All businesses come with particular challenges and running a dog walking business is no exception. Here are a few of the challenges you might face and some tips on how to deal with them.
When considering starting a dog walking business, you need to think about what type of person you are. Are you a dog person or are you a people person?
When you're starting your own dog walking business, you actually need to be both of these things. Because day to day you'll be walking dogs and, of course, you have to get on well with those. But you also need to get on with people because it's actually people that will pay your wages, not your canine clients.
So it's important to be able to talk to people. Understand what they require from you and build trust with them. The best way to build trust is to listen, and do what you say you are going to do - for example, if you say you will take out George the pet poodle out for an exciting play in the park every Tuesday afternoon - make sure that is exactly what happens.
Being your own boss can be a challenging step for anyone, especially if you’ve worked for a salary or a weekly wage for most of your life.
Stepping out into your own business can be quite scary. You will need to be self-motivated. When you work for someone else, your motivation is to get your salary check at the end of every month and, therefore, you turn up at work.
When you work for yourself, it's very different - motivation is key when working for yourself.
Also, what worries people when they start off with their own business is a lack of regular income. If you are used to a monthly or a weekly salary, the same paycheck coming in month after month, then that gives you a bit of a ‘cushion’, so you can pay the bills while you are building your business.
When you start working for yourself the money that you earn can be up and down, so you need to be ready for that. You also need to be ready to know how much you need every month. Ensure that you have a financial buffer to get you through the first few months of your business, so you aren't worrying about paying the bills whilst you build your dog walking business.
One of the main challenges is going to be the weather. If you've worked in an office or a shop for most of your life, then you’ll be transferring to a role where you're outside most of the time. So on good days when the sun is shining and it's very pleasant and you've got several dogs running around with you, bingo - it's a beautiful day.
The other extreme is when it's snowing or it's raining heavily and you’ve still got to take those dogs out - that might not be so appealing. So you need to know; are you an outdoor person? The main thing about the weather is to be ready for it. Make sure you have your bad weather gear in place in advance , so you are ready for anything - because you will get everything when it comes to weather.
There are, of course many other challenges when starting your own dog walking company. A good Idea when trying to work out what your particular challenges might be is to close your eyes and try and visualise the different roles you will have to take on in your business, such as meeting clients, taking the dogs for interesting and safe walks, getting paid etc. - this sort of exercise usually throws up a few challenging issues, and when it does you can start planning ahead how to deal with them before they actually happen for real.