How to start a dog business from home
The UK is a nation that loves its dogs. In 2021, the UK was home to an estimated 12.5 million dogs kept as pets. Not only that, but their owners are big spenders. Surveys have found that the overall pet market is worth £8.5 billion, and 2 in 5 pet owners spend more on presents for their pets than for their friends.
The range of services people expect is growing, from regular dog walking to lengthy spa and grooming treatments; even in some cases making social media profiles for their pets. Unfortunately, not everyone has the time for that. Whether it’s because of work, school, or other obligations, we can’t always give our furry friends the attention they deserve.
That’s where you come in. With such a large number of dog owners, there’s high demand for someone who can look after and care for the dogs while their humans are busy.
Starting a dog business at home in the UK
In addition to dog businesses being viable because of the sheer amount of people who love their pets, they can be relatively easy to start. Unlike many other ventures, you don’t need any professional qualifications or government licences when you’re starting a dog business. That means less paperwork and less strain on the wallet.
Though you’re free to get started right away from a legal standpoint, there are still things you’d benefit from having. If you’re considering starting a dog walking business, for example, the British College of Canine Studies offers a Professional Dog Walker certificate.
And no matter if you’re doing dog walking, dog grooming, or dog training, it’s incredibly valuable to take a pet first aid course. You can find these courses pretty easily online, and they’re quite short. In just 6 hours, you’ll have the safety knowledge you need to start your home-based dog business.
Choosing your niche
Your first major decision is which aspect of the industry you want to specialise in. So let’s take a quick look at the different types of dog business you could start.
Starting a dog walking business
One of the most prevalent pet care services, especially in big cities, is dog walking. People who commute to and from work every day are often short on time, especially if their hours are irregular. Starting a dog walking business is especially viable in urban areas with lots of apartment buildings, where pets might otherwise be cooped up and unhappy.
So you want to learn how to start a dog walking business? It’s pretty simple, since you only need a few pieces of equipment. The main essentials are leads, harnesses, collars, and perhaps a vehicle if you’re planning on servicing a wider area.
The business itself involves tasks ranging from going to the owners’ home, taking the dogs for exercise in the park, and cleaning up after them.
Starting a dog grooming business
Dogs need grooming, and owners don’t always want to go to a salon for that. Sometimes salons are expensive, and sometimes people don’t have time for the trip.
That’s why starting a dog grooming business at home can fill a gap. You could offer top-quality services in your local area from the comfort of your own home. And with fewer operating costs, you may be able to undercut the prices of nearby salons.
Dog grooming services include brushing and washing fur, clipping nails, and trimming overgrown coats. Many of these treatments are routine, which means you can attract regular business. If you’re new to the profession, you can find a wide range of dog grooming courses and trainings online.
If you’re working out how to start a dog grooming business at home, bear in mind that you could also set yourself up as a mobile business, and offer the convenience of house calls to your customers. The major additional factor to consider here is how to transport your grooming equipment.
Starting a dog training business from home
Training is one of the most important aspects of owning a pet. Unfortunately, many dog owners decide to get an animal without researching the proper way to care and train it. Socialising animals in a home environment so they can be around people takes expertise, especially when dealing with animals that have been abandoned or rescued.
Starting a dog training business might be a good option if you don’t have much working capital, as the primary upfront investment is time. You don’t need to spend much on equipment, and there’s no mandatory licence to obtain. However, there are training courses you can complete to help yourself stand out.
The most important trait to have for dog training is patience. Teaching is a long process, especially when the dog in question is shy or anxious.
Insuring your business
While dogs are in your care, you will be legally responsible for them under the Animal Welfare Act. This means that you will be liable if a dog injures someone or damages their property while you are in charge. If you don’t have the right insurance in place, you could be looking at costly legal fees and compensation claims.
That’s why dog-related Business Insurance usually includes Public Liability Insurance, which covers legal fees as well as personal or property damages. Professional Indemnity Insurance cover is also often included, as it protects you in case you’re accused of negligence. Lastly, Employers’ Liability Insurance is mandatory if you hire anyone or use volunteers (including family and friends).
The last step in figuring out how to start a dog business from home is working out how to get paid. Whether you’re working from home or visiting the homes of customers, you’ll need a simple and reliable way to accept all forms of payment.
One of the easiest ways to get paid for your work is to get a card reader. That way, you can accept payment in more forms than just cash, and payments only take seconds to process.
SumUp offers a range of card readers, with something to suit businesses of any size. They all support payment via:
Once you purchase a SumUp reader, there are no extra costs or recurring charges – all you pay is a 1.69% fee per transaction.Compare card readers
You can also take payments remotely with SumUp. If you have the SumUp App, it’s easy to create a Payment Link so customers can pay you from anywhere. Just enter an amount and click ‘Payment Links’. From there, you can share the link with customers via SMS, social media, or email.
As a small home-based business, it can be a challenge keeping your personal and professional finances separated. The best way to accomplish this is to open a business account.
The SumUp Business Account is free and gives you 24/7 access to any money made using our products or services. You can easily keep track of your business’s earnings and keep your personal funds out of it.
Plus, SumUp Business Account holders enjoy next-day payouts. This means whenever you process a transaction with your SumUp card reader, your money will be paid directly into your Business Account the following day, even on weekends and holidays.
Dog businesses are a robust market and can be quickly profitable if you set yourself up well. In many cases, they don’t require a lot of expensive resources or equipment, which make them good starter or side businesses. And there are plenty of free or inexpensive courses online to help you develop your skillset.
Want to make running your dog business from home easier? Join SumUp today to make the most of our simple, affordable business tools.Learn more