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WAHM > Stay at Home Mom Work Ideas > Selling a Service > Dog Walking Service

Start a Dog Walking Service from Home

What you will be doing.  Having a love for pets doesn’t have to stop with the ones in your home. Let it be the basis for a business idea that will make some extra cash. Dog walking services are not the way to get rich but it will satisfy a need in the community and has growth potential.

How to start.  Assess the need for a dog walking service in your area. The larger the region you plan to work, more dog walkers will be supported. This may be a great idea for a business but if there is not enough demand it will be less likely to work. Once you poll the neighbors and do some legwork, if the demand is there, dog walking is a go.

Decide on a name for the business. Keep it catchy and short so people will remember it. There is no need for employees at the beginning until a steady client list is established. Dog walking involves more than taking the dog to the park for a walk.

In most practices, the routine includes visiting the owner’s home to feed, exercise, clean up after, and assess any other doggie needs. Once you are proficient, the visit may take half an hour at the most. It depends on the size and number of clients per household. Small dogs may make less of a mess around the house, but require more attention and play.

Starting costs. This varies but if you already own pets, the costs stay low. Extra leashes, plastic bags and a small shovel for doggie poo, a computer, a telephone, and a fax machine are some of the items that will make your life as a dog walker much easier. The costs will be recouped after the first few clients pay for the service. It’s important not to shortchange the time and labor factor when setting prices.

Skills needed A dog walker must love animals—all kinds of animals. Just because we are talking about dog walking services doesn’t mean that the business can’t be expanded into other pet areas. If you aren’t familiar with those animals, get a few books on the subject and study up. The more you know, the further the business will go.

Dog walkers benefit from practiced patience. All animals won’t be so receptive at the beginning. Gentle tones and loving touches can coax them away from their anxiety. This goes for the owner’s as well.

Marketing.  People won’t call if they don’t know about you. Put flyers in mailboxes; post flyers at veterinarian offices, pet shops, humane societies, and other places owners frequent with their pets. A website enhances a dog walking business. Local visitors can utilize your services while others not in servicing distance can benefit from informative content about animal care, feeding, and the like.

At first, word of mouth, flyers, and direct mail are great for the financially challenged. These methods are cheaper than newspaper and phone book ads and the cost of setting up a website.

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