Getting new clients for your dog walking business can be tough when you first start out, with no recommendations or no word of mouth (not including family and friends!) to generate new clients for your business, you need to go online and find where your clients are.
Of course, there are ways to advertise and promote your new business offline but we all ‘Google It’ when we are looking for any service, product or information now, simply because its easy and quick and let’s be honest we all like easy and quick!
Advertising and promoting your dog walking business online doesn’t have to be difficult.
Reaching a vastly greater number of people online as opposed to offline can only be a good thing for your business.
There are many websites that you can advertise and promote your dog walking business on that will get people picking up the phone or e-mailing you about your dog walking services. We are going to cover five of the best websites that you can advertise and promote your dog walking business on.
All of these websites work very well for our own pet care business and many, many other pet business owners. I will guide you through how to set up your listing and advertise in the most effective way so your potential clients will see your business as the obvious choice when it comes to caring for their pooch.
Some of the websites are completely free to advertise and a few charge a small amount (£1-£3) or a small percentage to talk to potential customers.
In a way, it’s to be expected, there is sometimes a price attached to certain aspects of starting a dog walking (or any other) business, but you will quickly regain that amount just by gaining one new client.
So, let’s get down to business!
A super laser targeted website to get your pet business in front of people in your local community. Netmums is two websites in one! They have a national section and a local section on their website which covers alot of counties and areas in the UK. So your local neighbourhood and the area your dog walking business will provide services in, stands a very good chance of having a Netmums Local page.
Netmums is a very well respected authority website with tens of thousands visitors each month, your advert will be seen! People love to look at local listings in their area and as a result advertising on a website like Netmums, your business will be a step ahead of your competition.
You are also able to have a profile page where you can put lots of information on there about your business including links to your website, Facebook page and Twitter feed. I highly recommend that you put in as much information about your dog walking business as possible especially links to your website and social media pages. Your profile page will be viewed by many of your future clients, we all like to know as much as possible about somebody if we’re going to pay them for their professional services.
Writing Your Advert
To start to advertise your pet care business on Netmums is very easy.
From here you need to click on ‘Pet Services’ The number in the green circle before the categories tells you how many listings are currently in that category, if the number is high don’t be put off, Your business has the same chance as every other business which is listed.
People like choice when it comes to finding a carer for their little one, the key is to outshine all other listings.
Generally speaking most of the other listings in the Pet Services category are very low quality just consisting of one or two sentences, Netmums gives you 2,500 characters and a further 1,500 characters to use for you listing – USE THEM!
Once you have clicked on Pet Services Category you will need to click the ‘Add a listing’ button on the next screen.
Now It’s Time For The Meat And Potatoes!
You will be taken to the screen below where you can enter all your details and all the details about your dog walking service. If you already have a listing on Netmums you can link your listings together with the top dropdown box. If you are new to Netmums, the top box won’t be visible.
I recommend putting your business name in the ‘Title’ box and definitely uploading any images you have for business, e.g Business Logo, Picture of yourself etc.
Always make sure you select ‘I Want To Be Able To Make Changes To This Listing In The Future’ just so you can easily go back and edit the listing whenever you need to.
You have two sections where you can add your business information. It’s worth filling in as much as posssible in these two sections. Enter in all the details about your business.
Your potential clients, who are looking for a pet carer, will have all they need to know straight in front of them from your business, whereas the other listings will be lacking in details, your pet care business will stand out immediately.
The listing with the one sentence saying “I’ll walk your dog” just isn’t professional and it certainly isn’t giving out the impression that they give 100% to their business, which is caring for other people’s pets.
The people visiting Netmums are living in your local community and they’re all your potential clients.
One of the biggest bonuses of Netmums is that when you gain a new client through the website, they will always be more than happy to recommend you as a dog walker to other local people they know.
Which generates the much sort after…Word of Mouth.
How can you not advertise your dog walking business on Yell.com?!
Yell.com is possibly the best known business listing website here in the UK. The Yellow Pages have been around for ever! and Yell is the online version of The Yellow Pages.
When was the last time you picked up a copy of The Yellow Pages? Is it still published! Now ask yourself when was the last time you searched Google? Possibly minutes ago!
When your future clients are searching for pet care services they are almost guaranteed to see a Yell.com result in the search results and if you are not listed in Yell they won’t see your business.
Getting Your Business Listed
First off, advertising your dog walking business on Yell is completely free, which we like! However it does take a tiny bit of work to set it up correctly, it is straight forward though.
Yell do offer paid listings which is great if you are a big national business because they offer many other features that are not available to free listings, but we don’t need to worry about that for the time being. Visit yell.com/free-listing to start advertising your pet business.
How your business listing will look on Yell.com.
I’ve included two videos below to help you get your free listing. The first video explains how to submit your business for a listing on yell.com and the second video explains how to fully maximise your listing with all of your business information to help people find out about your business.
Adding all your dog walking business information can take a little time, but it is well worth making yourself a coffee, sitting down and fill in as much as you can. It will help with where your business appears in Yell’s search results and it will help your potential clients find out about your professional pet care business.
After you have confirmed your email and are awaiting your listing to be published, you may receive a phone call from Yell, don’t worry this is normal! We received a phone call when we set our advertisement up. It was more of a customer service call – “Are you interested in this service and that product?” type of call! But they were really helpful in making sure we were advertising our pet care service in the right area and correct category listing.
Another great little bonus of advertising your dog walking business on Yell is that they will email you a monthly report detailing how many times your listing has appeared in their search results, and how many times people have viewed your listing and your details. It’s a nice little touch.
Getting new clients through Tailster has definitely got it’s Pro’s and Con’s!
Signing up is free and contacting potential clients is also free. There is a good steady flow of clients posting requests for various dog walking services – one off walks, couple of days a week and we have seen a few people wanting twice a day, seven days a week walks. There is definitely no shortage of potential clients on Tailster. The process is straight forward:
- A pet owner will post a request detailing what service they require.
- Reply to the dog owner’s request, detailing your price and what you can provide.
- They will then reply to whoever they think fits the job best.
- You would also be covered by Tailster’s insurance whilst provided pet care services through their website.
Just put in your postcode on the right hand side to get a list of pet owner’s needing pet care services in your area.
Sounds great – doesn’t it?
Tailster will take a 15% commission from you when you gain a new client through their website. Now, I understand completely that Tailster is a business, just like me and you, they need to make money but; 15% of the total fee you charge a client quickly starts adding up into money you won’t earn compared to getting a client through your own advertising and marketing efforts.
You charge £10 per hour walk for one dog.
Your client wants five walks per week.
Getting the client yourself will earn you £50 per week.
Getting the client through Tailster you will earn £42.50 per week.
£7.50 isn’t the biggest amount of money in the world but still you are losing out on money. As a professional dog walking business you don’t want to lose out on any amount money for the service you provide, especially if that week the weather is non-stop rain, strong winds and barely above freezing! You deserve every penny you charge.
Tailster acts like a third-party aswell when taking payments. The client will pay Tailster and Tailster will pay you minus their commission.
Please, Don’t Get Me Wrong!…
Tailster offer a great service in getting clients for your pet business.
I’ve included them in this post because they are an excellent way to get clients IF you have NO clients at all, as they could provide you with your first client to get business rolling.
Whatever stage you are at the moment.
You run and own a professional dog walking business. Getting clients is always best done from your own advertising and marketing efforts where the price you charge is the price you get paid.
Which leads me on to…
Advertising, Branding, Marketing and Promoting your dog walking business on the web is vital to your success.
I can’t emphasise this enough! Having your own website for your business is the number one method to gaining your first client or your 100th client!
You need a website for your business to succeed. People are looking to pay you money for your pet services, you MUST make sure that they have professionalism and trust staring back at them from their screen – Desktop, Mobile or Tablet!
Your website sells your business to clients. Your website can be the sales pitch, advertising campaign and biggest fan in the world of your dog walking business.
Way too many dog walking businesses fail for two main reasons:
- They don’t have a website.
- They don’t make their website work for them.
If your dog walking business hasn’t got a website, how does somebody find your business when they Google “I need a dog walker”?
Answer: They don’t, they find your competition who has a website, instead.
Having your own website for your business should be the first thing on your To Do List when starting up a dog walking business.
Once you have a website you need to make it work for you.
By that I mean, use it as your main tool to get new clients by:
- Making it look professional and well designed
- Make it easy for the visitor to find what they are looking for, whatever age group they are
- Display your contact details clearly
- Tell the visitor a little bit about you, aswell as your business
- Make sure you have a prices page
On the more techie side of websites:
- Use on-page SEO to help with search engine rankings
- Use off-page SEO to also boost search engine rankings
- Invest in good, reliable hosting and a quality domain name
- Set up your professional business email
- Make sure your website looks great on mobile, tablet and desktop
We provide web services here at Pet Business Land (aswell as great info!)
We would love to create your website for you because we know what your dog walking business website needs to succeed.
We go all out on advertising and marketing your business and website online. We make your website the main point of focus that we will drive your potential clients to week after week.
We’d like to help and support you as much as you need, because we have been exactly where you are now.
So that’s why we priced our two web plans at an affordable price, so everybody can get started with their own pet business. Our goal is to make it, inexpensive and easy to get your pet care business online and we strongly believe that anybody who wants to start and run a professional profitable dog walking business, we have the perfect web plan for you.
However, even if you don’t want us to take care of it all for you and you just want to get all the advice and help for your business from our blog…That’s fine!
But wherever you get a website from for your dog walking business…Get one and make it work for you!!
NARPSUK – National Association of Registered Pet Sitters.
NARPS is our industry’s standard for dog walkers and pet sitters.
They are known throughout the UK as a authoritative body that many pet related businesses use for taking courses and earning certificates in canine and feline first aid animal healthcare amongst others.
Their certificate is recognised nationally. They have three levels of membership varying in cost but being a member of Narps is well worth the investment.
Certificates from NARPSUK.
My wife and I have been members of Narps right from the beginning of our pet care business and it has definitely been more than worth the price.
At the start of your business they are a great help in guiding you through the legal side and best practice side of being a dog walker (sadly though, our industry seems to be somewhat lacking in official laws and acts of parliament, but that’s a conversation for another day!)
Narps offer an excellent array of benefits for you and your business that include:
- An Accounting Package
- Information Sheets
- Forms & Contracts
- A Member’s Forum
- A Criminal Record Check to show your clients
- A Pet Sitter’s Training Course
They offer liability insurance aswell at an additional cost, I would say though it’s always worth looking around at other insurers as you can find the price lower and still get great cover.
One of the biggest bonus’ of being a member of Narps is that they will advertise your dog walking business on their website and on their listings website – findalocalpetsitter.co.uk. So you get listed twice on different websites which is brilliant!
People looking for dog walkers can put in their postcode on either website to find pet carers that are close to them and the results will be listed by closest distance first. So your business will be quite literally in the right place at the right time!
Like your Yell.com listing it is really important to fill in as much information and details about your business as possible. Pet owners can contact you through Narps and Findalocalpetsitter.com (no charge or commission) and they can also contact you directly, so be sure to fill in all of your contact details.
There we go then!
Five tried, tested and proven websites and methods that will get your dog walking business new clients – both human and non-human!
One of the key factors in running a successful, professional dog walking business is knowing how to advertise and market your business effectively.
Hopefully this post has given you a great starting point in how to advertise your dog walking business in a professional and effective way.
It doesn’t have to be complicated and confusing. But you need:
As always, we are here to help you with all aspects of running your dog walking business online. If you are after more advice and guides have a look around our Blog. Or if you need a gorgeous website creating and advertising and marketing for your new business, take a look at our two Pet Business Plans, so you can hit the ground running (or walking dogs!)
There are many, many websites out there that you can use to get the word out about your pet care business, if you use a website to advertise and market your pet care business and it’s getting you clients, let us know in the comments section below, we would love to here what you think (remember to add a link to your website, it will help with your website’s SEO)
Let’s Strengthen Our Industry And Community…Together.