By J.D. Antell
© 2008 All Rights Reserved.
To answer some of those statements I created this website. This page describes some of the reasons why you might want to start a dog walking business. The Book and DVD pages will provide you with details about each of those. Please take a few minutes now and learn about the dog walking business and how my Kit can help you start your own lucrative dog walking and/or dog sitting business!
You call the shots. For very relatively little in up-front costs, you can start your own dog walking business. I started mine for under $1,000 dollars! We all work hard, but it's a question of who is profiting from all the hard work? If you're tired of putting in endless hours of your life-energy for another's profit while they curb your advancement and keep your salary stagnant, then starting a business is probably in your future. Nobody wants to continue in a job or career where they are under appreciated and over-worked. If you love dogs, fresh air, and the satisfaction that you are making a real difference then dog sitting / walking is something you should consider.
It's low stress. The business I started out in was very stressful and it began to take a toll on my health (I worked in the film / television / advertising industries). Starting a dog walking business, was for me, a change in not just a job, but a lifestyle. My health, my outlook, and my happiness all improved dramatically within my first year of business. I literally felt set free. No more two hour commute, long days, weekends, and office politics for me, thank you.
Burn more calories and get healthier. What could be better than getting some exercise and being paid for it? If you're sedentary most of the day right now you're probably carrying some extra weight around. You'll burn far more calories walking dogs than in most other professions. If you like to run, you might even consider offering "dog running" a few times a week. It's great for the pooch and for reducing yours!
Looking for part-time hours? Dog walking and dog sitting offer a very real solution for those who need a more flexible schedule. A dog walker’s / sitter's job, focus, and service work very well for stay-at-home parents, students, and retired persons. Daily dog sitting clients may not wish to have their dogs walked, but merely let out for some yard-play, food, and/or companionship.
It's scalable. Your business can become large, employing literally 100s of employees or keep it a small one-person operation. The best part of it is that it can grow as you go. You don't need to sink a lot of time and money into worrying about how to create a big business structure and paying employees before the income is there to support them. As your business grows you can decide how/if to accommodate new clients, at your own pace.
What are some of the drawbacks? It's your ship, and it's up to you whether it sails or sinks. For some people, that's a lot of pressure that comes with too much risk. The buck stops with you; if there is a problem, it's going to be your problem. Are you a people person or a dog person? You need to be both! You may be walking dogs 95% of the time but you have to make a great first impression with their owners or you aren't getting the job. Every new client is a new interview.
Some say all the driving is a big draw-back, I disagree. I suppose it depends where you live. If you live in a dense urban area I can see where driving and parking could become a drag. For me it was a rest between walks, and in the winter it was a great time to warm up with the car's heater! Lastly, you don't get a benefits package—you'll need to provide that to yourself. I'll say this though, the benefits you gain from having your life back, far outweigh, in my opinion, any two week vacation / 10 sick day package out there.
Dog walking is pretty much recession proof. American households with dogs have increased exponentially. According to the American Pet Products Association (APPA) pet-related spending in 2008 will likely exceed $10.5 billion. We aren’t going to get rid of our pets, and we aren’t going to stop working and commuting. Therefore dog walkers will still be needed, even in a down economy.
There is competition but the field is still new and there is a lot of room for new-comers. Those who offer the best services and top-notch customer service will be the leaders. Those who don’t put much effort or time into the business will likely fail; making it even easier for dog walkers with a plan to succeed. Which brings me to the 5 main points that make or break a dog walking business.