How to Become a Professional Dog Walker

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If you are an animal lover, you may have always had a dream of being able to work with furry friends on a professional basis. It can be much easier to do so if you’ve gained the necessary qualifications to become a vet, animal behaviorist or dog trainer for example, but what about when you want a simple change in career path?

One option to consider is setting up your very own dog-walking business. Although it may sound like a straight-forward process, it will take a great deal of planning and preparation to ensure you have all angles covered.

Here are some of the crucial elements to take on board and think about before starting up a dog walking business:

1. Take out the right insurance

Dog owners need walkers who can assure them they’ll do everything in their power to look after their beloved pet and one way this can be guaranteed is taking out the relevant insurance. It will also protect your rights should anything go wrong while out on walks. 

All plans include general liability including bodily injury (should one of the dogs you’re walking bite, someone and they make a claim against you) medical payments (if a client claims their dog has picked up an illness or infection while in your company and asks you to cover the cost of medical treatment) advertising harming (uploading photos of dogs without the owner’s permission) and property damage (the dog damages neighboring properties and you’re asked to cover the costs). 

You can never prepare for the unexpected with animals, so it’s always best to cover yourself with dog walking insurance at Next-Insurance.com.

2. Get the necessary checks

To make your service much more convenient for the client, you may wish to offer the additional service of picking up the dog from their home while the owner is away or at work. However, to be eligible to do this, you’ll need to undergo a criminal record check. Once you can prove you have a clean record, you will be given the go-ahead to add this service to your business cards and website.

3. Work out how much you’re going to charge

It’s important that you get your pricing correct so that you don’t undercut yourself too much or on the other hand, overprice your service. On average, you can expect to be paid between $10-15 per hour for each dog you walk, so if you plan on walking two dogs at the same time, you’ll be earning a very good hourly rate. There may be occasions when you’ll need to negotiate the price with the client – especially in the early days when building your business and shouldn’t be turning clients away. Rates typically vary depending on your location, so the best tip would be to carry out research on some of the main competitors in your area to find out how much they’re charging and the additional services they offer.

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