setting up dog walking business- where to start

(17 Posts)
flipflopper Wed 30-Jul-08 23:43:24

Was out walking my dog today and met some dog walkers and it got me thinking I could be earning money while doing this!
So ive been on the internet doing a bit of research and it seems you can earn quite good money doing this

I dont really know a lot about starting up a business, but would it be possible just to start off slowly by advertising by putting a card in a shop window for eg and just finding a few clients, charging quite low prices, so I could see how it goes without spending too much money and see what happens wiht it.

Would I need insurance even if i was just walking a couple of dogs?
Anyone got any experience of this type of thing?

SNoraWotzThat Wed 30-Jul-08 23:49:22

Im not sure but I would expect that you need to look into it.

Can you imaging the cost of damages if you were to have an injury to a dog (pedigree or other) in your care. I'd look at insurance and personal liability. Also if the dog were to cause injury, road accident to others.

If they are mates that's one thing, as a small business I expect another.

hatwoman Wed 30-Jul-08 23:50:01

don't know much about the specifics but I would say that you could probably do this without setting up a company - you could probably be what's called a self-employed sole trader. (ie do some local advertising and, essentially, fill in a tax return once a year). You need to register as self-employed to pay national insurance. you would almost certainly need insurance

flipflopper Thu 31-Jul-08 00:04:36

So would I contact my council to register as self employed?
And I would need to arrange insurance even if i wasnt sure yet of all the details of what i would be doing?

(really have no clue!)

SNoraWotzThat Thu 31-Jul-08 00:07:42

Have a look

flipflopper Thu 31-Jul-08 00:11:16

i probably wont end up doing it because i cant be arsed with all the boring bits like this it puts me off, but i would really love to do this

SNoraWotzThat Thu 31-Jul-08 00:21:51

Do you want to give up that easily?

How to Become a Professional Dog Walker

hatwoman Thu 31-Jul-08 12:32:39

registering as self-emaployed is nothing to do with the council - it's to do with your taxes and ni - you register with inland revenue.

Skribble Thu 31-Jul-08 12:41:15

I would take some time to check out the local competition, and find out if there is enough room in the market for anotherdog walker. They may be doing OK but there might be others who have came and went but not got enough business if the market is saturated.

I would def get a couple of quotes for insurance and if you go ahead def register as self employed, you won't need to worry about vat yet unless you plan to earn thousands straight away smile.

You will need to keep books and fill out a self assesment form when that time of year comes around, don't worry at your level of trading it is a very basic form you fill out. Just a few totals nothing too indepth.
If you will be using you car to transport the dogs you will have to upgrade your car insurance to business, not much more.

leaflet drop ypour local area?

flipflopper Thu 31-Jul-08 14:15:12

Thanks for all the advice. I think I need to start by finding of there is a gap in the market- I have checked the yellow pages and there are 2, possibly 3 companies offering dog walking that cover my area (I live in a smallish market town in n.yorks) But Im not sure how I go about finding if there would be enough work to go round.
How could I go about finding out if any businesses had tried and failed?

tengreenbottles Thu 31-Jul-08 16:50:28

hi whereabouts in north yorks are you ? i live near harrogate and know a couple of dog walkers in this area and my neighbour is setting up too. it might be worth talking to the dog walkers you met ,i know you need insurance and also transport to pick up and collect the dogs . it depends how much money you want to eran i think, the people i know do it as a full time business and therefore earn a decent wage ,but if you wanted to just do a couple of dogs /cat visists to supplement your income then they might be able to pass on the details of clients they cant fit in ,also you could try asking at the school gates if your children are school age and see if there are any parents who want thier dogs walking on a more informal basis , anyway good luck with your endevours

flipflopper Thu 31-Jul-08 17:40:35

i wasn't in the town where I live when I met this dog walker, but I do occasionally see one when I am out with my dog, so I suppose I could ask, but not sure if they would be keen to give away clients? Seems a bit cheeky, but i suppose you have got to be sometimes!

Skribble Thu 31-Jul-08 19:24:24

Remember a lot of them wont advertise in the yellow pages many do it by word of mouth or cards in the local shop.

My BIL looked into doing this but uncovered a whole network of dogwalkers and realised he would have to work harder to get the business.

MicksMom Fri 05-Nov-10 09:46:55

I have been doing this for a while now and am making quite a bit of extra pocket money.

We have also set up a website looking at how to do this, from insurance to marketing to finance: or you might like to look at our own website

louise540 Tue 16-Aug-11 13:00:26

Sign up to Dog Walkers & Sitters directories like 'Dog Walkers City' and 'Dog Walking Now'. Theres also a good guide thats well worth looking at here:

PeterH Wed 30-Nov-11 18:01:10

Hi there
I have just set up a dog walking business and would be happy to give you advice and help. I work in Wandsworth Borough and Kensington & Chelsea Borough.
Its not easy starting up, but in the long term it will be fine.
As long as you like walking in rain, rain, rain, gales and shine you will be fine.
Email me on here or at
Good luck

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