When it comes to basic maintenance and care, dog owners will often spare no expense for professional and dependable pet services.  Operating a pet-care business from home brings the added bonus of convenience for you and your client.    Stay at home moms, students, or people looking for a second income can easily and inexpensively build a small business from home by offering pet services such as dog walking, dog sitting, dog training or pet photography.  In this article you will find helpful information to get you started on a dog walking business.  This is a great small business idea for those who love dogs and who genuinely enjoy participating in a dog’s life!

Starting a Dog Walking Business

  Full time professionals who have pets at home alone all day often hire a dog walker to visit once a day to walk, play with or feed their canine fried. This is typically less expensive and more convenient than a doggy day care and in many urban professinal areas this valuable service is in high demand. You may already have walked your own dog hundreds of times, so you have some experience, but here are some things to keep in mind before starting your own dog walking business:

•    Educate yourself: especially if you are planning on walking more than one dog at a time, make sure to learn about typical differences in breeds and temperaments. 
•    Decrease liability: Get yourself bonded and insured.   Many clients will feel more comfortable with you entering their home if you can show evidence of police background checks and your business will seem more legitimate. 
•    Establish credentials: Take dog training and first aid classes.  Your clients will appreciate this expertise.  Also learn how to handle aggressive dogs, and dogs in heat, as you are likely to encounter such circumstances at some point
•    Add value to your services: Set competitive prices but undersell your service; charge a fair price and add value by offering services that set you apart from other dog walkers in the area. A brushing after a walk?  On leash training?  Socialization with like-minded dogs?
•    Be prepared: Keep extra supplies available: leashes, collars, poop bags, water and portable water dishes, and treats. Make sure treats and toys are out of reach of the dogs as you walk. Keep phone numbers of veterinarians, back up walkers and clients on you while walking the dogs.

Marketing Your Dog Walking Business

  With experience and establishing a great reputation with your clients, word of mouth will spread fast and your dog walking business will grow.    But beyond word-of-mouth, good marketing strategies can help accelerate that growth – here are some inexpensive ideas to bring you more customers:
•    Make flyers and business cards and post them in pet shops and vet offices and also on bulletin boards in apartment building lobbies 
•    Keep business cards with you always, especially when you are providing dog-walking services. Visit dog parks and make friends with pet owners.
•    Build a website and social network page to create a community of customers and expand your network.

The dog walking business is a win-win enterprise. Successful dog walkers enjoy the freedom of being their own boss, earning money, doing what they love, and providing an invaluable service people need.  A happy, well cared for dog generates happy humans!

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