Legal & Accounting Tips
This is the fun stuff! Kidding of course – but really this does not have to be a scary thing for you if you are not familiar with book keeping or accounting. I certainly wasn’t familiar and I have thrived.
The thing you need to ask yourself from the get go is if you can do your own books and feel qualified to do this or if you need help. I knew I needed help so I hired a book keeper who worked by the hour. I bought an accounting software program and she set me up and came in quarterly to input all my invoices and reconciled bank accounts etc.
Remember to set aside money for this service in your budget.
If your book keeper can do your end of year filing for taxes than that is great but if they cannot or you are incorporated you will need to find yourself a great Accountant. I found one via word of mouth and in the first few years offered contra exchange for dog services as he helped me with my year end. Be creative!
You will also need to find a lawyer who can help you with your waivers and contracts. There are some included in the Dog Walker Starter Kit but you will need to have someone review them depending where you are in the world. Each country, state and province has different laws so make sure you are covered by finding a lawyer who speaks your language.
You will also need to become familiar with your local animal bylaws – where you can walk, can you walk off leash and how many dogs you can walk off leash. On the West Coast in Canada where I operate there are many districts that are establishing rules around the dog walking industry for example how many dogs you can walk off leash, if you need to apply for a permit, do you need to wear a reflective vest, etc. So research first so you do not get a surprise fine from a local park ranger jut doing her job!
Finally you will need to get insurance for your company. You cannot operate without it. Research your region to find the best carriers. In Canada I use a company called Verge Insurance and they have a great plan for animal based companies.
Good luck and remember to set this up. This should be part of your business plan anyways and I firmly believe that in order for you to succeed and be regarded as a professional by your clients you need to set up shop properly.
Download the Kit now to get you started and remember to do your local research!