As usual, on DadCash.com I am featuring a home business idea that is perfectly possible for you to start up and run with
This article focusses on dog walking – and in particular, includes some excellent resources on “how to start a dog walking business”
There is a dog walking service in the (fairly small) village I live in
(Shout out to “Sarah the Dog Carer” – a very snappy name!)
I often see Sarah around the village walking about 3 or 4 dogs and it strikes me that this could be a business idea that starts off small and then could grow depending on your ambition
Certainly, I think you will need a knowledge of dogs
And it will help if you have worked with dogs before – either in a kennels or even had experience working for a dog walker (hint hint)
But above all, I think you have got to be prepared to go out in all weathers – rain, shine or snow – because dog owners are expecting you to do so (indeed are paying you to do so)
Now, as usual with businesses that I have no experience of, I go to the experts and I have included three excellent resources which should get you off on the right footing (or should be the right “paw”ing)
Or should at least help you decide if a dog walking business is the right business model for you
And remember, a business like this can grow if you want it to
You could start a dog walking business with just you walking the dogs
And then if that is successful and there is demand you could employ some extra dog walkers
And then if that is successful you could start a franchise
My point is that this business can expand beyond you and four dogs every lunchtime – so before you start a dog walking business it is well worth you giving some consideration as to where you want to go with it
Is There Demand For a Dog Walking Service?
As I write this we are just coming out of lockdown here in the UK and companies are really starting to think about getting people back into the office
Many people bought “lockdown puppies”, and at the time had the advantage of being at home and often available at lunchtimes to walk them
They were also great for your mental health if you were having a bad day!
My eldest daughter (for instance) bought a dog during the UK lockdown on the basis that she and her husband were working from home
Now there is talk of them both returning to the office, they would love to be able to call on a reliable dog walker that could take Barney out at lunchtime and give him some company
I can see there being a huge demand in the near future for a dog walking service (or even a pet sitting business) as people move back out of the house and into the office
It might be just the right time for you to step in and start a dog walking business of your own!
The best video I have seen on starting a dog walking business is attached below.
Dan is from the UK and is known as the “Electric Dog Walker” and has a business called “Project Pet” and he brands himself slightly differently as an eco-friendly dog walking business
I really recommend you watch this video in it’s entirety if you are in any way thinking about how to start a dog walking business
Or whether you want to gather some dog walking business ideas
And this applies whether you are thinking about starting a dog walking business as a teenager, as a kid, or as an (cough) older person
Dan covers the essential equipment you need to start a dog walking business (plenty of towels!) and a really good “two tennis ball” tip to help control the dogs
One thing which I found really interesting about Dan’s video is his comments about “branding” and in particular the difference between advertising with google ads and advertising with (say) Facebook ads (which I hadn’t really appreciated before myself!)
Dan goes on to talk about the three stages that a dog walking business must go through which are:
- Finding Clients
- Onboarding Clients
- Providing a Professional and Reliable Service
There are some lessons in here which are applicable to all businesses in all industries
There are, in particular, some very wise words about networking and building links to other dog walkers in your area, as well as building a database of clients and contacts
Here is a really good article which goes into detail about how to start a dog walking business.
Although it is UK focussed there are some good tips in here about rules and regulations in the UK which could apply elsewhere, emphasizing the need to get insurance in particular
Here is a short video from the Roll Dogs in the USA which includes 5 key tips if you are thinking about starting a dog walking business
Even though the video is short, I think it really gets to the point quickly and is well worth a watch
- Point 1 – This video re-emphasizes the point made in Dan’s video above to get some experience working with dogs, either in a dog kennel or as a dog walker.
- Point 2 is to decide on the services you want to offer – there are a lots you can choose from but one excellent tip is to niche down to get started (eg: you might want to run with the dogs, or concentrate on a specific breed)
- Point 3 is to pick a name – don’t spend too much time on it but it is important
- Point 4 – Get the right gear – clothing, equipment etc making the point that dog walking is actually a really physical business which leads into …
- Point 5 – Get physical and make sure you are in good physical shape and look after yourself!
It’s an excellent little video and well worth a watch
Summary – Start a Dog Walking Business
Personally, I think that a dog walking business is a great business idea but it wouldn’t be for me (that doesn’t mean it is not for you though)
You definitely need to be a certain sort of person to start a dog walking business and make it successful
You would need to
- Be comfortable working with dogs, ideally through “on the job” experience
- Be reliable and consistent
- Physically fit yourself
- Be prepared to go out in all weathers as that is what you are being paid for
Start-up costs would be relatively low unless you feel you need to invest in a vehicle.
You would need a base level of equipment (leads, towels (and more towels) as well as good walking gear)
It’s also really important to cover yourself adequately with the right insurance
Scope to Expand
There is probably limited scope for expansion if you are doing the dog walking all by yourself
There is a limit to how many dogs you can walk at any one time, and how many walks you can do in a day
But there is genuine scope to start a dog walking business and expand it by employing other dog walkers
Or expanding your business to provide franchise opportunities further down the line
Or offer “other services” such as pet sitting or doggy daycare
Or what about selling dog walking equipment online?
You could even start a blog about how you started your business?
One “side business” could be to recommend the equipment you use and set up an Amazon store that sells that equipment as an affiliate
Or you could create and present an online course as to how you started your business and made it successful?
As always with a service business, there are lots of ways to expand if you just think a little “outside the box”
Would A Dog Walking Business Make a Good Side Hustle?
The honest answer is not really.
Though if you were to start a dog walking business you could run it as a really good part-time job
A dog walking business is not really the sort of thing you could do alongside a regular job (at least in my opinion)
You would definitely need to be available “in the day” (which is when most customers would need you to walk their dogs) so it’s probably not compatible with a “day job”
There is one way you could do it though and that would be to run the business yourself and employ dog walkers to do the actual walking – but to me, I think there are other business ideas that would fit this model better
More Pet Business Ideas
Just as an aside, there are many other ways you can make money or start a business from your love of dogs (and pets in general)
Check out my article on 10 Great Pet Business Ideas You Could Start Today
(With a few of these ideas you don’t even need to own a pet to run a business around pets)