Dog walking has become a popular side-gig or full-time job thanks to the flexible schedule and of course, the dogs! Who wouldn’t want to hang out with dogs all day AND get paid? But the real question is: how much do dog walkers make? Let’s find out.
The first thing to consider is your location. If you live in an expensive city like New York or DC, you will be able to charge and therefore earn more money for your time. For example, according to Care.com, in Washington, DC, the average dog walker can make $18.26 an hour.
Keep in mind that is the average and there are a variety of factors involved, even in regards to the neighborhood you live in and the density of dog owners near you.
Like any job, the more experience you have, the more money you can charge. Learning additional skills and adding the recommended certifications can help increase the amount a dog walker can make.
Several organizations offer training and certification courses around the country. This will help give your clients peace of mind while giving you the confidence to handle many different scenarios that may happen during your walks.
- National Association of Professional Pet Sitters (NAPPS) provides a certified pet sitter at-home study course. Topics covered include animal behavior, pet care, health and nutrition for pets, first aid skills and business know-how. The cost is $245 for NAPPS members and $395 for non-members. After becoming certified, business owners can offer the certification course to their employees at a discounted rate. Certification lasts for three years and earning continuing education credits is necessary for re-certification.
- Pet Sitters International (PSI) offers a pet sitter certification program, which covers general pet care, animal health and nutrition, additional pet-related services and important business strategies. This program is open only to PSI members. The cost of the course is $315, but there’s a $75 discount if you register for the course at the same time that you pay your membership dues. Certification lasts for three years.
Because you only get paid when you actually take dogs for walks, you will need to devote some time to this job to bring in some serious bucks. By establishing a recurring client base, you can set yourself up for solid earning on a regular basis and over time, will lessen the need to go out and recruit new clients.
Additionally, by providing excellent service, your current clients will be more likely to refer you to their friends and family in need of their dogs being walked as well. It’s a win-win!
Bringing it All Together
All of the factors above will be crucial in determining how much do dog walkers make. A great place to start is to ask some simple questions:
- How much can you charge per walk?
- How many walks per week can you reasonably complete?
- What kind of costs do you need to consider?
This will help determine a realistic earning potential and understand how much do dog walkers make. You will be well on your way to raking in some extra cash while enjoying what you do!
The most important thing is to get out there and get some experience! To find out more about being a dog walker with Barkly, click here to begin your application!