Building up your own dog business
Unsurprisingly, being a dog walker featured in the top 10 ‘dream jobs’ for people in the UK. As the old saying goes, if you do a job you love, you’ll never work a day in your life. Of course, working with animals is hard work, but with the passion and love for animals at your back, you’re sure to go home tired but smiling!
There are around 8.5 million dogs in the UK — after all, these pets make for fantastic companions, with many going as far as treating their dogs like their own flesh and blood. Naturally, this has made pet dogs become far more high maintenance than they were in the past. This is good news for those looking to build their own dog business, as the market is certainly there for these pampered pooches!
If you want to create your own dog business, read on to ensure you tick all the boxes along the way. We have gathered up all the best tips and advice to help you find success in a job you’ll love.
Getting the right license
There are a number of different branches you can look down when starting a dog business, from pet sitting to dog walking. It’s important to have the right licensing in place if you’re going it alone:
Some areas of the UK require you to have a licence before you run a dog walking business. Checking with your local authority is, therefore, the first step you should take.
If you’re caring for a pet within the owner’s home, you don’t need a licence. However, it’s a good idea to sign up for one in order to stand out from a brand perspective. It helps to shine your brand image with a sense of professionalism and legitimacy. It can also be beneficial to be DBS checked (Disclosure and Barring Service) as this adds another level of trust to your business name.
If you want to run a boarding business for pets in England, Wales, or Scotland, then you will need a licence under the Animal Boarding Establishment Act of 1963. If you are planning to mind a small number of pets, be sure to check with your local council regarding licence requirements.
Applying for a licence will mean that the council may come out to inspect the premises and check that the animals are being cared for to the correct level. The licence is renewed each year.
Making a success of marketing
If you want to be taken seriously as a business, you need a professional website. In a digital age, your website is your window for potential clients to look through and see your business and brand image. Social media is also a valuable (and often free) tool to help you connect and communicate with customers and potential new customers on a more human level. For example, everyone loves sharing cute dog photos, so your business will be well-positioned to tap into this share-frenzy, ultimately gaining wider audience exposure by posting photos of the dogs you have worked with.
The classics can’t be ignored either when it comes to marketing — word of mouth is still very powerful, as are printed fliers. Anything you can do to get your business name and services out there, within budget, you should be doing.
Having the right insurance
It is crucial, for both you and the animals, that you have the correct insurance in place. For example, did you know that you can take out everything from insurance for dog walkers to insurance for kennels and catteries? No matter what branch you need insured, it is prudent to check what is available for your dog business.
You may also want to look into motor insurance too. Standard motor insurance is not designed with cars modified for animal use in mind, so you will need to research into appropriate motor cover for this.
A helping hand to start your business
While it can be a dream to be your own boss, it’s undoubtedly a lot of work and it can seem overwhelming. Another option is to consider looking at a franchise opportunity within the business. For example, PetStay’s franchise opportunities will allow you to work in the enviable sector, while being supported by office teams and a dedicated, professional package containing a website, training opportunities, and much more. It’s the perfect way to get into the business while having a solid foundation of an established name to support you on your new venture.