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> Dog Walking Business, Advice welcome
jimmywoodbine
post 6th Aug 2017, 3:37 pm
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Hi There

Ive been contemplating starting up a dog walking business for a while now but its just making the move.
Is there anyone out there that is running one? and if so, was it a good move and is it paying off. If you have any advice that you could provide me with this would be really helpful.

Thanks
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kimw
post 8th Aug 2017, 2:30 am
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No personal experience but Coinsky set up Paw Tracks. She doesn't post on here much these days but maybe you could look at her web site and see what kind of things she does... Good luck with the new venture smile.gif
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nikirushka
post 8th Aug 2017, 9:30 am
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There's a fair bit involved if you want to make a living from it and it's still difficult - I don't know of any walkers who aren't doing at least one other thing! Coinsky does classes and 1-2-1 behaviour consults, for example. The walker I worked for previously did the same as well as sales and grooming. For me it's the walking itself that's the sideline but I did a lot for her so I've seen how not to do it, what changes I would have made to her "system" (in the loosest sense of the word) and so on.

You'll need insurance - public liability and cover for keeping hold of keys and accessing properties, and having responsibility for the dogs (mainly this is public liability but you'll want vet fees cover too). A decent vehicle with a means of securing the dogs, separately if necessary - I just have a dog guard but I can pop a crate in the back if I need to.

You'll need to consider what you're going to charge: is it competitive but not too much? And then group walks - carefully matching dogs to each other so they get on, transporting and picking up etc. Whether you're going to let dogs off or not. The walker I worked for had contracts asking for permission to let the dogs off and whether or not the owners wanted them off - where she went wrong was taking it as read that every dog with permission MUST be let off, even if she couldn't properly control them so that's another consideration. Sometimes the owner might want them to run free but if you can't recall them, it isn't safe to do so. Behaviour round other dogs you encounter is a factor on that front too.

Consider that most owners are looking for work hours cover so want the dog walking roughly in the middle of the day: pick up and drop off time needs to be factored into that and if you'll need to do two walks. Fuel is a big cost too with all the pickups, dropoffs and travelling to a suitable walk.

And that's another one - what walks do you have access to? In some places it's difficult to find a decent one for an hour (which IME is the most common time asked for). Especially if you're like me and you don't like walking the same bit more than once lol.gif

Many walkers also do trials to see if they'll get on with new dogs and if those dogs will be suitable for group walks etc. And you'll need a contract not just for off leading but to cover payment, permission to go to the vet if needed in an emergency (and to record vet details), walking days/times, notice given if you're no longer required or if you can no longer walk a particular dog/s.
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Kanie
post 8th Aug 2017, 3:16 pm
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Definitely worth checking where you can exercise, especially on land owned by the local authority or other open access land. In some places, members of the public are allowed to walk their dogs, but there are restrictions on people operating a business, including professional dog walkers. It's worth checking for Public Space Protection Orders too, because some restrict the numbers of dogs that one individual can walk.



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