs is whether you have experienced taking care of dogs. If you have your own dog and you are familiar with the routines that a typical dog follows, it will be easier for you to adjust to other dogs. You also get to know how to play with them, and how to encourage them to walk, run and play. When you get the hang of it, you also sense when they are not feeling well, which is a must for dog walkers, because you will be able to tell their owners your observation. The owner will probably decide to have the dog checked by a veterinarian. This way, the dog owners will have a sense of security when they leave their dogs with you, and earning a client’s trust is very important if you want to have a stable business.
How big do you want your business to be? You have to decide early on whether you want a home based, full time dog walking business, or whether you only want a part time “free lance” dog walking gig just to fill in your unproductive time. Establishing a full time dog walking business will need legal paperwork since you have to have your business registered, you need thorough planning, hire and train employees, and all other business requirements such as insurance, taxation and keeping books of accounts. You also need to have an office and several materials and equipment such as dog leashes, toys, dog grooming kits, a stock of dog food, dog first aid kit and a first aid kit for employees in case a dog gets a little wild.
If you plan to just be a “free lance” dog walker, then you only need a few materials such as a spare leash, some dog toys and your own set of dog grooming kit, if you want to provide some extra service that will get you more clients.
If you will be a part time dog walker, you should make it clear to your clients so they know that there will be times when you cannot take on dog walking jobs, especially when you are a student or you have another job. Also consider the number of dogs you can take out at the same time, so you can limit the number to only a few that you can personally manage.
Will there be competitors in your area? Research your market first. If there are existing dog walking businesses in the area, find out how much they charge, what services they offer and how far in the area they have covered in terms of clients. This will give you an idea of your potential client base. It will be best, though, to start with your relatives and friends as your first clients, then you can expand from there.