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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
HI..I am new to this forum and am looking forward to being an active participant. After working for years in the hospitality industry, I have decided to open a dog walking business. In my area and many surrounding areas, there is definitely a need. I have had a hard time finding someone reliable to walk my dog for years. In the last 3 years, I have had 5 different people, 2 of which were so unreliable I had to let them go. I am taking this very seriously. I have signed up for doggie first aid / CPR. I have a special needs dog myself, so I should have done this before. I am looking into taking a course for dog walkers and training. I am building this gradually and taking my time to do it right.
Any advice out there for a newbie?
Dogs are such beautiful creatures with such wonderful souls. I truly believe I can provide a solid reliable service. I know when I had a good dog walker, it gave me great peace of mind. I would like to do the same.
 

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Sounds like you're on the right track! The other thing I'd look into aside from first aid (which is a great idea, and something I'd look for if I were in the market for a dog walker) is insurance. Public liability insurance means that if the worst happens - a dog you're walking attacks someone, a dog gets injured or dies while you're handling it, a client tries to blame you for a behavior problem, etc. - you have protection. Accident and injury protection means you're covered if you get injured or sick and can't work. This will also probably involve looking into the legal structure of your business - such as if you want to set it up as an LLC or sole proprietor - because that will also matter to how much personal and financial liability you have should your business fail. This isn't something I've done personally, so definitely do your own research!

If you're able to (and you don't already have this experience), it could also be a great idea to buff up your marketability by volunteering with a local shelter to walk their dogs, getting you extra experience with different breeds and personalities. Taking online courses in dog behavior so you can market yourself as knowledgeable and up to date on how dogs think and learn will also be attractive to customers, though that hands-on experience is probably going to get you farther.

Good luck! Looking forward to hear how it goes!
 

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Don't forget about some business classes. You could be the best dogwalker in the world and fail as a business if you don't know about insurance, bookkeeping, marketing, hiring (if you really go to town,) liability, etc.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Great advice all!!! I am going to get insurance and LLC. I was also looking at pet software for business. I plan on creating my own website. I have opened and run restaurants for years and am decent on the business end of things, but a class or 2 couldn't hurt, right?
 

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My first thought was that you need liability insurance and a good contract. Working with a lawyer who has experience with the dog world is your best option.
 
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