You love dogs, so you would be great as a dog walker, right? Probably not, actually. A love of dogs is only a very small portion of the things you will need to have a successful dog walking business. It may be the most important thing, but it isn’t the only thing. Anyone who wants to succeed in the pet industry needs smart business sense, marketing prowess, and drive to make their own business work.
Starting a business in this industry starts with making a plan and setting goals. Begin with research. Call around to local dog walkers and get a good understanding of their services and associated fees. Check their credentials and find out what is required to open a dog walking business. Once you feel comfortable with all the information you have accumulated, set your own goals for 3 months, 6 months and one year ahead. Decide how much you want to invest and what you intend to be making by the end of the year. This step includes making a business plan. You will need to hire someone to help you, unless you have a knowledge of business or an MBA. Your business plan is important if you intend to be taken seriously as a business. If you ever want to apply for a loan, for example, you’ll need a business plan that is professional and detailed.
Who is the Competition? What are they Doing Right/Wrong?
One of the most important factors in your business plan and goal setting will be a detailed evaluation of the competition your business will face. Start in the immediate area where you will be working. Make sure you have a healthy population of dogs in the area and check the ratio of dog walkers. Compare their services and fees to what you can offer. Is there some service that seems to be offered widely? How can you offer a better version? If your business plan is based on a dog walking platform, you’ll need business specific facts to propel it.
If you do not already know a lot about dog behavior, you are not the best candidate for this kind of business. Even if you have a lot for experience with dogs and are familiar with their behavior, you will want to continually add to your educational repertoire. Take classes. Read books. Go to seminars, conventions, and lectures. Read industry journals and keep up with current events in the field. Knowing as much as you can about your field of business can only help you make it the best it can be.
Be Aware of Your Limitations and Get Help
Some dogs just aren’t going to like you. Just as not all people will. Know how far you can go before you need to call in some help. You may have a partner or someone you have hired on, but you’ll eventually need someone to step in when you aren’t able to.
Using a Dog Walking App. Will it Work for Me?
There are several different types of dog walking apps. The most common is a type of dating app for dogs and walkers. They hook up available walkers with dogs who need walking in the area. They offer a variety of services such as background checks and experience certifications. Another route to consider is developing your own app for your personal service. This is a move that could put you above and beyond the rest. Starting with a basic ios app development, you will want an app that will connect your clients and potential clients to you and other dog walkers in your employ. It must be easy to use, have simple payment options, easy scheduling, and instant profile viewing.
Most of the requirements for this type of business are things you can do yourself. If you aren’t able to make a business plan or develop an app, hire someone. The key is finding someone who understands your vision for your business and how you expect it to grow.
Approach your new business as you would if it were a 10-million-dollar company. Invest the same time, concern, and dedication to it and it will show you equal reward.