Dog walking sounds like a dream job for many of us dog lovers! You get to the benefits of staying active and spending time with some adorable doggos AND you make money! What's not to love? If becoming a dog walker is something you would like to do, then read on ahead to find out how to get started with this side hustle.
The advantages of becoming a dog walker
Once you build up your client base, being a dog-walker can be a fantastic side hustle.
- It is extremely flexible – Since you're your own boss, you can decide and work out times for your dog walking that suit you. Dogs can be walked during the mornings or the evenings so if you have a flexible schedule such as being a parent, this can be very helpful for you.
- You get some exercise – This job is great as you'll be providing a very helpful service to someone and getting some light exercise along the way.
- Minimum startups costs – There are arguably no start-up costs at all when it comes to dog walking. You may need to bring your own lead but if any friends or family members who are dog-owners have a spare going, simply just ask to borrow it and you are good to go. Chances are, your client will let you use their own leads most of the time too.
How to get started as a dog walker
The first step to getting started is the hardest and that is finding your clients. There are many ways you can find these clients though and if you try all these, I guarantee you'll get someone interested.
- Ask friends and family – Chances are, you know at least ONE person who owns a dog. And chances are that person will know SOMEONE else who owns a dog. Simply just put the word out that you're planning on starting a part-time dog-walking business and if they would be interested or if they could pass on the word to anyone else they know. Hopefully, someone will get back to you and then you'll have your first client.
- Advertise locally – If no-one you immediately ask is interested, then don't worry! Your next step will be to do some local advertising. This can be as simple as visiting local community areas in your town/city and posting flyers advertising your services.If you're feeling brave, you also could do cold-calling on doors in your local neighbourhood or if you're feeling extra brave, striking up conversations with local dog walkers. This doesn't have to be a sales pitch either! Just give the dog a compliment and start up a conversation. Casually bring up the fact you're starting a dog-walking service and see if the person would be interested. If they are, given them your details (Printing out some business cards can help with this!) and arrange the first walk. Another option is also advertising on social media such as local Facebook Groups or on Instagram. Join groups of dog lovers and you'll have a huge list of potential clients ready for you to contact.
How to earn money from being a dog walker
Once you've got your first client, next you need to arrange payment. Figure out what rates you'll be charging. I would recommend a flat fee for the amount of time it will take you so for example, £10 per hour. You can then arrange to collect your payment either electronically or with good old fashioned cash.
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If you intend to just do dog walking on the side and not as a full-time income then you won't need to worry but if you intend to make it a full-time job, you'll need to look into registering as a business once you're earning over £1,000 per year.
Being a dog walker is a fantastic side-hustle and it's super easy to get started in.