Starting a dog walking business is not as daunting as you might think the skills you need before even considering this as a business is to have a genuine love of animals and to want to start and run your own business in a professional manner with good ethics. The vision is that you should see now is that you will be your own boss, you will be successful and bring in more money than you are currently earning and that you will be doing something you love. To get to this you need to plan the steps needed to achieve this very carefully thinking about what services you want to offer and structuring each one accordingly, pricing competitively and providing a reliable and professional service to your clients.
If you don’t have experience in walking dogs then get some by walking dogs of friends and family, or consider offering your services for free to local boarding kennels and rescue centres. No pet owner will want their dog to be the first that you walk so once you start your business you can then genuinely and honestly tell dog owners that you do already walk dogs.
Take a Dog Walking Course, taking an accredited course and holding a certificate or qualification will not only inform you of everything you need to know about running your dog walking business but also install confidence in your future clients. Buy some books about dog walking to give yourself a good insight into what exactly is involved; you can buy used ones very cheaply on Amazon.
Pet sitting or dog walking business insurance is a must, if a dog gets lost or injured whilst in your care the owner may want to claim against you. NarpsUK offers its member's discounted insurance for £75.00 that covers all aspects of pet sitting, dog walking and house sitting.
A service contract for your clients is a must if you don't want to incur stressful problems in the future. Other forms that need to be filled in are for example Veterinary Release Forms, Booking Form, Report Card, Key Release Form and many more - NarpsUK supplies all the forms and contracts you will need for your dog walker business and these have been drawn up by a contract solicitor.
You will need to have some basic organisation skills and business skills for your new dog walking business to survive, think about being very successful and having a daily schedule of address you will be going to collect dogs for walks and storing the client and dog information, sending invoices, and keeping financial records – NarpsUK offers its members a business management system for all of things which will make life much easier for you – this is free NarpsUK to members.
You may decide to have a website built for you or even make one yourself, NarpsUK members receive their very own URL 7 page mini website as part of their membership package.
If you are holding client's keys for dog walking, you will need to get a basic disclosure Criminal Record Check carried out, you can apply for this online yourself from Disclosures Scotland for £25.00. it takes around 10 days to get back.
Marketing and advertising is a must in the early days until you have a good client base, there are various methods of doing this for example: flyers in local shops, leaflet drops, local advertising etc., NarpsUK provides its members with downloadable flyers and also provides information sheets on marketing.
Dog owners are looking for someone they can trust; they want a genuine, transparent, reliable and committed dog walker. Good communication skills are a must because although you know that you have all of the skills & qualities required and have a great love of dogs, a new client will not know this and will be sceptical until you can put their minds at rest by proving to them that you have a good reputation with great customer feedback. Buy a folder to show your customers that contains your insurance certificate, your home boarding licence if you offer home boarding as a service, your criminal record check certificate, any training course certificates you hold, your membership certificate to a Trade Association - NarpsUK and of course some customer feedback as well as some photos of the dogs you have serviced.
Joining NarpsUK will make you feel like you are not trying to do this alone because you will be part of the largest dog walking community in the UK, you have telephone and email support whenever needed, you have a very well attended members forum to talk with other members and get advice and support, your business will have credibility because you are telling your customers ‘I am doing it right’ because you will be working to our terms and conditions, your membership certificate and logo will tell customers that you care about standards – Join Now