With some 8.5 million dogs in the UK, each one requiring a high level of care and attention, man’s best friend is also creating significant business opportunities.
But what are the key elements involved in setting up a business looking after dogs?
A professional website is key to drumming up potential clients and opportunities. A website allows you to advertise your business and showcase your skills. Social media can also do this. If you have the permission of the owner, you can upload success stories and dogs you have dealt with.
While word of mouth is a great tool for marketing, branded attire, newspaper adverts and flyers can also keep your company at the forefront of potential customers’ minds.
Pet services listings are another fantastic tool. Simply adding your business details to as many of these sites as possible will help boost your potential reach and some are free.
Depending on where in the UK you live, you may find that you need a licence if you intend to run a dog walking business. Contact your local authority to find out whether or not this is something you require.
You will be required to obtain a licence if you wish to run a boarding kennel or cattery in England, Wales or Scotland. This is because of the Animal Boarding Establishments Act 1963. Even if you only intend to mind a small number of pets, you may still be required to apply to your council for a licence.
If it is required, you may find that the council wants to inspect your premises to ensure that all animals are suitably looked after. This includes your accommodation, the animal’s food, drink and bedding, how much exercise they will have and if they will be protected from any infectious diseases.
This licence will need to be renewed each year.
While pet-sitters in the UK are not required to be licensed if they are caring for pets in the owner’s own home, some businesses do join organisations so that their professional image is enhanced.
These groups are dedicated to showing that their members operate legitimately and strive to make sure that pet owners always receive quality service. Being checked by DBS (Disclosure and Barring Service – previously known as Criminal Records Bureau) can also help you gain a higher level of trust.
It can be stressful setting up and running your own business. However, simply knowing that if things were to go wrong there is someone there to help, can greatly help. With companies such as Cliverton offering insurance for dog walkers as well as insurance many other dog businesses, they can cover your every need. This includes:
- Public liability insurance, which covers injury to a third party as well as damage to their property.
- Care, custody and control to cover you for any injury caused to the dog in your care.
- Employers’ liability, which covers you for any injury to employees at work caused by your negligence.
- Goods in transit, to cover any injury an animal may suffer when being transported in your care.
- Personal accident, which gives you a weekly benefit if an accidental injury at work stops you from working.
Motor insurance is another consideration. It is important to note that standard motor insurance is not likely to cover you. If your vehicle has been modified to carry animals the cover will be even more difficult to obtain.
If you are looking to work from home, PetStay franchise opportunities could be just what you’re looking for. However, even home dog boarding workers require enhanced household insurance. This is because most home insurances don’t cover your house and contents if you are running a business from the location.
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