The pet services market has been growing by leaps and bounds lately, and many small businesses in the industry have been expanding quickly. That’s exactly what happened to The Nature of the Dog, a small dog walking company on the south side of Grand Rapids, Michigan.
Entrepreneurs Jackie and Luke Moord live in Grand Rapids, but Luke, along with the couples’ three employees, drive around the entire metropolitan area walking dogs for clients of The Nature of the Dog. Jackie is a stay-at-home mom and also does all the marketing for the company.
Back in 2011, Jackie was working at Bill and Paul’s Sporthaus as the company’s director of e-commerce. She began walking dogs on her lunch break for a little extra cash and to squeeze in some exercise during the work week. She walked dogs as a teenager and decided to pick the business up again. Her lunchtime gig quickly became popular with pet owners in the area; so much so that she decided to make it a full-time business.
Her husband, a professor at Grand Rapids Community College, began helping her walk dogs and eventually ended up doing a majority of the dog walking himself. Although he still teaches some, he also plays a large part in the business as well. Once the couple’s first child was born, Jackie stayed home full time while Luke handled the dog walking.
The Nature of the Dog is one of numerous dog walking businesses in the area, so the Moords knew they needed to do something to make their business stand out. They decided to add a degree of sophistication that no other similar businesses had. Their company is a registered Liability Company under the laws of Michigan and they are insured and bonded. None of these things are requirements for dog walking businesses in the state.
Their business focusses solely on dog walking, however they also provide yard cleanup. Jackie says most of their clients are business professionals who are gone for a large part of the day and don’t have time to walk their dogs or clean up after them. The Moords are also looking into earning their dog training certification.
They both agree that a major challenge for dog walkers is dogs with behavior problems. Since many of their clients are busy people that don’t have time to walk their dogs, many of them also don’t have the time it requires to train a dog. They are hoping many of their current clients would be interested in dog training services as well.