Dog walking insurance, designed for you!
More often than not, it starts with a day or two looking after the four-legged friend of a friendly neighbour or local office worker. They have a dog that they love, but simply cannot or do not have the time to get out and give them a decent walk every day. That’s where you come in.
As the resident dog walker, you will know pretty much everything there is to know about dogs. Breed types, what they eat, how much exercise they need, and what to do when they need to go outside. But how do you take your dog expertise and turn it into a business?
This guide aims to obliterate some of the biggest obstacles that may be facing you as a dog walking start-up, looking at the insurance you might need and how to go about getting yourself set up.
First things first, becoming a fully fledged dog walker is akin to being self-employed, and so you are wholly responsible for everything from your insurance to your pay rates, taxes and even your marketing. It sounds like a lot, but if this is something you love doing then investing the time into getting it right is priceless. After all, in the unfortunate case of something going wrong, preparation and an understanding of the options you have will fast become your best friend.
So, lets get started.
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Do You Need Insurance for Dog Walking?
Across the board, whether it’s business insurance, car insurance, or even life insurance, the purpose of insurance is to be there in case something goes wrong. As a dog walker you are a trusted member of your client’s inner circle, and you have likely been picked thanks to great reviews or testimonials, and a strong track record. But if something does go wrong, insurance will cover both you and the dogs you are caring for. And it doesn’t stop there.
Perhaps you’re trusted to go into your clients’ homes and collect the dog by yourself? Perhaps you are expected to care for the dog in your home until it is picked up by its owner, or you are asked to complete some dog grooming as well? Whatever your individual scenario, there are likely multiple areas where you need to be adequately covered and protected. Just in case.
The types of insurance cover you need will depend on the size of your proposed business and the area in which you live, although we do recommend opting for at least the basic package of Public Liability Insurance, Care Custody and Control, and Employer’s Liability Insurance.
What Insurance Do You Need for Dog Walking?
There are a number of companies that deal directly with animal-related businesses, such as dog walking, and these are probably the best way to get an accurate quote and the full coverage you need. Different plans and companies will outline different terms and conditions, and so you should definitely invest some time in exploring the options before committing to a particular plan.
The top of our must-have list is public liability insurance for dog walkers. Typically associated with large scale events and venues, public liability insurance is basically a form of cover for any individual or business who comes into contact with the public. If, for example, the dog you are walking became wound up and bit a strangers’ hand, public liability insurance will make sure that you are covered should the blame be directed towards you.
Another sub-heading that’s important as part of your dog walking insurance is Care, Custody and Control – this covers any bills racked up if you need to visit the vet during your period of care, or in the case of something more serious such as theft, loss or death of the animal.
There are other types of cover you could get included as well, and it is worth noting that while these will bump the quote up a bit, they may be a good investment in the long-run; particularly if you plan on growing your business, taking on extra staff members or simply hope to work with a series of clients at any one time.
These include: Employer’s Liability Insurance (vital in the case of additional staff members should your dog walking business grow), Professional Indemnity Insurance (to cover you and your business against any complaints made by clients), and even Key Cover (which will definitely help you out should you lose a clients key or get yourself locked out).
How Much Is Dog Walking Insurance?
This will vary depending on what coverage you seek and which company you go with. Typically, we found dog walking insurance to start at about £100 for a year, although the annual turnover of your business and the trading history will both impact this figure; as will any previous claims made on a dog walking policy. In light of this, always make sure you are transparent with the insurance company from the start.
Dog walking is a line of work that seems easy on the surface, but in fact holds many of its own risks and a great deal of responsibility. In fact, when you start to break it down it can suddenly seem quite overwhelming.
Just think of it like this. If you’re out and about with one or more dogs, unpredictable behaviour is always going to be your biggest challenge – not least how the dogs interact with each other and with other canines you may come across. Without insurance, any accident that involves the dog(s) in your care will become your responsibility; likely culminating in big bills and a lot more stress than you need in a relatively new business.
Cover yourself and make sure you are the best dog walker that you can be – by being prepared and looking into the best dog walking insurance for you.