How To Start A Dog Running Business: A Helpful Guide

Are you a runner who loves dogs? I absolutely love running and would love to start this business but my problem is I’m only comfortable around Boston Terriers.

This is the perfect side business for you to make some “fast” (pun intended) cash. Dogs need exercise just like we do. 

Boston Terrier walking
Bella on a walk

According to PetMD, dogs should exercise for 30 minutes to two hours every day. Cardio is a great way to get this needed exercise.

You can create a dog running company in 9 simple steps with less than $500.00. Here is your step by step guide to getting started…

How To Start A Dog Running Business: A Helpful Guide

If you are interested in starting a dog running operation you should start by asking friends and family if they would be interested in your services. 

Once you have had a few runs completed and you still like the idea of the running business only then I would recommend following the steps to become an official business.

Step 1: Create A Company Name

This is the fun part of creating a business, and the most challenging. You want to come up with a company name that is catchy, memorable, as well as leaves a good impression on your potential and current customers.

How To Come Up With A Business Name

The best way to come up with a company name is to write down all potential names you can come up with. Next, use a name generator online to see if there are any more you can come up with, click here for Anadea business name generator.

Now circle the top three names you favor. Share the three names with friends and family. Have your friends and family give you feedback to help you to determine the best name for you.

Do Not Spend Too Much Time On Coming Up With A Name

Creating a trade name should take no longer than a couple of days. You don’t want to spend a month thinking of a name. Choose a name and get started. 

While names are important people won’t care about your name, they care about you do an amazing job running their dog. 

Plus, you can always change your name in the future.

***Once you choose the name make sure it is not taken on social media sites or online as a website.

Step 2: Set Up An LLC

Creating an LLC is simple using Legal Zoom, NOLO, or a local attorney. When I created my LLC with a local attorney it cost me $895. 

You can create your own LLC online for less. Below are a few how-to guides on setting up your LLC online, as well as the cost from two online providers.

Legal Zoom – How to start an LLC in 7 steps

NOLO – How to form an LLC

Read more…here is an article about running a company from home, How to legally operate a business from home.

Step 3: Create A Price Structure

Creating a price structure before you get started is critical. It is best practice to charge more for customers who only want you to run their dog one time. 

You want to encourage people to use your services often, so charging less on a per hour basis for multiple runs is a good idea.

Runs Per Week30 Minutes

The above pricing structure is reasonable. However, it is up to you to decide how much your services are worth. The average dog walker makes $12 – $30 per thirty-minute walk. 

As a dog runner, you should be paid extra for the exercise you are providing to someone’s companion

Step 4: Create A Website (Optional)

Creating a website is optional. If you want to make dog running a full-time job, having a website is a great way to promote your business. 

You will be able to display prices, photos, as well as a new customer sign up form.

For a dog running enterprise, all you need is a simple website. Using a company like WIX allows you to create a simple yet professional looking website with no technical skills needed.

Companies You Can Use To Create Your First Website – you can build a website for less than $20.00 per month.

Square Space – you can build a website for less than $18.00 per month.

Weebly – Weebly allows you to build a site for free and there are paid bonus features.

Step 5: Set Up Social Media Pages

Setting up a social media page is a great way to get free exposure in the local community. The best approach for a local shop like dog running would be to create a Facebook Like Page. This will allow locals to find your business.

Facebook groups would be a great way to get your name out in the local community as well. There are groups centered around every topic imaginable. You could ask these groups if they would be interested in your services.

Step 6: Dog Running Photos

Have someone take photos of you running with your dog or someone else’s. You will use these photos for marketing your company on your website and social media.

If you need a pet photographer, as well as know costs here, is an article covering 30 pet photographers. Plus, this article shows you prices for their basic packages.

NOTE: You will need to talk with the photographer on how you can buy the rights to the photos. Because even though you hire a photographer they are the copyright holder of that photo and they may not want their photos to be used in marketing pieces. Be sure to let the photographer know you are using these photos for commercial use.

Step 7: Find Insurance For Your Business

Insurance for your venture is essential to protect you in case something were to happen. There are a number of dog walking insurance policies you can buy online for as little as $129.00 per year.

A dog walking plan will cover the same needs as your dog running company. However, before you buy any policy it is a good idea to talk with the agent of the company to see how the insurance policy will protect you and your needs.

What Is Covered In The Dog Walking/ Running Business Insurance Plan?

Insurance will typically cover taking the dog were to be attacked or attack another animal, emergency vet visit, coverage if the dog is hit by a car, or if the dog becomes ill, etc. You never know what can happen and it is always a good idea to be protected.

Here Are Some Sites That Offer Dog Walking Insurance

  1. – this company offers plans as low as $129.00 per year.
  2. – plans start at $190.00 per year.
  3. – this is a generic site offering a number of different insurance policies.

Step 8: Promote Your Business

The best way to promote any business is by word of mouth. Be sure to tell your friends and family about your new venture. Offer a one-time half-off promotion to get people interested in using your services. Groupon option

Places Promote Your New Dog Running Business

  • Local Vets
  • Doggie daycares
  • Pet grooming companies
  • Dog bakeries
  • Bulletin boards at PetCo or Petsmart
  • Facebook groups

Step 9: Separate Accounts

You will want to keep all your company purchases and income separate from your personal accounts. If you chose not to create an LLC you can still do this by creating another personal account and labeling it as your business account.

It is critical to keep these accounts separate from your personal accounts for tax purposes. Even if you do not create a “business” you can still file it as a sole proprietorship and write off the expenses on your taxes.

Risks of starting a dog running business.

The risk of starting a dog running company is the potential harm the dog does while it is in your care. Remember you own your business and you can choose the clients you want to take on.

If a dog is aggressive towards you, it may likely be aggressive towards others. You should always meet the dog for at least 5 minutes prior before you take them on a run.

What You’ll Need To Start A Dog Running Business And Cost.

The essentials to every dog runner entrepreneur:

  • Running shoes – $30 – $120
  • Dog treats – $15 – $30
  • Dog water bottle – $10 – $20
  • Doggie waste bags – $15 – $35
  • Running leash – $15 – $50

How Much Can I Make From A Dog Running Business?

The income potential is unlimited to your stamina. Assuming you have 5 dogs you run 5 days a week and you take off 4 weeks out of the year, you could earn an income of ~ $36,000. The income will vary depending on the number of runs you’re able to make each week.

The highlight of the business is the hours. In the above example if you ran 5 dogs per week you would only be working 2.5 hours per day (not including travel)…not bad.

Man on a race. How to start a dog running business.
Me (Donnie) loving races!

Final thoughts…

A dog running business is a great way to mix two passions, running and animals. Pet owners are willing to pay you more if you will run with their dog versus a simple walk. Dogs need to exercise at least 30 minutes a day and you can provide that outlet for them.

The income potential for a full-time career as a dog runner is there. However, this would also be a great side business if you were needing to save some money to buy a new car, home, or pay down some debt.

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Donnie Gardner

Donnie Gardner is the owner of the Boston Terrier Society. He has been raising Bella the Boston since 2010. He resides in Kansas with his wife, daughter, and Bella. His favorite activities are hanging out with family, traveling, running (but has bad knees), and reading non-fiction books.

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