Do you love animals? Dog walking may be the perfect business for you. Plenty of fresh, clean air, exercise with “man’s best friend”, and cash to boot!
Dog walking is a big business in large cities. Dog walkers are a fixture in the parks of New York City. People these days are too busy to walk their own dogs so they hire someone who has the time to do just that. You don’t have to live in a city – many pet owners are thrilled to have someone check in on their pets while they have long business days or plan to be out of the house for longer than normal. (If you’re staying home on Thanksgiving or Christmas, these are great days to offer some holiday service. Many families appreciate not having to rush home early to let a dog out.)
If you are interested in a dog walking business, you need do some homework. In our neighborhood, that’s easy to see who has a dog by just walking around the block.
Neighbors may not want to pay you just to walk their dog. Offering other services along with dog walking could boost the number of clients willing to take a chance on the service. Additional services you can offer include: pet grooming, pet feeding, and pet sitting.
Once you both have done the legwork, now it’s time to map out your business plan. Develop a price list. Still offer dog walking by itself, but also list prices if one of the additional services is added. Instead of writing down a set price, say something like, “We also offer dog grooming services with prices starting at $15.” Using a range gives you room to negotiate prices with different customers. If one customer has a bigger dog, the price will be higher than the starting rate. Drawing up a contract with the customer for the agreed upon prices is not a bad idea.
Once you have the price list, design a flyer. Go door to door again and hand them out. Include your name as owner of the business, the family telephone number, and address. Be prepared to have references available in case people want to find out if you are a reponsible kid.
Next, head to the store for supplies. With any business there is an initial outlay of money to get started. You will need to purchase grooming supplies, pooper scooper, extra leashes, and doggie treats. Start with the basics and add more items as your business grows. Most animal owners will supply everything you need, but having an extra leash is a great idea.
This summer, my daughter pet sat for two families for less than two weeks and earned enough to buy a Wii! They visited the pets so often that a neighbor reported to our vacationing customers how responsible and caring they were! The extra TLC earned them a nice bonus and I’m sure they’ll be called back the next time a vacation rolls around. Another added bonus – these same customers now call my girls for babysitting, too!
Edited to add – the day we posted this, the same two families called for both babysitting and dog-sitting for April vacation!