If you are someone who loves dogs and you have an entrepreneurial spirit, what better way to support your way of life than to start a dog training business?
Given the influx of people who added a furry friend to their families during the pandemic, just about any dog-related business is booming right now! The market is ready to house more dog training businesses because the demand is certainly there.
Owning a dog training business offers flexibility, lucrative returns, and a way to help other people. Keep reading to learn about the seven steps to take to bring your dog-owning business dreams to life!
If you’re ready to begin your journey of opening up your own dog training business, you have to start by researching and planning. Proper research and planning is foundational to any successful business – you have to make well-informed choices.
Given the boom in dog ownership over the past few years, you can trust that the pet industry is going to maintain its current momentum in the market. Do your homework by discovering where competitors are and picking a location for your business that is elsewhere. When doing so, also consider the location’s proximity to central points in the area so that you do not become closed off.
Given it’s a dog training business, you will need to make sure you have a talented trainer to be the face of your business. Together with the trainer, niche down your business plan to a more defined dog training area of expertise. That could be one or a mix of the following dog training avenues: puppies, therapy dogs, dog sports, general obedience, or dogs with complex behavior issues.
Upon identifying your niche, think about what business structure (LLC, sole proprietor, partnership, corporation, etc) makes the most sense for your needs and desires. Then consider the budget – it’s suggested that you project a budget three years out. Outline your business goals and strategies to reflect your projections. Consider a business loan or opening up a business credit card. Don’t forget about potential investors!
Next up is to make things official! Start by figuring out what local, state, and federal licenses you need specific to your area. You need to register your business so as to be tax code compliant at both a state and federal level. Register for taxes by applying for an Employer Identification Number (EIN) and don’t underestimate the help of an accountant! After all, it’s an investment in your business!
Purchase liability insurance to protect against property damage and injury claims. Also, consider the use of service agreements to keep customer transactions transparent.
This is where the marketing work comes into play. Never forget the importance of a strong brand identity – it’s one of the strongest ways to get customers in your door to grow your business.
Consider the following marketing touchpoints:
- Business Name: keep it short! Make it memorable and unique. Seek feedback before choosing one!
- Logo & Business cards: invest the time and money in branding!
- Website: Squarespace and WordPress are great tools.
- Social media presence: Facebook, Instagram, Nextdoor, etc.
- Promotions & Incentives: word of mouth spreads fast when there’s a deal to talk about!
If you are brand new to dog training, rely on your networking abilities to establish yourself in the industry. Visit local veterinary offices, go to dog grooming businesses, or consider visiting pet supply stores to activate your network!
If you do not plan on being the dog trainer, be sure to test the waters with the trainer you partner with. You need to make sure your personalities jive and that the two of you know how to effectively communicate with one another, especially in times of disagreement.
The trainer/trainers will be a big influence on the success of your business! Hire skilled dog trainers with experience in obedience training, behavior modification, and agility training.
Train employees on safety procedures and proper professional dog training techniques. Commit to conducting regular performance evaluations and provide ongoing training in order to ensure your employees are set up for success.
Make the choice to provide excellent customer service. Happy customers are customers who not only come back time and again but are people who will generate referrals to your business.
Don’t be shy! Ask your satisfied customers to write a review that you can post on your website and in your marketing materials.
Commit to fast response times for inquiries and customer support. Customers appreciate a business that replies within an expected time frame – if they have to wait for your response, you might be giving them the time to find a different dog trainer! Don’t miss out on your opportunities!
Consider offering training packages and discounts to build customer loyalty. We all love deals because they make us feel like we’re responsibly spending our money. Strike a balance to make sure you are still profiting from your discounts.
By following these five steps, you should be on your way to building a strong dog training business. Never forget the impact that compassion and reliability bring to a business. Where you place your time and money will become evident in your customer base.
Go for it! Be patient and resilient: it will start to pay off when you see your dog training business grow!