Deciding which services you offer your customers in your Dog walking business will affect your business, both from a financial point of view and also an organizational one.
Here are the main services that ‘dog walking businesses tend to offer, and brief description of what they entail:
The first one, obviously, is dog walking were you would pick up the customer’s dog(s) from their home, take them out for an invigorating ramble and return them safe and sound to the customers house. This is probably the easiest service to offer, but you will need insurance and a suitable vehicle to transport your charges (further posts about this later).
Dog Sitting/Dog Day Care
This is where you would look after the customer’s dog in your own home during the day when the owner is at work; you would of course need a suitable house, i.e. one that is safe for your visitors, and that you are allowed to have dogs in and run a business from – this could prove difficult if you rent your property. Also something to bear I mind is that if you are doing dog walking and dog sitting (at your home), it may take careful scheduling so the you do not leave you visiting dogs too long on their own whist you are walking other dogs.
Dog boarding is where you would look after customers’ dogs at your own home whilst the customer is away for several days and nights (as an alternative to kennels). This is, of course, very similar to Dog Day Care, but with the added complications that in many towns these sort of services are regulated by law.
Here are some more ideas for services you may wish to offer, again, with a brief description of each:
This is especially useful, for when your customer’s have new puppies, and you may offer a service to pop in to the customer's home, ensure the new puppy is fed and watered, let them into the yard to relive themselves, play with them a while to give them some human company - this same service is useful for older dogs where they are no longer up for an hour’s walk, a short visit to make sure they alright and a walk around the block so they again can relive themselves could be ideal.
A Dog Taxi Service as part of your overall offering can be quite useful, especially when busy owners need their pet transporting the vets or the grooming parlor. This is generally a great add-on to your dog walking business.
Overnight stays (at owner’s premises)
Dog or pet sitting at the owners premises, for example while they are away on a business trip overnight can also be a lucrative add-on to your business – as long as you don’t mind staying way from home. The advantages for your customer are that they are secure in the knowledge that dog is being looked after well, and their home is being kept on eye on too.
Obedience training/Training reinforcement
If you have the skills for this, again this is a great add-on
Small Pet Visits
What you could also offer for owners of small pets; hamsters, goldfish etc. is a service where you arrange daily visits to the customer's home to ensure their small pet is fed, watered and bedding changed as necessary.
Another side line is where you could offer security visits to clients' homes while they are on holiday (no pets involved), take in the post, switch lights on, draw curtains (so the house looks more lived in) and check to make sure everything is OK, informing the clients if necessary.
The above are just some of the areas into which you could expand your business, and we will cover some of these in other posts. In the meantime if you can think of a great add-on to a Dog Walking business, then let us know and maybe we will do a feature on it.