Make Extra Money Dog Walking as a Side Hustle
In the Unites States alone there are a staggering 75.8 MILLION dogs, more than any other country in the world. The number of pet related businesses has been steadily growing from the usual grooming parlors, both brick and mortar and mobile, to specially shops that make pet specific treats.
In recent years dog parks have sprung up in every major town and city and have become a draw for pet owners to live or visit specific areas. I want to tell you how to make some extra cash and you can start right in your own neighborhood for free: dog walking!
Getting Started Dog Walking
Preparing to walk dogs does not require anything specific except maybe a comfortable pair of walking shoes and possibly a leash. It’s also a good idea to have some dog waste bags or even just plastic shopping bags in case the dog owner does not provide them.
A few other things you may want to have with you are sun screen, bug spray, hand sanitizer and some water for both you and the dog(s). You will also have to set prices. For example 30 minutes for $15 or an hour for $20.
Questions to Ask Your Client
To many pet owners their dogs are considered their children so you want to make sure you know everything there is to know about the pet you will be caring for. First you want to find out the animal’s name so you can address the pet directly.
Next, find out if it is a boy or girl and if they have been spayed/neutered and have all necessary vaccinations. This is very important if you will be bringing the pet around any other animals such as at a dog park. It can be beneficial to ask how old their pet is to gauge activity levels.
Some pet owners have trained their pets with specific commands or hand signals, asking the pet owner to show you how to interact with their pet can make caring for them much easier. It may sound silly to some but animals have allergies too so if you are allowed to give treats make sure you ask if they are allergic to anything and only give approved treats or ones provided by the owner. Make sure you have contact information with you just in case you are running a few minutes behind bringing their pet home or in case of emergency.
While walking dogs can be a very relaxing and even fun experience there are also things to consider before strapping on those sneakers and grabbing that leash. Dogs come in all shapes and sizes and larger dogs can pose a challenge if you are not strong enough to control them.
I would suggest avoiding walking a dog that, in an emergency situation, you cannot control. Even a typically calm dog can bolt if they choose to so in any situation make sure you have full control of the pet.
In some situations, it may be wise to avoid areas with other animals to avoid any potential occurrences. Many areas have laws about certain breeds of dog that are not allowed in various places so if you are allowed to bring the pet places, make sure that breed is allowed to be there.
It’s amazing how many dog owners don’t take their dogs for regular walks. That’s where you come in! Walking their dog is not only great exercise for the dog but for you as well.
One of the first places you can find clients is in your own neighborhood. A simple flyer placed at the entrance is a great way to let your neighbors know that you are offering a pet walking service. Utilizing social media platforms such as Facebook and Craigslist are excellent ways to find customers by placing advertisements offering your services or even finding listings where customers are posting looking for a dog walker.
Once you have a few customers, assuming you want more dog walking jobs, you can always ask them to advertise for you by asking their local friends and family if your services are needed.
Going the Extra Mile
To ensure that your clients are satisfied with your services make sure you are on time for pick-ups and especially dropping back off.
It will cost $10-$15 to get a decent dog brush but having one with you for dog walking appointments can have a few positives. First off, dogs love being brushed and it will take up some of the time you are with them, especially for a session over 30 minutes. Your client is going to be thrilled that their pets coat is untangled and shed free which could mean a nice tip on top of your hourly.
Tips should never be expected but always appreciated. By going the extra mile for your dog walking client, you can not only increase your earnings but also gain positive reviews that can lead to even more jobs.
Depending on your client situation and your abilities/supplies, you could offer other services such as dog washing and grooming.
Some areas require licensing for things like nail trimming and fur cuts since it is very easy to injure an animal with the tools used but in general there are no licensing requirements to be a professional groomer. Be sure to research the laws in your area before offering these services.
Dog Walking Side Hustle Conclusion
There are dogs all over your town, right now, just waiting at the door wagging their tail or nubbin just waiting for you to come play with them for a while and you can make money while doing it. Puppy love and money, doesn’t get better than that.