Continuing the theme of finding something that you enjoy that can earn some money, I was looking at pet sitting and dog walking (which by the way are two different types of work schedules). I had done some while I was in college and enjoyed it, but it was never a regular side income. However, I discovered that people have not only made a little bit of money on the side, but they’ve created businesses from it.
Dog Walking: A Viable Income?
Let’s jump into the big question first. How much can you earn? Free Money Finance highlighted a post on earning money dog walking. I was impressed by the numbers. I had no idea what people paid or charge for that.
A dog walker can walk about 4 dogs in two hours (and more if you offer group walks or outings) at $15 per dog that’s $60+ for a couple of hours work. Most stay-at-home parents can squeeze in at least 4 hours of work per day so let’s just make that an even $120. So for a part-time job you can earn $600 or more per week!
I think that can be a good injection of income for those looking to earn more.
Getting Started with Dog Walking
As with everything, start small and build it from there. Start putting up flyers in grocery shops in neighborhoods where you think there would be clients that need your services. You may have to charge a bit less than the going rate to get started, but make sure you start raising your rates as soon as you get 4 or so clients.
Be professional with your clients, have a set schedule, keep accurate records, and let word of mouth help you build your business. Unless you plan on making this your full-time occupation, keep the amount of dogs you walk manageable. Once you start offering bad service, it’ll spread just as fast (if not faster) with potential clients. Instead you may want to have a little referral business where you divert to other dog walkers for a cut.
Go the Extra Mile
If you’re looking to bump up your income, there are a few ways you can do that. People who pay for others to watch their dogs typically have very strong concern over the well being of their pets. Provide something genuinely valuable for them, addressing their needs.
If you have the resources, start an online Pet Newsletter for your clients and possible interested ones. It doesn’t have to be fancy, it just has to be helpful. You can include tips about pet care, community events for animal lovers, and perhaps interviews with local vet offices. Offer it free to your readers. As it grows in subscribers you may want to offer space (for a fee) in the newsletter for local businesses.
Besides helping your clients, you’re also promoting yourself as a professional. You’re also spreading the word about your services, which in turn can bring in more business.
Looking for More Information?
If you’re interested in building your income with dog walking there’s The Dog Walker’s Startup Guide. I discovered this while looking up information for the post. Several people have recommended it, including FMF from Free Money Finance. You also might want to check out a small business that has been successful with this niche.
Thoughts on Dog Walking for Money
How many of you have dog walked or watched someone’s pet for money? How much did you charge? You may not be able to do this, but can you think of someone else who would want to earn more money? If you have a teen that’s looking for more spending money, perhaps you can suggest this as a possible business opportunity.