How To Become A Dog Walker in 2022

How To Become A Dog Walker in 2022

Do you love dogs, the outdoors, walking and don’t mind rain? Well, dog walking sounds like it’s the perfect career path for you. Our handy guide provides all the information you need on how to become a dog walker in the UK. Happy reading!

Is there currently a demand for dog walkers?

Absolutely. Now, more than ever dog walkers are needed throughout the country. Due to the boom in pet ownership during the pandemic, there was a massive surge in dog ownership. For many people who always wanted to own a dog, it presented the perfect opportunity to either buy or adopt one. However, as many people return to the office, the demand for dog walkers in the UK only grows each day. It’s estimated as of 2022, 34%* of households in the UK own a dog – wowza!

How much do dog walkers earn?

Typically, dog owners in the UK charge anything between £12 – £20 per hour, depending on their location and competition. Before setting up your dog walking business, it’s best to do a bit of competitor research to find out how much dog walkers are charging in your area.

Most dog walkers will list their prices on their website or social media pages so you can get a general idea.

If you plan on walking a larger group of dogs, rather than just one or two, many dog walkers set two designated walking times in the day, for example 10AM and 2PM.

How many dogs am I allowed to walk?

This will be dependent on your insurance policy and rules of your local council. Although it isn’t required to have insurance, we would always recommend getting your business insured, as it is a lot more appealing to customers.

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What qualifications do I need to become a dog walker in the UK?

You don’t need any qualifications, however, many dog walkers choose to train in animal first aid. Training in basic dog behaviour will also make you a lot more marketable to potential clients. If you do decide to gain these qualifications, make sure to advertise them to customers.

Do I need a drivers licence?

You don’t need to be able to drive to run a dog walking business, but it definitely broadens your customer base and earning potential if you can drive.

Many dog walkers will buy a second hand van which range from £2,000 upwards. This will be one of the biggest costs to any dog walking business, but it will be worth the expense to reach more clients. Decking out the back with air conditioning for the dogs will also make your business more marketable.

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How do I find clients?

The hardest part with any business is setting up and gaining your first few clients. The best place to start is by creating a website and printing off business cards to hand out to potential customers. You may also want to print off flyers or posters to pin up on local notice boards, around popular dog walking routes and public parks.

If you’re thinking of getting your own van, it’s definitely worth advertising your dog walking business on the side of your van.

You can also list your services for free on websites such as Dog Friendly Sussex, and creating social media profiles. The best social profiles to start on are Facebook and Instagram.

You can also join local dog owner groups in your area on Facebook and advertise your services on there.

The best way to constantly attract new customers is to think of yourself as a mini brand. Get a logo made, create a Google My Business page and think of unique name, such as ‘Wilbur’s Walkies’. It may be costly to create a website and logo but it will pay dividends over time.

And of course, word of mouth certainly helps. Tell all your friends and family you’ve now become a dog walker, and gradually when you bring on new clients, if they’ve had a great experience they will tell their friends, co-workers and family members. If you create a Facebook business page, and a Google My Business page, make sure to also ask your customers to leave a review.

Can I become a dog walker with no experience?

Definitely. As long as you have experience with handling dogs and are confident around them, you will be all set. When first starting out, try to walk friends, acquaintances and family member dogs. This is so you can then use them as a reference when first starting your business.

Make sure to setup a contract

It’s paramount to any business to sign a contract with your clientele. You’ll want to include details on the contract such as emergency telephone numbers, vet details, whether they have been vaccinated and received flea treatment.

You’ll also want to outline in the terms and conditions details within the contract about your insurance cover, refunds, emergency veterinary care, cancellation policy, liability and medical history of the dog(s). You can find a basic dog walking contract template here.

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Don’t forget taster sessions

Before asking your clients to sign a contract, it’s always best to meet the owner and their dog(s) in person. This way you can get an idea of the dog’s temperament and whether you will work well with the potential customer.

After an initial meet and greet, arrange to take the potential client’s dog(s) for a walk with the other dogs you are walking that day. Gradually introduce them to each other and see how they interact.

By arranging a taster walk, you are seeing whether the dog is compatible to walk in your group, plus it allows the dog to familiarise with you so you can build up a bond.

Being organised is the key to success

Like any business, make sure to keep a routine and schedule. For example, keep your walking times consistent and designate a day/time within the week to undertake your bookkeeping and marketing efforts.

You will also want to set aside 30 minutes a day to check emails or messages from potential and current clients. Many potential clients may move onto another dog walk if you don’t respond within 1 – 2 days.

You’re all set

Here at Dog Friendly Sussex, we wish you a really successful dog walking career. If you’ve got any questions or tips on how to become a dog walker, make sure to drop a comment. You can also find more dog friendly related articles on our blog.

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