Anyone who knows you knows that you love dogs. You can’t pass a pup on the street without sneaking in a few head scratches. Having regularly volunteered at your local animal shelter for the last several years, you think you have what it takes to start your own dog walking business.
Like with all businesses, you’ll need to get business insurance to cover your new doggie walking enterprise should some unforeseen event occur. There are dogs who will eat ANYTHING, and the last thing you need is a furry client eating a leash and needing it removed via surgery. In your specific case as a dog walker, you’ll need dog walking business insurance. It’s not just business insurance you’ll need though; insurance is only one of many things you’ll need to get your business going.
Here are three tips to get your dog walking business off on the right foot!
Tip 1: Don’t bite off more than you can chew
Out and about town, you’ve seen dog walkers with fifteen dogs attached to their hands-free dog leash. Just because other dog walkers are doing it, that doesn’t mean you should. In an interview with Care.com, dog training expert Ted Terroux recommends starting your walks by taking out each doggo either by themselves or in small groups. “I would always walk unknown dogs one or two at a time before I’d walk a large group. A good dog handler, with well-behaved dogs, should be able to walk six large dogs at a time.”
Ascertain which dogs walk best with each other, and then make sure to buddy those dogs up on your walks. If the dogs don’t get along, the walk will be a disaster. To stay sane and keep your four-legged charges from nipping at each other, conduct one-on-one behavioral exams with prospective clients and watch how the dogs interact with each other. If there’s a pup that can’t get along with the others, that’s a pup you shouldn’t walk in a group.
Tip 2: Set boundaries with clients at the start
Puppy parents who have hired you to walk their fur children might expect you to do more than advertised, including pet babysitting. If pet sitting is not one of your business offerings, let your clients know that upfront. You may have a client who tries to slip you a few extra bucks if you agree to watch their pooch for an evening, but if this is not a service you offer, do not take it, as it will come to be expected. Of course, if you’re ramping up your operation and don’t mind an all-day schedule, by all means, take that doggy money!
Tip 3: Market your dog walking skills
How will anyone know about your new dog walking business unless you publicize your expertise? Create a website marketing your experience and share a weekly blog filled with pictures of your dog walking excursions. Make sure the blog is connected to other social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram and Twitter so that you can better spread your message.
Ask your local humane society and pet supply shops if you can hang a flyer on their bulletin board and leave business cards at their front desk. Make sure the flyers and business cards have a way to reach you and include your website URL on each so that dog owners looking for extra help can see what you do.
Having insurance on hand will guarantee that your puppy charges are covered should they injure a paw or eat something regretful out on a walk. Don’t forget to get your dog walking business insurance with CoverHound!