Apartment Living BlogApartment Living › Tips on Starting Your Own Dog Walking Business

If you’re a dog lover and have always wanted to pick up extra cash, you could start a pet walking business in your very own apartment community. As an apartment dweller, you’re in an ideal spot to launch your services. You’ll be surrounded by other pet owners and could build up a base of clients relatively quickly. Sharon Murray of New York City-based Shake-A-Leg Pet Service Inc. has run her own dog walking business since the mid-’90s and knows just what it takes to run a successful dog walking business. Discover her patented tips on how to have a thriving pet walking company.

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How to Market Your Services

Before you get your first client, you’ll have to sell your services. Murray’s most effective marketing techniques? Word-of-mouth recommendations and incentives. Besides telling your neighbors that you offer dog walking, she also recommends leaving your business cards at vets’ offices. You also could post flyers or business cards in local coffee shops or businesses if they allow it.

You’ll also want to market yourself online. You can sign up at a site like Rover.com to start.

“A webpage and Facebook are key to growing quickly,” says Murray. “Clients love to see their dog posted as a ‘star’ on social media, and it is the first place potential clients will look when researching you.”

Determining Your Rates

Rates vary from city to city. On the average, 30-minute walks cost between $12 and $25 each. One-hour walks cost between $18 and $35 per hour. Before you set your prices, you’ll want to check with dog walking companies in your city to determine a good, fair price.

How Many Dogs Should You Walk at Once?

Murray personally walks no more than three compatible dogs at one time. If you want to make more money, you could try pack walking.

“If you do choose to ‘pack walk,’ I really suggest you have a strong background in working with dogs and choose the proper equipment to make sure the pups stay safe,” says Murray.

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Expand Your Offerings

If you’d like to earn even more money, consider offering additional services like bringing in the mail, taking out the garbage or even bringing the dog to the vet. Murray advises not limiting yourself to just walking dogs either. If you feel comfortable, offer to take care of bunnies, cats or other animals.

How You Should Present Yourself

According to Murray, you should always be intelligent, articulate and honest with your clients.

“Potential clients want to know that the person they have hired to watch their pet will be the best ‘stand in’ for them when they are not at home. Your job is to keep their dog happy and safe while they are away,” says Murray. “You are in their home every day when they are not at home. You carry their key. Your honesty and integrity with regard to this responsibility will encourage them to refer you to new clients.”

General Safety Tips

When you’re walking dogs, Murray recommends following these three safety tips:

1. A wagging tail does not always mean a friendly dog. For this reason, I do not suggest that you allow your pups to socialize with dogs you do not know while you are out on your walk. Keep your pups’ social activities to interactions with other compatible dogs in your pack.

2. Never, ever, let children approach your dogs — not even your “nice” dogs. Children are not predictable and may accidentally hurt a client’s pup.

3. Make sure you have the right equipment and understand how to use it. The different leashes and harnesses on the market can help you control your clients’ dogs better.

Dog Walking 03
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How to Vet Your Clients

“I always meet the client and their pet in their home before I start working with them,” says Murray. “It is important that the pet see that the owner knows you and welcomes you into the home. Even before that first meeting in the home, a short telephone ‘interview’ of the potential client will let you know if their pet is a suitable match for you. I have referred pets to other walkers if they did not fit the criteria I am comfortable working with.”

Enjoy your furry friends? Check out these Dog Friendly Apartment Hacks.

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About :

Ever since I first started writing for my middle school newspaper, I knew that I was born to tell stories. Well, that and travel. I've been fortunate enough in my professional life to combine both loves. My work has appeared on sites like USA Today, Fast Company, Racked, Refinery29 and The Daily Meal. I enjoy covering lifestyle topics like food, fitness, travel and decor. When I'm not writing or travelling, you'll find me reading books, playing with my two Chihuahuas, exercising or searching for my next great cup of coffee. I've never met a cupcake I didn't like. Visit Chocolate and Chihuahuas

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