Dog walking is considered an income hobby for some, while others view it as a legitimate job or even a career. Whatever your views on dog walking as a full-time job are, at the very minimum it can be a fun way to earn some cash. In this article, we will explain how you can walk dogs for money and how much you can earn by doing this.
How Much Can You Earn?
The answer to this question depends on many things like your location, how many hours per day you can work and whether you are working for a company or developing your own dog walking business.
That being said, the average price for a 30-minute walk is between $20 and $30. Some dog walkers will charge extra for a second dog, while others don’t. Also, the price can be lower if the client doesn’t mind his dog walking with other dogs.
All of this can affect how much you can earn but, for example, if you are in New York City, you have your own business and you charge $20 for a 30-minute walk, you can earn around $800 per week if you go on 8 solo walks per day. This comes up to around $42,000 per year if you only work weekdays.
If you work for a company, you would earn between $450 and $500 per week instead of $800 but you wouldn’t have to worry about finding jobs, doing paperwork and other things that require your attention when you start your own business.
How to Become a Dog Walker
Becoming a dog walker is quite easy, especially if you want to work for a company and not start your own business. There are a few popular apps that you can use to become a dog walker that work on the same principle as Uber or Lyft.
You’ve probably heard of some of them, such as Rover, Wag and Swifto. All you have to do is sign up for these apps and you will be able to get in touch with potential clients. The registration process may differ from one app or site to another but in general, you’ll be asked to provide your personal information and asked a few questions about dog safety, handling a dog, putting on a collar/harness, etc.
If you have prior dog training experience you can also charge for additional services, like behavior adjustment training or home care.
How to Make Money With Your Own Dog Walking Business
If you don’t want to share your earnings with a dog walking company, you can start your own business and keep all of the income for yourself.
However, this is a much more difficult endeavor and you will need to dedicate a lot of time to other things besides walking dogs, just like you would with any other business. This includes invoicing, bookkeeping, marketing, etc.
If you are ready for all of this, let’s take a closer look at the steps you should take in order to start your own dog walking business.
Do Some Research
Before you start a dog walking business, do some research to make sure that there is a demand for these services in your area and check your competition out to see what you’re up against.
Talk to people who offer other services related to dogs, like pet groomers and pet store owners. Check classified ads to see whether anyone is looking for a dog walker, go to Craigslist and similar websites, etc.
If the demand seems high to you, check out the same websites and classified ads to determine how much competition there is.
Consider Buying a Franchise
Another potential way to go about a dog walking business is purchasing a franchise instead of starting your own company.
This option may be costly and it may not be a good choice if you don’t have the capital to invest. However, if you can purchase a franchise, there are certain benefits like using the franchise’s business play, marketing and advertising systems, having a recognizable name and brand behind you, etc.
With a franchise, you will be able to find jobs easier and you can realistically expect to have a revenue stream almost immediately. One of the more popular companies that allow you to purchase their franchise is Fetch! Pet Care, so check out all the details about it before you make your decision.
Dog walkers don’t really need any special training but they do need to know how to control the dogs they walk. Check out our how-to above. Also, you should know how to perform CPR and first aid.
It would be better for your reputation and your business to take a formal dog training course or at least get some experience by volunteering at the local dog shelter where you can interact with many dogs with different personalities.
There are a few legal issues that you need to consider before you start your dog walking business. Don’t skip these steps because it can save you a lot of trouble and potentially money if you do it up front and not leave it for later.
- Choose a Business Entity – You can run your dog walking business as a sole proprietor but it is probably wiser to choose a different form of business since you will be responsible for the dogs that you walk. That’s why it is better to go with a limited liability company (LLC) or a corporation so you can separate your personal and business assets.
- Obtain a License – Although most states and jurisdictions don’t require a license specific to dog walking, most states require a general business license from all business owners. This may vary from one jurisdiction to another, so check your local and state laws to find out whether you need to obtain a license.
- Buy Pet Insurance – It is important to get dog walking or pet sitting insurance that offers protection in case of injuries and other accidents. You can also get general liability insurance that protects you against third party claims. Check out a few different types of pet insurance to find the one that suits you the most.
Get a Good Scheduling and Invoicing Software
While you may not think that you need such software to be well-organized in the beginning, it is easier to set it up right from the start. As you grow, you will need it even more but it can also leave a good impression with your client.
Make sure to choose a good software from the start or you may have to change everything once your company grows. For example, Time to Pet is one of the best apps for dog walkers because it automatically generates and charges invoices and allows you to keep your dog walking schedule organized.
Focus on Marketing and Advertising
When you start a new business of any kind, it can be hard at first. This is especially true for dog walking, which is a service that is still developing and growing. With that in mind, it can take some time before you get enough clients to make the business viable.
However, if you focus your efforts on marketing and advertising, your business can grow faster. You can start by building a website, either by hiring someone to do it or by learning how to do it yourself. This is not such a difficult thing to learn with WordPress, Weebly or Squarespace. Even if you decide to get some help, it wouldn’t cost too much to get your website going.
Another thing to focus on is growing your presence on social media. Make sure to create business pages for your company on Facebook, Instagram, Yelp, LinkedIn, etc.
If you like dogs and you enjoy being outside, dog walking can be a nice way to earn some additional income or you can even make a career out of it and start your own business.
The average price for one 30-minute walk ranges from $20 to $30, which depends on a few factors. However, you can earn a bit more if you have your own dog walking business.