Thinking starting a dog walking business and wondering what to charge? In this article we’ll cover how much you should get paid to walk a dog, what you should charge, and how much a dog walker typically earns.
How Much Can You Make From Dog Walking?
Expect to make about $1 per minute per dog. That’s roughly $15 for a 15-20 minute dog walk or $30 for a 30 minute dog walk.
If you are using a dog walking app to build your business expect to charge less – often only $0.50 per minute. However, the benefit there is getting clients faster. Keep in mind the apps also take a percent of each transaction. That cut ranges from 15% for Rover to up to 40% for Wag.
If the dogs are from the same household expect to make less as you add on more dogs. However, you’ll spend less time driving to the next location so it pays in the end.
According to Ziprecruiter, dog walkers at regular dog walking jobs get paid anywhere from $12 to $15 per hour. The rate depends on the city.
$12 to $15 per hour equates to about $24,000 to $30,000 per year. That’s roughly what you can make working for someone else as a dog walker.
What if you had your own dog walking company?
We’ll let’s do some math.
We’ll start with the average $1 per minute per dog. For a 20 minute walk that would be $20.
Let’s say on average you can bring along another dog from the same household about 4 times a day and that adds on another $10 per extra dog. So that’s an extra $40 for the day.
Since you won’t be walking for 8 hours straight we’ll add in some drive time. Say you are super efficient with planning your walks.
Each new dog is only 15 minutes from the last dog.
Lastly, assume you just work 8 hours. So you start the day at 8 AM, walk for 20 minutes for $20, then drive for 15 minutes and repeat through the entire day.
I like to see the numbers all together so let’s write it out:
- 8 hours * 60 minutes = 480 minutes total
- 20 minute walk plus 15 minute drive = 35 minutes
- 480 total/ 35 minutes = 13.7. Let’s round up, you work a bit extra and you do 14 walks a day
- 14 walks * $20 (single dog) = $280 for the day
- $40 extra for the add on dogs you also walk at the 4 households that have an extra dog brings the total to $320
- $320 per day * 5 days = $1600 per week
- $1600 per week * 50 weeks (assuming one 2 week vacation) = $80,000 per year
Now that’s a fine salary for a dog walker!
Keep in mind these estimates are low. It assumes you walk one dog at a time mainly and only walk 2 dogs together 4 times a day.
It also assumes everything is consistent – you’re walking the same dogs each day forever.
It doesn’t include marketing time or cost – the time and money it takes to bring in new clients, set them up, etc.
It also doesn’t include car expenses, business insurance, and all the other odds and ends that go with having a dog walking business. We cover that more fully in a separate article.
Still, $80,000 a year walking dogs isn’t that bad.
Which Dog Walking Service Pays The Most?
Both Rover and Wag, some of the top dog walking apps, pay comparably to each other.
Wag charges $20 for a 30 minute walk and Rover charges similarly. However, with Rover the dog walker gets to set their own rate.
You may need to charge less when you’re started to get the ball rolling and get new customers.
What’s different is the amount these companies keep compared to what they give the dog walker.
Wag keeps 40% whereas Rover just keeps 15 percent of each transaction.
That said you stand to make more money using the Rover app. Being able to set your own rate also helps. There’s an even better option out there though if you want to maximize your per transaction income.
A third app, Barkly, also charges about $16 per 30 minute walk. However, they let you keep all of it minus credit card fees (3% + $0.30).
Each of these apps have different user bases. Just because Barkly is commission free doesn’t mean it will bring you a ton of customers.
With all things we recommend you download and try all three. Use them all for a few weeks then crunch your own numbers.
Which ones brought you work and how much did you make after all your expenses (e.g. gas, mileage, insurance, etc.).
Do You Tip A Dog Walker?
Tipping your dog walker isn’t typical. It’s not the norm but sometimes people do it. Paying $1 per minute per dog is usually high enough to make the task worth doing.
That’s especially true for solo dog walkers that own their own dog walking business. In those cases they keep more of the profit so tipping is appreciated but less needed.
For dog walkers working for someone else or using an app, they keep less of the payment so occasional tips are super appreciated.
If you are paying in cash for a one or 2 time walk then people sometimes tip 10 – 20%.
If you have a dog walker that works for you regularly and year round sometimes owners will tip once at year’s end. The tip varies but is often simplified into a few days worth of what you’d normally pay them to walk your dog on those days.
Some even go so far as to give a week’s worth of dog walking fees as a tip around the holidays.
How Much Do Dog Walkers Get An Hour?
As described above, dog walkers make between $12 and $15 per hour. This is similar to what you make on average as an uber driver.
You can make more if you own your own dog walking business and hire enough walkers to work for you. Then the job becomes one of marketing and growth and less about just walking dogs.
How Long Do Dog Walkers Walk Dogs?
Typical dog walks last from 20 minutes up to an hour. The most common is 20 to 30 minutes.
How Much Do Dog Walkers Make A Year?
A dog walker working for a company should expect to make about $24,000 to $30,000 a year. The upside to this is that you work for an insured local company. You can get unemployment if you get laid off. Plus you get worker’s comp if you get hurt on the job.
A private dog walker working for their own company can make up to $80,000 per year. See the math given above as to how that works out.
A dog walker using an app like Rover, Wag, or Barkly should expect to make $16 an hour on average which translates into about $32,000 per year.
While using an app may be appealing for a few reasons:
- You make more on average per hour and per year
- You “have your own dog walking business”
- You set your own schedule
There is a downside:
- You have to pay your own insurance
- You have to pay your car and other expenses
- You have no worker’s comp if you get hurt
- You have no unemployment benefits if you stop working