How Much Do Dog Walkers Make?
You might love dogs of all shapes and sizes, but how do you know if dog walking is really the job that’s the best fit for you? There are a lot of tales of walkers making $200 in a single day, but how true are those stories? Is it easy to become a dog walker and what’s the best way to go about it? There are a lot of questions to answer when considering this as a job and we’ll answer all of these and more with this guide to all things dog walking.
The Facts And Figures
In the US, the average salary for a dog walker is nearly $30,000. Yet this can vary drastically from state to state and gives no indication of the number of hours that have been worked per month. One of the perceived benefits of being a dog walker is that it should be flexible and that you can make your money by only walking for a few hours a day.
It is a worthwhile job to get involved in. If you love pets, love being outdoors, and want to get away from the traditional burdens of the nine to five working week, then dog walking just might be the vocation that you’ve been waiting for.
How To Become A Dog Walker
If you’ve decided that you want to walk dogs for a living, either part-time or full-time, there are a few things that you’ll need to carefully consider before you get started. You’ll need to decide what it is that you’re looking for. Whether it’s full-time work or just a few hours a week. How flexible your working hours can be, as well as the salary that you’re hoping to earn each month from dog walking. You’ll also need to consider whether it’s better to work with an agency or one of the many dog walking apps.
Dog Walking Apps
Dog walking apps have become more and more popular in recent years. After all, who doesn’t like to order things from their mobile? With these apps, that even extends to organizing a dog walker! More importantly, in these apps, you can learn some of the basic skills that dog walkers will need to have, such as how to train a dog to walk on a leash.
Dog walkers and pet sitters sign up for these apps then go through a verification process before they are allowed to look for any clients. This can be a lengthy procedure but makes sense. After all, you are being asked to take care of someone’s pet!
Barkly Pets is an app designed for independent local dog walkers across the country to grow and customize their own businesses. They are also the only commission-free dog walking app, so walkers keep 100% of their earnings. Instead of taking commissions from your earnings, Barkly charges a flat rate of $8.50 to walkers who earn over $100 a month. If walkers earn less than $100 in a given month, the app is completely free.
Barkly Pets walkers also set their own walk rates to fit their experience, and customize their services. The Barkly Pets app allows customers to book directly with the walker of their choice, which promotes that unique bond between a walker and the dogs they care for.
Wag is a popular dog walking app that allows clients to book a 30-minute walk for $20-25, or $30 for an hour. Sounds good, doesn’t it? Well, you have to remember that the app will take 20% of this from you, and you’ll also have to declare the income and get taxed on it. In the end, it adds up to very little as a final paycheck. Another issue with WAG is that you are only allowed to walk one dog at a time. While more than one is allowed if they are from the same house, this only adds an extra $5 per pet. This means that while WAG might be a good option for some part-time work, it’s not going to earn you very much as a full-time job.
With Rover, dog walker salaries are different. That’s because every individual sets their own rate for a 30-minute walk. Clients can also say whether they want their dog walked on its own, or if they are ok with their pooch being walked as part of a group. This means that theoretically dog walkers on Rover can earn more, but it all depends on your client base, and it can be difficult to build up a reputation when you’re first starting out. Just like WAG, Rover takes their 20% cut of whatever you earn.
Working For An Agency
Agency work does have its benefits. You will be an employee of the agency, so you’ll be paid a salary and will pay your taxes as an employee. While you won’t have the same flexibility in hours, many will be understanding if there are certain days of the week you can’t work. You’ll also have no shortage of clients, as your schedule will be sorted by the agency and you won’t have to go out and find your own clients. Agency’s do sometimes offer clients benefits, such as house cleaning and giving dogs medication, but it is a much more stable form of employment, particularly if you are looking for full-time work.
Having a pet first aid and CPR certifications will give you a huge boost if you are using any of the dog walking apps, as clients will feel much happier about leaving their pet in your hands. Many agencies actually require you to get these now and will sometimes cover the cost of the training once you have been employed there. It’s certainly a good idea to invest in, as you never can tell what’s going to happen when out on a walk!
Reasons To Work As A Dog Walker
Being a dog walker has many advantages, including the following:
- A dog walker has the freedom to set their own hours. Dogs are generally much more tolerant of people who work outside the house than they are of people who work inside the house. Since dogs are pack animals, a dog walker can leave their dog at home whenever they want or take them out for long walks without them knowing that they’re being left behind. This means that working as a dog walker doesn’t require a lot of planning and supervision.
- You can make great money while doing an enjoyable job. If you’ve got the extra hours in the afternoon, make money by walking other people’s dogs. This is a great way for you to have some extra cash on the side. These extra earnings can be used to fund emergencies, a holiday trip, or even to pay off your student loans.
- Another advantage of working as a dog walker is the ability to spend more time with your family. For instance, if you don’t have children, you can take your dog with you to get a morning cup of coffee or breakfast. If you have kids, you can take your dog to lunch or dinner or go for a walk together with them. This is a great way to bring up kids and dogs while maintaining a relationship with you both.
- As a senior, working as a dog walker will help you enjoy your retirement even more. When you’re just at home, you’re going to have much extra time on your hands, which can lead to a dangerously sedentary lifestyle. When working as a dog walker, you’re able to give yourself that daily exercise you need, the motivation to go outdoors, and even an opportunity to interact with other people you may meet at the park.
Dog walking is a booming business, and more and more people are looking to get involved with it. While an agency will mean more of a traditional working week, many are a lot more flexible than you might think at first. Working for one of the big dog walking apps sounds like fun, but it’s really only recommended for those looking for part-time work. An agency will provide you with a steady salary while you spend your time with a range of adorable pooches.