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Managing your diary

Discussion in 'Dog Walking' started by Mellymackers, May 15, 2017.


  1. Mellymackers

    Mellymackers PetForums Newbie

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    Hello everyone. I'm starting a new dog walking business and I have seen loads of amazingly helpful information on here and thought you lovely people may be able to give me advice. I'm still in the planning and research stage and I'm just wondering how people manage their diaries? I would like to offer group walking and solo, and nipping in the feed cats and smaller animals. But it's only going to be me so would I say I only do solo walks in the morning or what do you all do?
    My ultimate goal is to do 2 group walks for an hour each day and fit everything else in around it.
    Any advice would be great, how do your average days go?
    Thanks!
     
    Dogsabouttown likes this.
  2. Dogsabouttown

    Dogsabouttown PetForums Junior

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    Hi Mellymackers. I've been going for about 6 weeks now and have 6 regular dogs. I find that so far things haven't got so hectic that I have any problems scheduling everyone in. I find that most of my clients are not too bothered what time there pooches are walked so on the odd busy day that I have, I have free reign to schedule in what works best for me. If I were you I would play it by ear to start off with and just work around what your clients need. Hope that helps and good luck!
     
  3. Mellymackers

    Mellymackers PetForums Newbie

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    Fantastic thank you. I'm very excited to get going!
     
  4. rona

    rona Still missing my boys

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    Just be honest when you take on a dog. Work out what you want to do, and take on jobs that fit around that and don't try and be all things to all or you will end up stressed.
    I've just taken on an adhoc dog that I actually tried to put off as I thought I'd have to let them down occasionally, because she liked my honesty, said she could work around me :)
     
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  5. Dr Pepper

    Dr Pepper Banned

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    #5 Dr Pepper, May 16, 2017
    Last edited: May 16, 2017
  6. joface

    joface PetForums Member

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    Agree with this. It's very tempting to take on everything when you first start but I only take on dogs that need me on a regular basis, every week except holidays and for at least 3 days a week. I know I miss out on a lot of work because of this philosophy but I prefer it this way, it makes planning a whole lot easier & my hours a lot more regular. If someone needs a dog walker 'every now & again' I pass them on to another dog walker I know who is happy to take on these jobs. I have found that this means I can always service my existing clients. Its worked well for me and I have been dog walking for 15 years and love it
     
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  7. joface

    joface PetForums Member

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    My average day is a 9.15am start, collect 3 dogs & walk them together. Then I have 2 pop in visits for 15 mins each. After this I collect 3 more dogs and walk them together & finally a further walk with 1, sometimes 2 dogs. I normally get home around 2.15-2.30pm (I also pop home about 11.15 as its on route for a comfort break of my own!). My group walks are 45 minutes actual walking plus travel time collecting, delivery & getting to the walking place.
     
  8. Mellymackers

    Mellymackers PetForums Newbie

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    I wondered about the travel time and how that would work. I am hoping my day will be over about 2.30 so I can pick the kids up from school everyday. I'm working full time in 9-5 at the moment and I just feel so guilty I'm not always around for them.
     
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  9. Jelevents

    Jelevents PetForums Member

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    Yes you need to factor that in if I'm picking up 4/5 dogs from my village and surrounding villages then drive to the walking area by the time the last dog is dropped off it can easily be over 2 hours and that's just doing about 15-20 miles in total. Try to offer early morning walks and not be led by clients pushing for a lunchtime walk.
     
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  10. Simon.

    Simon. PetForums Junior

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    Hi,

    To keep your travelling time down to a minimum, you have to be strict on the areas you cover. It's always best if you are doing group walks to only walk dogs within about a 2 mile radius of your first pick up (I know sometimes that's easier said than done!) it will also keep your fuel usage down, which, most likely will be your biggest spend.

    I believe the best day setup is:

    6.30am - 8.30am - pet sitting visits
    8.30am - 10.45am - 1 hour group dog walk (maximum of 4 dogs)
    12.45pm - 2.45pm - 1 hour group dog walk (maximum of 4 dogs)
    4.45pm - 7pm - pet sitting visits.

    All the times include travel and service time.

    You can fit in a solo half hour walk between sitting visits and group walks in the morning and afternoon

    Undoubtedly, you're busy pretty much all day long but the amount of money you can potentially earn is going to be around £120 - £150 per day (not bad for doing something you love!)

    The key is to keep the area you cover tight, it's so tempting when you first start out to go outside your area, but as your business progresses you'll end up restricting your income because it becomes harder and harder to get back to your area and you'll start to turn work down because you have lost time by travelling.

    Always happy to help!
    PetBusinessLand.co.uk
     
    Mellymackers likes this.
  11. Northampton Dog Walker

    Northampton Dog Walker PetForums Junior

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    It's still a new business for me so not at full capacity yet. This week has been really busy though. Generally I'm not turning work down and have a few who are not regulars. It suits me though as they still provide me with glowing review.

    There will come a time soon when I'll have to be more selective. Financially I'd like to be able to walk 4 dogs at once and not all dogs are suitable candidates for this. Most of my walking requests want between 11am-2pm. I'm also getting lots of boarding requests. When I don't have boarding clients I'm free early mornings and late afternoons. This free time is used for either walking my own dog or working with web design clients which is my 2nd income.

    It won't be long before I have to decide whether to turn new work down or recruit someone else. I'd prefer the latter but need to understand all the legalities.

    Gary
     
  12. Dr Pepper

    Dr Pepper Banned

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    It's not the sort of business that easily lends itself to employees. For a start they won't share your motivation and what do you do when they call in sick? Then you also have to cover holidays. Then say you charge £13 a hour and pay them, what, £9. Are clients going to be happy paying £13 for a £9 walker? The only way it could work is by employing three or four part-timers so they can cover holidays, sick etc. Trouble then though is you are no longer providing the same quality of service. There's a franchise outfit on our patch and their reputation is shocking, from lost dogs to missed walks and ever changing staff.

    I'd stick to a quality service you have full control over. Over the coming years you'll pick up plenty of cat, chicken, rabbit visits that boost your core income without infringing on your walking time.
     
  13. joface

    joface PetForums Member

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    THIS is exactly why we have never gone down the hiring help route. We turn away work we cannot or do not want to do. Dr Pepper is right, no-one else will have your motivation to drag yourself out of bed with the flu or not be tempted to shave 10 mins off a walk because its pelting it down. A few dog walkers around my way do have helpers, but I know for a fact that they have let their 'employer' down with no notice i.e.10am on the day, leaving the employer to contact all the customers allocated to that walker and either cancel or offer them a reduced service. The thought of having to cover or let down a whole days worth of someone elses dogs fills me with dread. And if its just for a few quid per dog its not worth it.
     
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  14. Darrell Jones

    Darrell Jones PetForums Member

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    I've had my first small animal booking today. Two rabbits at the same home, a daily feeding, bedding change each day for 3 weeks :)
     
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  15. Jelevents

    Jelevents PetForums Member

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    In the last couple of weeks I had taken on 2 new dogs that are 5x week and now find after 7 months into the job I'm at capacity for walks from 11.00 to 4.00 for regular walks most days, there are a few ad-hoc clients I slot in but any new clients now I would have to fit in either early morning or late afternoon, however I'm now looking into cat/small animal feeds/visits to fill in the gaps.
    I do have several clients in the teaching profession so school holidays will see a big drop in bookings.
     
    Dr Pepper likes this.
  16. PrettyPiaffe

    PrettyPiaffe PetForums Junior

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    I'm 7 months in and am not at full capacity yet.

    Tuesdays I tend to walk from 10.00-13.30 so I have capacity for another group walk in the afternoon and Wednesdays and Thursdays I walk from 10.00-15.00 so pretty much at capacity.

    Mondays I walk from 10.00-13.00 so still have capacity for another group or 2 and Fridays I only walk from 10.00-12.00 really so definitely have capacity.

    It's hard, as I get a lot of enquiries that I'd love to take on but they just aren't really in my catchment area.

    I don't have many cat/ rabbit visits. I have done a few cats and I'm doing some rabbits next week for a friend, but really, those enquiries are few and far between. Which is a pity as I really could do with some of those regularly to top up my income.
     
  17. Dr Pepper

    Dr Pepper Banned

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    The cats, rabbits, chickens and lambs will come, the trouble is you need to have a couple of years of holiday seasons behind you to have gained the clients. Eventually you'll find that school holidays you lose a few dog walks but gain a load of cats etc. Your busiest times will end up being just before and just after school holidays, you have all your walks plus those without children going away and needing their cats doing.
     
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