Dog Walker

Startup Costs: Under $2,000
Part Time: Can be operated part-time.
Franchises Available? Yes
Online Operation? No

If you love furry friends and being outdoors, this idea might get your tail wagging. The ASPCA reports that more than 23 million American households got a dog or cat during the pandemic. And as more and more people return to the office, there are a ton of human clients who need help getting their four-legged friends daily exercise (and calls to nature.) Many dog walkers have built six-figure businesses in the past few years, according to the New York Times.

If you're thinking about taking part in the furry gold rush, here are some pointers to get you started:

Related: Dive deeper with Start Your Own Pet Business on sale now

How much money can you make as a dog walker?

Depending on where you are located in the country, dog walkers can earn between $15-30 per half-hour walk. That will add up quickly as you add the number of dogs you're walking and your reputation builds. Some dog walkers with high-wealth clients in New York City earn over $100,000.

How to get started  

  • Start spreading the word to friends and family and neighbors — people who know and trust you and whose dogs you already know. If they are happy with your services, encourage them to share your name with other pet owners they know.
  • Hit the dog parks. Strike up conversations and hand out fliers or a business card. Include your email and phone number, and your website or business-based social media accounts if you have them.
  • Create a simple website. This will give potential customers comfort that you are a professional who will take expert care of their beloved pets. Your website should include any and all information about what your pet-sitting service provides, why your services are so great, and other useful information that will pull customers in, including a brief bio about you, with an emphasis on dependability. And don't forget the photos—people love cute photos of pets.
  • Get active on social media. Instagram is great for photos and Facebook puts you in touch with tons of people, many of whom are pet owners. Utilize local social media boards like Nextdoor to touch base with customers in your area.
  • Become a member of local associations — a chamber of commerce, a pet-sitters organization, a veterinary-related group. You'll get great ideas and meet tons of potential customers.
  • Pick up How to Start Your Own Virtual Assistant Business for a fully detailed guide to setting up your business, expanding your customer base, and turning your expertise into a new revenue stream.

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