COVID-19 Downturn: 7 Ways Dog Walkers Can Make the Most of It

Dog walkers are being hit hard by cancellations, quarantines and lockdowns due to COVID-19. While you're spending more time at home, you can make the most of it by taking steps to strengthen your dog walking business so you're on top of your business game when things return to normal. 


#1 Don't Neglect Your Current Clients

Keep in touch with your current clients, even if they are taking a break from using your service. Keep them up-to-date on the latest information that may be of help to them, for example, where they can purchase much needed supplies, how to entertain their pet while stuck at home or any information they would find helpful right now.


#2 Business Planning

My members know I recommend they spend time planning out their vision for their business at least once a year. This keeps you on track to building a business that works around your goals for work-life balance, and prevents your business from taking on a life of its own, leading to stress and burnout. Take some time to think about your goals for balancing your lifestyle. Are you meeting them? If not, determine what needs to change. Set some goals and action steps you can take to reach them.


#3 Firm Up Your Cancellation Policies

If you're hurting from cancellations, take a look at your cancellation policy. Having an annual cap on cancellations really helped me avoid massive client cancellations from folks who switched to working from home.

I will not be holding clients to my policy if they are sick or quarantined (or if things change with my local health authority/government and I need to stop service altogether). Sometimes not enforcing policies is warranted. But, my policy is helping maintain my income even though clients are working from home. Find out more on my cancellation policy recommendations here. Another policy that is helpful for situations like this is to have a no refund policy. Instead, offer clients a credit toward a future service. 


#4 Evaluate Your Marketing Strategies

Fine tune your marketing strategies by evaluating what has been working well and what hasn't. If there are strategies that haven't been getting results, consider dropping them in favor or something that might be more effective.

If you're not sure what's working, set up a spreadsheet or list and start tracking how new clients are finding you. Simply ask them how they heard about you and note their answers.

You can also take this opportunity to:

  • Update your website (or create one if you don't have one already).
  • Write new blog posts & newsletters for upcoming months.
  • Make a social media marketing plan by brainstorming and planning post ideas, creating graphics and updating your social media profiles. 


#5 Up Your Networking Game

You can network online via Facebook groups and email, so you can still network if you're stuck at home. Many other businesses are being impacted and have downtime now too. It's a great time to reach out and create new partnerships with fellow pet professionals.  Network with like minded dog walkers and pet sitters or other local professionals so you can work together to send each other referrals when business picks up again. 


#6 Address Burnout

If you were suffering from burnout before things slowed down, you're probably expecting me to tell you to take some time to relax and recharge. And you absolutely should take some time for yourself. But that only puts a band-aid on chronic burnout. Instead, take some time to make changes in your business that will reduce burnout in the long run. Check out this post for suggestions. 


#7 Education

Learn strategies to better your business, take time now to finally explore topics you want to improve and grow from, so when you get back to work you can expedite your success. You can peruse over 50 posts right here on the blog to get started.