How to Start a Dog Walking Business
Owning a dog walking business can be a fun way to get out and enjoy nature with man’s best friend.
A typical day for a dog walker consists of arriving at other people’s homes and taking their dog(s) for walks. You may take them to a park to play for a while. After returning the dogs, you may pick up another dog or group of dogs, and you’re off again.
There are a couple of things to consider before starting. First, think about your ability to handle dogs.
Consider walking several dogs at a time. If the dogs are friendly and can be walked with other dogs, you can maximize your earnings.
Also, consider offering extra services such as dog sitting, grooming, or training to give you a broader scope of services.
- Scheduling walks and routes
- Interviewing owners about their dogs
- Walking dogs according to a schedule
- Cleaning up after dogs
- Common Business Skills
Approximate Daily Hours Needed:
General Hours of Operation: This varies according to the dog owner’s needs, it may be during the day or later in the evening.
Also, plan a few minutes to prepare, schedule, gather treats, and complete your billing.
Equipment, Supplies, & Services During Start-up OR In The Future:
- A good pair of walking shoes
- Extra leashes and collars
- Bags for dog waste
- Water containers
- Dog treats and toys
- Office Equipment
Monthly Expenses and Operating Costs To Consider:
- New leashes
- New waste bags
- New shoes
- Monthly Business Expenses
Special Requirements and Considerations:
- You should have a service contract that includes the name and address of the home you will be working in as well as your name to show it is an agreement between yourself and the dog owner.
- Some of your policies should include liability issues such as damage, aggression, illnesses, accidents, etc. You should also list your cancellation policy, payment policy, etc.
- Provide clients with a dog information sheet to fill out on each of their dogs that you will be walking. The sheet should include all of the dog’s information such as breed, color, microchip number, shot record, birthday, etc. Then it should ask questions about how the client wants you to take care of the dog. This sheet should be pre-filled with all the questions so you will not forget to ask the client any important questions.
- Make sure to obtain a veterinarian release. This is written permission to take the dog to the vet without bearing the responsibility of payment (the dog owner would pay). It will list the dog’s normal vet and give permission to take the dog to another vet if necessary.
- You may also want to get insurance. The one-stop-shop is Pet Sitters Associates. For $174 a year, they will cover you, the dogs, your employees, and your client’s home and property. For a few dollars a month.
At this time, both pet sitting and dog walking are still in their infancy as recognized professions. There are an estimated 78.2 million dogs owned in the US. According to an industry expert, only 3 percent of households nationally use a pet sitter or dog walker.
In fact, the outlook for pet sitters and dog walkers has never been better. Some estimates put the number of bonded and insured pet-sitter businesses nationwide at 10,000. Regrettably, there are no stats on the number of dog walkers yet.
On average around $20.00 to $30.00 for a half-hour walk
8 visits x $20/visit = $160/day
$160/day x 5 days/week = $800/week
$800 x 50 weeks (two weeks off for good behavior!) = $40,000/year
Keep in mind that in some cases, you may be able to walk several dogs at a time. This will multiply your earnings.