As a professional dog walker there are a few things you should never be without if your business is to succeed. Dogs are the obvious one, but there are a handful of other things that can help you ensure you offer your clients the best possible care.
The dog walking industry is a fast growing one, with the number of professionals coming to Protectivity for cover skyrocketing in the past year. Therefore, standing out from the crowd can be the difference from a full book of pooches to falling short.
Thankfully, you don’t have to go overboard to ensure you have the tools to succeed. Just make sure these five things are never far away…
Many clients will be happy to provide a lead for their own dog, but it’s always a good idea to have a solid supply of stock on you. It’s also worth remembering that to facilitate maximum money earning potential you might need to walk multiple dogs at the same time.
For some, having each dog on it’s own individual lead will be no problem. For others though, buying a lead ‘coupler’ may be a solution to reduce the amount of leads you need to carry.
It’s worth remembering that this method means the strength of both dogs will be channelled through one lead, and one arm – so smaller dogs are preferred for this method. Another way to reduce the amount of hand-held leads is to invest in a dog walking belt. This way you can attach a lead to your waist and keep both hands free. Different methods will suit different walkers, but just remember: leads are key.
The dogs you walk are all likely to be strangers on your first meeting. Gaining trust, or asserting who is boss in the early days can be tricky. It shouldn’t be. Many dogs are led by their stomachs, so make sure you’ve got some tasty snacks to give them when necessary.
Training the pooches in your care with a bribe of tasty meat or chicken will soon see your furry clients sticking closely to your side on walks. Try to show restraint though, you wouldn’t want to be over-indulging the dogs in your care. Even better, opt for a healthy treat for the dogs you walk. Our partners at Broadreach Nature do a fantastic range of dog treats that won’t see your pooch piling on the pounds.
If you’re heading out on a monster hike with a canine client ensuring you stay hydrated is vitally important for the both of you. If you’re out in the wilderness you wouldn’t forget a bottle of water for yourself, so there is no excuse for the dog(s) not to have one too.
Thankfully you are not required to simply aim for your dog’s mouth and hope for the best, nor do you have to carry a cumbersome dog bowl on you at all times.
Invest in a specially designed dog water bottle, with attached bowl. While hardly groundbreaking it’s surprising how much difference having something like this on you can have.
Probably the least glamorous side of the professional dog walking scene is the need to clean up after your clients. If you’re walking multiple dogs it may be that your pockets are full of plastic bags for when the call of nature occurs.
To counteract this make sure you have a handy bag dispenser on you, with a full roll of plastic saviours tightly wound around it to ensure that if six dogs opt for a loo break at the same time, you’re well prepared.
This one is a little left field, but the importance of showcasing your business on Facebook cannot be understated. In a survey of Protectivity’s Pet Business Insurance customers, over 25% of them stated that their biggest trouble they have in their business is advertising to and attracting a regular client base.
Ensuring that your business is well represented on social media can have a massive impact. Over 75% of our customers claim to attract their customers using a business Facebook page, so if they are and you don’t, you could miss out on clients. However, just 20% of our customers say they used paid advertising on Facebook. For as little as £1 per day you could target dog owners in your local area with your adverts. Lure them in to an attractive business page, obtain their custom and delivery a polished service with the other items on this list.
With all of that ready, you have pretty much all you need to make a go of it as a professional dog walker. Everything, that is, aside from insurance. Cover doesn’t have to be expensive, ours starts from £70.36 a year, and will protect you from a potentially costly claim should a dog in your care get injured or worse. Get a quote for our Dog Walking Insurance policy today for instant cover.