What is Dog Walking?
Dog Walkers will go to the pet owner's home and take the dog for a walk. back to top
Why would people need a dog walker?
Many people work long hours and will have the pet crated during the day or locked in the house. The dog may also be a high energy dog or dog with a smaller bladder who will need relief. This is where dog walkers are needed. Another instance would be when new puppies are purchased. Puppies can not hold there bladder for long periods of time. Puppies may need to be visited twice a day. back to top
Should I start my own dog walking business?
Dog walkers work wonderful hours, usually from around 12-5 since most will require middle of the day (lunchtime) let outs. If you are available during the day, this is the job for you. If you need more hours or money, you can always add on other services such as pet sitting and pet taxi. back to top
Do I need special training to be a dog walker?
Special training is not required, however you should have a basic understanding of dog behavior. You should be able to read the warning signs of dogs and know proper leash handling techniques. Be sure you are also able to handle the strength and size of some dogs before you agree to walk the dog. back to top
How much money is required to start my own dog walking business?
Dog walking requires very little money to start up. The cheapest amount you can start with would be around $200. You can spend as much as you want over that amount and it will depend on how much you can do on your own. Basically, the must is insurance and that will run around $150. Then you must have basic office supplies (paper, pencil, appointment book), which will run around $50. Anything above that will depend on how professionally & organized you want to run your business and how many clients you want to acquire. You may want to purchase some business forms so that you have permission to enter a client's home and have it in writing how much they owe you so you get paid. You may want to advertise on the web or in the paper. This is all up to you as to how much you want to spend. back to top
Do I need a business license to be a dog walker?
Most states will not require you to have a "license" however; you will need to register your business with the state. Click Here and enter your state or zip code and select general licensing. If you are having trouble navigating, just look for a phone number. They will be able to help you pretty quickly over the phone. back to top
How should I set up my business structure?
You should always consult a business accountant about that first. Some structures are better tax advantage wise than others. There are a few structures. The most common is a sole proprietor. This is when you are the sole owner of the business. Most are set up like this. The next structure is partnership. If you are a husband and wife team or boyfriend/girlfriend team, you may want to use this structure. Next is an LLC (limited liability company). This limits the liability you hold personally, meaning all your assetts could not be taken away if you have a law suit filed against you. Next we have a corporation. There are S-Corps and INC. corporations. Each have different tax benefits and you would have to see which would be best for you. Most will not use this since it is geared towards bigger companies. back to top
Do I need to collect taxes?
Each state again will be different. You will have to call and see if it is required in your state. Some states will tax services and some will not. If so, you just add it to your client's bill and they pay the tax. You then pay that same tax over to the government on a quarterly basis. Some states will even give you a bit of a discount if you file your return early. back to top
Where can I buy Dog Walking Insurance?
There are a few companies out there which specialize in dog walkers. I recommend Pet Sitters Associates,LLC because you do not have to pay for membership before you purchase insurance. PSI requires you to purchase a membership for $200 then you can purchase insurance and NAPPS does as well. You may want to check out the differences in coverage to see which company you want to go with. NAPPS and PSI use the same insurance carrier. back to top
What is bonding and do I need it?
Getting bonded will protect your business from employee theft. If your business is bonded and one of your employees are convicted of stealing a diamond engagement ring from a client, the bond will pay and you will not be responsible personally. Some bonds will cover the owner as an employee and some will not. It is best to be sure before purchasing a bond. If you are a sole proprietor, it may not be necessary to be bonded. Some companies will purchase it as an advertising technique so that their clients feel more comfortable about them in their home. Pet Sitters Associates, LLC also offers a special coverage for an additional $95/year which will cover you against theft and fire. I, personally, think this is better than a bond and recommend that over a bond. back to top
do I know how to set up my dog walking rates?
Rates will vary greatly from state to state and county to county, so it will be hard for anyone to "tell" you what to charge. The best way to determine your rates would be to see what your competition is charging either by searching online or calling them. You want to stay comparable, but not "cheap". Dog walking is generally done by the amount of time the owner wants the dog to be walked. So, it is best to have time increments for them to choose from. You may also want to get a monthly discount plan to encourage people to purchase a month in advance. back to top
What is the best way to advertise my business?
Sending an article about your business to the local paper (this is called a press release and is free) will give you the best exposure and is the cheapest since it is free. You can also get listed in the local papers and the phone book (these end up being the most expensive). You can put up flyers anywhere and everywhere (which is the most time consuming and not the most rewarding). Try to get the local vets to display your business card or give referrals. There are also many places all over the internet which are free. Personally, I think getting a website and/or website exposure is the best, easiest and cheapest way to advertise. Read the newsletter archive for more detailed information. back to top
Should I hire an Independent Contractor or an Employee?
This is entirely up to you. Do you want the added expense of adding your employee to your ensurance, changing your business structure, getting workman's comp and a payroll system? IC's carry their own insurance and business license. You just give them the address and let them know what percentage you get (make sure you have an IC agreement or the IRS will be knocking on your door). If you are going to be hiring a lot of people, you may want to go the employee route. If you only want some help here and there, then the IC route would be best. back to top
What do I put in a service agreement/contract for dog walking services?
Basically, you want the details of the services you are offering in the agreement as well as your business/office policies. The good news is you can purchase it to make it easier at www.businessformsstore.com/dog_walking. A contract is a very difficult form to write and you want to be sure you covered your bases. Also, keep in mind, this is a form your client will be signing. If it does not sound professional or look professional, they will not sign it. back to top
Why should I purchase your dog walking package of forms?
The dog walking package will have everything you will need to start and maintain your business including an employee handbook and IC agreement for when you are busy enough for help. It includes a very professional, very detailed service agreement to protect your business and money. It includes information sheets on how to care for the dog and the home so that you know what questions to ask your client and what you will be doing while you are caring for the dog. It includes medication information and so much more at an extremely low price. Plus, for those of you who are not computer savvy, it comes to you with all of your business information on it. So, you only need to print it out or make copies and you are good to go. One less thing to check off of your list. These are the forms I used in my business and got many compliments about the professionalism and completeness of them. back to top
If I want to offer more than just dog walking, which package would be best for me?
If you are going to offer pet sitting, dog walking and/or house sitting, aquarium maintenance, the plus package would suit you best. That package includes all those services. If you are going to offer more than that including waste removal, livestock/horse sitting, pet taxi and more, the multi package would suit you best. Even if you are not going to offer all that is in the packages, the packages are much cheaper than the individual forms. Plus, you never know what you may want to offer or get asked to do in the future. back to top
Should I get a website?
Yes! Websites are known to generate a lot of leads for businesses since in this busy world most people are looking for their needs on the internet. Click here for information on getting your own website. back to top
I am nervous about purchasing things off the internet, can I send a check?
That is perfectly fine. You can go through the order process online by click "buy now" and just select check. It will tell you where to send the check to after you click "submit". Our site is very secure, so please be sure your information is safe with us. back to top
I don't like to order anything on the internet. Can I place an order with a live person?
We understand how you feel. You can call us at 877-622-FORM (3676) and we can take your order personally. back to top
Do you sell my personal information?
Absolutely not! We do not use your information for anything but to personalize your forms. We do not sell your email address or phone number. We do not like to receive telemarketing calls or spam either! back to top