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Top Questions About Starting a Dog Walking Business

This post is for my readers who are interested in starting a dog walking business or pet sitting business.

Since I started writing about my own business I’ve received a lot of questions from others on how to get started.

Here are the three questions I hear the most:

1. How do I get more clients? (Or even one client!)

2. Which dog walking insurance company should I use?

3. How do I stand out from the “competition”?

Here are my answers …

Top questions about starting a dog walking business

Questions about starting a dog walking business

1. How do I get more dog walking clients?

Well, the most common problem I see is new dog walkers wait as long as possible to fully commit to starting their business, and then they pass out fliers a few days before they’re ready to start dog walking.

The problem is, you really need to get out there many weeks in advance!

Start advertising now. Start handing out fliers and business cards now. Start introducing yourself to other pet-related business owners now. Start attending dog-related events in your community now. Before you’re actually starting to take clients.

Word of mouth takes a month or two (or three) to take off. So don’t wait!

If you do this early enough, then once you’re actually ready to start taking clients, you might have some lined up already.

Another thing I always recommend is introducing yourself to a few established pet sitters in your town. Invite the other pet sitter out for coffee and ask if she’d be willing to recommend you when she’s full. Successful pet sitters are always turning away business and it’s nice to have someone else to recommend.

2. Which dog walking insurance company should I use?

The main thing is to have insurance. The cost for insurance ranges from $130 to about $400 per year, with different coverage options and coverage limits. I recommend you call and speak with a licensed insurance agent and review coverage options for your unique business.

PetCare Insurance provides insurance starting at $129/year, and it offers coverage for both dog walkers and pet sitters. The price is affordable, and it’s worth the peace of mind if nothing else. To speak to a licensed agent about the PetCare Insurance policy visit PetCareIns.com.

Pet sitting is stressful enough as it is, and you just never know what can happen when you’re working with animals.

3. How do I stand out from the competition?

If there aren’t many dog walkers in your area, you’re lucky. You’ll have an easier time taking over the market.

However, if it seems like your area is “saturated” with dog walkers that is not necessarily a bad thing. If these businesses are truly successful (some are not!), it means there is a high DEMAND for dog walking services in your area. That is a good thing!

Trust me, there are plenty of dogs to go around and you really only need about 20 clients.

Look at it this way: Focus on what you’re good at and what’s unique about you and your business.

For example, some businesses focus on taking 6 dogs on off-leash hikes for 2 hours at a time. Others focus on one-on-one pet sitting visits in the pet’s home, often offering overnight visits. These services are very different. One is not better than the other. Just different.

You might want to focus on taking 1 or 2 dogs out running at a time during normal weekday business hours as an alternative to dog daycare. Or, you might want to focus on house sitting and petcare for cats, horses, puppies, senior dogs or whatever it might be while the owners are traveling. Again, very different services, right?

This is why it’s so important to network with similar business owners. Stop looking at them as “competition.”

They’re not.

There are plenty of animals to go around and each business focuses on different things. Plus, if one business is full they can recommend you.

OK, so what other questions do you have?

Get my ebook on How to Start a Dog Walking Business ($17) to learn how to quickly grow or start your business. It helps to learn from someone who’s been there.


ORDER NOW

Ebook by Lindsay Stordahl

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Kim

Friday 2nd of September 2016

My son is interested in buying the dog walking business he works for...I can't see what they have to sell! He is already the main dog walker. So, I feel he is only buying a client list and that must ahve a very short "shelf life."

Lindsay Stordahl

Friday 2nd of September 2016

Well, he would be buying the brand, the reputation, client trust, website domain, logo, etc.

Sandra

Monday 25th of July 2016

How did you decide what fees that you charge?

Amanda Buchmann

Friday 17th of June 2016

I really enjoy your points about not looking at other pet sitters as competition! Since I've started my own dog walking/pet sitting business, I have reached out to the 1 other person in my area who offers in her own home pet sitting and asked to put up a flyer at the 1 vet office in town who also offers boarding. Both were not friendly and the vets office wouldn't allow me to hang up the flyer as they told me I am competition. I don't feel I would take business away from them, the people who can or want to board their dogs in a kennel situation still will, but I'm here for the people who kenneling their dogs isn't a great option for. Like you said, the services are just DIFFERENT. I'm still working on getting my business name out there, and I appreciate these blog posts and your book, they are helpful and reassuring.

Lindsay Stordahl

Friday 17th of June 2016

Amanda, I'm so excited for your business! You are the perfect dog walker!