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Love dogs? Do you want to make money by spending time with your furry friends? Starting a dog walking business does not have to remain a dream. Even if you think you can not successfully start a business, it is not as complicated as you might first think. We dive into everything you need to get started.
Why it’s worth starting your own business
You may have tried to start a business and failed. Or maybe it’s the first time you go on entrepreneurship. Either way, it may be worth starting your own business because of the many benefits that come with it.
It’s one thing to talk about how much you grow and learn as you try to manage and run your own small business. It is another to discuss how errors both large and small can also be assets.
Why? Because you learn from them from a first-hand point of view. And when you start over, you start from experience, as opposed to from scratch. There is value in it, whether you are starting a dog walking business or want to design horseshoes for a living.
Let’s not even get started on the financial side that starts and makes it a success. You are able to exercise a leadership position and be your own boss while working in an area you love (with doggos!) What could possibly be better than that?
The investment is necessary to start a dog walking business
When it comes to what it takes to get your business up and running, there are a few things to keep in mind when getting started. First, you need to spend time and energy making your business a success. There is no doubt about it.
The good thing is that you can definitely keep your daily job and start your dog-running business as a side rate, especially if you do not have much start-up capital to begin with. From there, you need to consider a few things, including:
Submitting your company’s paperwork for tax purposes Paying for pet insurance Investing in pet supplies and equipment Considering how you want to market your services Measured demand for your services Planning your dog run deals effectively Correct bookkeeping income and expense tracking
Now that might sound like a lot. And in the beginning it can be. But there are tools out there, both paid and free, that can facilitate the process for you. One of the hardest parts of starting and running a business is efficiently managing cash flows and record keeping.
How much did you earn for the week? Was your outstanding invoice paid? Have you ever charged the late fee? Have you paid your quarterly taxes?
If you are in the middle of your business journey and you are having a hard time answering these questions, accounting software like Quickbooks can be a lifesaver. Sure, it is an accounting tool that works well for large businesses, but it is also built for the small business owner who needs to keep track of their income and expenses.
6 Steps to Starting a Dog Walking Business
Here are the basic steps you need to take to establish and run a dog walking business as successfully as possible.
# 1 – Officially establish your business
Officially setting up your business requires filing papers to set up an LLC. Establishment of a public limited company is necessary for both protection and tax reasons.
To set up an LLC you will want to check the specific procedure for the state you live in as each will have a slightly different process. However, the general idea is the same.
You send papers with your official company name to the city registrar to ensure that your company name is not taken, you pay a registration fee and you get approval from the city.
Establishing an LLC will also involve getting a business registration number. Get in tax, you need to use all this paperwork available to comply with laws and regulations and to ensure that you report your taxes correctly. Searching for LLC formation information in your area can be as easy as google “LLC filing” and the name of your state.
Establishing an LLC also involved inventing a company name. In short, you want to take the time to brainstorm a name that is memorable and reflects your company’s messages.
If you get stuck with a solid company name, a free tool like Shopify’s Business Generator can help you find some creative ideas.
Once you have established your LLC as well as your company name, start registering your social media handles with your name to ensure that it is not taken. You should do this even if you are not ready to establish a social presence. It’s a great way to think ahead and slowly start putting the pieces together in your business.
# 2 – Set up your Quickbooks accounting system to collect payments
You are ready to collect payment for your first client. But wait, you do not know how to actually do it. Yes, this is not the type of situation you want to get caught up in. Especially if you are setting up your dog running business and building credibility.
The answer? Determine in advance how you will make and receive payments. Quick books for small businesses are one of the easiest ways to manage your income. And no, you do not have to be an accountant to use it.
With Quickbooks, you can create and send invoices, easily keep track of expenses, create reminders, track billable hours, and easily file your paperwork after tax time. You can start using its Simple Start plan for as low as $ 12.50 a month.
Once you have selected a plan and logged into their dashboard, you can create your revenue and expense spreadsheet, connect your billing systems, and enter your business information. If you ever expand your business to more than one or two employees, you can even establish a reliable pay system through it.
One of Quickbook’s amazing benefits is that you can bill on the go with its mobile app. Once you have downloaded it and used the card reader, you can bill on the spot.
Any business bills and recurring payments can be set to set-it-and-forget-it mode. You configure it once and then let it run in the background as it automatically reflects your balance in your books.
# 3 – Invest in pet insurance
While this may not come to mind at first, investing in pet insurance is a necessary step that should not be overlooked. In business, as many things can go wrong as it can go right. Investing in pet insurance adds a shield of financial protection to you if things go south.
Insurance is the type of thing you would rather have and not need than need and do not have. What if your dog gets hurt by things beyond your control? What if the dog you walk hurts another dog? What if they damage someone else’s property?
These are all scenarios that can become too real in a single click. Fortunately, there are plenty of pet insurance options out there in different price ranges, so take the time to shop around to see what works best for your business. Here are a few worth checking out:
Kennel Pro – General Responsibility for Dog Walking Insurance Options for Pet Care Insurance – Insurance for Dog Prices from $ 139 per year Thimble – Dog Shutter Insurance by Hour, Day or Month
You can get dog insurance by the hour, monthly or even daily. So there is a lot of flexibility when it comes to plans.
For example, with Pet Care Insurance, you can walk away with an insurance plan in minutes that provides general liability coverage up to seven figures. It can cost as low as $ 139 a year. They generally cover liability, business property, pet service, and they allow you to add insured team members for an additional small fee.
# 4 – Assemble your dog equipment
If you go with dogs, you need equipment. If you take the time to invest in quality leashes, water bowls, garbage bags and walking equipment, you will help yourself to be prepared to easily walk different types of dogs in different environments.
Consider that you may want to offer additional services with your dog walking business. Do you also bathe dogs at an additional cost? Take them to the dog park to play catch? Bring toys for them to play with?
Here you want to take stock of what you have on hand and think about how much you want to invest in dog equipment. The more prepared you are before your first dog appointment, the more confident you can be that things will work out.
# 5 – Market your services and tell your friends and family
Hands down is one of the best ways to market any kind of pet related business by word of mouth. Why? Customers trust a friend’s recommendation for pet care more than they would ever want an ad.
However, to make word of mouth work for you, you need to establish credibility by winning your first few customers. This is where you will tell your family and friends about your new venture!
Be direct about telling them that you are setting up a dog walking business and that you would like them to know if they want to sign up or know a friend who might need your services. Once you have established credibility with the people closest to you, land a few first concerts and perform a great job, customers can do nothing but talk about you to other people.
Getting started on your first dog walking sessions can take a bit of a hassle. So be smart about spreading the word, making friends in the dog area and establishing trust. One of the best ways to build trust is to build your social accounts and have a website you can refer dog owners to. This way, they know you mean business and can be trusted.
# 6 – Improve your business systems
By this time, you have at least had a handful of customers. Once you start getting repeat business and you start adapting to a regular influx of customers, this is a good time to think about how you can refine your business systems.
Even if you are a small business of one or two, adjusting and improving your systems can be a great way to:
Potentially reduced expenses Save time Less business stress Make time for more customers Expand to hire (if you plan to)
How can you do that? One of the first things you want to do is take stock of your repetitive tasks. What are the things you constantly do that can be automated?
To add what free tools can you use that you do not benefit from? For example, instead of using a paper calendar to write your appointments, you can take advantage of Google Calendar’s free automation tool.
Are you posting on social media and trying to expand your local reach? A tool like Later lets you schedule content on social media for free during the month. If you do not take the time to periodically refine how you run your business, as big or small as it may be, you run the risk of encountering problems that can be avoided, and worse, that you bleed income on unnecessary expenses.
Starting a dog business when done right can be a lucrative and fun venture. Although it is not without ups and downs as well as challenges. Yet there is always something new to learn in business. So as we egg experts like to say around here, we never stop learning.
If you found this useful, you will enjoy checking out our other final guides. For example, our guide on how to create your first website will guide you through the right way to set up an online home for your business. This infographic teaches you everything you need to know about getting your first 1,000 followers on Instagram (a great way to market your local business).
Are you thinking of building a better dog run brand? This guide will guide you through everything you need to know to establish the right foundation. If you found this guide helpful, be sure to bookmark it to visit later.