Did you know that the average salary of dog walkers is £14 per hour per dog, which can amount to £26,000 per year? That’s higher than the national average! For full-time dog caretakers or doggy daycare owners, they can earn up to almost three times this salary! If you want to earn additional income or start your own business, you can make a nice living by offering a dog walking service.
However, before you start asking your neighbours if you can walk their dogs, here are six things you need to watch out for when offering dog walking services:
1. Training and qualifications
There is currently no law that requires dog walkers to acquire certification before they start offering their services to dog owners. However, enrolling in a professional dog walker course and getting a certificate will make you more credible and trustworthy in the eyes of potential clients. More importantly, you will learn relevant skills like animal care and first aids.
2. Criminal record check
When you become a dog walker, you’ll be given access to clients’ homes so you can pick up their dogs even when they’re at work. Therefore, a criminal record check is mandatory. This process usually takes two to eight weeks, so you should get it started as soon as possible.
3. Rules and regulations
Like any other job or business, there are rules and regulations that you need to comply with when establishing your dog walking services, including the following:
- Dog walkers are only allowed to walk up to four dogs at a time.
- Clients’ personal information is private and must be protected.
- Dogs must wear a collar while being walked in public. The collars must contain the dog owner’s name, address, and contact number.
- Dog walkers must clean faeces in public or face a fine of up to £1,000.
- All work undertaken by the dog walker must have a record. All files must be kept.
4. Dog Walkers Insurance
Getting insurance is always a smart financial decision when you start any business. Offering a dog walking service is no different. Dog walkers insurance will protect you from any liabilities that may occur on the clock like injuries and property damages. A typical dog walker’s insurance will provide public liability and employers’ liability cover, among others.
So how much should you charge clients? Well, it all depends on a couple of factors, including the following:
- number of dogs you’ll walk per hour,
- number of hours you’ll work per day,
- location of your business,
- business overheads,
- competitor rates.
To give your new business a competitive advantage, you should consider setting a lower rate until you’ve established yourself as a dog walker.
Word-of-mouth advertising is the most effective way to market your dog walking service. Satisfied clients can refer you to their peers who are also looking for a dog walker. Take note; however, that disappointed clients can run your business to the ground, so always be professional in every job. You can use social media to post testimonies from happy dog owners and reach more clients in the process.
Copy of your criminal record check, and a dog walkers insurance.