last updated 15/02/2023

How to start a dog walking business

How to start a dog walking business

I think you will agree that dog walking is not the first business that jumps to your mind in terms of multimillion markets. 

Yet, in 2019, the pet sitting market was valued at a whopping $2,567.5 billion.

 Experts say that the market is growing because pet owners are spending more money to take care of their pets, and they expect the market to continue growing.

If you want to learn how to start a dog walking business in 2023, you are in the right place.

Millions of pet owners have to leave their pets at home while working a 40-hour week. This has created an opportunity for animal lovers to start a business taking care of other people’s pets. 

Dog walking, for instance, has become a viable business opportunity.

The income potential from a dog walking business depends on where you live and the demand for dog walking services. 

It also depends on how often you walk and how many dogs you take.

Although dog walking is an informal business, if you want to earn a reliable income, you need to go about it with a business attitude, not simply a question of lacing up your sneakers for fun in the park. 

If you are serious about starting a business, you must approach it like any other small business venture.

How To Start A Pet Sitting Business

What do you need to know about starting a dog walking business? Pet care and dog walking company are in demand.

Here are a few tips if you’re interested in learning how to start a pet sitting. 

First, research your local regulations and make sure you’re following them. Next, create a portfolio of photos and testimonials of previous clients to show potential customers. 

Finally, set up an affordable pricing plan and begin taking appointments!

What Is a Dog Pet Sitter?

A pet sitter is a person who provides temporary care for someone’s pet while the owner is away. 

They can provide basic needs such as food, water, and shelter, as well as routine care such as walking and feeding. Pet sitters also might perform other sitters tasks, such as playing with the dog or providing company to the dog’s loneliness while its owner is away.

What Do You Need To Know About Startup Businesses?

There is no doubt that starting a business is one of the most challenging endeavors a person can take on. It requires intense effort, dedication, and perseverance.

But with the right tools and resources, it’s possible to succeed. Here are some key things you need to know about startup businesses before you get started.

1 – Start Small and Grow

Begin small. Don’t start a business thinking you have to be the biggest and best. A small business is more manageable and can grow faster than a large one.

Grow your business slowly at first. Once you’re comfortable with your current structure, start expanding your reach by adding new services or products to your portfolio.

This will allow you to learn more about what works and what doesn’t in your niche market, which will help you grow even faster.

Be prepared for obstacles along the way. No matter how well-funded or well-prepared you may be, there will always be bumps when starting a new business.

2 – Understand your strengths, skills, and time available

Understand your strengths. What makes you unique? What do you enjoy doing? These are key questions to ask yourself when starting a business.

If you know what makes you unique, it will be easier to focus on what you can do well and ignore areas where you may need to be stronger.

Take inventory of your skills. 

Do you have experience working in a particular field? Are you good at networking? Do you have any special knowledge or connections that could help your business grow? Once you’ve identified your strengths, you must put them to use by looking for opportunities that match them.

3 – Finding great employees

A successful startup business needs good employees to be successful. 

Finding the right employees is essential to a startup’s success, and there are several things that you can do to ensure that you find the best candidates.

One of the most important things you can do is ensure that your company culture is appealing to prospective employees. This means you must create an environment where people feel comfortable and inspired to be their best selves.

Another critical factor in finding great employees is making sure that you are offering competitive salaries and bonuses. 

Keeping your employees happy and motivated is essential, which will help them stay with your company for a long time.

Finally, it is important to screen potential employees thoroughly before hiring them.

4 – Focus on the customer and fully understand the market

Start understanding what your customer wants and needs, and then work backward. This will help you design products and services that meet those needs.

Listening to customer feedback and using it to improve your products and services is essential. You can also use customer feedback to learn about the market.

By understanding what customers want, you can get ahead of the competition and create an edge in your industry.

Markets are constantly shifting, and businesses that do not keep up with these changes can need help to stay afloat.

As mentioned before, markets are constantly evolving, so startups need to gather as much information as possible about their target audience.

This can be done through surveys, focus groups, interviews, and other methods.

By understanding what consumers want and how best to fill that need, startups can create products that truly resonate with their customers.

A significant factor in a business’s success is its ability to change and adapt quickly to stay ahead of the competition.

5 – Surround yourself with advisors and mentors

Startup businesses need to surround themselves with advisors and mentors to be successful. Advisors can help with business strategy, financial planning, and more.

Mentors can provide guidance and advice, from running a company to developing a product.

With these resources available, startup businesses can be sure they are on the right track and making the most of their opportunities.

6 – Come Up With a Great Name for Your Business

For a business to be successful, it needs a great name. This is especially important for startups, as they have different resources (money, name recognition, etc.) than established businesses.

There are a few things you should take into account when coming up with a great business name:

  1. Your name should be short and easy to spell and remember.
  2. It should be unique and not already in use.
  3. It should reflect your company’s focus or mission.
  4. It should be marketable and fit your company’s or product’s tone.

7 – Write a business plan (Some Software Can Help)

A business plan is a document that outlines the business’s objectives, strategies, and financial expectations. 

It can help you identify the critical components of your business, assess risks, and ensure profitability.

Without a well-crafted business plan, securing funding or attracting investors may be difficult, and your company may not be as successful as it could be.

Startup businesses often need more resources to create a comprehensive business plan on their own, so they may benefit from enlisting the help of an experienced consultant.

8 – Have a passion for what you are doing

It’s not enough to have an excellent idea for a business. You also need to have a passion for what you are doing, or your startup will fail to be successful.

Passion is essential when starting any business, and it’s essential in the early stages. Without passion, you’ll likely lack the drive to succeed and eventually give up on your dream.

9 – Build a Great Website for Your Company

A website is one of the essential marketing pieces a startup business can have.

It’s not only a way to showcase your products and services but also an opportunity to connect with potential customers.

How do you go about creating the perfect website for your company?

  1. Choose a domain that accurately reflects your business. For example, if you’re in the restaurant industry, choose or another appropriate domain name.
  2. Choose a design that matches your brand and speaks to your target audience. Make sure all the graphics and content on your website are consistent and reflect the tone of your company culture.
  3. Plan by creating a realistic website timeline and budget.

10 – Secure Capital to Finance Your Business

The days when you could simply start a business and count on your friends, family, and neighbors to help you out are long gone.

Today, startup businesses need to secure capital to finance their operations.  This means finding investors or securing loans from banks or other financial institutions.

There are several methods that startup businesses can use to secure capital. Some may prefer to raise private equity funds, while others may opt for loans from banks or other financial institutions.

Regardless of the method used, startup businesses need to understand the various requirements associated with each type of capital.

A Step-by-Step Guide on How to Start a Dog Walking Business

Do some market research before the startup

Depending on where you live, there may already be several dog walking businesses in operation. Before you start your business, you need to establish whether there is a demand for the service in your area.

Establish your target market (Who Does Your Services Help)

We have already established those dog owners who work full-time need dog walkers, but they are not your only target market. Also, consider the following groups.

Young families with small children

Young couples with small children are very occupied with caring for their young children and may not have the time or energy to take their dogs out for regular walks.

The elderly

Many older people live with their doggies whom they depend on for companionship. Unfortunately, as people age, they may not be able to take their companions out for a walk.


Dog owners working in a position that requires regular business trips will appreciate a professional dog-walking service.

People with health issues

It’s not only the elderly that might have a problem taking their dog for a walk. Someone recovering from an operation or serious illness may also need the service for a while. Also, people with disabilities benefit from having a dog in the home, but may not be able to take the dog for exercise.


People who live in apartment buildings may be far from a green area with space where they can walk their dog. 

Dogs living in apartments with limited space need to get out, and their owners may need to be in a position to fulfill this duty regularly.

Away on vacation

It’s only sometimes possible to take your dog on vacation. 

Since dog boarding services are prohibitively expensive, many dog owners leave their dogs at home and employ a dog walker to take them out for walks once or twice a day.

If you want to have a successful dog-walking business, you must decide on your target market and make sure that other companies still need to service it.

Create a business plan

Of course, if you are walking dogs to make extra income, you don’t need a business plan, but a business plan is a wise step if you want to run a legitimate business. Your business plan gives you a framework to establish and grow your business.

A business plan starts with an Executive Summary, which should state when you’re starting your business, identify you as the business owner, and provide your qualifications for running a dog walking business.

It should clearly indicate the market opportunity and the competition you might encounter. It should include projections for income, expenses and profit projections.

Your business plan should indicate how you plan to operate your business, including such factors as operating hours, the number of dogs you’ll walk, how often and if you plan to provide any other services. 

Here you should also include proof of dog walking insurance and necessary business and dog walking licenses. If you plan to employ additional walkers, this should also be included.

A crucial aspect of the business plan will be your financial projections, including your costs to run the business, how you will charge for your services and your expected income.

Your marketing and promotion plans must be laid out in your business plan. 

How you will drum up support for your business will depend on your target market. Include your budget for marketing and promotions in your business plan.

Obtain the necessary business licenses

All businesses, no matter what size, need a license to operate. Different municipalities, regions, and states require different licenses, so make sure what the requirements are in your area. 

Even a relatively straightforward business like walking dogs, must be registered with the local authorities to be recognized as a legal undertaking.

Decide on the legal status of your business

You can decide to set up a sole proprietorship or a limited liability corporation (LLC). A sole proprietorship is easy to set up and operate, but it is not the best choice for a dog walking business.

An LLC offers more protection since it separates the business owner from the business. An LLC separates your personal finances from your company and any legal issues that might arise from operating the business. 

This is important for a dog walking business, which can run into legal issues if one of the dogs causes trouble while under the dog walker’s care. 

You can use the services of a small business lawyer to help you decide on the best corporate entity for your business.

Make sure you are ensured

When your services involve animals, insurance is essential. Animals remain unpredictable and can cause damage or injury. 

For your peace of mind, your business will need a general liability plan to protect you in case of any damages incurred while the dogs are in your care. 

You may also need personal and commercial property insurance to cover any losses should a dog escape a leash and causes damage to you or your business property. Also, if you plan to transport dogs, you’ll need animal bailee insurance.

Insurance is essential for a dog walking business, so do your due diligence and make sure what your best options are.

Open a business bank account

Use dedicated business banking and credit accounts. It’s essential to separate your personal and business accounts so your personal assets like your home or car are protected if your company gets sued.

You need a business account if you want to apply for a loan, and a business account also makes accounting and tax filing easier. 

You can also consider a net 30 account to build your business credit and increase your cash flow. This type of account allows businesses to buy what they need to keep going and repay the full amount within 30 days.

Work with contracts

A signed contract should be the basis of your working agreement with each client. 

The contract should define the relationship between you and your client. Spell out exactly what service you provide and what you don’t provide. For instance, the contract should state if a dog will be walked as part of a group or alone.

The contract should also spell out your different services, payment options, and cancellation rules, and provide for emergency health situations. 

You could include a veterinary release in your terms and conditions. 

The release permits you to take a dog for veterinary care in case of an emergency. The release must have a clause that states who’s responsible for any expenses incurred.

Before you take out a new client’s dog for a walk, make sure that the contract is signed and that you have the client’s correct contact details.

It takes more than love – obtain the necessary knowledge

To run this kind of business professionally, love for pooches is not enough. 

You need to have more than a passing background knowledge of dogs, and you certainly must be able to control them, especially when you are out with a group of canines.

You need to know the popular breeds and their temperaments and breeds that are difficult to control. 

Ensure you know which breeds are difficult to train, as owners might require the services of a dog walker because they can’t control their own dog. If you find that there are breeds that you would rather not walk, make that clear to your human clients.

Get a Business Bank Account Or Apply for Small Business Loans For Your Dog Pet Walking Business

Are you looking for a reliable way to bank your business finances? A business bank account can be a great way to keep track of your finances and access essential banking services. 

Plus, getting a business account can help you reduce the risk of fraud by keeping your finances centralized.

To get started, determine if a business account is right for your business. 

Many banks offer special deals and business discounts, so it’s worth checking with your local bank branch or financial institution.

If you already have an existing business account with a different financial institution, you can easily apply for small business loans through most banks.

This type of loan typically has lower interest rates and shorter terms than traditional loans, so it’s ideal for businesses that need short-term financing options.

You may also want to look into business credit cards

How much will you charge?

As mentioned earlier, it depends on a number of factors. In the simplest terms, you need to figure out how much you will charge for 15 minutes, 30 minutes, or one hour and whether you’ll take single hounds or groups of pooches.

You can charge your customers more if there is a high demand for canine walking services. On the other hand, if there is a glut of dog walking companies, you may have to drop your prices. 

Consider charging a weekly or monthly rate rather than billing for individual walks. This method may be a way to generate a more consistent income, which is important if you’re going to be dependent on your business for living costs.

To establish your rate, you’ll need to find out what the competition in your area is charging and charge a similar rate or offer additional services to justify a higher rate.

How much can you potentially earn? takes $16 per visit as an average and works out a dog walker’s income according to the number of walks, in this case, eight 25-minute walks a day:

8 walks x $16 per walk = $128 per day, which comes to $640 per week. If you can do more walks per day, your income will increase accordingly.

Market your business

Design a business logo or employ someone to do it for you. Your logo embodies your brand. Establish a strong brand right at the outset so the public knows what your business is and what it stands for. 

Also, a strong brand will help your business stand out from other local operators.

Modern businesses live and die by online marketing, and it includes dog walking businesses. 

You need a website for your business, including a blog with useful information for dog owners and a presence on several social media platforms. 

Share your blogs and pics of your walks and furry customers on social media to create an interactive community for local dog lovers.

When you open your business, create a press release for local papers and radio stations to announce the launch of your business.

Build relationships with other pet businesses and veterinarians. These connections can put you in touch with dog owners who are looking for a dog walking service.

How much does it cost to start a dog walking business?

If you are starting out small, around $2,000 should be enough. If you are planning to employ people and have an office, then you are looking at closer to $10,000

Initial costs:

  • Waterproof clothing for yourself
  • Leads, muzzles, harnesses
  • Portable water dishes
  • Scooping equipment
  • Treats
  • Insurance and business license fees
  • Marketing and advertising
  • Cell phone service

What You Need To Know About Small Business Taxes?

When it comes to taxes, small businesses face unique challenges that larger companies may not face. Here are some key points you need to know about small business taxes:

  1. Most small businesses are not subject to corporate income tax. This means that most of the tax owed by a small business is paid through its owners rather than through the company itself. This can lead to complications when trying to account for taxes owed, as each owner must file a separate tax return.
  2. Many small businesses are also self-employed and must pay self-employment taxes. These taxes include social security, Medicare contributions, and federal and state income taxes.
  3. It’s essential to keep accurate records regarding your finances and tax filings to avoid potential penalties or even IRS audits.

Some business taxes you might need to pay

It’s essential to understand the tax policies and the form you may have to complete for nay loans business credit you may have taken out.

Self-Employment Tax

Taxation of self-employment is a complex subject. It can involve obligations to the IRS, Social Security Administration, state tax authorities, and other financial institutions.

The basic principle is that if you are self-employed, you must pay yourself as the sole employee a portion of your income. This is known as self-employment tax.

Several rates and bases apply to self-employment tax, depending on the situation.

The most common rates are 15% of your net income from self-employment activities plus 1.45% of your net income over $89,000 (if you are married filing jointly) or $110,000 (if you are single).

There are also special taxes levied on certain types of self-employment income.

Payroll Tax

A payroll tax is a tax that employers must pay on employee wages. The key elements of a payroll tax are the amount of the tax and the employer’s share of the tax.

Federal payroll taxes include income taxes (such as Social Security and Medicare), unemployment insurance taxes, and federal employee retirement contributions.

Most states also have their payroll taxes, often based on federal levels.

Employers must withhold both state and federal payroll taxes from employee wages and remit both to the appropriate government agency.

Excise Tax

An excise tax is a type of tax that is levied on products that are considered to be luxury items. These taxes are typically higher than other types of taxes and are often used to fund government programs.

For example, the federal excise tax on gasoline was introduced in 1932 as part of the Smoot-Hawley Tariff Act. The purpose of this tax was to help fund the U.S. war effort in Europe.

Today, several different excise taxes exist across the United States. Some examples include the federal tobacco excise tax, gasoline excise tax, and alcohol beverage excise tax.

Sales Tax

In most jurisdictions, sales tax is levied on the sale of goods and services. The tax rate, as well as whether it is a value-added or a consumption-based tax, depends on the jurisdiction. Sales taxes are considered regressive because they are generally higher for poorer people than wealthier people.

Property Tax

Property tax is a tax levied on the ownership of property. The property tax system in the United States is broken into two types, real estate, and personal property.

Property taxes vary greatly by state, with some states imposing a fixed tax rate while others use a sliding scale. 

Real estate taxes are more complex and frequently raise more controversy than personal property taxes.

Final thoughts

A professional pet dog walking business has a simple business model, which makes it relatively easy to start. It’s the kind of business that allows you to put your energy into something you are passionate about.

However, you want to create a success of your dog walking business. 

In that case, you’ll have to follow tried and trusted business practices, like drafting a business plan, ensuring that you meet all the requirements for small businesses, and are appropriately insured.

In addition, you must be very good with canines and have good interpersonal skills to deal with devoted pet owners.

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