My wife and I ran a dog walking business for a little over two years. We experienced tremendous growth our first year which required us to hire employees the following year. In March of 2018 we officially sold our business to travel in a RV full-time. We are now working on building our new brand – Souls Gone Wild. My wife teaches yoga and I teach meditation. Anyway, we wanted to share some of our secrets on how to grow your dog walking business!
The first topic I would like to bring up is word of mouth. Don’t be shy about talking about your business, especially when you are just starting out. When it comes to dog walking, trust is a big issue, so when you do a great job for one of your clients, they most likely will refer your business to a neighbor, friend or family member. As an incentive, we would always offer a free walk if a client referred us. Something else that is good to have are business cards. Sometimes you meet prospective clients while you are out dog walking. It is always good to have extra business cards on you, so when someone asks about your services, you can give them your card with all of your information.
That leads me to the next topic – internet presence. You will need a web site that has all your information for prospective clients to review. It is always good to have the following information available; contact information, service area, services offered, rates, etc. Get your business on google and yelp. This gives people a way to find your business, connect them to your web site and a way to leave reviews.
Ah, yes – reviews. This is an important topic. Having reviews gives you credibility. When people find you on the internet and like what you offer, they will usually finish with seeing what clients think about your business. Having reviews puts you on the map. Don’t be afraid to ask for reviews in the beginning. We asked for reviews and some people ignored it and others were happy to leave us one. Others also left us reviews without us even asking, which was great. After a while we stopped asking.
We had a lot of success gaining clients from Rover and Care. With rover, clients will reach out to you. The main thing to be aware with Rover though is that most dog owners that use rover usually expect low rates and for their to be no “policies.” We found that some people were not bothered at all that we were a business and had certain rules, but some will definitely be turned off by it. Care was great because we could look at dog owners posts and see their general location, dog walking needs and expectations. I would look at the site a few times a day and would constantly be reaching out to people. The key to both sites is to respond quickly and setup a meet and greet. When we showed up to someones house we a business t-shirt on, business insurance, reviews and background checks we would almost always win over the client.
Something my wife and I did pretty often in the beginning stages of our business were mock-ups. Mock-ups is a technique you do in meditation to attract your needs or desires. It’s kind of like the law of attraction. This is actually something I teach. More information can be found on our web site: www.soulsgonewild.com
Bottom line, if you do a good job, speak up and put yourself out there, you will do just fine. Be persistent and don’t fret about competition. There are plenty of dog walkers and dog walking business out there. It is good to aware of your competition, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you have to be in competition with them. That will only suck away your energy and deter you from focusing on your own business.
If you have the money to do online advertising, go for it. I think it can help, but I don’t think it is necessary. We did just fine without it. Find what works best for you! If you feel you need some help or more insight I would be willing to do business consulting, however, if you are starting or operating your business near Philadelphia, PA – I won’t be able to provide consulting. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Good Luck and have fun!