If you walk dogs for a living, the last thing you want is to have a client quit on you at the last minute or argue with you about work hours, fees, or something else. This is where a contract for dog walking comes in. In fact, it can keep you and your client safe.
When you go on vacation as a dog walker, what do you do with the dogs? Do you have someone else who can walk your clients' dogs, or do your clients need to make other plans?
Also, what if you want to raise your prices? What should you do if a client cancels an hour before your appointment? What if you can't get into a client's house? Who pays for the locksmith to come out?
All of these are fair questions and things that could happen. Certainly, this is why a dog-walking contract might be a good idea.
A signed contract spells out the rules and helps you and the pet owner (your client) come to an agreement that works for both of you.
Details that should be in your dog-walking contract
A good contract can give both the dog walker and the pet owner peace of mind. It can also keep you from getting a headache in the future! Of course, if you want the best possible result from your dog walking contract, you need to give careful thought to the details you put in it. Here are some ideas for what to write. But each deal will be different based on the services you offer and what you are willing to be responsible for.
Details about the services you're offering
This includes information like what time of day you will walk the dog, how long you will walk the dog for, and what days.
If there are any other things that are important to the client, you should also include them. For instance, the client may want the dog to always be on a leash.
The client can also say where they would like their dog to be walked. At a certain park, beach, or place where dogs can run around without a leash, for example.
Here is a list of what you need to do
You might want to make a list to make sure that both of you know what your tasks are. Here's what I mean:
- It is the dog walker's job to bring poop bags and a scooper and make sure that all poop is picked up and thrown away properly.
- If a dog walker gets a fine for not picking up or getting rid of dog waste, it is the dog walker's duty to pay the fine.
- Unless something else is agreed upon, the dog walker will only do what is written in this dog walking agreement.
- If something happens that could hurt the dog's health or well-being, it is the dog walker's job to let the owner know.
- It is up to the dog walker to get appropriate and adequate insurance, such as liability insurance.
- In case of an emergency, the dog walker will give the dog the right first aid and call the client right away. If the client can't be reached, the dog walker will call a vet or do whatever else needs to be done.
List the responsibilities of the dog owner
It's important for clients to take responsibility, too, so why not make a list of the things they are in charge of to avoid future arguments? Here's what I mean:
- The pet's owner must provide a harness or collar with a lead that fits the animal. (However, the user has to say that these are okay.)
- If a coat or mask is needed, it is up to the pet owner to bring these things.
- If there are important details about the dog's health or well-being that the owner needs to know, they must tell the dog walker.
- The client is responsible and liable for anything that happens to the dog that is not the dog walker's mistake. They are also responsible for any harm the dog does to other people or things.
Write down any other information or clauses
Consider adding these extras to help protect your business, keep you and your client from getting into a fight, and make sure the dog is healthy.
- The dog walker may also walk other dogs with similar personalities at the same time.
- If the owner lets the dog go to the park or any other outdoor area (describe the area) without being watched, the dog walker is not responsible for any accident or mishap that might happen there.
- Don't forget to include your payment rate and information about when it's due. For example, you could name your hourly rate and say that it must be paid as a monthly retainer in advance on the 25th of the month before.
- If a client wants to stop a service or services, they must give 24 hours' notice. If the client doesn't give enough warning, 50% of the fees that were planned will be charged.
- Termination information. At the end of each year, you might want to end the contract or sign a new one. This gives you and your client a chance to look over the present contract, make any changes that are needed, and either move forward with a new contract or end the service.
Keep in mind
In a dog-walking contract, you should also include the following important details:
- Information about the pet, such as its breed, description, age, any health problems or concerns, and (if it's taking any) medications.
- Information about the pet owner, like their full name, location, and phone number (in case of an emergency).
- Vet's contact information.
- Having a good contract for walking dogs gives both sides peace of mind and can help you build a strong relationship with your clients.