There are several things you should think about if you want to start a successful dog walking business, particularly if you want to avoid legal issues or other potential problems. Here we’ll go over these considerations so you can avert potential problems and keep your business running smoothly.
There are several legal issues that can arise for dog walking businesses. While you may be tempted to ignore them until your business expands, you may incur major penalties and fines if you don’t meet certain requirements, such as having a business license that the local authorities require.
These are the main considerations you should keep in mind.
Selecting a Chicago Business Entity
While it’s possible to run a Chicago dog walking company as a sole proprietor, a choice that many dog walking business owners make at the start, you may wish to consider choosing a different form of business.
You can get more protection if you use a form of organization such as a corporation or a limited liability company, effectively separating personal assets from business assets. This can help you avoid certain legal issues that might come up if something happens to the dogs or if they do something while you’re walking them.
Limited liability companies and corporations do typically require more maintenance and costs, which means you’ll need to account for the additional costs in both potential fees and time to determine if it’s the right decision to make.
Meeting Licensing Requirements
In most cases you won’t require a license for dog walking, but many states do require business owners to obtain a general business license. Licensing requirements will depend on the jurisdiction, and you’ll need to investigate the ones that apply in your specific location.
Local Regulations and Rules
Professional dog walkers also need to be knowledgeable about local rules and regulations that can affect them. For instance, many jurisdictions have specific dog sanitation regulations that make it necessary for dog walkers to pick up after their pet.
Leashing laws may also be in place, stating where dogs require leashes and where they’re free to be without them. You can check with the local authorities to determine which rules and regulations will affect your business.
Local zoning may prohibit pet sitting in some cases as well, making it necessary to check with your local zoning regulations if you intend to add this to your list of services.
Dog Walking Contracts
You should always have a written contract between you and your clients. A contract will specify the responsibilities in walking clients’ dogs, along with the nature of your relationship with them and terms of compensation.
Contracts should also include authorization for you to seek emergency medical care for dogs and detail the owner’s responsibility for damage done by the dog.
With these aspects in mind, you can avoid potential legal issues that you might otherwise suffer from, and which may harm your business. Staying legally sound will help ensure that your dog walking business remains protected and lawful with a minimal risk of issues.