How to Starting a Dog Walking Business

a cute dog on a leash.

In this post, you’ll find the steps needed to start your own dog walking business. We will also take a quick look at a few considerations related to the business. Then, we will go over a collection of resources that can help you improve your knowledge of the industry.

Starting a Dog Walking Business

Here are the steps you need to take to start a dog walking business. Before looking at the steps, it is essential to determine what type of dog walking business you want to operate.

For example, are you doing this as a side job? Or are you planning on building a large-scale service with multiple locations? Naturally, starting a part-time business can be done in a few days. On the other hand, planning a large-scale operation with multiple locations may take a few years to have all your locations operational. Nevertheless, it’s important to have a vision in place.

Research the Industry

The more you understand the dog walking industry, the better off you’ll be when making decisions and planning your business. There’s lots of information online. All you have to do is find it and use it.

The link below offers search results for information related to a dog walking business. Take some time to go through the results and see what stands out for you. Spending time on this information will improve your knowledge in the industry. See the latest publications related to a dog walking business.

Choosing a Location

If there is no demand for dog walking services in the area, starting your business there doesn’t make sense.

On the other hand, if you are located in an area with many dog walking services, you may not get a share of the market. In other words, the best location is one where there is a demand for dog walking, but not so much that the market is saturated.

Also, will you be operating from a commercial location? Or will you be operating from your home?

The location you choose will affect your startup cost. Another option is to start from home, and once your business starts to take off and you want to expand, you can move your business to a commercial location. For more, see Choosing the best location for your business.

3. Choose a Business Name

a woman walking four dogs.You can operate your business under your own name or use a “Doing Business as” (DBA), or you can come up with a creative name that’s appropriate and memorable.

Keep in mind the name you choose today is the name you’ll have for as long as you own your business; therefore, you want to take some time to choose the right name.

There are resources online that can help you choose a business name. I suggest going to the resources and coming up with a list of 10 or so names and then putting your list aside for a few days.

Once you return to it, you’ll see it from a new perspective. From your list, choose the top contenders and get some feedback to see which of the top names are popular.

Then choose one of them and see what it looks like in print, use it in sentences, and see how easy it is to pronounce. Finally, choose your business name and make sure it’s available for registration along with a matching domain name. For dog walking business name ideas, see google’s latest search results.

4. Legalizing Your Business

Depending on the setup of your business will determine what type of business registration you’ll need. For example, if you’re planning on a large operation, you want to register your business as a limited liability company (LLC) or a corporation.

If you’re planning on a home-based or part-time business, you can register as a sole proprietorship. Many people start off as a sole proprietorship, and if the business takes off, they switch it to an LLC or a corporation for tax benefits and personal liability protection. If you’re planning on a large operation, I suggest consulting with a professional to see which type of legal structure you should use. In the meantime, you can set your business up as a sole proprietorship. For more, see how to register your business using these resources.

5. Create Your Corporate ID

A corporate ID is a part of branding your business. It includes many components, and depending on your set up you may need some or all of them.

The components of a corporate ID include:

  • A logo
  • Business cards
  • Website
  • Letterheads
  • Envelopes
  • Invoices
  •  Promotional items
  • Etc.

If you’re starting off as a home or part-time business, you can get away with creating a logo and business cards, and if you’re booking appointments online, then you’ll need a website.

Whatever route you take, you want to make sure your corporate ID has a professional design so you can impress your customers.

For More See:

How to design a business logo – make it good it might last years.

How to design business cards that people will pay attention to.

Business signs – have a look at these ideas.

A complete introduction to corporate identity packages.

6. Estimating Your Startup Cost

.Estimating startup costs are an essential part of starting a business. Especially if you’re planning on a large-scale operation.

On the other hand, if you’re planning on a part-time or home-based business, your startup cost will be minimal.

All you need is a few dog leashes, dog treats, water bottles, etc., as well as the other items for running a business. But, of course, you probably already have some, like a computer, Internet access, printer, etc. For more, see Estimating startup costs: are you missing anything?

7. Writing a Business Plan

Business plans have two main purposes. 

One: It keeps a business owner on track and helps them to define their business, understand what makes their business original, and help them plan everything to see the big picture.

Two: If you require funding for your business, you must have a professional business plan for a bank to process your business loan application.

If you’re planning on a part-time business walking dogs, then you don’t require a business plan even though it’s highly recommended to make sure you’re on track, but the choice is yours. For more, see how to write a business plan.

8. Banking Setup

As a business owner, you’ll need to keep your personal account and business account separate.

You must pay taxes on your profits, and you want to keep your business, and your personal transactions separate so you can easily file for business deduction separately.

Many new business owners use their personal bank to open up a business account. Still, you’re free to choose other banks, and if you’re planning on a large-scale operation, you want a good relationship with a banker that can help you with loans and financial management. For more, see our page on How to choose a business bank.

9. Get a Loan if Needed

a woman walking three dogs.As a part-time or home-based business, your startup cost is minimal, and you won’t need a loan to start your dog walking service.

If you’re planning on a larger operation, you may need funding for your startup. In which case, you’ll need to make copies of your business plan and start making appointments with lenders to discuss a business loan.

Keep in mind many lenders view startup business loans as high risk because many businesses fail in the first few years of operation. With that said, it doesn’t mean you can’t get a business loan, but it’s not easy. A good business plan, collateral, and business experience are a plus. Take a look at our post about, Getting a small business loan.

10. Software Setup

Take a look at the software available for a dog walking business. A great software package can save you time and money. Look for features such as scheduling, instant billing, pet care, etc. When you find an appealing program, be sure to check reviews and see if a demo is available. Check out google’s latest search results for software packages related to a dog walking business.

11. Get Business Insurance

You want to discuss a dog walking business with a competent insurance broker to get the coverage you need. For example, look at liability insurance. Have you considered an accident while walking a customer’s dog?

As a business owner, you are responsible for the dogs’ safety, and if something happens, you could have a lawsuit on your hands. Therefore, you want to make sure you have full coverage in the event of an accident.

See a service like Pet Sitters Associates. They specialize in this type of insurance for a few dollars a month. For more, see our page about business insurance.

12. Office Setup

Whether you’re operating from your home or a commercial location, you want an area where you can work on the administrative tasks of running your business.

Whether it’s promoting your business, bookkeeping, or scheduling, you need an area where you can work effectively. Keep in mind the more successful you are as a business owner, the more time you’ll spend in your office, so set it up in a way that works for you. For more see, Here are considerations for the setup of your office.

13. Hiring Employees

In the beginning, if you’re operating a one-person operation, then you can do all the work yourself, but have you considered if your business becomes popular and starts to grow? For example, you may need to hire staff to walk dogs or help with managing the business.

When hiring, don’t look at the cost per hour but at the yearly cost of hiring an employee. Looking at it from this point. You take the hiring process more seriously and only hire someone fit for the position.

Hiring mistakes can cost you dearly in lost time and money. In addition, a bad employee will give you a lot of headaches, and it’s worth mentioning it’s a lot easier to hire than it is to fire, and firing is an unpleasant experience for you and the employee. Therefore it’s important to hire the right person the first time around. For more, see How and when to hire a new employee.

A Few Considerations for a Dog Walking Business

a man walking two dog near a beach.Owning a dog walking business can be a fun way to get out and enjoy nature with man’s best friend.

A typical day for a dog walker consists of arriving at other people’s homes and taking their dog(s) for walks. Then, you may take them to a park to play for a while. After returning the dogs, you may pick up another dog or group of dogs, and you’re off again.


There are a couple of things to consider before starting. First, think about your ability to handle dogs.

Consider walking several dogs at a time. If the dogs are friendly and can be walked with other dogs, you can maximize your earnings.

Also, consider offering extra services such as dog sitting, grooming, or training to give you a broader scope of services.

Skill Set:

  • Scheduling walks and routes.
  • Interviewing owners about their dogs.
  • Walking dogs according to a schedule.
  • Cleaning up after dogs.
  • Common Business Skills.

Hours of Operation:

General Hours of Operation: This varies according to the dog owner’s needs. It may be during the day or later in the evening.

Also, plan a few minutes to prepare, schedule, gather treats, and complete your billing.

Monthly Expenses:

Special Requirements and Considerations:

  • You should have a dog walking service contract between you and the dog owner.
  • Some of your policies should include liability issues such as damage, aggression, illnesses, accidents, etc. You should also list your cancellation policy, payment policy, etc.
  • Provide clients with a dog information sheet to fill out on each of their dogs that you will be walking. The sheet should include all of the dog’s information such as breed, color, microchip number, shot record, birthday, etc. Then it should ask questions about how the client wants you to take care of the dog. This sheet should be pre-filled with all the questions so you will not forget to ask the client any important questions. You could even do this electronically to add photos of the dog.
  • Make sure to obtain a veterinarian release. This is written permission to take the dog to the vet without bearing the financial responsibility, which falls on the dog owner. It will list the dog’s normal vet and give permission to take the dog to another vet if necessary.

Dog Walking Revenue Example:

On average, around $20.00 to $30.00 for a half-hour walk.

Consider, if you are only walking one dog at a time:

8 visits x $20 per visit = $160 per day

$160/day x 5 days/week = $800 per week

Naturally, you have to subtract expenses and pay taxes on your profits, but the above example gives you an idea of a revenue formula.


This post section will discuss a few resources that can help you during the startup phase and once your dog walking business is up and running.

Many of the links lead to search results, and that’s by choice because when you link to a search result, the information is always fresh and updated. So you may want to bookmark this page so you can return any time to use the resources.

Industry Trends and Statistics

Looking at industry trends is an important step when starting a business. It gives you an overview of the industry and provides knowledge to help you make better decisions. Click here for the latest google search results related to trends in the dog walking industry.


Joining an association is a great way to network with other people in the dog walking industry. Associations usually provide educational material as well as industry trends and host events.

You may also want to join the local Chamber of Commerce so you can get to know local entrepreneurs and bring awareness to your service. Click here to view associations related to the dog walking industry.

Top Dog Walking Businesses

When you look at other businesses similar to the one you’re planning on starting, you’ll get an idea of the services offered and pricing.

However, you may also pick up on something missing in the industry that you can implement, giving you a competitive edge. On the other hand, you might come across something you’re missing, and you can put it in place for your business. See Google’s search results for the top dog walking businesses.

four large dogs being walked.

Marketing Tips

Why not take some time to see what tips are available to help you get the word out about your dog walking business?

Getting the first few clients is usually the hardest. So take a few minutes to look at the latest articles for marketing a dog walking business.

Dog Walking Tips

Whether you are skilled in dog walking or not, you can always benefit from other people’s experiences. Many people offer tips and insights to help others benefit from their knowledge, and when that’s available, it’s something to take advantage of no matter what skill level you have.

Have a look at the search results for tips related to dog walking.

Equipment and Supplies

You may want to look into various supplies you’ll need while walking your dogs. For example, waste bags, leashes that allow walking multiple dogs a once, dog treats, water bottles, etc. Look at the following link for ideas on the supplies you may need. The latest Google search results for dog walking supplies.


Books are a great way to expand your knowledge of any topic. Time-saving tips for non-fiction books are flipping through the table of contents to go directly to the chapter that interests you. In other words, you don’t have to read the book from cover to cover to get the information you want. View the most recent Google search results for dog walking business books.

Dog Walking Industry News

The news is a great way to stay up-to-date with dog walking and industry news. You don’t have to wait for the evening news to see what stores are covered related to dog walking. Instead, use Google news to get to stories that interest you. By typing in your keyword and instantly getting a list of the latest and archived news stories. See Google’s news search results related to the dog walking industry.


YouTube is an excellent source of information with new material published hourly. So take some time to go through the videos related to dog walking. Another point worth mentioning is that YouTube search results offer related videos. I always keep an eye out for the list of related videos because I can often expand my knowledge with videos I haven’t considered. See the most recent videos related to a dog walking business.


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