Becoming a dog walker is a great way to make extra money doing something you love. And with 70-80 million dogs in the U.S. (source: ASPCA), there’s tons of opportunity for you to start your own dog walking business.
But how do you actually open shop? Here’s how to get your dog walking business off the ground—and how to become a dog walker with tons of loyal clients.
Set your expectations
Dream up the details of your business. What kinds of dogs do you like to walk? How many hours a week do you want to dedicate to walking? How far are you willing to travel? Do you want to offer pet care services besides walking? When it comes down to it, it isn’t tough to figure out how to be a dog walker, but the better idea you have for the business you want to create, the better position you’ll be in when it’s time to actually advertise your services.
Choose where to list your service
Do you want to fly solo, including finding all your clients? Do you want to join a neighborhood dog-walking service? Or would you rather run the details of your business with the support of a nationwide company? If you sign up to become a dog walker on Rover.com, you’ll be part of the nation’s largest network of dog walkers. Not only will you be connected to 100s of pet owners near you, but you’ll also get secure automatic payments and world-class trust and safety support. And the cherry on top: on top of dog walking, you can also offer and set individual rates for overnight pet sitting (in your home or theirs), doggy day care, and drop-in visits.
Create your profile
If you go the Rover route, you’ll need to create a profile. Your profile contains info about you, your experience, and the type of care you provide. Since pet parents will see your profile before they reach out to you, it’s a great opportunity to make a great first impression. After you fill out your profile, Rover’s Sitter team will manually review it and follow up with you within a couple of business days. Once your profile is approved, you could start receiving requests anytime—and just like that, your business will be off the ground.
Deliver 5-star customer service
Respond quickly to requests, stay on top of your calendar, send cute photo updates during walks, and even go as far as meeting your clients in person before you book. And make sure to take a step back and give yourself a pat on the back the first time a client re-books with you—that’s a great sign! Keep them forever loyal by delivering the same 5-star service they got the first time around.
Continually educate yourself about dogs and business
Whether you’re learning about leash aggression, harnesses, or just how to read dog behavior, Rover’s Sitter Resources Center can help give you the info you need to succeed. Apart from info about dogs and dog care, it also includes information on how to promote your business to continually bring in new clients—that’s on top of the clients who are already finding you on Rover. The more experience you have, the more business you could attract.
The bottom line
Becoming a dog walker is a great option for almost anyone: Dog walkers come from tons of different backgrounds. If you’re a student, retiree, stay-at-home parent, or you just want to make extra money, it could be a great option for you. But of course, nothing is more important than a deep love of dogs. When you list your dog-walking services on Rover, you get the support of a nationwide company along with the resources you need to build a sustainable business. That way, you can focus on the good stuff: giving each dog you care for one of the best parts of their day.