Have you considered becoming a dog walker and setting up your very own business?
If this is the path you’ve decide to go down, here are some tips and tricks for making the most out of your new venture and how Tailster might be able to help you along the way.
Do your RESEARCH
Make sure you educate yourself on your competition. Long established dog walking businesses will always have their regular customers so you need to work out how to get those new owners to your first. Determine your expenses and how much income you’d like to make in a year. You need to make sure that your dream is achievable. Initially, this can only be done through thorough research of the area and the market.
Choose what you want to OFFER
Leading on from the previous point, you need to decide on what you’re going to offer your customers and how you’re going to make this possible. Do you want to solely concentrate all your time on dog walking, or you do want to offer your customers a little bit more? Boarding or sitting the dogs you walk when their owners are away too? Cat Sitting or Small Animal Care? Do you want to make regular, consistent money by just walking dogs during the week or do you want to branch out and offer longer duration bookings every so often to make a little extra money in certain months? As well as making money from this, you also need to think about the work/life balance you want from the job too. All these facts matter when you’re setting up your own business.
At Tailster we have dog walkers, dog sitters, dog boarders, cat sitter and small animal carers. Maybe using us to get some of your custom would open your eyes to all you could offer in pet care.
Decide on your PRICING
On average, dog walking is usually charged at an hourly rate of about £9 – £12. This is obviously reduced if the walks are a little shorter or increased for longer walks. Although this is an average, you also need to bear in mind that not everyone has just one dog that needs walking once a week. Have you thought about discounts for two dog households, or pay for 5 walks and get the 6th free? Once you’ve got your loyal customers, it’s always nice to reward them and thank them for choosing you over all the competition out there.
Get yourself COVERED
As with any new business, you need to make sure you’re all legal and above board. The three main things you really need to remember to make sure you have are insurance, a criminal record check and a home boarding licence (if you’re looking to offer dog boarding at your property.)
Here at Tailster, every booking that is made through us is covered by our comprehensive insurance. Which is definitely a benefit of starting out with us if you don’t initially have your own insurance cover. It’s that extra piece of mind that there’s someone else looking after your insurance claims.
Next is your CRB or DBS (criminal record check). These are pretty easy to get your hands on, they just take a little while to arrive so make sure you do this with enough time in advance of your first booking. You just need to go online and research how to request a check from your local authority.
Finally, your home boarding licence, if it’s applicable. Just like the criminal record check, you need to get in contact with your local authority and they can point you in the right direction of one of these.
Establish your GOALS
It’s always good to establish goals for any business. This way you have something to work towards and celebrate when you hit and exceed them. Where do you see your business going in five years? Ten years? Is your end goal to step aside and have enough money to employ people to work for you and you be in charge of the day to day business side of things? Or do you want this to be all yours and go it alone?
These goals are allowed to change, as plans always do, but it’s always good to know what you ultimately want to achieve from your venture.
Do you need TRANSPORT?
This is an easy one really. Do you plan on being local enough to not need your own insured transport and just walk to all your bookings? Or do is having your very own van covered in your branding something that you want asap? Whatever you decide, don’t forget your initial costings need to take this into account. A van/car and insurance aren’t cheap to begin with but might ultimately win you those jobs over time.
Decide how you want to ADVERTISE
Like previously mentioned, a van covered in branding is a great way of advertising your business. But there are lots of other ways to get your name out there for everyone to see. You can create a website, a Facebook page, an Instagram to show off your best and most cuddly customers. Have flyers to hand out to owners on dog walks, business cards, branded poo bag holders, the advertising possibilities are endless.
At Tailster we can help to get your name out there too. If you sign up as a carer with us, we will send you all the pet care listings in your local area for you to quote on.
As well as helping you get those jobs in, we could also advertise you as a “professional” or “popular carer” so that owners can see that you’re the person they never knew they needed to care for their pet.
And if you need any help finding the perfect carer for your pet, make a request below. It’s free and it only takes 30 seconds – let’s see who we can find for you.