Can I make money dog walking?

dog licking its face

So we stumbled across this while writing another article (7 side hustle ideas UK) and it got us thinking. Could you make good money walking dogs?

Dog walking is becoming big business and a very popular career choice amongst dog lovers, being a dog walking means that dog lovers can earn extra money by doing something they love, imagine what fun it would be taking four dogs for an hour long walk and being paid up to £60.00 for doing so says NARPS UK

So what follows are some suggestions and things to watch out for if your going to embark on this as an opportunity.

Before you take the plunge

We recommend you do some investigation first before starting any business (it’s called due diligence) not point setting setting up this dog walking business if you don’t like it. Try before you buy! BorrowMyDoggy was set up to connect owners with trusted local people who love to look after dogs. From walks, playtime, and overnight stays on holidays, anyone can sign up to BorrowMyDoggy. After a few weeks if you like it then it’s time for the next steps.

Be your own boss

If you don’t want to work for yourself then there a lots of website where you can join up, set your hourly rate and wait for people to contact you. Take Rover for instance, it’s a global website where you can not only take dogs for a walk but you can also take dogs overnight (like a boarding kennel) in New York we found some adverts from $150 per night! And London the highest prices ranged between £120 to £150. It’s definitely food for thought!

dog walking

Location, Location, Location

As with everything location is key. If you live in a city centre there might be less green spaces but you will probably have a bigger customer base (and might not need transport to get around) Study “your competition” as much as possible, especially the dog walking in your area, the local dog walkers, the services they offer and their rates, etc. What are they not offering? What could they do better?

Get certified

Dog walking is a job that you probably don’t think you would need any certificate/qualifications. But from the owners point of view they are giving/trusting you with their little (or large) best friend. Who do you think they will trust more? If dog walkers want to have certification, some colleges and independent organizations offer certificate programs in this area. The programs may include online and/or on-site training. For example:

  • Dog Walker Certificate: The International Association of Professional Dog Walkers, which is part of the International Association of Professions, offers a four to 12-week online course complete with access to an educator and a downloadable certificate. UK click here USA click here
  • Certificate of Dog Walking: Dogbiz has the Dog Walking Academy, which offers online and in-person courses. Graduates of the program can earn this certificate.
  • CPPS-Certified Professional Pet Sitter: Pet Sitters International offers this credential. Dog walkers can earn this certification because their profession falls under pet sitting.

Of course, dog walkers may need to pass an exam before receiving their certification. Also, certified dog walkers must renew their certification after a certain period and the process may include paying fees, taking exams and continuing their education in animal care.

Insurance & the Law

You will also need to understand the law and keep in the right side of it. The Kennel Club advice is whilst walking your dog, it is important that you are aware of the Countryside Code to keep your pet safe, protect the environment and show that you are a responsible dog owner.

You are obliged by law to ensure your dog wears a collar and an identification tag stating your name and address (Control of Dogs Order 1992). You can purchase tags and have them engraved online here.  In addition, cleaning up after your dog is one of the key areas of responsibilities for dog owners, especially when in public spaces. You can face a considerable fine if you do not.

You should be aware of the law & legislation and your responsibilities.

Places to walk the dogs

Below is just a small selection of resources which can provide suggested walks you and your dog can enjoy.

  • Forestry Commission – Help and advice on walking your pet in British woodlands. Read their online dog code here (PDF).
  • Woodland Trust – Find woodlands managed by the Trust to walk your dog in
  • British Waterways – Information on how you and your dog can discover Britain’s 4,000 miles of rivers, lakes and canals.
  • The Ridgeway – This national trail follows a route through the countryside used since prehistoric times.
  • Your Dog Magazine – Each month, Your Dog features walks by UK county that you and your four legged companion can go on. Every walk featured is assessed for its degree of difficulty, dog friendliness and the amount off off-lead walking en-route.
  • Canal and River Trust – Find dog friendly places on the canals and rivers.

Get pet business insurance

Jamie Shanks, lives in Scotland, and has been a pro dog walker since May 2010. Shanks says “You need dog walking/pet care insurance, they’re a few dedicated pet insurance businesses around. Pet Businesses Insurance is one, Cliverton is another.

It should cost about £15-£20 a month. Pet insurance covers things like the locks of owners homes in case you lose their keys or they are stolen and also cover vet costs should the animal you are looking after be harmed through your own negligence. Also, insurance will generally (or optionally) cover other services like dog boarding, daycare, pet taxi, etc.”

Bags

Oh and don’t forget a good supply of poo bags!

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