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    10 Replies Latest reply on Feb 3, 2014 1:05 PM by Rahul Alim

    How do I get my dog training business off the ground?

    TWCollins Adventurer

      I've been running my dog training business for 2 years now and I'm still working my night job just to make ends meet. I teach private lessons primarily at the owner's house and I teach them how to train their dogs and I also do behavior counciling. I volunteer at my local shelter, I have business cards and brochures in all of the shelters and retail stores,  I.e. petsmart, petco, care-a-lot pet supply. I market my own dog at the dog parks, I maintain customer contact even after the training sessions, I'm a member of the association of pet dog trainers, a graduate of animal behavior college and my business is still not growing. What else can I do?

        • Re: How do I get my dog training business off the ground?
          Moderator Berta Guide

          Sounds like you're doing all the right things. Have you got a Facebook page or Twitter account that you send out helpful information on? These would be free advertising for you. For a cost, you could advertise on the local radio stations or television stations. Do you have an ad in your local phone book? That may help drive customers your way as well.

           

          Does anyone else have any suggestions?

           

          ~Berta

            • Re: How do I get my dog training business off the ground?
              TWCollins Adventurer

              Thanks for the helpful information, I do have a facebook page and twitter page, but I don't send helpful information out on them. I actually email helpful information to my clients and former clients in hopes to get repeat business or referrals.

                • Re: How do I get my dog training business off the ground?
                  Rahul Alim Adventurer

                  I would start using Social Media more.  Post pics of the animals.  People love animals along with a short brief.

                   

                  IE. Cute little Dixie learned how to pee outside instead of the carpet in 4 hours!  Yay to Dixie.  (maybe even have a link to a story on your website blog about this with the title - Pee pee is for the outdoors.

                   

                  Another idea, is do videos post them on youtube, embed the link in your website. 

                   

                  While it may not pay off initially, it will if you keep it up. 

                   

                  While you email your database make sure you are not selling them (you can but do it subtly).  Meaning tell a story.  Then at the end you can offer a free consultation, a weekend free class at a park, etc... Make sure you allow people to opt in your email list on your website, that list is gold.  Make sure people on your social media know about it too. SIGN UP FOR FREE ANIMAL TRAINING TIPS - all 2 minute lessons to get your animal to listen. 

                   

                  Once you have them at a free class the purpose is to then sell them on a one off training or a subscription for ongoing and build up your recurring. 

                   

                  Price so you can plan to make it full time but not too high. Keep within your value and the market rates.  Once you get to Cesar Milan status then charge a lot.

                   

                  Good Luck!

                   

                  Rahul Alim

                  Custom Creatives

                  Founder/CEO

              • Re: How do I get my dog training business off the ground?
                Guide

                Hi TWCollins,

                 

                Welcome to the forum.

                 

                In my experience (6 months working with a professional, self-employed dog trainer), most of this business runs on reputation and word of mouth. Most clients asked two very important questions - "What methods of training do you use and What type of training do you offer?" We always offered an in-home consultation. We charged a small fee to weed out the serious clients and took that fee off of the first hour when the client signed up. During the consultation we listened to the clients needs and asked what methods the client would feel comfortable with us using depending on what kind of training they were looking for. Many clients asked for references.

                 

                I do agree with everyone on the marketing part. Get yourself out there. We used the yellow pages and the phone did ring. Unfortunately, most of it hinges on the way you can sell yourself. Your ad must set you apart from the rest in order for your phone to ring. Then it's up to you to sell yourself.

                 

                Good luck!

                 

                Melinda

                • Re: How do I get my dog training business off the ground?
                  AngelBiz Tracker

                  TWCollins - I concur with everyone else who commented. Looks like you are doing all the right things. If you are providing good services your existing clients should refer you to their friends and families. This is probably the best way to get new clients. You can even offer them a voucher to be used for future services if they refer you new clients. Using referrals this way can go a long way towards getting new clients and growing your sales.

                   

                  I had written an article on how you can "ask" your customers to do marketing for you. It has some excellent ideas to grow your business. You might want to look at that. Here is the link - How to Ask Customers to do Marketing of your Business | Small Biz Viewpoints