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I started my own dog walking business in 2008, and I continue to do some dog walking today.
There are of course many factors to consider such as whether you’re walking the dog as a favor for a friend or if you’re interested in dog walking as a full-time career.
My rate started out at $15 for a half-hour walk, and today I charge $25 for a half-hour walk.
You should charge at least $20 for a half-hour dog walk. That’s my short answer.
Now I’ll go over some factors for determining what to charge for dog walking below. Also see my post on starting a dog walking business.
What to Charge for Dog Walking – Factors to Consider
- Is this a one-time thing or are you a professional?
- What are other dog walkers in your area charging?
- What kind of services do you offer?
Is this a one-time thing or are you a professional?
Obviously if you’re just walking the dog for a friend, then maybe you don’t mind doing so for free here and there or for a case of beer or whatever it might be.
If you are hoping to become a professional dog walker, then charge accordingly and charge at least $20 for a half-hour walk.
Consider these factors:
1. The time it takes to drive to and from your home to the dog’s home. A “half-hour walk” could really take an hour when you factor in driving time.
2. You get what you pay for, and you’re offering a high-quality service. Anyone who wants to pay $5 can hire the neighbor kid.
3. You carry insurance (if not, learn why you should here).
What are other dog walkers in your area charging?
Search for other dog walkers in your area and charge something similar to their average prices. I would not charge less just to get the extra business or because you are “inexperienced.” I would charge something similar.
To give you an idea, I am an established dog walker north of San Diego, and I charge:
$25 for a half-hour walk
$33 for an hour walk
My rates are pretty average or slightly above average for my area, and I offer a dog running service where I run with dogs for the same price, which few others offer.
What kinds of services do you offer?
If you’re concerned about getting more customers, offer a better service. See my tips on how to get dog walking customers.
Focus on becoming the best dog walker in your area.
It’s really not as hard as it sounds. It’s just a matter of caring the most and offering a unique service.
What makes you different from other dog walkers?
Do you offer a running service like I do? Do you only walk one or two dogs at once, focusing on high-quality, individualized care?
It’s sad, but simply having a nice web site and carrying insurance will set you ahead of most dog walkers. If you take the time to leave a handwritten note after each walk or to check in with a text, that’s also more than most will do.
Focus on providing the best care, and word of mouth will work in your favor. You will get lots of referrals. Pretty soon you’ll be thinking of increasing your rates rather than charging less to get more business.
Other factors to consider
1. Will you be walking multiple dogs at once from different families? (I don’t)
2. How about multiple dogs from the same family? You could charge a little extra for each additional dog.
3. Will you be offering pet sitting visits where you stop by multiple times per day or even stay overnight with the pets?
People don’t choose dog walkers based on rates
Trust me, most people don’t choose a dog walker based on rates. If the price is a concern, they hire a neighbor kid or ask a friend to walk the dog.
Those who look for a professional dog walker choose the dog walker based off:
1. Recommendations from friends
2. Online reviews on Yelp, etc.
3. Whoever has the nicest looking web site and shows up in Google.
People don’t hire the dog walker with the cheapest rates. They’re willing to pay more to get the better service because they’re giving you a key to their home and trusting you with their pets and more.
I know some of you are dog walkers or you have hired dog walkers before, so … what do you charge per walk or what are you willing to pay?
My ebook can help you start your own dog walking business
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