People like their dogs, but not everyone has the time to walk them several times every day. As a result, dog walking services have grown in popularity in recent years. Some even have their own smartphone application! If you like dogs, you may start a dog walking company and spend more time with them while earning a nice living.
Starting a firm, on the other hand, requires a significant amount of effort. The trick is to acquire the necessary information before you begin in order to prevent typical blunders. Fortunately, this step-by-step tutorial covers everything you need to know to start your own canine business.
Step 1: Find Out if this is the Right Business for You?
Positives Vs Negatives
|Spending time with the dogs!|
There will be no need for office job.
Low operating expenses, high profit potential
|Because of the stiff competition, you will need to stand out.|
Dogs may be demanding and unruly.
- Size of the sector and previous growth – With the exception of a pandemic-driven slump in 2020, the billion-dollar US dog walking industry has had about 2% yearly growth since 2017.
- Growth estimate – According to Grand View Research, the global pet sitting market, which includes dog walking, will increase at a nearly 9% annual rate until 2027.
- The number of enterprises – There are over 30,000 dog walking services firms in the United States.
- Approximately 54,000 people are working in the sector.
Cost of Starting a Dog Walking Business
A dog walking service costs between $2,000 and $5,100 to start. You may save money by first creating a simple website without an online booking feature.
Is Dog Walking Business Profitable?
Your profit will be affected by the following factors:
- How many frequent clients can you book?
- Whether you need to employ more dog walkers
The expense of walking a dog yourself is small, consisting of a few treats and the cost of gas to drive to the site, which is often $2. In the United States, the average fee for a 30-minute dog walk is $25.
You may schedule five walks each day, six days a week in your first year or two. Assuming a 90% profit margin, this equates to $39,000 in yearly sales and $35,000 in profit. As your company grows in popularity, you may be able to do 15 walks every day. You’d rent a commercial location and recruit employees at this point, cutting your profit margin to roughly 40%. You’d make $117,000 in sales and roughly $47,000 in profit every year. Not bad for a day spent with dogs!
You could then recruit additional walkers, schedule more clients, and grow your dog walking business.
- Differentiating yourself from the competitors. You’ll need to stand out in a crowded market of dog walkers.
- Before you start making money, you will have to invest time and money marketing yourself.
Step 2: Create a Strategy
Identify a Gap
To compare services, costs, and client feedback, look up dog walkers in your neighborhood. Finding a market gap to fill is what you are after. The neighborhood market, for instance, might be lacking a dog walker with late-night and early-morning availability. Your word-of-mouth advertising may gain momentum as a result, drawing customers in right immediately.
- Other services you might provide besides dog walking include pet sitting, going to dog parks, bathing and grooming, training, picking up pet supplies, and more.
- Make a list of the services you can provide for your clients, and then think about whether any of those services might enable you to charge extra for improved service packages or just price per service.
You might need to charge less than average when you are first starting out until you build up a reputation. Start off at $20 for a 30-minute walk and establish a good reputation before raising your price.
To ascertain the costs in your local market, conduct some research on other dog-walking services in the area. The Step By Step Profit Margin Calculator can be used to calculate your markup and final price points once you have an understanding of your expenditures. Do not forget that the prices you use at launch should be flexible if the market requires it.
Owners of dogs are your intended market. You could leave flyers and business cards in pet stores close to you since those people frequent pet stores. One more place to go is a vet’s office. Alternatively, you may look for dog owners on Facebook, TikTok, and Instagram.
You can run your business from home in the beginning to reduce your overhead costs. However, you might hire staff and rent an office as your company expands and operations pick up.
On websites like Craigslist, Crexi, and Instant Offices, you can uncover rental opportunities for commercial space in your neighborhood.
You may want to adhere to the following general guidelines while selecting a business space:
- A central position that is easily accessible by public transportation
- Natural light and ventilation
- Lease that is flexible and may be extended as your business grows
- Ready-to-use area that requires no substantial upgrades or repairs.
Step 3: Write a Business Plan
Every company requires a strategy. This will serve as a manual to help your business through the launch process while keeping you focused on your primary objectives. A business plan also helps potential partners and investors understand your company’s mission and vision:
- Executive Summary: A brief summary of the full business plan that should be written after the plan is completed.
- Business Overview: A description of the organization, including its vision, mission, ownership, and corporate goals.
- Product and Services: Provide detailed descriptions of your offers.
- Market Analysis: Conduct a SWOT analysis to evaluate market trends such as variances in demand and development potential.
- Analyze your top competitors’ strengths and weaknesses, then produce a list of the benefits of your services.
- Sales and marketing: Investigate your company’s unique selling propositions (USPs) and create sales, marketing, and promotional plans.
- Management Team: A summary of the management team’s functions and professional backgrounds, as well as a corporate hierarchy.
- Procurement, office location, critical assets and equipment, and other logistical aspects are all part of your company’s operational plan.
- Financial Plan: A three-year financial plan that includes initial expenses, a break-even analysis, profit and loss predictions, cash flow, and a balance sheet.
- Include any additional financial or business-related documents as an appendix.
Step 3: Create a Marketing Plan
Some of your customers will be passing by or online, but you should still engage in digital marketing! It is extremely vital for new businesses to spread the word because it increases customer and brand recognition.
After you have launched your website, connect it to your social media accounts and vice versa. Because you can generate compelling posts that sell your items on social media, it is an excellent tool for promoting your business:
- Facebook: A fantastic paid advertising network that allows you to target certain demographics, such as men under the age of 50 in the Cleveland area.
- Instagram has the same advantages as Facebook, but with a different target demographic.
- Website: SEO will help your website rank higher in relevant search results, which is critical for driving sales. Make certain that your website’s calls to action are optimized. Experiment with the text, color, size, and location of calls to action like “Book Now.” This has the potential to dramatically increase reservations.
- Google and Yelp: Getting listed on Yelp and Google My Business can be critical to generating awareness and customers for businesses that rely on local clients. .
Increase awareness of your offerings and promote your brand by utilizing your website, social media presence, and in-person activities. Here are some ideas:
- Competitions and giveaways – In order to generate interest, provide prizes to consumers who accomplish a specific action, such as 20% off your fifth booking.
- Install eye-catching signage at your store and on your website.
- Distribute flyers in your area and at industry gatherings.
- Make a video about your dog walking business. Use humour, and it might go viral!
- Start a blog and post regularly. Alter your material and distribute it across numerous platforms.
- Seek referrals – Provide incentives for customers to refer new clients.
- Paid social media advertisements – Select sites that will reach your target audience and run targeted ads.
- Create a podcast to interact with your consumers on a more personal level.
- Testimonials – Display consumer feedback regarding how your dog walking service aided them.
- Make infographics and integrate them in your content.