How can a dog walker with an established business join the ranks of the highest paid or in short what are ways that dog walkers can make more money? Read on to learn 7 new ways that dog walkers can make more money and you can join the ranks of the highest paid even when you do not live in an urban center and log 50,000+ steps each day.
Top Ways Dog Walkers Can Make More Money
The internet abounds with stories of dog walkers making a very good living walking dogs. Typically, these stories are of dog walkers with tightly packed schedules, that work in very urban centers where dog walking fees are slightly higher, or dog walkers that have built successful dog walking businesses with a large client base and a team of employees or contractors. This may not be your own situation or the end desire for you and your dog walking business. That is where simply finding ways to make more money in your existing business is likely a better and more practical option.
Utilize technology to Streamline Your Dog Walking Business
Technology increases the efficiency of almost any business but as a dog walker there are some applications of technology that you may not be aware of. Dog walkers can use technology to streamline their business operations and attract more clients. For example:
Dog Walker Website
You can create a website where your clients can sign themselves up for walks or create an app that will do the same. Tools like google, forms, calendly and more can facilitate sign ups and integrate into your site. The Fiverr marketplace can help with very reasonable website builder offerings.
Making a Social Media Account for Your Business
Many dog walkers may already use social media to promote their business but using social media with a combination of boosted ads based on geolocation will build awareness for your business. Dog walkers can use social media to promote their services, share photos and videos of dogs they have walked, and build a following. This can help attract new clients and increase income and announce collaborations (see below). Professionals like dog groomers are blowing IG up by showing their work dog walkers can do the same.
Provide Easy and Reoccurring Payment Options
Adding simple payment options in app and sign up and even recurring payments for a monthly service option will also help you earn more and provide more consistency and reliable revenue in your business.
There are many apps available that connect dog owners with local dog walkers. By signing up for these apps, dog walkers can expand their client base and increase their income. Caution there are pros and cons to using the larger apps.
Another great way dog walkers can use technology is to offer GPS tracking. By using GPS tracking technology, dog walkers can show their clients exactly where their dogs were walked, how far they went, and for how long. This transparency can help dog owners feel more confident in their choice of dog walker and increase the likelihood of repeat business. Another caution be careful about the tech you select, learn more in our article about the worst dog tech.
Offer Additional Services
As an experienced dog walker you already have a bond with a dog, are a trusted service provider and have an existing client base. Adding additional dog related services seems like a no brainer to an already appreciative and receptive target audience.
Additional services like pet sitting, dog grooming, and dog training for a fun sport or general behavior not only will increase your income but also provide more value to your clients and potentially make your job easier. Other ideas include, backyard dog poop pick-up, dog medicine application or calming CBD when dogs need it most or offering, training, treats, Furbo rental and photos and more!
Offer “Adventure” Dog Walking Services or Walks to a Special Site
A regular walk around the neighborhood is great but some dog owners may be willing to pay a premium for more exciting and challenging dog walking experiences. By offering adventure dog walking services, such as hiking or trail running with dogs, dog walkers can cater to this market and charge higher rates.
Another thought is to get a relationship with a private property owner and have that be the place you use for dog walks. Sites like Sniffspot offer private dog walking and dog park areas, you could rent the spot as part of your service for all of your dogs to spread the cost. Nothing is like a Zoomie in a private space.
Create a Referral Program
Dog walkers can incentivize their existing clients to refer new clients by offering a referral program. For example, they could offer a discount on services or a free walk for every new client referred. This can help dog walkers expand their client base and increase their income without spending a lot of money on advertising.
Network and Collaborating with Pet-Related Businesses.
Networking and collaborating with other pet-related businesses such as pet stores, pet groomers, and pet trainers, builds awareness and offers instant access to new client base that you know is your target. You can collaborate with these businesses to offer package deals to your clients and get affiliate commissions.
Some examples of great collaborations for dog walkers include:
Many pet stores offer services such as grooming or training. By partnering with a local pet store, a dog walker can refer clients to these services and receive a commission or kickback for each referral.
Dog walkers can also partner with a dog trainer, a dog walker can offer clients a more comprehensive service that includes not only walking their dog but also training. This can increase the value of the service and allow the dog walker to charge higher rates.
Collaborating with a pet photographer can allow a dog walker to offer clients professional photos of their pets. This can be a great added value service that can increase the dog walker’s income.
Dog-friendly café or restaurant
By partnering with a dog-friendly cafe or restaurant, a dog walker can offer clients the opportunity to have their dogs walked while they enjoy a meal or drink. The dog walker can charge a premium for this service, and the cafe or restaurant can attract more dog-owning customers.
By partnering with a veterinary clinic, a dog walker can offer clients added value services such as administering medication or providing post-surgery dog care. This can increase the dog walker’s income and provide a more comprehensive service to clients.
With all of these collaborations a dog walker can leverage the community of the other service provider and you can each announce the collaboration on your social media accounts, in blogs and on websites.
Expand Your Service Area
Consider expanding your service area to new neighborhoods and communities. This will give you the opportunity to reach more potential clients and increase your income. As communities grow, do not forget to approach those communities for additional dog walking work, this is especially true for commuter communities, that grow very fast and people are forced to drive long distances to work.
Increase Rates for Dog Walking
Although this is not at the top of our list as many people use this as a last resort, we are also in an unprecedented time of inflation and cost increases that dog owners are well aware of and you as a dog walker have also experienced. Consider increasing your rates for dog walking services. You can base your rates on the number of dogs you walk, the duration of the walks, or the distance traveled.
Reasons to increase dog walking rates:
- Cost of living: As the cost of living increases, it becomes necessary for dog walkers to adjust their rates to ensure that they can continue to provide their services while covering their expenses.
- Experience and expertise: As a dog walker gains more experience and expertise, they become more valuable to clients. By increasing their rates, dog walkers can reflect the increased value they provide to clients.
- Supply and demand: As the demand for dog walking services increases, dog walkers can increase their rates to reflect the increased demand.
- Business costs: Dog walkers have expenses such as transportation, insurance, and marketing that need to be factored into their rates. As these costs increase, dog walkers may need to increase their rates to cover these expenses.
- Time and effort: Dog walking is a physically demanding job that requires a lot of time and effort. By increasing their rates, dog walkers can ensure that they are being compensated fairly for their time and effort.
Ultimately, dog walkers need to balance their rates with the value they provide to clients and the competitive landscape of their local market. However, it’s important for dog walkers to periodically evaluate their rates and adjust them as needed to ensure that they are providing quality services while maintaining a sustainable income.
Increasing your rates can be very uncomfortable for many dog walkers. Here is a sample notice of increased dog walking rates you can use to notify your customers.
Sample letter notifying dog walking customers of increase in rates:
Dear [Client Name],
I hope this letter finds you and your furry friend doing well. I wanted to take a moment to inform you of some changes to our dog walking services.
Effective [Date], our rates for dog walking will be increasing. The new rates will be [New Rate] per [Timeframe] for [Number of Dogs] dogs.
We understand that changes like this can be difficult, but we have taken several factors into consideration when making this decision. We believe that the new rates are competitive with other dog walking services in the area, and will allow us to continue providing quality care for your dog.
If you have any questions about the rate increase, or if you would like to discuss any concerns you may have, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us. We value your business and want to ensure that you are completely satisfied with our services.
Thank you for your understanding and continued support.
As you know dog walking is a very rewarding business with many opportunities to grow and make more money. By implementing some of these ideas you can join the greats of dog walking salary lore and be more satisfied in your dog walking career.
Dog Walker FAQs
Dog walkers can make between minimum wage and upwards of six figures. How much you make depends on how much you work or have others work for you, growing a satisfied and happy client base and if you implement other creative strategies like collaborations with other businesses, add on services and more.
Being a dog walker can be a great side hustle depending on your likes and dislikes. If you love dogs, walking dogs, being outdoors, and communicating effectively with dog owners you will love dog walking as a side hustle or a full time gig.
If you love dogs, building a business, working with your clients and are not afraid of hard work then it will be worth it. Like any venture into entrepreneurship you will have to work at it to build a client case that will make dog walking worth it.
Find more dog advice and fun stories in our popular book called Motherpuppin’ Adorable: What to do when your dog is better than everyone else’s the perfect companion for navigating the best life with your dog. Learn more about this loved book.