Make a list of 50 Dog Walking Business Names
When I’m writing headlines, I like to brainstorm by listing out as many iterations of the same phrase as I can think of. Choosing a pet sitting business name isn’t that different than writing a headline. It’s just more permanent. To get the creative juices flowing, sit down with a pen and paper -- not a pencil. Write down the first 50 business names you can think of. I can’t be trusted on a computer, but if you have the willpower to avoid the delete key, I suppose you don’t HAVE to use a pen. No idea is a bad idea. Don’t scratch out, erase, or backspace and don’t think too much. We’ll do plenty of thinking later.
As you’re brainstorming, try to incorporate a local flavor. Most dog walking and pet sitting businesses are going to be local. If you can, incorporate your service area into your name. it can help people remember. Some of my favorites over the years are:
Reading over a list of pet puns can help spark some ideas. It might help to start out with a list of keywords you can incorporate into your name too. Words such a Walk, Pup, Dog, Pet, Sit, Mutt, etc. Other great business names have nothing to do with pet-related phrases. Some of the successful pet sitting business we work with at Scout include:
- Bark at the Moon
- Sticks and Bones
- Dog Republic and
- Bitches Walking Dogs (my personal favorite).
We used a great worksheet available for download from Fuse Branding. Our original company name was Walkmate, but we didn’t feel it was a great fit for us. Their methodology helped us eventually arrive at Scout.
Rank your Dog Walking Business Name list from favorite to least favorite
Now you can think! Once you have 50 names written down, rank them in order from your favorite to least favorite. Don’t get too caught up in the exact ranking though. It helps to group things in tiers of 5 - 10 names per tier. This method will help you avoid spending too much time on this part of the process. You’re going to eliminate a lot of choices as the process moves forward so don’t go too far down the rabbit hole.
I prefer business names that are short and easy to communicate. That being said, I named my company Walk It Like A Dog, which proved to be difficult when telling someone my email address or talking on the phone. Once the name of your business starts getting too long, it becomes hard to remember. A long business name can also become problematic when you’re advertising. It’s important that your business name can fit properly into your:
- Website navigation,
- Business cards,
- Flyers, and
- Other pieces of advertising.
The longer your business name is the smaller the font will need to be to fit it all in. It’s also easier to remember a name if there is less of it. This ranking exercise will come in handy when you have to start eliminating options.
Research Dog Walking Business Names
Get to Know the Competition
The first steps to researching your business name are going to immediately eliminate a huge chunk of names you really, really like. Don’t let this get you down. There are thousands of dog walking and pet sitting business names in use. To start, research the local competition. Eliminate any names that could cause brand confusion.
Find a Domain Name
Having an exact match between your business name and your website domain address is not a hard-fast rule, but you’ll want to think carefully about straying too far from a perfect match. Scout is a popular business name and Scout.com was long gone before we started the company. Scoutforpets.com is a pretty good match, but we do run into occasional instances where people think that’s our actual business name.
We use a service called namecheap.com for our domains. When you visit their website, you can search for the domain names you’re interested in purchasing. An unused domain name should cost between $11 - $15 per year after any introductory prices. I suggest using purchasing the privacy protection option. Namechecap.com doesn’t charge extra for this service, called Whois Guard.
Search the State Business Database
The next research step is to search through your state’s business name directory. It should be easy to find online. Type in a search engine, your state’s abbreviation and the words “Business Name Search”. One of the top results should be an official database maintained by the state you live in. For example, when I search for “PA Business Name Search” the first result is https://www.corporations.pa.gov/search/corpsearch. Using this portal I can make sure the name I want isn’t being used by anyone else in your state.
Using a DBA, or Doing Business As, the name will let you get the ball rolling on your business and give you some time to figure out the name you want to use publicly. Its a little extra paperwork, but if choosing a name is holding you back from getting started, a DBA can be helpful. For example, Scout is a DBA, our actual company name is Pet
Method LLC. I did this for my dog walking company as well. I advertise as Walk It Like a Dog, but the official name of my company is Philadelphia Pet Services LLC. Using a DBA is also great if you plan to have additional service lines that do not name compatible with your dog walking or pet sitting services. You can have more than one DBA.
Secure Your Social Media Handles
Last, check social media handles for something that is a close match to your business name. My personal opinion is that it’s less important for your social handles to match than your domain name. If your business name or domain name are not taken, I think there is more leeway with your social handles. Most people are typically finding you through the platforms search function or from clicking a direct link to your business’s profile.
Try to get at least 2 names, ideally 3, that fit the above criteria. If you can find a name you’re happy with, it’s an exact match to a domain name, available to register with your state, and the social media handles are available, that’s a big win. If you need to deviate a little bit, not such a huge deal. Just keep it close and relevant.
Get a logo (or 3) designed
Branding, including logo design, is an important part of doing business. The reason I suggest choosing 2 -3 names is so you have a few different options when you're designing a logo. Typically a logo designer will give you a few different versions of a similar style logo. Having two separate logos designed will be more expensive, but I think it will be worth it to see a few distinctly different options.
Your designer should design with an eye on “digital-first”. Your logo needs to be flexible and suitable for used in many mediums. You’ll be using your logo on your website navigation, email headers, social media avatars, etc. It needs to be adaptable. For example, Dreamworks has a logo with text that works in a number of applications including their website navigation area. Conversely MGM still uses their iconic logo on their website, which doesn’t work great for a website.
If you don’t know a logo designer or have a personal referral, Fiverr is a great platform for finding designers of all types. When you chose a logo designer on Fiverr make sure they have a lot of projects under their belt and positive reviews. Once the logos are designed, show them to family, friends, and colleagues. Don’t take any of the critiques personally. It’s important to get a sense of how others perceive the design.
I’ve mentioned this a number of times in the article, but it’s worth repeating. Don’t overthink it. With thousands of local dog walking businesses out there, it’s going to be difficult to find a totally perfect and unique name. In the end, your brand is going to become what you make of it. If you develop a reputation for being knowledgeable and providing great customer service, your business name and overall brand will become associated with those qualities. For now, your focus should be on how easily you can communicate it in an aesthetically pleasing manner. Whoever thought a company named Slack could come to represent increased productivity?