How To Start A Dog Walking Business: A Complete Business Plan

Ryan O'Connell

By Ryan O'Connell

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In the pet sector, dog walking is among the fastest-growing niches. It’s because owners want them to receive the finest care possible by interacting with a dog walker and taking bathroom breaks rather than being left home alone. So, if you are planning to open your own dog-walking business, it would be a smart decision.

How To Start A Doggy Daycare

That said, launching a dog-walking company is not as easy as it may appear; there are a lot of considerations to make. We will explain the process of starting the business in more detail below!

What Service Will Your Business Offer? How Much Can You Make?

Selecting the services you will provide is a crucial first step in launching and expanding your pet-sitting or dog-walking company. Ultimately, it boils down to the kind of animals you wish to raise and the resources at your disposal. Would you want to walk dogs only? Are you able to spend the night at a client’s house? Will you look after the cats?

We advise keeping services as basic as feasible. Excitement may easily lead to offering a wide range of services, such as dog walking, dog sitting, overnight care, and so on. Additional pet care services can always be added later. Concentrate on giving your all in anything you do.

That being said, even while keeping things simple is usually preferable, you should provide the services that best fit your objectives and organization. Here are a few suggestions for demand services to offer:

  • Dog walking
  • Dog running
  • Dog hiking
  • Visits to dog parks
  • Dog training
  • Last-minute visits
  • Pet pickup and drop-off
  • Waste pickup
  • Dog wedding attendant
  • House security check
  • Customized dog exercise programs

According to our research, the average salary for walking dog professionals is $13.69 per hour. This means the monthly and annual income is $2,374 and $28,491, respectively. If a dog walker is certified by the National Association of Professional Pet Sitters, they may make up to $43,000 a year or $826 weekly. This is only an average, and your actual revenue may differ depending on your location and degree of experience, and that doesn’t exclude the operation fees yet.

This figure can assist you in budgeting your money and making future plans. Therefore, it’s important to take it into account. 

How Do I Start A Dog Walking Business: Step By Step

Aside from having a clear passion for dogs, anybody hoping to succeed as a dog walker must be aware of the typical difficulties faced by small companies. It will be necessary for you to integrate your love of dogs with marketing plans, financial planning, and business techniques. Let’s go over the essential steps to take to launch a pet company.

Step 1: Make An Investigation

Let’s say you already have a distinct bank account, your business name, and your ABN. Research is essential for determining the fair price to charge prospective customers, estimating the possible market share, and identifying your competitors (who you can then closely monitor).

Also, knowing where to walk dogs and where not to walk them is demanded of professional dog walkers. Get in touch with your local municipality to find out which beaches and parks accept dogs and when they must be kept on a leash.

Step 2: Calculate The Starting Expenses

You’ll begin to gauge how much money you must invest upfront before you start turning a profit as you carry out more study and develop your dog walking service. Think about the fundamentals first. What materials are you going to need? Which supplies are available right now? After that, you may discuss the finer points of funding your dog-walking company.

Here’s a pro tip: Speak with other pet sitters, dog walkers, and business experts to have a comprehensive understanding of the equipment you could require and any additional business expenses you might have missed.

Step 3: Study Up On Equipment And Safety

Take extra safety measures by studying dog walking safety and the many kinds of equipment you’ll need. For example, you might visit a pet store to research the finest collars, leashes, and suitable harnesses to use and sign up for an online dog-walking certification course.

Step 4: Establish Policies And Protocols

Will you be providing any additional services (even upon request) in addition to walking dogs? If so, get ready. Be clear about the services your business will accept and refuse.

Start by formulating as many possible questions for yourself to answer before you set down your processes. Take some time to think about the questions a pet owner would pose. Here are some questions to start.

  • Should pet owners make payments every day, every week, or upfront?
  • How many pups can you walk at once?
  • Will you be able to train the dogs?
  • Which dog breeds do you take on a walk together?
  • Could you provide the dogs with first aid? If there is an emergency, what steps do you take?

Step 5: Certification And Schooling

Professional dog walkers are required to be knowledgeable in handling various animal behaviors as well as emergency procedures. Dogs may be your passion, but are you confident enough to handle an aggressive one? Do you know anything about training dogs?

Think about enrolling in puppy preschool or basic obedience training for the sake of your own professionalism and the comfort of your customers. Certificate IV in Companion Animal Services and Certificate III in Dog Behavior and Training are two recognized courses. Plus, obtaining a Pet First Aid certificate is a great method to make sure you know what to do in the event that a dog is hurt or has an emergency during the walk.

Step 6: Employ Those With Prior Dog-Walking Expertise

You’ll need to bring on dog-walking staff members as your dog-walking business expands. One thing you need to remember: you shouldn’t work with just anybody.

Plus, employ individuals who are knowledgeable and experienced with dogs. This is because it might be harmful to your business to employ someone who has never worked with animals. Recall that your staff represents your company.

Step 7: Create A Huge Potential Client Base

You need a clear plan of action to draw in prospective new potential customers, regardless of whether you want to advertise in your neighborhood newspaper, use social media, or do letterbox drops. Here are some suggestions.

  • See the veterinarians and veterinary clinics in your area. Make an introduction, ask if you may leave business cards or flyers on their counter, or post a sign on the wall. This is a fantastic chance to network and establish relationships with other reputable pet industry experts.
  • Create a network. Contact seasoned local animal care providers and dog walkers, offer to cover for them during vacations or illness, and inquire if they would be willing to suggest you to their clientele.
  • Go to pet-related activities in your community. Be ready to greet people, strike up a conversation with pet owners, and advertise your business. Bring leaflets to distribute or, if space permits, set up a booth where you may advertise your dog walking services.

Step 8: Continue Market Your Pet Care Business

You must budget time and funds for marketing materials when you first start a dog-walking service. Dog-walking companies are often local, so you should approach your present clientele for assistance with word-of-mouth advertising.

We recommend establishing a social media presence on platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok. For instance, sharing photos and fun videos of the dogs you often walk on social media once every 1-2 days is a great marketing strategy to promote your service.

Estimate Cost For Starting A Dog Walking Business

How much does it cost to launch a dog-walking company? Fortunately, compared to other business ventures like launching a restaurant, beginning a dog walking service is not too expensive. 

However, we’ve seen many start-ups launching their brand with less than $1,000. So, if you truly are working on a tight budget, you may get started with $500. To help you understand the whole picture, here is the business cost breakdown.

  • Register cost – $10-500+: Limited Liability Companies (LLCs) and Doing Business As (DBA) are the two most often utilized organizational forms. You can choose a name for your company that differs from your legal name if you select one of these arrangements.
  • Business license – $0-400+: A business license may or may not be required in your area. You can find useful materials from the Small Business Administration for what you might require in your state. An Employer Identification Number (EIN) is another need.
  • Pet business insurance – $129+: Insurance for dog walks is a need. It will keep your clients and yourself safe. If you don’t have it, pet owners may decide not to hire you.
  • Create a website – $15-50+: A website is crucial for your pet walking company. Many customers will look online for nearby dog walking services. Consider your website to be both a local directory page and an online store. Customers will frequently notice your website and form their initial opinions based on it.
  • Enroll in a pet first aid course – $50-200+: Acquiring information about first aid for pets is really beneficial. Emergencies might greatly benefit from knowing CPR and Pet First Aid techniques. Pet owners will also be happy to know that their puppies are in the care of skilled experts.
  • Equipment for dog walking – $50+: The best place to start is with the essentials: leashes, water bowls, dog treats, and waste bags. Working in the niche and taking walks with your dog for a while can rapidly teach you what things you need.

Tips For Creating A Successful Dog Walking Business

Despite the fact that you get to spend a large portion of your working hours outside with happy canine friends, owning a business is quite demanding. These are the top 5 business advice items to assist you in managing a profitable dog walking company.

  • Make use of the dog parks in your community: While strolls in the neighborhood are great, if you have many dogs, you might want to visit one of the numerous dog parks in the area. You may take your well-behaved family to one of the six dog parks listed on
  • Maintain the simplest possible cash flow: Create a thorough spreadsheet including clients, bills, and payments at the beginning. Additionally, you ought to allocate a certain credit card to cover all of your company expenditures.
  • Learn about every animal and its owner: Getting to know each pup and its pet owners is just as important as acquiring a new client. In this manner, you may let them know if anything doesn’t seem right or if their behavior isn’t typical.
  • Always put safety first: Your priority should be to ensure the safety of the dogs you walk and yourself. Always wear luminous apparel, and if you’re out for a nighttime stroll with your dogs, make sure they have reflective leashes or collar clips.
  • Apply a short leash: More control is available with a shorter leash, especially while strolling through cities. Check out this selection of leashes before you buy.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Dog Walking In High Demand?

Yes. Many urban and suburban regions have a high demand for dog walking services, particularly those with a large pet owner population who work long hours and cannot walk their pups.

Do You Need A License To Walk Dogs?

It depends. License requirements may vary by state and across companies hiring dog walkers. For instance, dog walkers need a state driver’s license to carry dogs. In several states, bringing dogs to specific parks or other places requires a license for dog walkers and companies.

Do Dog Walkers Need Insurance?

Absolutely. Insurance is usually necessary for dog walkers to safeguard against any risks. This coverage might include defense against accidents, loss of property, or potential legal costs associated with walking or caring for dogs. Getting insurance is a wise precaution to protect the dog walker and the pets under their supervision.

See more: 200+ Good Dog Walking Business Names

The Bottom Line

People require dog walkers for a variety of reasons. Some people must employ help to take care of their pets since they work full-time in an office. Meanwhile, others work remotely from home and can’t walk their dogs throughout the working day.

A dog walking service might be an excellent venture if you are a dog lover and like taking walks. Follow our instructions and tips to have a blooming business soon!

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Ryan O'Connell

Ryan O'Connell

Ryan O'Connell is the owner of PetSitUSA - a directory of professional pet sitters, dog walkers, and dog daycares. He has been helping pet owners and pet care professionals find each other since 2012.

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