Because 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: