So, you want to start a dog walking business? You want to quit your job and dedicate your life to pooches around the world, or, at least, in your neighborhood? You’ve been watching too much Cesar Milan, your friends might say. But, we say, it’s a pretty good idea.
Most families have a pet of some sort, but not enough time to care for them. This lack of time is even more egregious in the case of dogs that need constant exercise to retain their “calm and submissive energy” as the Dog Whisperer himself often used to say. And, with that, families need dog walking services to ensure their dogs get the exercise and the care they need when they are away working during the day.
However, before you actually take up a leash and start walking somebody’s dog, there are a few things you need to know. In this article, we’ll detail a few things you should pay attention to before you go ahead and start your business.
Register Your Business
Sure, you may have walked your friend’s dog on occasion, but, once they start paying you, you’re a real businessman. And, before the big dogs from the revenue service come knocking on your door to claim their share for the motherland, you need to register your business.
Now, there are two business models dog walkers choose when registering – sole proprietor or limited liability company (LLC). Most people just go for a sole proprietorship, as it’s the easiest model to register, but we strongly recommend going for the LLC model. Having the limited liability company model in place effectively separates your personal assets from those of your business, so, if somebody makes a claim, they cannot make a claim against you personally. Not only that, but LLCs often have some tax benefits that a sole proprietorship doesn’t, which will count a lot if your business takes off and starts growing.
Read the Law
Dog walking is as simple as grabbing a pooch on a leash and hitting the local park, but running a dog walking business is another matter altogether.
You see, most cities, municipalities, and even certain districts within a settlement have their own rules and regulations when it comes to canines. Certain areas are restricted to dogs, usually those where small children play and habituate, for fear they might cause harm to the little ones. Finally, cities might have rules in place prohibiting walking dogs above a certain number at the same time.
All this means that, if you indeed want to start a company, you’ll need to get to know your area’s laws concerning canines pretty well to avoid any potential fines that can cripple your business and shoot it down before it even takes wing.
When you think about it for a second, you’ll surely realize that dogs, like most animals, can be a bit unpredictable. If you do, indeed, intend to walk multiple dogs, you surely know you need to balance multiple personalities that might not get along all that well. This means things can go awry, and, if they do, you need to know you are protected as well as you can be. And that’s where dog walking insurance comes in.
The first line of protection will, of course, be your LLC. In case of injury to persons and things, the LLC model keeps you from people making a claim against your personal assets, but, in case you need to cash out (for damages or trips to the doctor/vet), insurance is your best bet to keeping your business afloat. Luckily, there are quite a few professional firms that offer this kind of insurance to dog walking companies specifically, and at quite a premium price, so your options are quite diverse.
Last, but not least, you need to keep learning and keep perfecting your craft.
Dog walking might look simple on the surface, but you must understand that you’re working with living beings that are certain to keep you on your toes. Remember that dogs are animals after all, and handling them always carries a certain dose of risk of personal injury, and it is your knowledge, your expertise and your experience that will keep you safe and coming back home with all limbs attached throughout your, hopefully, long career.
And that’s about it for now. Naturally, there are a lot more things you can learn about the dog walking business. Remember that you’re running a real business, you have to be up to date with all facets of running one if you wish to grow and profit.