If you’re looking to earn some pocket money as a dog walker, there’re various apps you can join. The average earning of a part-time dog walker comes around $15-18/hr. If you have some experience and are great with dogs, you can expect some good tips and earn about $200/week. If you’re looking to run a business, then experience is required, plus securing a few clients in the beginning, can help you explore other options of advertising yourself. Once your business is stabilized enough, you can expand it by including additional services or adding merchandise to sell for the furry friends. Make sure to look at the serious aspects of the business, including insurance, handling different breeds, and what to do with a neglected dog.
Taking a brisk walk in the morning with a fluffy dog as your companion seems like the ideal way for most people to spend their morning.
What better way to relieve your stress and even make money! People think it’s the easiest way to earn some cash, get some fresh air, and give your body some exercise.
Walking dogs can be good as a side hustle, or because half an hour walking them can help you relieve stress, others see this as an opportunity to turn it into a full-time business.
While dog walking seems simple enough, there are many strings attached one needs to consider before jumping into it.
The dog walking business
Different kinds of people walk dogs for various purposes.
Some students just want extra pocket money and find it a great way to do so.
Others get into dog walking because they want to relieve their daily stress or might feel like they need a friend for a while.
Some might not be able to afford a dog yet, even though they love animals. Lastly, people see this as a great business opportunity and want to earn their living through it.
Whichever choice, the common thing is that they all love these cute furry animals and want to take care of them by taking them for a walk!
Side hustle as a dog walker
When you’re not looking to make a living out of walking a pup, there’re plenty of easy ways to achieve the same.
Gone are the times when you would have to know which neighbors of yours in your building are doggy owners and then approach them about offering to walk their pet for them.
There’re apps for everything, including taking these cuties for a walk.
There’re various dog-walking apps, but each one requires you to sign in for walking services.
Some experience in walking dogs does come in handy when applying to make a profile. It makes you seem more approachable, and dog owners can trust you more.
Most of these apps require a background check just to ensure your authenticity. While making your profile, you need to provide your name, photo, and tagline.
How much can you make as a dog walker?
Earning those dollars as a side hustle can vary depending on the app you joined, your experience, the time invested, and how good you’re with your furry friends.
You can choose a 30-minute walk or a 60-minute walk, and the rates vary. While the rate may be fixed by the minutes, the tips are like icing on the cake.
The national average of a person earning those dollars by dog walking falls between $15 to $18 per hour.
Some apps allow you to set your own rates, while some charge a membership fee.
Some apps provide liability insurance packages, ongoing pet care education and training, marketing tools and advanced technology, or even certificates as a walker to make it a more authentic experience.
Pet owners are usually susceptible to letting a stranger walk their dog through an app, so all the things mentioned above, plus a background check, help build their trust in the app and the walker.
Wag is one such app that lets clients track their dogs and see a report afterward with information such as distance walked and poop updates.
You can easily earn tips if you do things right, get well along with pups, and take care of them without significant issues.
You can expect to earn about $200/week. Of course, the more experience you have, the more money you’ll make.
Starting your own dog walking business
Earning enough money by offering a dog-walking service to live a life through it can seem like an easy idea. But it’s not like a walk in the park.
Similar to other businesses, this requires you to work hard to make a decent living.
Before jumping into this business, you need to have plenty of experience walking a dog to learn all the easier and more challenging aspects.
One thing you need to be sure about is to be able to handle any breed of dog with ease. This can only be achieved when you’ve had plenty of experience with dogs.
Some breeds are easier to handle than others, and you can’t be picky with your clients as a business owner.
Securing your dog walking clients
Having a client base is one thing you should have a grasp on before jumping into the business.
You might think it’s easier to secure clients because you live in a big city where your building alone has so many pet owners to approach as potential clients.
The reality is that you need to establish trust with people to secure them as clients.
While the concept of cold marketing is still kicking where you go knocking over doors to let people know you’re providing dog walking services, you still need a few loyal clients as soon as you start.
This can be done if you have had experience and know people whose dogs you have walked before.
Sometimes when you live in a small community, you can quickly establish trust with the dog owners.
Working through an app will make you walk the same dogs often, and you can quickly install your trust with owners.
Even dogs become comfortable with the walker over time and wouldn’t gel with other walkers. Pet owners might see this as a hassle to switch walkers and might trust you with the job daily.
When starting your own business, you can let them know about it and approach them to give them discounts on a weekly or monthly rate.
This is an excellent way to establish trust and secure them as long-term clients.
Advertising your dog walking business
Of course, there’re plenty of other common ways to advertise yourself, including putting up flyers about your new business in your residential area or near it.
You can ask the café you frequently visit to help advertise your business. There are many social media dog owners groups where you can advertise your services.
Building your own website is quite important to let people know about the business and let them familiarize themselves with you and your business.
You can also make your social media account public and advertise by putting up cute or funny videos and pictures.
Providing extra services
When you’re starting out, you’ll start with a simple idea of walking your client’s dogs, but in the longer run, you need to introduce new services to make sure you’re providing more than others in the business.
When you have made sure you have regular clients, you can introduce extra services.
People are always looking for more when it comes to their pets, and it can be anything, including overnight or weekend sitting, dog retreat, or driving them to and from the dog grooming place.
The more services you expand on, the more chances to make a better living out of doing what you love.
While extra services are beneficial, other ideas can help make more dollars.
Introducing merchandise for dogs like chewable toys, cute clothes for them to wear, customizable leashes, or even beds for them can help you expand your business in a new direction.
The dark side of dog walking
Dog-walking job isn’t always smooth sailing, and there will be hardships you need to overcome.
Make sure you always follow guidelines laid down by your community regarding walking the number of dogs at one time or how to maintain cleanliness when dogs poop on the road.
You can easily follow these guidelines but what’s difficult is dealing with runaway pets or pet accidents.
Dog-walking insurance is a must for pet sitting because it gives you protection if an accident occurs, and having insurance can also provide you, your staff members, and your clients some peace of mind.
Full-time dog walkers also have to deal with neglected dogs. Even though the owners got themselves a furry friend, they might not be able to cope with the added stress of taking care of another living being.
These neglected pets are left to the dog walker by the owners who think the walker can take care of a dog from feeding to walking them.
There’re always signs to look out for if a dog is neglected, including them acting alarmed or afraid around their owner, being severely underweight, having noticeable health conditions, constantly dirty, missing body parts, and many others.
When you feel the dog is being neglected and harmed, you must let the authority know.
If you’re unsure, you can do it anonymously, too, by calling the police, local animal control agency, or local animal rescue agency. Directly intervening can put both you and the dog in harm.
What qualifications do you need to be a dog walker?
To be a dog walker, you don’t need professional training, just an eagerness to learn about things and implement them for the betterment of the dogs.
If you love dogs and are an active person interested in the welfare of these furry animals, you can start by walking dogs in an animal shelter.
This is a good and free way to start and learn to handle different breeds simultaneously.
All the issues related to the dog will be made known to you by the workers at the dog shelters, and you can learn how to do primary animal first aid with animal care.
Then you can start by joining apps as a dog walker and earn training and certifications there.
If you love dogs and are an outdoor kind of active person, walking dogs can be a good thing for you, be it as a part-time dog walker or as a way to earn a living.
If it’s just for some extra money, there’re various apps you can choose from to join. Even if you’re not interested in money and just want to hang out with a furry friend, then it’s a good idea too.
But when it comes to earning serious money from it, you need to have a plan before jumping into its business side. If this is something you plan to do in the future, you need some experience.
As a novice, starting out with walking dogs from an app can help for a few years, which would be beneficial to running a great business in the future.