The Ultimate Pet Sitter and Dog Walker Hiring Guide

Table of Contents

Finding and hiring the right team members are essential steps toward growing your pet care business.

Every day, we chat with pet care businesses, and one issue that keeps coming up is how tough it can be to find the appropriate individuals to recruit. Many dog-walking and pet-sitting companies begin as sole proprietorships or as partnerships between friends or family members. Starting off, it's vital to oversee and manage every part of the business (with the right software tools, it can be a breeze!). However, if your client list increases and your time becomes more limited, it may be time to explore employing more team members.

The notion of hiring might be scary. Where do you even begin? How can you identify the ideal fit for your company? Aside from that, you're entrusting someone else to represent your company and look after your clients' pets and residences. How do you know you're employing someone trustworthy and accountable? Bringing on new team members may seem intimidating, but it is necessary if you intend to build your firm. We will try our utmost to simplify the recruiting procedure. Hiring your new dog walker, cat sitter, or pet sitter should be a snap with the aid of our advice!

Here's a brief list of reasons why it might be time to recruit more people: you're turning down business. You'd want to provide services that your team doesn't already provide, like training, grooming, or pet taxi services - perhaps there's a specific service that consumers keep demanding. You're struggling to keep up with client correspondence and scheduling. Or perhaps your clients are having difficulty contacting you. Your service quality is deteriorating. You're putting in additional hours simply to keep up. You don't have time to take a break or go on vacation without affecting your business. You want to devote more time to your business and less time to field jobs.

What should you include in your job posting?

You may construct a job posting with your precise needs and expectations now that you are clear on who you are searching for. Your job posting should be friendly, expert, and comprehensive. Ensure that it is clear to read and error-free. Additionally, it's crucial to confirm that the job ad has a comprehensive list of all pertinent details. A solid rule of thumb is to anticipate all likely candidate questions and offer answers – maybe even some extra information to anticipate unexpected questions from potential candidates!

Information about your company or a company overview.

You have the opportunity to introduce your company and what makes it unique to job searchers in the introductory paragraph of your job ad. You might discuss the date your business was established, the kinds of services you provide, and how your firm stands out from others that provide pet care.

You can say that your company was founded in order to provide a unique and necessary service to the community. You offer a variety of services that are designed to meet the needs of pet owners. What sets you apart from other pet care businesses is your commitment to providing the best possible care for each and every pet that comes into your facility. You understand that each pet is unique and has different needs, and you take the time to get to know each one in order to provide the best possible care. This commitment means getting to know their individual personalities, likes and dislikes, and what makes them feel comfortable and safe. It also means being there for them when they need us, whether that's for a cuddle when they're feeling sad or a play session.

When is the right time to hire?

There are a limited number of hours each day. That is especially true if you also have to manage and run a business, maintain good client relations, care for your pets, and find time for yourself. Scout for Pets will make these activities simple and easy at your fingertips, thus giving you time for other activities! In the beginning, when you just have a small number of clients, it will be simple to run the business and personally do all your pet-sitting and dog-walking events! Many of the dog walking and pet care businesses we spoke with were surprised by how rapidly demand would increase. It's time to put together a staff you can rely on to take care of all those adorable dogs once you've established that there is a need for your services in your region and fresh reservations begin to come in. It's probably time to employ some help if you frequently have to turn clients away or struggle to get around town for appointments.

Many owners of pet care businesses set out to increase their customer base and widen their scope of services when they first launch their businesses. If this doesn't apply to you, it's okay, but there may still be a moment when you need to look for assistance if you want to travel for a long time or find yourself unable to fulfill the needs of your present pet parents.


The majority of dog walkers acquire on-the-job training. As staff members of dog walking services or organizations dedicated to animal welfare, aspiring animal care professionals may get training.

These animal care professionals may get supervision as they study how to feed animals, how to transport them securely, how to use equipment, and how to clean up after animals as part of their training. Additionally, dog walkers who aspire to operate their own businesses in the future should be aware of how businesses are managed. Dog walkers may learn how to plan their shifts, communicate with clients, manage promotions, and manage their finances, among other things.

Dog walker requirements

Because this profession may be physically and psychologically taxing, dog walkers need to be self-motivated and maintain a high level of fitness. Because they look after other people's cherished pets, they also need to be compassionate and adore dogs. In addition to these qualities, dog walkers may need to be qualified in the following areas.

Must have a working smartphone - A smartphone allows your staff to be reachable at all times, it also helps with the scheduling and if your company employs Apps like the Scout App that help manage their clients, then it's a must-have for all of your staff and with the best way to communicate to the company and the pet owner if they need to update them.
Have a valid driver's license - This job will require your staff to have a driver's license since you can be operating in distant places that demand you to drive, while commuting is also a valid option. Driving to your destination beats it as it mostly saves you time and money.
Availability for the days and times you require - This is one of the most important traits that your dog walkers must have since you never know when customers will come into this industry. So availability is one of the key traits for your future dog-walkers/pet-sitters.
Have reliable transportation - As we mentioned earlier, this job will sometimes demand them to transport the pets that they sit, or they need to drive since the client's location is quite inaccessible for local commutes.
Live within a reasonable distance of the service area - This is also important, since we need to keep our schedules tight and on time since our clients value their time. This means that if we're late for an appointment, or if we don't deliver on what we promised, they'll be less likely to want to work with us again. That's why it's important to be punctual and professional at all times so we can have repeat customers!
Have excellent communication skills, both written and verbal - In this industry, communication is key! Having a good rapport with our clients will not only help you get good reviews but will also increase the chance of repeat clients, which in turn helps boost your company's reputation through word of mouth!
Experience with and compassion for animals - Now this is one of the key aspects our aspiring dog walkers/pet-sitters should have! Pet-sitting is a job that demands love and compassion. If the pet sitter doesn't have these qualities, it will yield poor results, affecting your company.
Comfortable around all types of animals - Of course, we don't want a pet sitter that has a fear of certain animals!
The ability to work in all kinds of weather - pet sitting/ dog-walking will also demand your employees to be adaptable to any weather circumstance that may occur during their pet visits.
Have excellent time management skills and the ability to work autonomously - A pet sitter will work alone, so it is important that they are responsible and professional with their time during visits.
Be able to pass a background check - It is also important that your employees clear their background checks as you are selling services, not just a product, so they are required to be trustworthy!

The average salary for a dog walker

What can you do to ensure that a prospective dog walker or pet caretaker feels adequately compensated? Based on a few aspects, including expertise, reputation, active hours, and an animal care specialist's association with a firm, dog walking may be a successful business. With certificates, dog walkers may potentially make extra money. In the US, a dog walker can expect to make $34.37 per hour on average.

What does a dog walker do?

Professional dog walkers have compensated pet care and service providers who accompany other people's dogs on walks for a predetermined amount of time. Dog walkers may be self-employed or employed by a specialized company. Some dog walkers just take one dog out at a time, while others can take many dogs. The breed of the dog and the client's instructions determine how long each walk lasts. Dog walkers must be honest with owners and go through their expectations for canine care as well as the dog walking procedure.

A dog walker's basic duties may include:

  • Visiting a client's home to pick up the client's dog (s)
  • Ensure the dogs have collars with the appropriate identifying tags on them.
  • Walking dogs along specified trails
  • ensuring the dogs have enough to eat and water
  • Using incentives to keep dogs' attention
  • Clean up your dog after a bathroom break
  • being informed of local and state laws governing animal care
  • keeping track of a dog's immunization records and license information for insurance purposes
  • Completing paperwork
  • Making calls
  • Organizing appointments
  • Setting up schedules

What to look out for

Anyone might claim to be a dog walker. Therefore, it's crucial that they have credentials and can be trusted. Wherever you may be located, research the dog-walking regulations that apply in your nation to assist you in selecting the ideal expert. Inquire about the dog walker's experience with animals. Consistency will be necessary while handling the animals, especially if it's a long-term necessity. Some dog walkers could additionally have further training, such as a certificate in animal first aid. If the pet they're going to sit with is a dog, which is quite frequent in this sector, it may not be acceptable for dog walking, particularly if the pets they're going to sit with have not been taught and do not know how to behave on a leash or display hostility toward other pets during walks. After all, everyone's safety depends on the dog walker's ability to maintain control over the animal. Consider initially spending money on dog training in this situation.

Choosing between independent contractors vs. employees:

So you are now on the verge of adding new staff for your growing dog-walker/pet-sitter business. You can hire two kinds of staff: an employee or an independent contractor.

An employee is a worker that is signed to a contract by your company and trained and given instructions by your own company, you give that employee its work schedule, and as the employee is signed and contracted by your company, you have obligations to give it insurance, worker compensation and social security paid by the company. While an Independent Contractor is a worker that is commonly known as a freelancer, who makes their own schedules, they don't receive special training from your company, so they are only eligible for the basic training and knowledge provided by your own company. They are not bound by any contract, so they can work for other companies.

In hindsight, hiring an Independent Contractor might seem ideal for your bustling company, since you will save a lot of money since you're not having them insured, they don't have worker's comp, and you don't pay for their social security. The downside would be that they are not obligated to work for your company because they are not bound by any contracts with your company, so there's a possibility that they can go and find new opportunities with other companies, leaving you short-staffed when it happens.

While for sure, hiring an employee will cost you more, since you're obligated to train and enroll them in programs that give special certifications, you pay for their social security and they have worker's comp, you are cultivating your own staff, in which might be a bit costly, but in the long run, it will net you more since the more well-trained your employees are, the better your company will fare against the competition and it will elevate your business more since you are selling service as a product, so your product is as good as your employees!

But always remember that you can hire depending on your company's needs.


Hiring new dog walkers/pet sitters may be a huge task since there are a lot of checklists to review when looking for a potential employee, but it is one of the signs that your business is booming and growing! This is something to be excited about and celebrate! Your business is growing and you are doing a great job! Keep up the good work!

We hope that this guide helps you choose your potential new employees and check out Scout as your dog-walking business partner.

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