May 25, 2010 at 6:44 pm #64182mugateaParticipant
Need some help if you can. Was unemployed for 6 months, couldnt get an interview nevermind a job so decided to sign off the dole so I could be a self employed dog walker.
Got myself embroidered t-shirts and hoodies and made a website too and printed leaflets. I started posting the leaflets in the village about 2 weeks ago. Have done about 1200 so far and a few hundred more till the village is done. Also advertised on yell, thompson local and put an advert on the post office window.
I’ve had absoloutley no phone calls at all even with the offer of an introductory free walk. Any advice, getting a bit panicky here.
JamieMay 25, 2010 at 7:34 pm #89176MudgieMember
You are a bit pricey Jamie – Glasgow walkers are around £7-£8 an hour mark. My dog walker charges £12 for two hours (separate) because Nacho has been with him almost 5 years. See if you can get an advert in the Country Club, Golf courses places where there wouldnt normally be an advert. Local vets, local parks. If there is a local newsletter. Doctors surgery – put some leaflets in there, speak to receptionist, say you are available short term if clients are recovering from surgery etc. Summer is quieter because of weather and school holidays (teachers etc dont need dog walkers during holidays). Also if teenagers are in household during the summer they pick up the dog walking duties. See if there are any behaviourists within say 15 miles that may do some work in your area and build up relationship with them also. Once you are started word of mouth is best way. I would get out a lot with your own dogs and always have your leaflets with you. And always wear your tshirt or hoodie. Give one to every dog owner you come across. 😉 Attach the leaflets with tie wraps to poo bins. You might want to consider some other work whilst your business takes off :-\ If there are any pet shops leaflet them too. if not then go to where local people would get their supplies – erskine, inchinnan wherever you think and put leaflets in their windows.
And then when you think you have exhausted all avenues. Think some more….. ;D In the meantime get down to local rescue centres and ask about them giving leaflets to new owners 😉May 25, 2010 at 9:52 pm #89177GracieMember
Hey Jamie, my hubby been in similar situation and set up a hydrotherapy business, dont really know much about dogwalking, prices seem ok to me, we have a dog walker who lives nearby and hubby thinks they charge £8-9 pounds.
Have you got much funding, Hubby got quite abit from business link, our local council, and what we think are local organizations but you may have similar in your area working links and five lamps. Took lots of pestering but he got things like money towards training, maybe you couls do a canine first aid? He got things like % towards marketing costs, items bought for him like whiteboards, safe, vet scales, and some towards the cost of the pool – not many costs for dogwalking but you might be able to get something to take the pressure off, think he also got some from DWP, and he now on some benefit that pays a small amount for the first 16 weeks of the business, it all helps!
Mudgies ideas are good, we got lots from people that we often bump into dogwalking.
what sort of competion do you have in the area?
also just looking at website i cant see anything that tells me what kind of walks you offer ie lead/off lead? do you pick dogs up and take them to different places? or just direct from door?
do you have a suitable car you you offer pet taxi to the groomers or vets? many of the franchise type business’s round here offer that.
Good luck and hope things pick up soonMay 26, 2010 at 3:54 pm #89178Foxisle_crazyMember
I charge £4 for half an hour, £7 for an hour, as far as I’m aware I’m the cheapest around lol! I already had connections in the doggy world up here when i started, they helped spread the word which was great. I put leaflets in pet shops, groomers, and a couple of training/agility clubs put the leaflets in their puppy packs. I didn’t do much leafleting to houses, simply because they cost money and the majority would have been binned. I went to the popular dog walking areas wearing my uniform, and gave leaflets to people walking their dogs.
One of the best things i did was get on google. Its free to register your business and if someone searches for dog walking in your area, your details would come up on the map. You can also see how many people have clicked through to your website. Try and register your details on as many free sites as possible, i don’t pay for any advertising!
Word of mouth is the most important thing, i got so many customers from one great lady who told everyone about me!May 26, 2010 at 3:56 pm #89179Foxisle_crazyMember
Also just to add, i found that vets were reluctant to take dog walkers leaflets in case it comes back on them, they don’t like to recommend. And a lot of rescue centres wont take them either because they wont rehome to someone who has to get a walker in!! ::) ::)May 26, 2010 at 6:20 pm #89180mugateaParticipant
Thanks for all the info guys.
Mudgie, I’ve decided to lower my prices from £10 to £8 for an hours walk and £6 to £5 for 30 mins. I’ve printed the leaflets with price changes and will finish of the homes this week hopefully. I’ll change the prices on the website soon. There are plenty of golf courses round here so I’ll get some in plus there is the Ingliston equestrian centre that I’ll try too.
Gracie, I’ve tried small business gateway but all they could give me was money for advertising which is basically money to pay for leaflet distribution so I turned it down as I’d have to wait 5 weeks to get that and I’d rather start asap and just do the leafelts myself, at least I know it’ll get done proper. At this moment I dont have a car so walks would be around the semi rural village. Off lead is optional but I need a signature for insurance purposes. But I’ll sort out the website to make it clearer. I defo have thought about canine first aid and may look into that but as I’m now self employed I’ll have to pay for it myself, although its not that expensive.
((((just got phoned midway this reply and got my first walk!! :yes: :yes: :yes:)))))
Foxisle_crazy, Your prices are cheap, just a bit cheaper than me now. There are so many dog walkers now that its getting very competitive. I’ve seen a dog walker on gumtree advertise £8 for two hours which is rediculous and beneath minimum wage, but times are tough at the mo. I’m on google maps and yell.com and have requested my site to be included in google and yahoo search engines. I guess now I just have to bide my time and hope this one dog walker leads to more in the future.
Thanks for advice guys, much appreciated.
JamieMay 27, 2010 at 7:22 pm #89181GracieMember
congrats on the first walk!
Try to get funding for the first aid course business link paid i think 50 or 70% towards some of hubbys training, but get the funding sorted before you book on a course else its a nightmare!October 16, 2010 at 1:37 pm #89182[email protected]Member
I think generally that people’s expectations are too high: it is very difficult to make dog walking into a full time job. Extra pocket money, yes. I have looked further about this on http://www.followthelead.org.uk.October 22, 2010 at 8:39 am #89183Dogs2mogsMember
You could always join up a professional pet care / dog walking agency where everything is done for you. marketing, insurance even stationary all you have to do is provide a professional service to clients go too http://www.dogs2mogs.com where you can join as a professional carer, they cover the whole of the UK and they even provide clients.
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