How to Start a Dog Walking Business

Written by Dave Lavinsky

How to Start a Dog Walking Business


How to Start a Dog Walking Business

If you’re looking to start a Dog Walking business, you’ve come to the right place. Since we’re going to show you exactly how to do it.

We’ll start with key Dog Walking industry fundamentals like how big the market is, what the key segments are, and how revenues and profits are generated.

Then we’ll discuss keys to not only starting a Dog Walking business, but succeeding in it!

How Big is the Dog Walking Industry?

The Dog Walking industry has grown at an annual rate of 3.1% over the past five years, and is currently worth $900.8 million. There are just over 25,000 Dog Walking businesses in the US today.

What Are the Key Segments of the Dog Walking Industry?

Short walks of 30 minutes or less are the largest income-generator for the industry. Other segments include longer walks (30+ minutes), dog sitting, and other services.

What External Factors Affect the Dog Walking Industry?

A number of factors affect the performance of the Dog Walking industry. These drivers include:

Number of pets (cats and dogs) – The growth in pet population has exceeded growth in the US population over the past few years. This translates into more demand for Dog Walking industry services.

Per capita disposable income – Pet owners spend more on their fur-babies when they have the cash. This driver is becoming less important, though, as people increasingly see their pets as part of the family and pet expenditure stabilizes.

Number of households – Nearly three-quarters of US households own a pet. Ergo, more households equal more pets.

National unemployment rate – Working Americans have less time to care for their four-legged loved ones. Therefore, shrinking unemployment increases expenditures on dog walking services.

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Who Are the Key Competitors in the Dog Walking Industry?

The top players in the Dog Walking industry are Fetch Pet Care, Swifto, and Chicago Dog Walkers.

What Are the Key Customer Segments in the Dog Walking Industry?

Two-thirds of Dog Walking customers are between the ages of 36 and 66. All other adults make up the remainder.

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What Are the Key Financial Metrics and Costs in the Dog Walking Industry?

The key financial metrics in the Dog Walking industry are as follows:

Wages – Wages are the largest industry cost. Customers have been willing to pay higher fees in the past few years, which has enabled employers to pay higher hourly wages to their employees.

Marketing – Social media has greatly decreased Dog Walkers’ marketing expenses. Now, promotional items such as business cards and posters make up the bulk of marketing costs.

Purchases – Purchase costs are fairly low, and include such items as computers, mobile devices, accounting software, and pet-related items such as leashes, scoopers, and the like.

What Are the Keys to Launching a New Dog Walking Business?

Know your customers (dogs, that is). Acquire a general knowledge of popular breeds and their temperaments and behavior tendencies. It’s OK to say no to walking a breed you’re not comfortable with.

Decide which services you’ll offer. Will you offer pet sitting in addition to dog walking services? Pet transportation?

Set your service area. Determine how far you are willing to drive to offer your services.

Set your rates. Take a look at the competition, and set your rates accordingly. If you’re offering something out of the ordinary, such as on-call services, you will be able to set your rates higher than your competition and still get customers.

Have a back-up plan. Be sure you have someone who can deliver on your commitments if you have an emergency.

What Are the Typical Startup Costs for a New Dog Walking Business?

Entrepreneur Magazine estimates the startup costs for a dog walking business to be around $2,000.

Initial costs:

  • Leads, muzzles, harnesses
  • Portable water dishes
  • Treats
  • Scooping supplies
  • Appointment and Invoice tracking books or software
  • Marketing
  • Insurance and business license fees

Ongoing costs:

  • Wages (as you grow and need to hire employees)
  • Treats and scooping supplies
  • Marketing
  • Insurance premiums
  • Cell phone service

Helpful Videos

Dog Walking Tips Part 1: Techniques and Tips


How much to charge for dog walking, pet sitting?


Additional Resources in the Dog Walking Industry

For additional information on the Dog Walkingindustry, consider these industry resources:


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