There are countless side hustles to make money in your spare time. But have you ever thought about making money as a dog walker or dog sitter? Dog owners can feel a little guilty about leaving their furry friends home alone all day, but luckily it’s never been easier to find a reliable dog walker or dog sitter online.
Dog walking is an easy service to offer if you want to make fast cash (and spend some time outside with man’s best friend). There are quite a few apps and websites that allow you to advertise your dog walking or dog sitting services. With these apps, you can very easily tap into the freelance and gig economy of 2023.
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What are the benefits of working as a dog walker?
Dog walking is a very fun job; one which allows you to:
- Go outside for some fresh air and get in your daily walk, all while listen to music or your favorite podcast.
- Spend time with the finest animal that we’ve ever found on this planet, dogs!
- Make money as a side hustle without having a boss or the need to report daily to a 9-to-5.
- Make money on your terms. It’s easy to fit a dog walking side hustle into a busy schedule.
- Build a strong client list over time, which means your income grows as your experience grows.
Dog walker career outlook for 2023
While dog walking and dog sitting is a great side hustle, this side gig can become a legit and profitable career.
According to two recent studies, the need for pet-related services is growing. According to an industry research report from Mordor Intelligence, the overall global pet service market is projected to grow 5.2% by 2025 (source).
And the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that animal care and service worker jobs will grow 22% from 2019 to 2029 (source). The average employment growth overall is 4% across all occupations, for comparison.
The growth in the industry is fueled by an increase in the number of pet owners and increased spending on pets, as pet owners are more willing to spend money on their companion pets than they were in the past.
How much money can you make as a dog walker?
According to the online job site Zip Recruiter, dog walkers on average made about $29,921 per year as of Jan. 5, 2021. That means dog walkers make about $14.39 per hour, or $575 per week (source).
Pay for dog walkers can depend on where they live and which app they use. Dog walkers in big cities typically make more than dog walkers in rural or suburban areas (source).
According to Care.com, dog walkers can earn as little as $15.63 per hour in Indiana to as much as $18.26 per hour in Washington DC. This means dog walkers make a little more than the average hourly wage in the United States, which is about $11.34 (source).
It’s also worth noting that dog walking apps charge a commission or a flat fee for letting you advertise on their platform. While offering your services as a dog walker may not be enough to fully support a family of four, it is, however a fantastic side hustle for dog lovers.
6 best apps to make money as a dog walker
Rover is a popular online dog walking service that allows customers to search for dog walkers and meet them in person. It serves customers in the U.S., Canada, and parts of Europe.
Rover processes all the payments, so clients have a secure way to pay for their walks. According to Rover’s website, dog walkers are hand-reviewed and approved before they can offer their dog walking services through the site.
Dog walkers undergo a general background check, and clients can use the site’s meet and greet tool to get acquainted with a potential dog walker before they book any services.
Rover’s other popular services include dog sitting, which helped one pet sitter live in New York City rent-free and make decent money for at least three years, according to an article by CNBC.
Wag! is another popular online dog walking service that’s based in California.
Wag’s app offers GPS tracking and live pictures during walks, so owners can see where their dog is being walked through the Wag mobile app when they’re away. Wag allows owners to book walks from the app or their website immediately, or pre-schedule walks for the future.
Owners have the option of quickly booking a 20-minute walk for about $15, a 30-minute for about $20 or a 60-minute walk for about $30 depending on your dog’s needs.
According to Wag’s website, all of their walkers have to pass an enhanced background check before they can work with the waking service. Dog owners can even browse walkers with special dog experience, such as caring for puppies, elderly dogs, or dogs with disabilities.
Wag! has walkers in 4,600 cities in all 50 states. Plus, the company donates a portion of its’ dog walking proceeds to help buy meals for shelter dogs (source).
Care.com offers a wide variety of household services for people to book, including dog walking. The company was founded in 2006, “On the understanding that quality family care is both a fundamental human need and a key driver of economic growth and empowerment,” according to the company’s website.
Customers can book dog walks and manage their payments for services all in one spot. It focuses on comprehensive family needs, so you can book a babysitter and a dog walker straight from their website.
Aside from booking services, Care.com also has free, comprehensive guides for all kinds of household care areas, including pet care, tips on managing your dog walking services, and news about laws and rules that may affect dog walkers.
Aside from pet sitting, Petsitter.com has an area to advertise and book dog walks. Dog walkers can advertise their services on Petsitter.com and apply to dog walking jobs that potential customers post directly to the site.
So, rather than listing your services and waiting for gigs, you can actively seek out people who need a pet sitter or a dog walker in your area. There are also options to book pet training services, grooming, and boarding all from the Petsitter.com website.
What sets Barkly Pets apart from other dog walking apps is that they don’t take a commission for each order. Barkley Pets offers commission-free dog walking services, which means dog walkers get to keep 100% of their earnings.
To qualify as a dog walker for Barkley, you’ll need to pass a training certification course. After that, you get a badge on your profile to indicate your certification to any interested customers. The company has also offered its walkers health insurance benefits and paid sick leave, unlike other dog walking apps.
Barkly Pets says that their approach has led to better care and services for pets compared to what’s found on other apps. Barkly Pets is similar to other dog walking sites in terms of how you use it. The site allows owners to book walks, monitor the walks through GPS tracking, and pay for services using secure payment options directly through the site.
Customers can create a customized checklist for their dog walkers. For example, if a pet needs medicine or needs a specialty diet. You can also search for your ZIP code on the Barkly Pets website to see the average price of a 30-minute dog walk in your area.
PetBacker offers dog walking services in more than 50 countries across the world, making it a good option if you’re traveling somewhere new with your pet.
Like other apps, PetBacker helps dog owners find qualified dog walkers through their site and provide free insurance to cover your dog’s safety.
There’s also a reservation guarantee, which helps you find a backup plan if your normal dog walker has to cancel at the last minute. PetBacker also offers a loyalty rewards program, so frequent customers receive discounts on services.
Walkers can use the PetBacker app to find jobs, send photos, and send walk progress reports directly to the dog owners during their walk.
Want to make money as a dog walker?
Dog walking can be a fun and easy way to make some extra money, or a very rewarding career if you decide to take it to the next level.
The time spent outdoors and exercising can be great for your overall health and mood, plus you can spend time with all different kinds of dogs from all over your community.
So, if you’ve ever considered making money dog sitting or becoming a dog walker as a side hustle, there’s no better time than now to get started!