How to start a dog training business

Combine your love of pups and business to set up your own dog training venture.

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If you love dogs and have a knack for getting them to listen to you, you may be able to make an income doing what you enjoy. To start a successful business in the dog training field, it's a good idea to plan properly and make decisions about your qualifications, business structure and marketing.

In this guide, we'll discuss some of the most important things to consider when starting your dog training business.

What is a dog training business?

A dog training business helps dog owners by training their canines for them. Training can take place either at a commercial premises, in a park or at the client's home.

man training a dog

Learn key dog training skills

In addition to having a genuine love for dogs and a lot of patience, you'll need a few skills and items before starting a dog training business:

  • Effective dog training strategies
  • Experience dealing with dogs (such as dog walking, sitting or grooming)
  • Knowledge about basic dog care
  • Interpersonal skills
  • A physical space you can use to train dogs
  • Minor equipment like dog treats, dog treat pouches, leads, harnesses, halters and toys

Get qualified

You need to pursue a dog training certificate before you start your business. Two of the most common accredited courses to become a dog trainer in Australia are:

  • Certificate III in Dog Behaviour and Training. This introduces students to training dogs for tracking, assistance and obedience, in addition to providing basic care to dogs.
  • Certificate IV in Companion Animal Services. This certificate teaches students how to monitor animal health and maintain workplace health and safety, and includes electives for animal training and small business management.

Additional courses might be needed if you wish to work in specific fields (like police force dog training).

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Dog Training Certificate

A dog care and dog training certificate from training.com.au could help start your dog training career.

    Plan your business

    Having a plan before you start your new business can save you many headaches in the future. A business plan is a document that outlines the business's objectives and goals. Include the following aspects into your business plan:

    • Market research. Who will be your potential clients? How big is the market? Are there competitors already offering dog training in your area? Is there a gap in the market?
    • Financial projections. What are the ongoing expenses of a dog training business? How will your business make money? Are there opportunities for increasing the profitability of your dog training business?
    • Set out your projected vision. How will your dog training business look in 1, 5 and 10 years?

    Choose a business structure

    When structuring your business, you must evaluate your best options depending on your circumstances. In Australia, there are three common types of structures, these include:

    • Sole Trader. If you plan to start a one-person business, then you might consider registering as a Sole Trader. You will still be able to hire staff, but you will be the only person responsible for your business.
    • Partnership. A Partnership is a business owned by two or more individuals where the owners split income and losses. Partnerships generally require a Partnership Agreement to be written up and signed by all partners to clearly set out roles and responsibilities.
    • Company. A Company is a separate legal entity and has different rules regarding how tax is paid on profits.

    After choosing a business structure, you'll need to register for an Australian Business Number (ABN). If you decide to start a Company, then you will also need a business name. Use the Australian Securities and Investments Commission's business names register search tool to see if your preferred name is available.

    Here are some of the legal documents you may need for a dog training business:

    You can create legal documents yourself with the help of templates. Find more free legal templates on our website. Alternatively, get an online legal professional to help draft or revise custom documents for your business.

    Name Product What's offered? Starting price to become a member Annual Fee from Free legal documents available?
    Lawpath
    Legal documents and templates, Access to lawyers, Legal guides, Legal advice
    $79 per month
    Essentials: $288, legal advice: $828
    You can view samples for free and you can create your first document for free.
    Choose an annual plan from just $288 and get unlimited revisions to your legal or business documents. Plus, unlock exclusive partner offers.
    LawDepot
    Legal documents and templates, Legal guides
    $4.99 per month
    $59.88
    Free one week trial available which gives access to hundreds of documents.
    Customise and download legal documents in as little as five minutes. Plus, LawDepot offers peace of mind with two service guarantees.
    Legal123
    Legal documents and templates, Legal guides
    Varies per template
    N/A
    No
    Legal123 offers a range of individual templates or document packages for consultants, app developers, personal trainers and more.
    LegalVision
    Legal documents and templates, Legal guides, Legal advice
    $49 + GST per week
    $2,548 + GST
    No
    Your business can take advantage of unlimited lawyer consultations, fast turnaround times and free legal templates with LegalVision.
    Law Central
    Legal documents and templates, Legal guides
    Free for the Silver membership
    Gold: $99
    You can view samples and create your own document for free with the Silver membership.
    Law Central offers a large number of legal templates for super, trusts, estate planning, employment and commercial uses.
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    Figure out your pricing

    The cost of dog training depends on your expertise and your target market, as well as the number of dogs in your training classes. Group classes cost from $50 to $125 and run for a few weeks.

    If you offer private lessons or bespoke training, then prices usually range from $30 to $100 per hour, with classes running over several weeks.

    Getting certifications will give you more expertise and this will allow you to charge more for your services.

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    Accept payments from your customers in person and online with Square's card readers, payment terminals, digital invoicing and e-commerce tools.

    Get your first clients

    Once your business is set up and you've secured all the legal documents, you'll be ready to attract your first clients. There are various ways to market your business. Consider some of the following:

    • Start a website. Having an online presence is essential to market your business and find new clients.
    • Search engine optimisation (SEO). Make your website more visible when potential clients search for dog training businesses near them.
    • Oneflare or Airtasker. Create a profile and post dog training jobs on marketplaces and platforms like Airtasker or Oneflare.
    • Social media. Create a business profile on relevant social media platforms like Instagram or Facebook.
    • Advertising. Invest in advertising your services on popular search engines like Google or Bing. Alternatively, run advertising on social media platforms to find new clients.
    • Business cards and flyers. You might also create physical promotional materials such as business cards and flyers. You can drop these flyers into local mailboxes.

    Frequently asked questions

    What services does a dog training business offer?

    Dog trainers offer many types of services, although they may specialise in only one. You might want to provide the following to reach out to more customers:

    • Puppy obedience
    • Competition obedience
    • Hand-signal and voice command
    • Pre-pet awareness
    • On- and off-leash obedience

    What are the costs of starting a dog training business?

    There are several costs involved when starting a new business. These include:

    • A business phone and a computer or laptop to effectively communicate with your clients and manage your website
    • An adequate place to train dogs
    • Application fees for your dog training licence
    • Online marketing tools
    • Accountancy services
    • Certification renewals, if needed
    • Additional staff, if needed

    What is the best location to start a dog training business?

    Location is key for your dog training business. The location will not only affect how many clients there are in your area, it will also be a factor in deciding your pricing and the way you manage your business. You should consider the following:

    • You want to start your business in urban areas, which usually have a higher density of dogs.
    • You might travel to your clients' homes as an added selling point.

    If you want to use your own home, contact your local council first.

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