Following on from the previous post on how to get organized:
Here are some other things you may need to get organized in advance of setting up your business.
Accounts or book-keeping is very important to set up in advance. Because a dog walking is a simple business model the accounts don’t need to be complicated. The main reason you need to keep good accounts, is so that you know that your business is heading in the right direction. The other reason for keeping good accounts is that it is going to make it so less stressful come tax season.
Keep track of the paperwork
You also need to set up a system to keep track of your paperwork such as customer agreements and contact details. Again this doesn’t need to be over- complicated.
If you have never been in business for yourself before; whatever you spend on your business, leads, doggy bags, dog treats, advertising, business cards etc. – you need receipts for all of these and they need to be entered into your accounts. All the expenditure on you business will generally offset some of your tax liability.
If you are billing on a monthly basis you will probably produce invoices. If you are getting paid weekly in cash, then a small duplicate receipt book will do the job.
Scheduling and diary management can be challenging when running a dog walking business, so it is important to have an idea of how many walks you can offer during the day/week. Often clients, who work 9-5, will want their dog walking at lunchtime, but obviously this will become unfeasible if all your new clients want their dogs walking at noon time? Often it is better to have times frames for group/solo walks which gives you more scope to pick up dogs and walk them at different times during the day. How you work out your scheduling depends on your circumstances. Also consider the distances you have to travel between picking dogs up and dropping them off and what services you are offering.
Setting up your professional image
I would suggest that you register a separate, professional email address for your business, rather than your own personal email address.
Also set up a professional sounding voice message on your email, as trying to speak to a new potential customer whilst keeping an eye on 4 or 5 dogs in your care could prove challenging. The voice message from your phone should be short but include the name of your business. Ask them to leave their name and number and a promise to call them back – you should also say your website address – that way they can have a look at your website while they are waiting for you to call them.
Get some of these things sorted in advance of setting up your business will give you a head start when you get your first clients.