Tag Archives: Diary management

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Get Organized for Your Dog Walking BusinessBecause a dog walking business is a reasonably simple business in many ways, don’t fool yourself in getting started and then start thinking about getting organised!

Getting organised in advance of starting will save you a lot of time in the long run – so here are some of the key things you'll need to get sorted:

Get Organized: Forming a Company

You will need to create a business entity.  For a dog walking business this is usually a simple procedure.

In the US,  the route you would take in most likelihood would be sole proprietorship or LLC.  In the UK it might be Sole Trader or Limited company and you would need to register as self-employed with Her Majesty’s Revenues and Customs.

It completely depends on how you plan to grow the business – so I cannot give a definite answer.

I would however strongly suggest that you seek competent legal advice to discuss which business entity suits your business model and the relevant financial advantages.

Get Organized: Licences

In the US it is very likely that you will have to register for a business licence with your town or state – it obviously varies from town to town and state to state, so you will need to check locally for this – but generally it is a very straight forward procedure once you have your business entity in place.

In the UK, at the time of posting there is no requirement for a licence to walk other people’s dogs.  However there maybe restrictions on the number of dogs you can walk at any one time – so check this out with your local authority first (or local dog warden).  Also in the UK, should you offer boarding of clients own dogs in your own home you will have to apply for a Home Boarding Licence from your local authority - this would involve an annual cost and an inspection of your property.

Get Organized: Insurance

You will also need insurance for your business.  Liability insurance can be obtained via private insurance companies.  Another alternative is to gain insurance via membership of a national pet sitting organisation such as NAPPS , sometimes you will have to pay extra for your insurance through membership – although often at a discounted rate.   Make sure you shop around for the best deal on insurance.   Your car insurance should also be updated to include business use.

For more info regarding getting organized see Part 2 of this post below:

Get Organized for Your Dog Walking Business Now - Part 2

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Following on from the previous post on how to get organized:

Get Organized for your Dog Walking Business Part 1

Here are some other things you may need to get organized in advance of setting up your business.

Accounts

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.

Receipts

get organizedIf 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.

Diary management

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

diary managementI 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.