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Starting up a Dog Walking business

(25 Posts)
Ihangmyknickersontheline Tue 12-Apr-16 18:57:51

I fancy trying something completely different and am currently looking into how to set up a local dog walking business. Has anyone any information or tips on where to start...I'll be extremely grateful for any help I can get. Many Thanks.

cheerfulmary Tue 12-Apr-16 19:43:16

The basic requiements would be insurance- Cliverton is a good place to start looking.

Dog Training qualifications are essential in my experience look at IMDT courses

Caged van for transporting the dogs

Ihangmyknickersontheline Tue 12-Apr-16 21:06:34

Thanks cheerfulmary. Will check them out.

Dieu Tue 12-Apr-16 22:11:56

Do you have to get a licence from the council? Not sure about that one.

RudeElf Tue 12-Apr-16 22:14:53

Check on Facebook selling pages/gumtree who else is doing it locally, what they charge, what they offer, what areas they cover. Have a good think about what you can offer that will give you an edge over them (like dog sitting, behavioural work if qualified, grooming etc)

Dieu Tue 12-Apr-16 22:18:41

Ooh, yes. I would definitely use a walker who could groom on the side! Maybe your local college has courses.
This site seems very popular at the moment; it's full of local dog walkers/sitters/boarders, and has reviews too www.dogbuddy.com

RudeElf Tue 12-Apr-16 22:24:44

A dog walking couple local to me have built up to offering full doggy day care, dog sleepovers, behaviour lessons where parents come for advice, a drop in coffee evening/advice session on one evening a week where dogs can be weighed and they are starting this month to go round local schools giving talks and demos to primary aged childen on how to be safe around dogs, how to act around them, when to move away etc.

Ihangmyknickersontheline Thu 14-Apr-16 21:31:31

Thanks all.

tinymeteor Fri 15-Apr-16 13:10:51

From a customer's point of view, a couple of suggestions:

- be realistic about how many dogs you can take on, especially at first. Lots of walkers over commit and then find they are constantly late and stuck in traffic doing pickups rather than actually walking the dogs, which is very frustrating as a client.

- think about the extent to which you're prepared to work with dogs who need ongoing training, eg for recall or behavioural issues. If you enjoy that side of it, fine, but if you want to be strictly a dog walker and not a cheap alternative to a behaviourist you will have to set up clear boundaries from the start.

LovelyBrewandBiscuits Fri 15-Apr-16 13:23:43

RudeElf My god, that sounds amazing. Are you in Yorkshire? Not a chance in hell

As a customer I want a dog walker who;

- Is very local and walks dogs only from a small radius so they're not driving too far to pick up dogs, are quite 'visible' around the area and someone other local dog walkers that you bump into in the park will know about or have at least seen around.

- Has good transport preferably a caged van with professional looking company logo on the side

- Is sensitive to the needs of my nervous, not allowed off the lead rescue dog

- Posts pictures of walks and outings on Facebook so I can see that the dogs being walked (not only mine) are happy and getting what they need

- Offers overnight stays or grooming or knows people who they can recommend me to

RudeElf Fri 15-Apr-16 14:35:31

No i'm in NI.

posts pictures of walks and outings on FB

The couple i mentioned do this. I have never used their services but i follow their FB page just to see their lovely videos and photos. They also will post a photo of an outing with the dogs and have followers guess where they were that day. They come across as people who really love dogs and their jobs. They are a bit out of my way for doggy day care but am definitely going to use them for my holidays (if they have space!)

Scuttlebutter Fri 15-Apr-16 23:44:50

I'd suggest having whatever a CRB check is now, as you are going to be entering people's houses. You can offer a key holding service, and it's also possible to add in things like holiday house checking (e.g. check mail, water plants, feed things like fish or cats etc ).

It would impress me if you could show you understood doggy First Aid, and some knowledge/understanding of current thinking about dogs - so not turning up in your "I Love Cesar Milan" Tshirt! Things like having done your Good Citizen Awards, a DogLaw course or volunteering for a rescue. You should have Public Liability insurance and if you are offering any sort of home boarding then you will need a Council licence.

ChairRider4 Sat 16-Apr-16 08:15:31

My dog walker also home boards

Is qualified groomer and fully trained behaviourist (can't remember name of qualification but one everyone recommends

yummumto3girls Sun 17-Apr-16 23:20:03

As a user of dog walkers I just want someone who is reliable and has my dogs best interests at heart. Not someone who wants to regularly take days off unless I have notice to make alternative arrangements. Not too many dogs at a time. Is obviously good with my dogs. I have a new walker who takes my dog lots of different places and leaves me a little diary everyday of what he has been up to!

Ihangmyknickersontheline Wed 20-Apr-16 20:41:34

Great tips and advice. Thanks again folks.

Ihangmyknickersontheline Wed 20-Apr-16 20:44:26

Insured, CRB checked, facebook page in the making then a proper website to sort! ...got my flyers out to loads of different places..all I need now are the doggy customers.

RudeElf Wed 20-Apr-16 20:50:04

Wow!! Well done you Op. Best of luck. What a great job in the good weather, not so much in the rain grin

WhoTheFuckIsSimon Wed 20-Apr-16 20:58:29

My dog walker doesn't drive dogs anywhere. She comes to the house and walks my dog in her own locally. So only one dog at a time. I'm guessing this severely limits the number of dogs she can do a day because people only want their dog walked in the middle(ish) of the day generally.

She uses an unmarked van which she believes is safer from a burglary point of view. Otherwise if people see a dog walking van parked near/at a certain house every day it advertises the owners are out most of the day. Not sure how valid an arguement this is but she convinced me! grin

izmoll1 Wed 20-Apr-16 21:11:57

I'm a dogwalker. Insurance is essential. CRB is good to have. Canine first aid knowledge. Always carry a mobile phone with local Vets numbers programmed into it. Experience and genuine love and interest in dogs is also essential with qualifications if you can. I only ever take a maximum of 2 dogs out at a time, as I like to focus on their needs at all times, which becomes more difficult if you have several to care for at once. Allow extra time for transfers and cleaning/drying off wet paws! Try and arrange bookings with some flexibility of pick up time ( say, between 11 and 1pm to start a walk), because lots of people want their dogs walked over the same few hours in the middle of the day. Carry treats and spare leads. Be aware of other peoples dogs when you are out walking - a lot of owners don't observe their dogs whilst walking ( on mobile phones!) and its wise to keep aware of potential issues when dogs meet, as any problems ( fights , injuries)may result in an insurance claim and damage to your reputation. Get fabulous walking boots and good warm socks for winter. Be prepared to get very attached to dogs you walk regularly - I adore every dog that I walk! Its a wonderful job and I would highly recommend it. Good luck!

izmoll1 Wed 20-Apr-16 21:14:54

I forgot to say - I take dogs in my car, but only ever singly - so I have safety harnesses and belts for the ( vinyl covered but muddy) back seat! And always carry water and bowls.

Ihangmyknickersontheline Wed 20-Apr-16 21:38:20

izmoll...that's invaluable info..thankyou. I'm noting it all! I used to work as a Vets Assistant (before kids, so many moons ago) so do have a fairly good idea when it comes to basic first aid for dogs. Will also look into doing a canine behavioural course maybe? Thankyou again for the info.

Ihangmyknickersontheline Wed 20-Apr-16 21:42:23

Whothefuck..I'll just be using my Vauxhall Zafira if i need to drive. Good point re security issues.

RudeElf Wed 20-Apr-16 21:44:30

ihang i follow a group on facebook that advertises dog behavioural courses at reduced rates. I will see if i can find it incase it is useful to you.

RudeElf Wed 20-Apr-16 21:52:54

here

I have no idea if the course is any good, i just recall seeing it advertised. Having searched just now i saw many more advertised too. Maybe some of the dog walkers on this thread could advise on quality of courses.

Ihangmyknickersontheline Wed 20-Apr-16 22:26:36

Sounds just the thing RudeElf! ..going to see if I can find it again at the reduced cost! Brilliant!

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