Difficulty: 5 (MEDIUM)
Initial Investment: 0 (LOW)
Location: WORK FROM HOME
Good for: DOG LOVERS, Students, Retirees, Parents, Writers, ALL
Walk Dogs for Money (and Pleasure and Your Health)
My walking buddy (Harper) has lowered my borderline blood pressure in the last year by 20 points, SIMPLY BY WALKING THE DOG EVERY DAY. It’s that simple! No Tricks (but lots of treeeeeats for the pup). My brother walked the neighbor’s dog for money, just before he retired–and he topped off his IRA, doing just that. So, yes, there is money in it, too.
There’s money and health in it, and pets can help you feel more gratitude, which in turn is good for your health as well. Pets, food and love are the top three. Aren’t those good enough reasons to try it out?
MAKE IT OFFICIAL?
You could just walk dogs, informally like my brother did. OR, you could consider this a viable business (which we think it is) and treat it accordingly, by treating it like a real BUSINESS. The Dog’s Side has a great guide to making it as a professional dog walker with the enticing tagline “surprisingly lucrative.” These are the topics covered:
- What do I do first?
- How do I get clients?
- Do I need insurance? What kind?
- Can I actually make a living as a dog walker?
Instead of putting out a hand-written flyer on a messy bulletin board, consider making a real business out of this and set up a business name, account for business, and other actions you need to make to be a bona fide business.
Consider making a website and finding a good domain name, and then blogging to establish yourself as a viable expert.
Walk Dogs for Money: How and Where to Start
If you want to get a quick start on this kind of business, try listing your dog walking business on Care.com or other caretaking platform FIRST and testing the waters there for a bit. (Eventually, you will want to have your own website, probably).
How Much Does a Typical Dogwalker Make?
According to salary.com,
The average Dog Walker salary in Ohio is $32,626 as of September 25, 2023, but the range typically falls between $26,649 and $40,717. This is fulltime, of course. But not bad at all.
What Are the Downsides When You Walk Dogs for Money?
TIP: Since this is a local business, you will want to list on Google ads for local businesses.
Be honest with yourself. Do you like walking in the rain or just barely tolerate it? If it’s the second answer, you might just want to do some catsitting and skip taking care of and walking dogs. Are you an active person? If not, skip this money-making idea and move on to something a little more passive, like running a dog camp or renting out a dog park in your back yard.
Know what I mean? Don’t sweat it. There are lots of ways to work with dogs for money that do not include walking dogs in the rain or dealing with poop bags (or the lack thereof).
And most importantly, can you handle a dog that might have issues with other dogs? Or children? Or fire engines? You don’t want to get hurt and you of course need to be at the ready to handle ANY SITUATION that comes up. Remember, dogs are instinctive animals and they are unpredictable. AND you might have your dog under control, but some other dog owner does not. Which brings us to…
Should You Go to a Dog Park with Someone Else’s Dog (Under Your Care)?
Or, in other words, should you walk peoples dogs for money in situations that you definitely cannot control? So much depends on your understanding of the dog, its history, and your physical and psychological makeup: are you good making quick decisions if the going gets rough?
Back to Your (FUTURE) Health
According to a study published on CNBC, walking provides many very quantifiable health benefits.
For every 2,000 steps, risk of heart disease, cancer and premature death decreases by 10%, peaking at 10,000 steps each day, the research shows. Additionally, a little under 10,000 steps a day (9,800) can drop risk of dementia by 50%–CNBC
So if you have what it takes to walk dogs, consider this a tip from your health practitioner as well.