These Pets Are Made for Walkin'...
Let’s face it, Fido doesn’t need to be sitting on his butt all day (or licking it, which is more common with MY dog) – and a daily walk might be good for you, too. Why not combine the two? You both get exercise and YOU make money!
What a Dog Walker Business Involves:
The name says it all – you give Rover his daily walk(s). You can do this as part of another service, like pet sitting, or do this as a stand-alone business. Since most dog owners are usually home in the evening, you’re most likely to be busy in the early morning or mid-day. Typically, you’ll offer walks of no more than half an hour (at least, for your base price) and limit yourself to a certain geographic area.
Knowledge or Skills Required:
None, really; good rapport with animals and the physical stamina to walk with them (or have them walk YOU) are the basics.
You’ll need a couple of good quality leashes and some pooper-scooper baggies. It’s also a good idea to carry something like pepper spray or vinegar in case a stray dog attacks – a small first aid kit comes in handy, too. A backpack or large fanny pack should hold your supplies.
Minimal start-up costs. Mostly you'll need business cards and/or flyers to announce your business to vets, obedience schools, groomers, pet shops, etc. Just limit yourself, geographically. If there’s an upscale condominium or retirement community nearby, that might also be a good source of clients.
- Good exercise for you!
Growing demand since many adults are away from home most of the day; competition varies
- You don’t get to take the day off if the weather’s bad
- You're not likely to get rich doing this
You need to be focused about where you walk and how much time you spend
There’s a danger in dealing with aggressive dogs. Before accepting a client, meet the dog ahead of time, see if he/she responds to commands and seems well-socialized. However, you may also run into stray dogs who are aggressive, too, while you’re out walking. You need to be prepared to deal with that situation.
Resources for More Information on Starting a Dog Walking Business:
Pet sitting associations may have information, since dog walking is often combined with pet sitting. They’re also a good source for liability insurance – you never know when the dog you’re walking will accidentally knock down a child who winds up chipping her tooth.
Pet Sitters International
Professional Dog Walkers Assn
Make sure clients (the human ones) sign an agreement authorizing you to walk their dog. The pet sitting organization may have sample forms for this. You can also get dog walking signed service agreement forms at BusinessFormsStore.com.
Offer doggie raincoats or sweaters for additional income.