Dogs must be walked multiple times per day — every day. Many pet owners would be grateful to not have someone else do the walking, even if it’s just once per day. A lot of pet owners keep dogs crated while they are at work. If you get home from school before they get home from work, they might want you to take the dog out, so they don’t have to rush home.

Pet owners (dogs, cats and others) also need pets cared for when they go away on vacation. They would pay you to feed, walk or otherwise care for their pets (e.g. changing a cat’s litter box) while they’re away, whether you go to their house while they’re away or bring the pet to yours. Or they just may want pets to get a little companionship or exercise while they’re away. (There are likely kennels in your community that will provide all of these services, however kennels can be expensive, space must be reserved in advance and may reject pets that don’t have certain shots.)

— No start-up costs, other than fliers announcing your business. Most likely, the pet owners will supply you with everything else (leashes, food, etc.)

— Pets can bite or scratch.
— If you bring them to your house, they can mess it up.
— You might sometimes have to walk dogs in cold or rainy weather.

How to Get Started:
NOTE: Before you start your business, you should read the page on this website entitled “things to think about before you get started.” After you have taken the preliminary steps for starting any business, you can take the specific steps outlined below.

Create fliers and business cards and place them in vet clinics, grocery stores, pet grooming businesses, and pet stores. You can also post on Craigslist and Nextdoor.

How Much to Charge:
What should you charge? It depends on where you live and how many visits you can do in one day. A common rate for pet sitters is about $16 per visit.

So, let’s do the math.

Let’s say you can handle five 30-minute visits per day. (Don’t bite off more than you can chew — don’t schedule a lot of visits in one day unless the homes are close to each other.) If you can handle that many visits, you can make good money:

  • 5 visits x $16/visit = $80/day
  • $80/day x 5 days/week = $400 week
  • You can also charge about $1 to $3 for each additional animal in a pet owner’s home.

Taking it to the next level:
Check out a few more ways to make the most of your pet-sitting or dog-walking business.

  • Consider insurance. You can get insurance for pet sitters. A policy protects you from possible legal action if a pet causes damage or gets hurt while under your supervision. Some companies providing this service, include Pet Sitters Associates LLC and Pet Sitter Insurance.
  • Design a website giving information about the services you provide.
  • Word of mouth. When you get a new client, ask them how they heard about your service (referral from a friend, website, flyer, etc.), so you will know which promotion efforts to focus on.