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How To Start a Dog Walking Business

How To Start a Dog Walking Business

Do you love dogs? Why not start channeling your passion into a lucrative business? One great business idea involving dogs is a dog walking business. This is a relatively simple business that doesn't require hefty capital: in fact, you could start this business with only about $200. If you live in a neighborhood composed of busy, working families, a dog walking business will definitely be considered a necessity, or maybe even a lifesaver. Read on for some great tips for starting a dog walking business:

- Know if this business is for you. Though special training isn't necessarily required, it's best that you know how to properly handle dogs (even big ones, unless you plan to set limits on the kinds of dogs that you would accept). You should also know of basic dog care practices as well as basic dog first aid, so you would know what to do in case of emergencies. Finally, you should be physically fit, so you could literally keep up with the dogs that you will be walking.

- Know the legal requirements. In most cases, dog walking businesses don't need licenses or permits; however they do need to be registered with the local government. Check your local government's official website or call them up so you could know of the specific requirements that you will have to fulfill.

- You will also need to have liability insurance to cover your business. If any untoward incident occurs while you are walking to dogs - for example, any of the dogs hurt a passerby, causes damage to property, or the dogs themselves get hurt - you should have insurance to answer for the damages that have been incurred. You could also purchase small business insurance to cover for any injuries that you or your employees (if you plan to hire any) might sustain while walking the dogs. Do check with your current health insurance policies first if they will cover for work-related injuries.

- Know what other factors to plan for. You will need to determine the following: the area that you will walk the dogs (it should be safe and relatively free of traffic); the hours that you will hold business; how large an area the route will be and how long you will walk each batch of dogs; the fees that you will charge your clients and when you will collect these fees (weekly, monthly, per service, etc).

- Create forms that the clients will fill out. These forms should contain questions about the dogs which will help you know more about their temperament and state of health. You could also inquire about the contact numbers of the dogs' vets so you could easily contact them in case of emergency.

- Consider some add-on services. This is especially true if there are other dogs walking businesses in your area already; you could use the lure of additional services to choose your business instead of the others. Some add-on services you might give include pet sitting and pet grooming services.

- Know the materials you will need. You should purchase extra leashes in case you find that a dog's leash is already worn out or damaged. Also, you should have with you poop bags to clean up after your dogs during the walk. Have some comfortable shoes to keep your feet happy even after long hours of walking.

There you have it! These are some of the guidelines to remember if you're planning to set up a dog walking business. Remember that it's best to start small, so you could be freer to do a little bit of experimentation until you find the best procedures that will work for your business.

Image by: Tim Mowrer