5 Disadvantages of a Dog Walking Business
#1 You Have to Work When You’re Sick
If you’re a solopreneur chances are you’ll be walking even if you feel like death warmed up. Have a cold? Cramps? Allergies? You’re probably going to be walking anyway. In 13 years I have cancelled walks once due to illness, when I was so sick it wasn’t safe for me to drive. Luckily there are walkers popping up who specialize in covering for other walkers, so that may be an option. Or you might ask another walker you know to swap as back ups for each other if needed. Having employees is amazing in this scenario, but if you have no desire to hire, know that working when you're under the weather will be likely.
# 2 You Have to Pay for Your Own Health Insurance
Well, at least we Americans who aren’t on someone else’s policy do! This can be a significant expense, and your insurance may not be as good as what you’d have with an employer offered insurance.
#3 Estimated Taxes
No more paychecks with your taxes automatically deducted. That actually sounds great, but….you still have to pay your taxes. If you don’t budget for this each month you might be left with a hefty bill at the end of the year, so be sure to set aside money for estimated taxes.
#4 When Clients Stop Service it Can be a Huge Financial Blow
When a client stops service it can reduce your income significantly if you’re a small company or solo walker. It might take a while to fill the spot, and until you do you've essentially gotten a pay cut. This is why I recommend making sure you have an emergency fund plus more clients than you need to break even. That will fill in the gaps while you work to fill any openings.
#5 You Might Have to Pee Outside
Let's get it out in the open (pun intended). If you do short walks in client neighborhoods you'll have easy access to your client's restroom or the option to stop at a local business between walks. But, if you do longer outings at trails or open spaces, you won't have access to a bathroom 24/7. Take toilet paper. Pack hikers, I’m talking to you.