How to get a dog walking job /what it’s like to work as a dog walker.

Would you like to get a dog walking job ? So many people would love to work with dogs,  and as I used to work as an Architect, I guess Im one of them :) so I guess this post is about what the job is like , and how you need to set your self up to do this job well. Many people think that its a “walk in the park” :) and technically it is!  On the other hand, if you would like to make it into a rewarding long lasting career decision, then you need to take it seriously. People take their dogs VERY seriously and when they are employing you to help them, they expect you to know what you’re doing. They expect you to be organised, to be on time, to be communicative and to be professional. Hopefully this post will help you move towards understanding knowing what you’re doing, the rest of it you will have to sort out yourself :)

dog walking job

 

BTW You cannot do this consistently if you approach it as a hobby job, as being consistent is not an optional extra. It is essential to people who rely on you to help them with their dogs.

 

Being consistent helps you to establish trust, and trust is the most important piece in your armoury for this business. Even if your knowledge of all breeds of dogs is not perfect, and you are only learning, if you can show yourself to be consistently reliable, then people will start to rely on you, as this is essentially what is needed.

Knowing dogs, Knowing your clients dogs…….

Most owners would LOVE to be able to go to the park with their dog each day, but circumstances usually mean that this is not possible, so you effectively get to take their place- lucky you !!!! However, do you know what to do with their dog?

Do you let them off leash? How are they around smaller dogs  , bigger dogs, around rollerbladers, around water? around joggers? Do they have good recall, or selective hearing? Do they walk well on leash on the pavement, or do they try to choke themselves via their leash?

 

What should you charge? charge too little and you will have to raise your prices later (customers would just LOVE this bad news !!!) when you figure out that you don’t have enough money for rent, and or have to get another job to support your dog walking habit ;)

Charge too much and you wont get any customers. One good way to know what to charge is to look at the established businesses in the area, and see what they charge. Their charges usually will reflect what you would need to charge in order to operate in that area. Inner city areas with their traffic difficulties and lack of space usually have to charge more to operate.

Do you charge a monthly fee, or do you charge by the day as your service is used.

We try to do a mixture of both, for some customers when they are working full time in a regualar fixed schedule, 1 monthly charge is usually best. For other people whom only need your services periodically, then of course day rates are best.

 

How will you get around to your dogs in different areas? Would you walk? Will you use your car? your average car is probably not suitable for doing this business, and the dogs could very soon chew a hole in your nice leather seats, cause it feels good to chew on leather :)

Will you get a van? Many companies use vans, Freddy at http://www.calmak9.co.uk/ started on a bike and moved to a van as it suited his business. At H.P.H. we use a combination of cargo bikes, walking and public transport. This works well for us , as we operate in a very urban area, but maybe for others, this would be too much like hard work ;)

 

How will you organise to take holidays!!

You statistically will not regularly have the good fortune that your customers all take their holdays together, and so how can you organise some R&R time for yourself…… This funnily enough is one of the biggest challenges in the business considering that it is such a personal service.

Many professional dogwalkers rarely take holidays, possibly a combination of the fact that they love their work and that it is so dificult to say to customers that they need to take some time off, and that they need to find a way to keep their dog occupied for the week!

 

Will you do dog home boarding in your house? When people need help with their dog, very often they need help at holiday time also. When you have an existing relationship with them, it can be good for everyone that you could help take care of their dog while they are away. This is another service, and the guys at mydogbuddy.co.uk can also help you grow that side of your business.

 

Summer vs Winter

The demand for this service is year round. Its not just a summer service, and so you must set yourself up for the winter months. Basically that means that you must schedule to finish up around 4:30 / 5pm as this is the latest that you will have light in the winter, it also corresponds with the latest that people usually need help with their dogwalking.