How to Become a Dog Walker to Earn Extra Money

Published September 12, 2022
A new your city small business owner as a dog walker woman

If you're ready for a job that's flexible, fun, and rewarding, becoming a dog walker may be the perfect fit for you. What does it take to become a dog walker? It all starts with being prepared to meet some special pups who need some extra love and attention! If you're ready to get started on your first day as an official dog walker, keep reading. We'll cover everything from how much money you can make as a dog walker to what gear is essential for success.

Keep Your Schedule Flexible

You need to be able to work around the needs of your clients and their busy schedules, so it can make sense for you to be available as much as possible. If that means being on call every single day from dawn until dusk, consider whether or not it's worth it. If you do want to keep a very flexible schedule, plan some downtime for yourself and take it. Whether that means taking Fridays off or setting aside one afternoon each month for personal activities like going to the movies or visiting friends and family, carving out some time will help ensure that you stay fresh and happy while working with dogs all day long.

Advertise Your Services

In order to become a dog walker, it's important to advertise your services. You can do this by creating a website, using social media and local newspapers and magazines, and getting yourself a business license. While you shouldn't expect to earn a lot of money at first, you'll find that as word spreads about your services and your customer base grows, so will your income.

Another way to earn more money as a dog walker is by offering other services. For example, if you have a lot of clients who travel with their pets and need someone to stay at the house while they're gone, you can offer to do that for an additional fee.

Charge a Competitive Rate

You shouldn't just charge whatever amount you want. You need to be sure that the price you set is competitive and that it covers your expenses. If you charge too little, then there's a good chance that you'll end up losing money on each walk... and if your goal is to make money and get paid as a dog walker, this isn't an ideal scenario. On the other hand, if you decide to charge quite a bit more than what other dog walkers in your area are charging, most people will opt to pay the less expensive rate, and your services won't be used. The going rate tends to be $20-$25 per hour. Once you have experience, you can charge more than those without experience, but you will still want to remain competitive with your pricing.

Consider Purchasing Insurance

Just like a professional dog walker, you need to be protected by insurance. That's because when you're walking someone else's dog, there is always the possibility that something could happen, and it could end up being your responsibility. For example, if a client's dog bites you or another person while on their walk, then that would be considered an act of aggression. This can result in medical treatment and legal fees. When this happens, having proper insurance will help cover these costs so they don't fall on you or the owner of the dog in question, who may not be able to pay.

The type of coverage needed depends on where you live and what kind of liability issues could arise from walking dogs professionally. If any type of injury happens while walking dogs for clients, whether it be minor or major, your personal injury protection (PIP) will cover much more than just medical expenses associated with injuries sustained during work hours. In fact, some policies cover lost wages due to time off work following an accident, as well as psychological trauma resulting from witnessing traumatic events caused by others' negligence during non-work hours, after hours at home alone watching Netflix all night long.

Helpful Websites for Dog Walkers

Young woman sitting with her dog and using laptop at home

Becoming a dog walker is not only easy, but fun. Being a dog walker gives you the opportunity to meet new people and improve your health. Dog walking jobs are available on a variety of websites, which means you can enter this field no matter where you live. Dog walking jobs also pay well, so it may be worth considering if you want to make some extra money or have flexible hours.

Get Started with Rover

Becoming a dog walker with Rover is as easy as one, two, three. Sign up at rover.com/signup and enter your city of choice. Set up your profile by filling out the required fields, which include your name, phone number, and email address. You can also upload a photo of yourself for clients to see who will be walking their dogs. Then, view available jobs in your area from the Rover app or website, and accept the ones that fit your availability and interests.

Consider Wag

Wag offers an online platform where you can set up your own profile, complete with photos and video clips of your experience walking dogs. You can also build a resume to showcase your credentials and experience as a dog walker.

When someone needs a dog walker in your area, they'll post their job on Wag and set their own price, then it's up to you whether you want to apply. If you do decide to apply, all you have to do is accept the job offer and start walking dogs. Once a client has accepted your request for payment, Wag will send them an invoice via email so they can pay directly through their platform.

Don't Forget to Take Care of Yourself

When you work with dogs, it's easy to get carried away and forget about your own needs. But one of the most important things you can do is take care of yourself. After all, you don't want to be that person who can't go for a run because they're too exhausted from walking dogs all day! Here's how to stay healthy while being a dog walker:

  • Take breaks. This doesn't mean taking extended vacations; it means taking regular breaks during each walk so that your body has time to rest, not just your mind. Don't forget to eat healthy meals and snacks throughout the day, not just before or after walking dogs. If possible, cook up some meals ahead of time so they're ready when hunger strikes and you've got a packed schedule.
  • Get enough sleep every night, even if that means waking up earlier than usual to fit everything in before heading out on a long day as a dog walker! You'll thank yourself later when you don't feel like passing out early each evening.
  • Take time for yourself each week, or even daily, when there aren't any appointments scheduled yet. This will help keep stress levels down while still allowing extra rest periods during busy days. You don't want dog walking to cut into other aspects of life such as spending time with loved ones or exercising regularly.

Start Your Dog Walking Business Today

If you're considering becoming a dog walker, we hope you found these tips helpful. It's not hard to get started, but there are things you need to think about before jumping in. You might also want to consider getting insurance for your business or creating an LLC or other legal entity if it makes sense for your situation. The most successful dog walkers often start small and work their way up, depending on how large they want their business to become.

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How to Become a Dog Walker to Earn Extra Money