Recent figures show that Brits spent more than £4bn on their beloved pets in 2016, so you’d be a little crazy if you were to think that the recession has had an impact on the UK’s pet spend.
The average dog walker now earns twenty per cent more than the average office or construction worker here in the UK, so this is without a doubt a viable and a potentially profitable business opportunity.
This is of course the same as any other business. You will need to know business basics, and of course be willing to put in a lot of hard work.
Because there are plenty of doting pet owners out there, finding a comfortable niche will present great opportunities.
Experience is essential
While it’s not actually imperative that you have a career background working with animals, you should at the very least be confident when you are around dogs.
If you feel that you’re in need of some experience when it comes to handling dogs, you may want to consider volunteering at a local kennel or rescue centre. They often will house a good range of dogs, these being of various sizes, age and temperament. In addition insure that you adequate dog walker insurance.
You might also consider attending a few courses such as animal first aid, pet medication or maybe animal psychology. If you were to gain a diploma or certificate in any of these fields, it would showcase your commitment to the dog’s welfare and for sure impress potential clients.
Don’t forget, it’s a business
Remember to remind yourself that your dog walking business is just that, a business. You will need to possess all of the typical entrepreneurial skills that are required for running a successful company.
Be sure to have a basic understanding of bookkeeping as it is so important that you be able to balance your books and fill out a self-assessment tax return. Also, having a good understanding of marketing along with self-promotion is the key to getting your business off the ground.
Be aware of the rules and regulations
Even though there are relatively few regulations that arespecifically targeted at dog walkers, any business in the UK that is providing a service must have public liability insurance.
You should be aware you might have to deal with your dogs injuring other dogs or people while they are in your charge.
It is absolutely imperative that you have the right insurance cover in place in order to deal with any legal claims, should they arise.
In addition, it is recommended that you
- Meet the owners prior to the first booking.
- Restrict the number of dogs you are walking to a maximum of four.
- Keep detailed records of all work.
- Be sure to protect your client’s personal information
Find yourself a niche in the market
It is very probable you’ll need to find a niche so that you can distinguish yourself from the rest of the crowd. You may want to consider offering pet sitting in addition to dog walking.
This is much like babysitting, as you’ll beminding your client’s pets in their home while the owners are away. You’ll be feeding them and attending to any of their medical needs such as fulfilling dietary requirements or medication.