How To Get A Job As A Dog Walker
Yep. That’s right. You can earn money walking people’s dogs! Mad. Some people even make a career from it. Is now too late to drop out of Uni and pursue a life of looking after everyone’s pups?
There’s a few things you’ll want to think about before considering dog walking to earn yourself some extra money. Read on to figure out what’s involved.
How Much Can I Earn As A Dog Walker?
So you fancy yourself as a dog walker, but your first thoughts are, can you actually make some decent money doing it? As a self employed dog walker, you have the freedom to set your own prices. You’ll want to price competitively, to make sure you’re getting a fair wage or not overcharging for your time. Prices will often depend on where you live, and generally if dog owners have the time in the day to walk their dogs. With that being said, the great news is, if you take it seriously, you can earn a real good wage from it.
The average dog walker can charge £10 per dog, per hour. If you were to perform 10 dog walks per day, 5 days a week, you can expect to earn £26,000 a year!
As your client list grows, and you gain a name for yourself, you can charge anywhere from £12 – £14 per dog walk. At a rate 10 dog walks per day, 5 days a week, you can expect to earn £31,200 – £36,400 a year! That’s a bit mad!
Can I Just Borrow Someone’s Dog For The Day?
If you only live your life for dogs, you want something without any commitment, and you’re not even bothered about the money, we got you covered. Borrow My Doggy is a platform where dog owners can find trusted individuals in their local area to walk and look after their dog.
Do you have to pay to use Borrow My Dog? Nope! You can use the service mostly for free! Just pay a small yearly subscription fee, and the rest is all yours!
You won’t get paid from it, but if you’ve moved away from home, and you miss your family dog, this will give you your fix. It’s great way to get connected with a fluffer without the commitment of having to start your own business.
What Personal Qualities Do I Need To Have As A Dog Walker?
Before you consider dog walking as a way to earn your money, you should think about whether you’re the right fit for the job. Here are some personal qualities which will help establish yourself as a successful dog walker.
- An affinity of dogs and an understanding of different personalities, shy or loud etc.
- Maintain focus & attention to detail to be alert of any potential dangers or injuries, that a dog may encounter
- Be willing to work outdoors, whatever the weather, dogs will need their walks
- Good interpersonal and communication skills to help show confidence, make an impression, and build trust with new clients
- Clear and simple organisation to build an efficient schedule of the maximum number of clients you can see in a day.
How To Become A Dog Walker Step By Step
If you love dogs, and you need some extra cash, this may be the perfect business to start today. Read on to find out everything you need to know to start and grow your dog walking business today.
1. Research The Dog Walk Market
Time to get serious about the walkies. If you’re going to succeed as a dog walker, you need to do some market research of your local area. This will help you fully understand which dog walking services are in demand, where there are gaps in the market, and how much you can earn. Try to answer questions like…
- Which geographic areas are already covered by dog walkers? Are there any opportunities anywhere else?
- What is the hourly rate of most dog walkers in your area?
- Are group dog walks a possibility? Are they in demand?
- Think about marketing. Do they have a standalone website on Google, are they listed business directories, or are they simply marketing themselves on Facebook? Can you see any opportunities to get your business in front of more people than they currently are?
2. Gain Necessary Skills & Experience
So you’re going to need to build up some skills and experience before people start trusting you with their pooch.
For those of you new to the idea of walking dogs to earn some money, don’t worry, there are no set dog walker qualifications you need to obtain before stretching out those legs. But if you’re studying veterinary, zoology, animal behaviour, or any other sort of animal related studies, this will definitely help display your awareness of how to look after animals.
Gain Work Experience By Applying To An Established Company
To gain experience, consider applying for a job at a well established pet sitting and dog walking company. These are brilliant places to build your experience, and introduce to the dog walking world, within the safety of a bigger company. It’s also a great way to build up your knowledge and expertise of your local area, preparing for if you decide to start your own dog walking business.
Can I Be A Dog Walker Without Any Experience?
Absolutely! You can become a dog walker, even if you don’t have any prior experience. For those of you who are struggling to get experience, consider offering your services for free to begin with. Reach out to friends and family at the beginning just so you can gain the required experience and reputation. When you’re confident you’re doing a good job, ask them for reviews and testimonials to help demonstrate the trust and experience to others.
3. Gain Necessary Skills & Experience
In the UK it’s not necessary to have a dog walking licence, a qualification, or a certification. So all you legally need to have is a love for dogs! There are some rules and regulations set by the government that you do need to adhere to though if you are planning to start a dog walking business.
The National Association of Petsitters and Dog Walkers, or NarpsUK is a brilliant resource to get acquainted with all the rules and regulations that the government wants you to follow.
Precautions To Take When Dog Walking
- Meeting owners prior to the first booking
- Restricting the number of dogs walked to no more than four at a time
- Ensuring dogs wear collars with owners name & address
- Cleaning up dog poop
- Keeping records of all work undertaken
- Protecting clients’ personal information
How Many Dogs Can A Dog Walker Legally Walk UK?
In the UK, when walking dogs in the majority of parks and open spaces and on the public highway, the number of dogs that can be walked by an individual is limited to a maximum of four.
Business Insurance for Dog Walkers
What are the risks of a dog walking business? Naturally, like many jobs, dog walking does have risks. Sadly, you might have to deal with dogs causing damage to property, injuring themselves or other dogs, or any other nightmare, while they are in your care.
If you’re wondering “do you need insurance for dog walking”, the answer is yes. It’s vital to have the correct insurance cover to deal with any issues or legal claims should they arise. Having insurance means that if an accident happens and you’re held responsible, you’ll be protected.
When considering Business Insurance for Dog Walkers check out Compare The Market for a full run down on the specific types, and combination of insurance cover you might need.
4. Learn How To Market Your Dog Walking Business
Starting your own dog walking business will be a challenge, so doing your research and figuring out how to shine above your competition will keep you in a strong position to earn a good living.
Grow Your Online Presence
Get business listings set up on Google, Yell, Tailster, Facebook & Instagram. To have the highest chance of being considered by new clients, you want to make sure you are in front of as many people as possible, wherever they are. Upload nice, bright, and professional pictures of dogs you walk, or the places you walk them in. Help show people about yourself and the quality service you can offer them.
Build Trust Reviews
Make sure you encourage people to leave reviews on your Google Business Profile, Tailster, and on Facebook. While these are great marketing tools for you in general, encouraging reviews really lets people know about the quality service you are providing to your clients. You will show confidence and encourage trust from new prospective clients for your business.
Send Out Flyers
If you’re just getting going, you might need to get a bit old school. Get a stack of flyers printed, and drop them off in places where you can reach your clients. Leave them in pet stores and vet clinics. You can even ask to place one on the notice board at your local coffee shop that you know is a fav hangout for dog owners!
Consider offering additional services to help set yourself apart from the rest. Think about services like pet sitting, dog grooming, or if you have an academic background in animal behaviour, you could consider offering dog training.
Tips & Tricks for Earning Money As A Student
We were pretty blown away when we found out how much you could earn looking after other people’s dogs. Now you know everything that’s involved, there’s no real excuse to not give it a go! If it’s not quite right for you, there are so many other options if you’re looking to earn some extra money. Have a look at the Student Saviour Jobs Finder to find the perfect job for you at your university or city. If you’re stuck for ideas on how to get yourself a job, click here to learn How to Get a Job Guide For Students! For more advice on life at Uni visit our Student Advice Hub.