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If you’re an animal lover, there’s a good chance you’ve considered becoming a dog walker. It’s the perfect way to get your daily dose of exercise while spending time with adorable four-legged friends. But is it possible to make a living by walking dogs? This is what I’m about to share with you next!
You can make a living by walking dogs. The average salary for a dog walker in the United States is $21.74 hourly, translating to $3,585 per month. However, the amount you earn as a dog walker depends on location, job type, and walking duration.
In this article, I’ll discuss how you can make a living by walking dogs. I’ll also cover the factors that affect how much you can make and how you can start your dog-walking business.
Keep reading to learn and earn more from walking dogs!
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How To Earn a Living By Walking Dogs
According to VCA Animal Hospitals, 25 to 30 percent of canines in North America are obese. Dog parents understand that obesity in their furry friends exposes them to various health problems, including diabetes, arthritis, and joint pain.
However, the challenge is that most people are so occupied by the hustles and bustles of life that they lack time to exercise their dogs by walking them.
As a result, many are willing to pay for dog walkers to help their pups get the exercise they need. This is where you come in as a dog walker.
Here are the different ways to earn a living by walking dogs:
1. Get Employed by an Existing Dog Walking Company
Most dog walkers start by working for an existing dog-walking company. Getting people to trust you to walk their dogs can be challenging when you’re just starting. At this point, you don’t have a portfolio or any reviews to show potential clients.
That’s why working for an established dog walking company is a great way to start this business. You can start your dog walking business once you’ve built a good reputation.
The downside of working for an existing company is that they will take a cut of your earnings. Remember, the company is in charge of:
- Marketing the business.
- Billing the clients.
- Finding new clients.
You will only be responsible for walking the dogs. The company will also provide a schedule of when to walk the dogs. This can be great if you’re looking for a job with little responsibility. However, it can also be inflexible if you have other commitments.
For these reasons, you should expect to earn anywhere between $10 to $14 for a 30-minute walk. The company retains the rest of the money.
2. Start Your Dog Walking Business
Starting your dog walking business is the best option since it’s an enterprise with the potential to grow. Your dog walking business allows you to interact directly with clients and negotiate your rates.
You’re also in charge of finding new clients and marketing your business. This option is great if you’re looking for a more flexible job since you can create your schedule.
The only downside of starting your dog walking business is that getting things off the ground takes time. It can be tough to find clients when you’re starting. You also need to put in extra effort to market your business and build a good reputation.
If you decide to start your dog-walking business, here are a few tips:
- Start by walking the dogs of people you know, like family, friends, and neighbors. This will help you get some initial experience and testimonials to share with potential clients.
- Create a professional-looking website and profile on dog walking platforms like Rover, Wag, and Fetch. This will help you reach a wider audience of pet parents looking for dog walkers in your area.
- Charge an average of $20 for a 30-minute walk. Remember to factor in the cost of transportation, time, and effort when setting your rates.
3. Earn From Dog Walking Apps
Technological advancements have led to the development of dog-walking apps like Rover and Wag. These apps make it easy for pet parents to find qualified dog walkers in their area and schedule walks.
The great thing about using these apps is that you can create your profile, set your rates, and choose when you want to work. You also get paid directly into your account after each walk.
The downside of using dog walking apps is that you must compete with other dog walkers in your area. Thus, you must have an excellent profile and set reasonable rates to stand out.
You should also expect to earn around $12 for a 30-minute walk.
Wag is among the best-paying dog walking apps, with its employees earning an average of $12 for a 30-minute walk and $20 for an hour’s walk.
These dog walking apps have different requirements for hiring dog walkers. The following section presents some of their requirements.
Requirements To Join Rover Dog Walking
- You must be at least 18 years old.
- You must be residing in an area covered by Rover.
- You must pass a background check.
- Your residence must allow pets.
- Have the latest Rover app.
An advantage of working with Rover is that they allow you to set your prices. However, they deduct a 20 percent service fee from every walk you make. (Learn more about Rover.)
Requirements To Join Wag Dog Walking
- You must pay a $29.95 application processing fee.
- You must live in an area covered by Wag.
- Pass background and safety check quizzes.
- Download the Wag app.
Wag deducts 40 percent of your pay as a service fee from every client. (Learn more about Wag.)
3 Factors That Affect How Much Dog Walkers Make
Dog walker earnings are not constant. They keep changing based on different business metrics as discussed below:
Your location is the first factor that will affect how much you’ll earn as a dog walker. Like any other profession, location affects how much you make as a dog walker due to variations in the cost of living.
For example, a dog walker in New York City will earn more than a dog walker in Alabama. The high cost of living in New York City means businesses have to charge higher prices to remain profitable.
As a result, dog walkers in New York City earn more money per hour than their counterparts in other parts of the United States.
The table below shows how dog walker salaries vary in some states of the United States:
|State||Average Weekly Earning|
RuffCity is a dog-walking company in New York City. According to this company, dog walkers earn $20 per 30-minute walk. Therefore, these walkers can make $800 weekly by taking eight dog walks daily. In a year, they make approximately $41,600.
On the other hand, District Dogs is a dog-walking company in Washington, DC. Walkers in this company earn roughly $15 per walk. Therefore, they can make $120 daily for eight dog walks and $600 weekly. Consequently, they make $31,200 annually by walking dogs.
I used the above two companies to demonstrate how your job’s location affects how much you earn.
2. The Number of Dogs You Walk at a Time
Dog-walking businesses consider two factors when charging for their services:
- The number of dogs.
- The walking duration.
A. The Number of Dogs
As a dog walker, you can decide to handle a single dog per walk or multiple dogs constantly. The number of dogs you handle per walk will determine how much money you make.
For example, if a dog walking company pays $15 per walk and you’re constantly handling a single dog, you’ll earn $15 per walk. However, if the company charges $20 for two dogs and you’re handling two dogs, your earnings increase to $20.
However, it’s important to note that walking too many dogs at a time can be dangerous. You may encounter troublesome dogs that will be challenging to handle. In such a situation, some dogs might end up getting lost along the way.
B. The Walking Duration
The walking duration is the second-factor businesses used to determine how much they charge for their services. The longer the walk, the higher the fee.
As a dog walker, you can decide to offer 30-minute walks, 60-minute walks, or both. The more minutes you walk, the more you earn.
Most companies pay $15 on average for 30-minute walks and $25 for 60-minute walks. Therefore, it’s upon you to decide the one that suits your expectations.
Experience is a crucial consideration in any profession. The more experience you have, the more you’re likely to earn.
As a dog walker, your experience level will determine how much you charge per walk and the number of clients you attract.
For example, you should start by charging lower rates if you’re new to the business with little experience. This way, you’ll attract more clients and get the required experience.
On the other hand, you can charge higher rates and still attract clients if you’re experienced. This is because clients are always willing to pay for quality services.
How To Start Your Dog Walking Business
Starting your dog walking business is one of the best decisions you can make. However, it’s not just a matter of waking up one day and deciding to start the business. You must know what is needed and prepare adequately.
The following are the crucial steps to consider when starting a dog-walking business:
1. Decide on Your Business Entity
You can launch your dog walking business as a sole proprietor or go with a limited liability company (LLC).
You won’t need to file paperwork with the state if you choose to be a sole proprietor. However, your business will be taxed as part of your taxes for the dogs you walk.
On the other hand, you’ll be required to file Articles of Organization with your state if you go with an LLC. This process is usually simple and can be done online.
An LLC also offers some liability protection and can help you get funding for your business. Therefore, it’s the best option for starting a dog-walking business.
2. Create a Business Plan
The next step is to create a business plan for your dog-walking business.
A business plan helps you to set your goals and develop strategies for achieving them.
It also enables you to identify your target market and create marketing strategies for reaching them.
Some critical components of a business plan include:
- An executive summary.
- A company description.
- Your target market.
- Your marketing strategy.
- Your management team.
- Your financial projections.
3. Get Licensed
Licensing is essential, especially if you live in a state that requires people to have dog walking licenses.
The requirements for getting a license vary from one state to another. However, the process is usually simple, and you can complete it online.
You might also be required to submit your fingerprints and pass a background check during the application.
4. Buy Pet Insurance
It’s possible to encounter various dog injuries while in the field with the dogs. For this reason, you should consider getting a pet-sitting or dog-walking insurance policy.
The insurance will protect you from any liability in case a dog gets injured while under your care.
General liability insurance is also crucial for this business to protect you against third-party claims.
5. Get a Scheduling and Invoicing Software
The organization is an essential aspect of the success of any business. Clients love it when a business is well-organized and handles their requests on time.
You may overlook the organizational element at the beginning since you’ll be having fewer clients and can remember most appointments. However, as the client base increases, their requests will exceed your memory. At this point, you’ll need scheduling and invoicing software for the smooth running of the business.
It’s essential to choose good software at the start to avoid the need to change it in the future. Good software must:
- Work automatically.
- Be accurate.
- Make necessary changes on invoices when needed.
- Keep an organized schedule.
Time to Pet is an excellent software for this purpose as it meets the above requirements.
Dog walking is a promising career that could earn you a decent living. However, like any other business, dog walking requires dedication and hard work.
You must also be prepared to face some challenges along the way. But with the right preparation, you can overcome these challenges and build a successful dog-walking business.
Thus, dog walking might be the perfect solution if you’re looking for an opportunity to earn extra income or even replace your current job.
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