How To Begin a Dog Walking Business

Walking multiple dogs at once is one way to achieve effeciency in a dog walking business.
Walking multiple dogs at once is one way to achieve effeciency in a dog walking business. (Image: Thinkstock/Comstock/Getty Images)

If you love pets and are looking for part time work, start a dog walking service may be just the thing for you. Many pet owners are desperate to have someone walk their pooch once or twice a day and are happy to pay for it. Others need someone to care for their pet when they go away on business or vacation.

Things You'll Need

  • Good pet skills
  • Organizational skills
  • A computer and Internet

Decide what services you want to offer and what times you are available. Answer these questions: How long will you walk the dog? Will you take them to a park to play? Will you charge a separate fee for walk time and play time? Will you feed the dogs? Will you offer them treats at any time during your outing? Will you be willing to care for any other pets? How much will you charge? Will you charge a flat fee or an hourly rate? Will you request payment per outing or per month? Will you ask customers to sign up for a period of time, such as 1 month, 3 months, 6 months? or are you willing to go week to week? How many dog walking customers can you handle each day?

This is your dog walking business and all of these choices are yours. You may change a few things once you get started and find out what the customers would prefer, but for now, set things up the way they work best for you.

Choose a name for your dog walking service. This can be an important advertising tool, so make sure you pick something that is fun, clever and easy to remember. The "easy to remember" is really the most important part of the equation. So don't worry if it's not terribly clever -- sometimes that's just not so easy to do!

Put together a small brochure that includes your name, a short list of your services and your contact information. Software programs such as Word and Publisher have templates you can use to design a brochure. Add some pictures for interest, your name and phone number and print some copies or take them to a print shop to print them for you. Including a picture of yourself is a good idea as it helps people develop trust in a person to see their faces.

A business card may also be helpful. Don't print too many of any of them right away. You can always go back and make more if you need them.

Note: If you just don't have the skills or the interest, bring your notes to Kinko's or a copy and design service and for a fee they will design your brochure and business card for you. Or if you have a friend who likes to do that sort of thing ask them how much they would charge to do it for your.

Get the word out. Give out your brochure to neighbors and friends. Post a brochure or business card on a bulletin board in the neighborhood or at the local library. Hand out business cards whenever you have the opportunity. Attach your business card to business card magnets and attach them to metal mailboxes in your neighborhood.

Before you know it, you will be in the dog walking business!

Tips & Warnings

  • Start slow and take your time. It is very helpful to get acquainted with each dog and get the routine down with one before adding a second or third.
  • Ask for references from satisfied customers.
  • Ask for referrals from satisfied customers.

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