Starting a dog walking business
Are you an entrepreneur who’s got a passion for working with dogs? Then this business recipe on how to start your own dog walking business is the place to start!
Read this recipe in conjunction with our article on How to start a business in 30 days and you’ll be well on your way to success.
Strategise & plan
Strategising and planning are arguably the most important things to do when starting a business.
Decide on a name
Deciding on your business name is the first thing you should do. Take into consideration the type of clientele you’re looking to attract and make sure the name speaks to them. Be sure to perform a Google search of the business name you want, to make sure it’s not taken.
A good way to generate a business name is to jot down your answers to these questions:
- How would you describe your business? Write down 3 adjectives
- What will you do differently to your competitors? Write down 3 words
- Who are you targeting with your services?
Take a look at this recipe of ours on crafting your USP to create a lasting brand.
In South Africa, we have the The Companies Act of 2008 that governs business legalities. This resource on the differing structures you can register is very informative and will come in handy.
It’s also important to be aware that any company with 5 or more employees needs to comply with the Department of Labour’s various laws.
If you’ll be hiring employees, it’s vital to ensure their safety. Here’s an article on Health & Safety in the workplace which can help you further plan for this eventuality. Feel free to also check out our legal posters here for an idea of pricing (which will assist in your budgeting.)
To register your business with CIPC, simply follow this link.
Once you’ve registered your business, it’s time to reserve your business name:
- Social media (Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and Twitter at the very least)
- Secure your web domain
- Google My Business
Identify your target market
This may seem challenging but it’s worth the effort. Your best bet in figuring out who you’re catering to is to jot down your answers to the below:
- Age group
- Income bracket
The next step is to find out what your client’s needs are-
Identify client needs
This should be a profile of the needs your target customers have. Including things like efficiency, friendliness, competitive pricing etc. will help you understand how you can best service these needs.
Finding out how much money you need for your business is vital.
Now’s the time to decide how you will operate your business. These are the choices available to you:
- Rent a space for your office
- Install your office at home
- Run the business as the only dog walker
- Invite other dog walkers to rent space
- Hire employees to work for you
Jot down which option works best for you and then consider these factors for researching the costs involved:
- How much space do you need? Typically a floor layout includes a lobby, holding area, kitchen and bathroom
- If hiring staff, write down the cost of salaries, benefits and training
- If operating from your home, how much rental will you charge the business? Include things like electricity and water
- Are your neighbours ok with you running your business from home?
Generally speaking, you’ll need the following equipment (regardless of the operating concept you choose):
- Back-up leashes
You’ll find that this list grows as you settle into your business and grow your service offerings.
Once you’ve created a tailored list of equipment you’ll need, write down the costs involved with each item. Be sure to include insurance costs.
Looking for funding? Let us know your needs here and we’d be happy to help you explore your options.
Sales & Marketing
Choosing the right channels to market your services on can make or break your agency.
Advertising your dog walking services on social media is a no-brainer. But which channels are right for you?
According to this infographic by Social Pilot, Instagram is the best channel for visual promotion. This isn’t to say that you shouldn’t market your business on the other channels, but if your marketing strategy involves awesome pictures of your services, happy customers and employees, Instagram is a great place to start.
Flyers & handouts
Another great way to advertise your business is to design flyers or handouts and either place these in postboxes or hand them out to people at shopping malls. Be sure to target people in the area you want to service.
And there you have it, your guide to starting your very own dog walking business!
If you’re looking for some assistance in your venture, we’d love to help! Our services include website design, marketing and advertising, social media management, business development strategies, training and much more.
Reach out to us here and we’ll get back to you within 4 business hours!