How Much Money Do Dog Walkers Make?
Asking how much money dog walkers make is a bit of an open-ended question. There are many factors that can impact pet sitting salaries. The exact amount is going to depend on things like the region you live in, the services you provide, and employment status. In this article, we’ll take a look at how each of these factors can impact how much you can make as a pet sitter.
How Location Affects How Much Money Dog Walkers Make
Location, location, location! The area in which you provide services is going to heavily impact how much you can make as a dog walker or pet sitter. For example, a pet sitter in New York City, where the cost of living is sky high, will likely earn more in absolute terms than a pet sitter in the rural mid-west. In relative terms, pet sitters in these two regions may have different salaries but have the same purchasing power. The cost of doing business and the living expenses will be much higher in New York, so pet sitters in that area need to charge more to cover those expenses.
Population density is also going to effect a pet sitter’s pay from region to region. This is because of the cost travel time, gas and wear and tear on a car add up when pet sitters need to travel further between clients. Let’s use the example of a big city versus the suburbs. A pet sitter in a big, highly populated area may only need to travel a few minutes by foot or bicycle to get from client to client. Conversely, someone working in a suburb may need to travel by car 20 – 30 minutes between clients. With only so many hours in the day, a city sitter can charge a little less per appointment and fit in more appointments. A suburban dog walker can’t fit in as many appointments and needs to cover more expenses. In this example, a suburban sitter needs to account for higher expenses.
Location can have a huge impact on pricing. While city living has a higher cost of living expenses, suburban and rural life can have higher costs of doing business. These differences don’t exactly even out which is why it’s difficult to put a hard and fast number on how much money dog walkers make.
How Service Offerings Affect Your Bottom Line
The services you offer can affect how much you’re able to make as a pet sitter. Pet sitters who offer boarding services can take on more pets in a night than a service that offers in-your-home pet sitting where they can only service one client at a time. In the case of in-home pet sitting, you may need to charge more to make up for that. Pack walking is also a service that can increase how much you can make. Although prices for pack walking are usually lower, you can fit in 4 to 5 times the number of clients in the same time frame. As a result, pack walkers typically make more per hour than sitters who walk one dog at a time.
Add on services and surcharges are another area that can affect how much money a dog walker makes. While most services don’t charge extra for feeding, add-ons like administration of medication or poop-scooping are normal. Offering these add-ons for a fee can help sitters make more money in the same amount of time. In addition, many dog walkers and pet sitters have surcharges like additional pet fees, weekend fees, and late cancelation fees. The choice to charge extra can have a big impact on profits.
The Effects of Owning a Business Verus Being an Employee
The economics of owning your own business versus working for a pet sitting service is quite different. As a business owner, you can hire staff, which allows your company to grow. At first, you might make less money using staff than you did as an independent pet sitter because you’re paying a cut of the fee to the person doing the work. Over time; however, the economics turn in your favor. Making 50% of the walk rate for 5 peoples full schedule is more profitable than making 100% of just your full schedule. While you may need to sacrifice in the beginning, there is a long term benefit to hiring staff.
If owning your own business isn’t your thing, you can always go to work for someone else. In this case, your availability is going to play a big role in how much you can expect to make. At my company, Walk It Like A Dog, salaries can differ by tens of thousands of dollars based on a sitters availability. For example, some of my staff are available for in-home overnights while others are not. The sitters who do walking during the day and pet sitting at night make significantly more than the dog walkers who only work a few hours in the middle of the day. If you’re available full time and work for a busy company you’ll be able to earn a living as a pet sitter. If you’re only available for a few hours during the day or a few days a week, chances are you’ll need to supplement your income in another way.
As you can see there are many factors that affect how much money a dog walker can make. Location, service offerings, and employment status are just a few of the areas that can have a big effect on your earnings. If you’re interested in a more detailed explanation and methodology for how much to charge for pet sitting in your area, check out our article “How Much Should I Charge for Pet Sitting?”.