Ever wanted to spend all your working life outside in the fresh air in the company of man’s best friend? Or perhaps you’d like to become part of the UK’s gig economy and make some money on the side? Becoming a dog walker might be the best decision you’ll ever make.
There is plenty of demand for dog walkers in the UK’s big towns and cities, as many people need someone to walk their dog while they work. But if you want people to use your services, you will need to do some work first:
You will need insurance
You need to be able to cover accidents and emergencies when the dog is in your charge. Most dog walking insurance policies would cover Public Liability, Care/Custody/Control and Non-negligent cover, but you might add some extra perks as well. Make sure you plan the costs for your dog walking insurance, as it’s not that cheap.
You will need your own transport or be able to walk all day long
You can use public transport in the large cities, but it is probably easier if you have a car/van you can use. Invest in branding too, as you want to be able to advertise your services while driving about.
Check if your car/vehicle insurance includes transportation of pets. It might not. If you don’t have a car, make sure you’ll enjoy being our on your feet all day long. Some people underestimate how tiring dog walking could be.
You will also need to invest in advertising, so people know your services are available. This can include postcards in local shops, leaflets distribution ads in community newspapers, business cards and online. You should also promote your services through social media. Once you have a couple of happy clients, word of mouth is the best promoting channel.
Investigate local places where you can take the dogs
Ideally, you will live near a big park – or at least be able to get there easily by public transport. You should check out the park for the variety of walks it offers, what rules it has in place regarding dogs on and off leads and what times are the busiest. For example, you might want to avoid post 3pm as it is likely there are more small children there at that point.
The fees you charge for dog walking must reflect your expenses and then profit. Transporting the dogs can prove expensive when it comes to fuel costs, if your clients are not within walking distance. One hour walk is usually between £8 – £15 depending on your area. You should also offer lower price for a second dog from the same household.
Always organise Meet & Greet
Meet the dogs first before agreeing to walk them. The owner might tell you his dog is well-behaved, good with other pets, etc., but it is best to make this assessment yourself. Find out which vets their owners use and discuss beforehand what should happen if the dog has an accident/falls ill while in your care.
Have the necessary supplies
You should always carry water for the dogs, some form of first aid kit for them and plenty of poop bags, spare leads and treats.
Want to become a dog walker? Apply with Swapaw and we’ll be back in touch to let you know if we think we’re the right match. We’ll sort out all of the above tasks for you!