If you’re in the dog walking business, congratulations. You’re in a booming multi-billion dollar industry. Sales for pet care services have doubled over the past decade, and they show no signs of slowing down.1
There’s only one downside to being part of a growing industry: finding a way to set yourself apart from the competition.
With so many dog walkers to choose from, how do you convince potential clients to choose you? In a word: marketing. To get more dog walking clients, you need to invest in marketing and put yourself out there.
Get started with these advertising ideas for dog walkers.
1. Design your dog walking website and logo.
Having a business website is one of the easiest ways to establish that you are a professional, and your dog walking services can be trusted. Plus, building a website is relatively easy these days, thanks to website builders like Wix, Weebly, and Squarespace. Here’s what to include:
- An overview of your dog walking services
- The neighborhoods and zip codes you walk dogs in
- Pricing information
- An “About” page that discusses your experience with dog walking and lists any dog walking certifications or licenses you have
- Testimonials from happy clients
- Contact information
Design a logo for your dog walking business, too. This will come in handy for tip #11, when you order promotional products.
2. Get listed on Google and Yelp.
Many people turn to Google and Yelp to find reputable dog walkers in their area, so make sure they can find you. Create a profile and fill it out completely. Then, keep it updated regularly with new photos and service updates. Finally, ask your happy clients to leave you a review.
For more tips, read our guide to optimizing your Google My Business profile.
3. Join local Facebook groups.
Many locals join Facebook groups to find and share advice with others in their community. See if there are any groups in your town for new pet owners, rescue dog owners, or owners of particular breeds.
Join and be helpful. Use your expertise as a dog walker to share advice, and establish yourself as an expert in the group. Don’t be too self-promotional though, or you might rub people the wrong way.
4. Join dog meetup groups.
Some people turn to Facebook for community, while others prefer IRL interactions. Join local meetup groups for dog owners, and you’ll meet plenty of potential clients.
You can also meet new dog owners by volunteering with a pet shelter or rescue group organization.
5. Get social.
Consider yourself lucky: dog content is always a hit on social media. Use that to your advantage and share photos of your clients’ dogs, or post short videos of you walking their dogs or playing fetch. (Have your clients sign a photo release form first.)
Don’t forget to share a little bit of yourself, too. Dog walking is a business based on trust, so let your audience get to know you!
6. Pay for advertising.
If you have a little extra budget, an ad in your local newspaper can go a long way. You can also sponsor your business listing on Nextdoor for more visibility on the neighborhood app.
If you’ve got a bit of tech savvy, you can buy online ads on Google and social media. These ads offer the ability to really hone in on your target audience, and advertise only to people who live in specific areas.
7. Print flyers and business cards.
Print up dog flyers and business cards so you can post them to the bulletin boards at any local business who will accept them. Ask coffee shops, churches, libraries, and grocery stores or delis. If any of your long-time clients work in an office, ask them if they wouldn’t mind hanging your flyer in the breakroom.
What to include on your dog walking flyer
Not sure what to put on your dog walking flyer? Here’s a quick guide:
- A title. Jazz it up with a phrase that makes you stand out and spurs people to take action, like “Best Dog Walker in [Your Town]” or “Dog Walking: Day-of Appointments!”
- A special offer, like two walks for the price of one, or $10 offer your first walk
- A photo of a happy dog
- A bulleted list of your dog walking services, pricing, and service area
- Your name, logo, and contact information. You can list your phone number or website on pull tabs at the bottom of the flyer.
- A rave review or testimonial from one of your clients
8. Attend dog-friendly events.
From pet store openings to doggie fashion shows, there’s always a Fido-friendly event going on. Check out your town’s event listings and add any dog events to your calendar.
Human-focused events, like a farmers’ market, can also be good opportunities to find dog walking clients — as long as they’re dog-friendly. Bring plenty of flyers and business cards to pass out.
9. Partner up with other pet care businesses.
Network with other business owners to see how you can refer business to each other. Reach out to local:
- Dog groomers
- Dog trainers
- Rescue groups and humane societies
- Boarding and daycare providers
- Pet food and supply stores
Ask if you can post a flyer in their office or drop off a case of business cards (include an acrylic stand so it looks nice). If they have a resources section on their website, ask if you can be listed as a dog walker. Strengthen the partnership by providing their clients with an exclusive referral discount on their first walk.
10. Get some swag.
As a professional dog walker, you have the advantage of knowing exactly what kind of swag your clients would love. Rather than a boring notepad with your logo on it, you can give them branded poop bag dispensers, bandannas, frisbees, or balls. Be sure to order swag they can use when they’re out and about with their dog — and likely to catch the eye of other dog owners!
11. Do an amazing job.
Our last marketing tip for dog owners is the easiest one. Just keep doing the amazing job you already are. Word of mouth is a powerful thing. The more time you spend walking your clients’ dogs, the more they’ll trust you and refer you to other dog owners they know.
Speaking of trust, it’s easier for new clients to trust you when they see you as a professional. Having proper business insurance is a big part of that. With Thimble’s Dog Walker Insurance, you can get a free quote in less than 60 seconds. Get yours now!
In a nutshell
To recap, follow these tips to build your dog walking clientele:
- Build your website.
- Get listed on Google and Yelp.
- Join local Facebook groups.
- Join dog meetup groups.
- Get social.
- Pay for advertising.
- Print flyers and business cards.
- Attend dog-friendly events.
- Partner up with other pet care businesses.
- Get some swag.
- Do an amazing job.