Are you planning on starting a dog walking business but want to first know the challenges and risks of starting a dog walking business? Well, you are in the right spot!
There’s not a lot of positions where your customers are so happy when you show up that they’re racing to the entrance, jumping on you, and kissing your hands. It’s fun becoming a dog walker! You’re having a lot of movement, you’re never trapped in a cramped cockpit, and you’re going to hang out with your pooches all day. There are, however, a few problems that exist for all dog walkers, and even if they don’t surpass the positive, they will make it challenging. Here are some of the most difficult facets and risks of starting a dog walking business from the perspective of a dog business owner.
RISKS OF STARTING A DOG BUSINESS:
Starting a dog business has its range of legal considerations and risks. This involves selecting the correct corporate agency, working with licensing and zoning, compliance with the applicable health and safety laws, advertisement, drawing up policy statements and contracts, and securing insurance. Here are some risks of starting a dog business and also solutions to quickly tackle and overcome them:
- SELECT A BUSINESS ENTITY:
In the case of a dog walking company, it could be appropriate to act as a single owner or, if more than one entity is interested as a partnership. However, as with any company, big or small, walking dogs is not risk-free. If the precious pooch is hurt or killed while in your possession, or if it damages someone else’s life and property, you would want the company, not you directly, to be accountable for any responsibility.
You should therefore start using a legal structure for your business that presents you with some cover, such as a limited liability partnership or a corporation. Bear in mind, as part of the decisions, the corporate organisations that have more security from liability often take more time and resources to manage them. For example, they usually require more complex tax returns and also involve the planning of annual state filings. You will need to balance the extra time against the direct risk of whether a dog gets injured or harms someone else while in your possession.
- GET THE RIGHT PERMITS AND LICENSES:
If you are a single owner, try getting a federal tax ID number, officially known as the Employer Identity Number (EIN). The procedure is simple and can be done electronically on the IRS website. Although you can consult with the local authorities to see if you require an overall business license, most jurisdictions do not need a special licence or a walking dog permit.
When you intend not only to walk the dogs of your customers, but to also shelter dogs at homes, you can also review the municipal zoning laws—and, if you rent, your mortgage. Although it is normally acceptable for households to have dogs as pets, there could be concerns if a large number of dogs are housed under a company. Likewise, while tenancy contracts also expressly encourage or forbid pets, you should know if your landlord or management firm is willing to allow you to have other people’s dogs in your leased area.
- GET TO KNOW THE HEALTH AND SAFETY RULES:
Many cities have strict laws forcing residents to clean up after their pets. Likewise, many jurisdictions have laws requiring all dogs to be leased in public areas. Since your business would be focused on walking the dog, you can read the specifics of all dog grooming regulations and leash rules, and make sure that you abide by them: you do not want penalties that minimise your income.
- MARKETING YOUR DOG BUSINESS:
Although word-of-mouth is always the fastest way to attract new clients, you’ll have to do at least some ads for a new dog walking company. Irrespective of how you want to promote (your page, putting flyers in public areas, Craigslist, phone book), the best short bits of advice is (a) accurate and (b) very vigilant about explaining exclusive deals or claiming that something is “free.” If you give the first walk free of charge, but there are conditions maybe the buyer must agree to a minimum of 3 walks in advance. If you give a ten-walk discount, the reduced price must be lower than the regular price etc.
- RULES, REGULATIONS AND CONTRACTS:
Different consumers might have different opinions about just what services you’re going to offer. It is in your benefit to make known in advance—in written form. What you can and will not do. If you have a blog, please post your policy there. Irrespective of whether you have a webpage, you can supply your clients with a written paper providing policy information before you sign an understanding and start walking their dogs.
E.g., you can indicate items like:
- Where you’re going to exercise dogs
- How long you’re going to walk dogs
- If there are some species of animals that you can’t handle
- How many dogs are going to walk at the very same time
- How you do with billing and reimbursement
- Statements of responsibility if the puppy is out of control
Bear in consideration that for a contractual agreement to be legally enforceable, (a) you and your customer must decide on what the agreement is for (there has to be a ‘meeting of minds’) and (b) there has to be an arrangement of payment (also recognized as ‘consideration’—in the context of a cleaning company, usually an exchanging of cleaning services for money). If the facilities involved are completed within less than a year, the arrangement does not have to be settled in writing; however, the signed contract is often better.
- GET THE RIGHT INSURANCE FOR YOUR DOG COMPANY:
A dog walking company poses unique risks when you are working with living animals and are engaging in physical exercise. Dogs may be wounded or even killed, and you or anyone else may be harmed as well. Insurance operates primarily for organisations concerned with the treatment of livestock. In one way or another, you may want to seek compensation in the event of injuries to the pets of your clients or harm to other persons or their belongings. Based on the size and other specifics of your business, you will even need to examine the protection of your business premises. And, if you’re using a car under your company, make sure you’ve got proper auto insurance as well.
- HIRING IS A CHALLENGE:
Hiring for a dog walking business is different from hiring for some other form of organisation. You’re searching for a very particular person who will work very scheduled times. People who work 9-5 or even people in school all day are not going to break it off. You ought to locate people who are open in the midst of the day, Monday through Friday. This is hard since not a lot of people have this sort of routine. Set the emphasis on retirees, hang with moms at home, or collaborate with people at home. That pool is going to be your speciality.
CONS OF STARTING A DOG BUSINESS:
Of course, even though you enjoy them, it’s not just puppy kisses, wagging tails and happiness to be a dog walker. Here are some fewer good stuffs about becoming a licenced dog walker.
- Seeking Clients—If you’re fortunate, Clients will be established. However, many dog walkers need to make daily attempts and resources to locate potential customers. Whether it’s designing a website, dropping a mailbox or advertisements in a daily newspaper, it’s important to have a strategy right from the start. Fortunately, though, there are a variety of low-cost and non-cost places and ways to promote your brand.
- Differential income—Similar to a freelancer, the income of a dog walker can vary. Yeah, you may be able to develop several frequent customers, but there’s still a risk of layoffs. And, what occurs when the customer goes on vacation? If you don’t give a pet sitting facility, you may skip out on a slice of income.
- All-weather walks—As a licenced dog walker, you can’t postpone your schedule simply because the sun is not bright and cats and dogs are raining anyway. Gum footwear and raincoats are set!
- Qualified poo pick-up—The more dogs you walk, the more dogs you scoop up. Similarly, the bigger the dogs you’re walking, the bigger the poos to the manure sweep. Of note, collecting poops is not among the nicest aspects of becoming a dog walker.
- Complicated Clients—There are sure to be some pet owners you respect and others you don’t want. After all, clients who are continually paying late, always rescheduling and calling at any time of day or night will strain your stamina.
Overall, starting a dog walking business can be a perfect reward. It can certainly be an enjoyable job, but there are sources of stress that fall along with it much as every other job. When you’ve worked out your blueprint along with your systems and procedures, there’s plenty of time off and “hands-off” management. The challenges talked about here are just a few disadvantages to starting your own company, but as I said, it’s all benefits and drawbacks!