How to Start a Dog Walking Business | Square (2023)

According to the PFMA, dogs are the most popular pet in the UK. Overall, pet ownership has increased by 18% in 2021 compared to the previous two years

With more dog owners, demand for dog walking services has boomed. As we transition back to the office, the need for extra help when walking the dog is only likely to continue.

If you’re looking to set up a dog walking business, it pays to think about the important aspects before you get stuck in.

This step-by-step guide will walk you through how to start a dog walking business. From relevant qualifications, regulations, and marketing – we’ve got you covered.

What are the benefits of starting a dog walking business?

Before you prepare for your puppy-focused profession, here are a few of the benefits to starting a dog walking business.

As more and more dog owners require services to cater to their dogs’ needs as they return to work, high demand means there will be a market once you get your business out there.

Starting a dog walking business is a great opportunity for people who:

  • Love dogs – an obvious one, though this can’t be understated. You need to understand dogs and feel confident working with them in public. It also helps to know how to communicate well with their (less fun and fluffy) owners – your clients.

  • Want to be outside – ideal for frequent walkers who enjoy spending hours outdoors, come rain or shine.

  • Enjoy being on their feet – it goes without saying that you’ve got to be active, or the dogs might give you a run for your money.

  • Want to be their own boss – great for those who want to call the shots, schedule their own hours, and value flexibility in their job role.

How to set up a dog walking business

So, what do you need to set up a dog walking business, and what extra ideas might you want to consider?

(Video) How To Start A Dog Walking Business - In 5 Minutes Or Less

What qualifications do you need to be a dog walker?

While there are no set qualifications to become a professional dog walker, there are a few things to look into to ensure a smooth operation:

Pets and dogs are precious members of your client’s family, so it’s important to take care while enjoying your new profession. Showing commitment to your role will benefit your business as you begin to advertise services.

What regulations are there for dog walkers?

As a dog walker, dogs in your care become your responsibility. There are several regulations for dog walkers to consider, including:

  • Dog fouling – you must clean up any faeces or you could face fines up to £1000.

  • Dogs must wear a collar with a tag.

  • Using a lead to walk dogs on designated roads and pavements.

  • Dangerous dogs – by law, dogs must not be dangerously out of control.

  • Animal welfare – if walking through farmland, the dog in your care must not worry livestock. While you could face serious fines, farmers also have the right to shoot any dog causing stress to their livestock.

Find out more information about the regulations of controlling your client’s dog in public on the government website. Blue Cross is another helpful resource to read up on dog laws in the UK.

(Video) How to Start a SUCCESSFUL Dog Walking Business

Other things to consider before starting up

Before you start daydreaming about playing fetch with your new furry pals, there may be a few other details to iron out ahead of getting started.

How many dogs can you walk?

There’s no legal limit to how many dogs you can walk at once, though it’s widely advised not to walk any more than four at a time. This is for their benefit as well as yours.

You may also want to consider your own realistic expectations – how many dogs you can handle at once, as well as per day or week. The latter may be easier to determine once you build your client base. Otherwise, this might depend on your preferred working hours.

What areas will you serve?

Where do you plan to offer dog walking services? Think about how you’ll get between clients and whether you’ll need to factor transport times and costs into your business plan. Consider the competition in the area too.

Will you offer other services on top of dog walking?

Such as:

  • Collecting dogs from their owners rather than being dropped off.

  • Doggy day care and dog sitting – and could this extend to other pets?

What vehicle might you need?

Think about whether your current vehicle is up to scratch. You might need something larger if you plan on transporting multiple dogs at a time. If using your current vehicle, you may need to inform your car insurance provider.

What kind of insurance does a dog walker need?

Insurance is mandatory to protect you and your clients (of both the human and hairy variation) in case anything goes wrong while a client’s dog is in your care.

You will require public liability insurance. This will cover you if a client or member of the public is accidentally injured, or their property is damaged, due to your services. In the event you employ additional staff, you will also legally require employers’ liability insurance.

Though they aren’t compulsory, you may also want to consider:

Dog walking insurance – giving you more credibility as a professional dog walker, offering public liability cover in the process.

Equipment insurance – protecting you from theft and other damages.

Personal accident insurance – offering compensation in case of accidental injury or death.

If you plan to use your home or personal car as part of your business, you should raise it with your home and car insurance provider in case you invalidate your current policy.

(Video) things I wish I knew before starting a dog walking business | All Paws Outdoors

How to register your dog walking business

Before welcoming your four-legged friends, you’ll also need to register your dog walking business with Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC) to pay income tax and National Insurance.

You can set up as a sole trader where you’ll need to register for Self-Assessment and file your tax returns each year. Otherwise, you can become a limited company or set up a business partnership.

You can seek advice from an accountant or visit the government website for more helpful information on how to register your small business.

How to set prices for dog walks

Research local competitors before setting your prices. This way, you can gauge the average rate in your location and choose your charges from there.

On average, you might expect to charge anywhere between £5 to £15 per walk. This depends on location, or even the length of the walk. According to the online service Bark, the average dog walk costs approximately £12 in the UK.

If you’re starting from scratch, you could even offer introductory rates to boost new business.

It’s also a good idea to consider drawing up a service agreement with your clients to set expectations of services in case anything goes wrong.

How to organise your schedule

Keep your dog walking business on a tight lead and organise your schedule. The best way to stay organised is to create a business plan catered to your goals and stick to it.

Plan your time efficiently and stay ahead of busy schedules by setting time aside to assess your workload each week. You can even use scheduling software such as Square Appointments to manage your availability and payments for you. Using a handy booking tool can take away the pressure caused by manually organising your schedule.

It’s sometimes easy for work to run away when you’re self-employed. Make sure to factor in time for your own wellbeing, too. You’ll be your own boss, after all.

How to take payments

Before you start accepting dog walks, figure out how you plan to take payment.

Will you charge per walk? Alternatively, you might consider weekly or monthly charges for regular clients. Along with payment cadence, you might expect to negotiate fee amounts with clients as you go.

Once you start charging for dog walking services and invoicing your clients, make sure to keep an organised record – save copies of invoices and back them up safely.

You can automate your invoice system online with the help of Square Invoices, helping you to manage your payments in one place.

Make card payments with Square Virtual Terminal for easy remote billing. Or, if you regularly see clients in person, check out Square Reader to make simple card and contactless payments at collection time.

(Video) How to Start a Dog Walking Business

Secure, fast and simple payments with Square Reader.

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How to market to customers

The idea of starting a dog walking business is very exciting, but how are new clients going to find out about your services? Here are a few ways to market to customers:

  • Social media – there’s power in paperless marketing, joining local Facebook groups and building a social media presence is a great way to boost business growth.

  • Square Marketing – custom design email marketing campaigns to craft your brand and expand your customer reach.

  • Create a website with Square Online – drive more customers to your website with seamless integration with Google, Facebook, and Instagram. Plus, if you choose to use business cards, you can direct customers to an efficient and eye-catching website.

  • Encourage reviews – According to the Nielsen Global Trust in 2015, 83% of people trust recommendations from friends and family. Referrals can be an excellent way to advertise services affordably. Create a space for customers to write testimonials and utilise any feedback.

If you love all breeds of dog, getting lots of fresh air and marching to the beat of your own drum – starting a dog walking business could be the smart path for you.

Invest time in doing your research, create a solid business plan, and ensure all your legal requirements are underway, and you’ll have tails wagging in no time. Don’t forget to have fun and get a little creative along the way.

Square can help small business owners every step of the way, so you never feel off-track. Explore various easy payment options and more helpful information on Town Square.

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Complete guide for starting a business from home
Small business guide to setting up accounting


What do you need to start up a dog walking business? ›

How to start a dog walking business
  1. Qualifications and experience. ...
  2. Complying with the law. ...
  3. Think about how many dogs you can walk. ...
  4. Consider the costs. ...
  5. Your terms of service. ...
  6. Your brand. ...
  7. Promoting your business. ...
  8. Get the right dog walking insurance.
5 Jun 2019

Do I need insurance to be a dog walker? ›

Do I need dog walker insurance? Insurance for dog walkers isn't a legal requirement unless you employ someone. But without at least public liability insurance you could find yourself in financial trouble if something goes wrong in connection with your dog-walking business.

How do I sell myself as a dog walker? ›

No-cost marketing tips
  1. Post on local notice boards. Pop into your local supermarket or general store and it's highly likely they'll have a community notice board. ...
  2. Use social media. ...
  3. Get in touch with like minded businesses. ...
  4. Market yourself. ...
  5. Advertise in local newspaper. ...
  6. Partnerships. ...
  7. Referral discounts. ...
  8. Flyers.
20 Mar 2020

How do dog walkers get clients? ›

10 Simple Ways To Market Your Dog Walking or Pet Sitting Business
  1. Get a website for your business. ...
  2. Get licensed & insured! ...
  3. Get booking software. ...
  4. Get a Facebook business page and use it strategically. ...
  5. Stick out on social media. ...
  6. Start a blog on your website. ...
  7. Get business cards and start handing them out!
26 Oct 2018

How much should I be paid to walk a dog? ›

To give you a general idea of a dog walker's earnings, HomeGuide reports the following national average rates for low, medium, and high-end dog walkers: Low-end dog walking services: $10 per 30-minute walk. Mid-range dog walking services: $20 per 30-minute walk.

How many dogs are you allowed to walk? ›

Where the bye-law is in place (see the list of open spaces covered), a licence is required for an individual to walk more than four dogs at any one time up to a maximum of eight dogs.

What are some risks of a dog walking business? ›

A dog walking business presents special risks because you are dealing with live animals and engaged in physical activity. Dogs may be injured or even killed, and you or someone else could be injured as well. Insurance does exist specifically for businesses that deal with caring for pets.

How much do self employed dog walkers make? ›

The average salary for dog walkers is £9.86 per hour. This can vary depending on the level of experience you have and by the number of competing dog walkers operating in the local area. There's also some level of regional variation, as salaries are typically slightly higher in the south of England than in the north.

Can you make a living as a dog walker? ›

The average pay for the job is $15.11 per hour, which translates to $31,428 per year. However, dog walkers can earn more or less depending on where they work in the U.S., additional services they offer, and whether they work for an employer or for themselves.

Do you need a driving Licence to be a dog walker? ›

It is essential that you hold a UK driving licence and are a car or van owner (with business insurance) suitable for carrying dogs (be prepared to kit your car……

What sort of insurance might you need for a dog walking business? ›

Having public liability included in your Dog Walkers and Pet Sitters' Insurance policy means you're covered if the animal in your care is injured, causes injury to someone else or damages someone's property. If you employ other workers, you can include employer's liability cover in your policy.

What makes a great dog walker? ›

For a dog walker to be great, they should be able to communicate with the client and the dog. If they can't communicate openly, any concerns they might have will go unanswered. Also, the good times must be shared as well. A healthy back-and-forth between the client and the dog walker is important.

How can I promote my dog business? ›

How to promote your pet business online
  1. 5 ways to promote your pet business online.
  2. Connect with pet owners.
  3. Embrace social media.
  4. Start a blog.
  5. Keep your website fresh.
  6. Get creative with video.
4 Mar 2020

What should I ask a dog walking client? ›

5 Questions To Ask A Potential New Pet Care Client
  • Essential Questions To Ask New Dog Walking, Pet Sitting, And Pet Care Clients. ...
  • 1 - Where are you located? ...
  • 2 - What types of services are you looking for? ...
  • 3 - What dates do you need services? ...
  • 4 - Have you used a pet sitter or dog walker before?
5 Jan 2022

How much should I charge someone to walk their dog for 30 minutes? ›

Dog walkers typically charge between $20 and $30 for a 30-minute dog walking service. The average cost across the US for a 30-minute dog walking service is $24.84 in 2022.

How much should you walk 2 dogs? ›

Dog walking prices range from $10 to $60 depending on your location with most pet owners spending $15 to 25 per walk. You can find discounts of $5 to $10 off if you don't mind your dog walking with other dogs.

Can you make a lot of money dog walking? ›

So in reality, a part-time dog walker would earn roughly $2,000 each month if they worked every week instead of just every other week. And full-time dog walkers, who work five days a week all month long, earn an average of $3,300 per month.

How far can a dog walk in a day? ›

Most dogs can handle 5 km (3 miles) without extra training but need at least a month to get up to 20 km. Walks above 5 km should always be followed by a light rest day. If you go too far too quickly you could cause all sorts of muscle, tendon, ligament, joint or bone problems.

How many hours between walks for dogs? ›

In general, most dogs benefit from between 30 minutes to two hours of physical activity per day (source). That averages out to 3.5 to 14 hours of walking per week. Many people break that time up into two or three walks per day.

How many hours apart should a dog be walked? ›

A dog in good general shape can enjoy a 15 to 30 minute walk daily. Most breeds may need routine walks several times per day. Moreover, dogs with excellent health can enjoy long walks of up to two or more hours. Some will even hike with their owners for a couple of hours.

What are the disadvantages of dog walking? ›

For example, the dog you're walking might get into a fight with another dog. It might have an unusual behavioural change or it might break free of its lead and run away. In general though, drama is fairly minimal for professional dog walkers.

Is a dog walking business a good idea? ›

Dog walking is undoubtedly a viable business venture to consider if you're passionate about dogs. Not only is the demand for dog walking high, but the business also has a relatively low barrier to entry and is highly profitable.

Do dog walkers pay tax? ›

How do dog walkers pay tax? Most dog walkers will be self-employed meaning they don't work for a company and they're not at the scale of having their own limited company. This means they pay tax as part of a self-assessment tax return.

How much can I earn dog sitting? ›

How much can I earn as a dog-sitter? From, we found out that the average hourly rate for pet carers in London is between £7 and £8 as you can see from the ads below. Remember that these are just an example and depending on where you live (and the competition) you could earn more or less than this.

How can I make money working with dogs? ›

10 Simple Ways to Turn Your Love of Dogs Into a Money-Making Gig
  1. Bake homemade dog treats. ...
  2. DIY dog clothes. ...
  3. Become a doggie chauffeur. ...
  4. Earn money as a doggie photographer. ...
  5. Paint doggie portraits. ...
  6. Dog sit. ...
  7. Walk dogs. ...
  8. Learn to be a dog trainer.
22 Aug 2018

Is being a WAG Walker worth it? ›

Good to work on your own schedule

Loved being able to meet new furry friends, and the idea of Wag! is great. The 2 biggest cons are the compensation is not enough especially if you have to drive to more populated areas to get walks or sittings, and Wag! support will side with the customer more than us walkers/sitters.

Is Rover or wag better? ›

Seeking work that's available through either app? Rover might be the way to go. Applications take less time — on average — to get approved, so you can start working sooner. With Rover, you'll also keep more of the money you earn; its 20% commission fee is significantly lower than Wag's 40% fee.

How much do you get paid on Rover? ›

How much does Rover pay? According to Rover, you can earn up to $1,000 a month as a dog walker or dog sitter. Additionally, for dog sitters willing to also become a dog boarder, it's possible to earn up to two times more than those who just offer dog-sitting services.

How many dogs can you walk on your own UK? ›

To be on the safe side and bypass the £100 fine imposed on lawbreakers, just walk no more than four dogs at any one time. Also, make sure that you have a lead for each dog.

How much do dog walkers charge UK 2022? ›

In 2022, the average dog walking price is around £14 for a walk lasting between 45 minutes to an hour. It is 15% increase from the previous year.

Which dog needs the most walking? ›

Bred for jobs that require endurance, these groups have the greatest need for a daily workout. They include Retrievers, Spaniels, Collies, Pointers and German Shepherds. Include training along with exercise and vary routines to keep the attention of these robust dogs.

What do people want from a dog walker? ›

Whether it be long term health condition or short term need following surgery or accident etc., you may need some time out from walking your dog. A dog walker can help take that pressure off and ensure they have consistent and regular walks. Your pooch will be happy whilst you recuperate.

How do you wipe a dog down after walking? ›

DIY Wipes

Get a paper towel or a clean cloth damped in warm water then use a drop of your dog's shampoo and wrinkle it to spread the shampoo. Use it to gently wipe off dirt from your dog's knees, paws or tail. Rinse with warm water and make sure that their paws are completely dry before letting them on the floor.

What is the best surface for a dog run? ›

Some people make the mistake of using grass, and while it's cheap, it's also messy, and you'll find yourself replacing it at least once a year. Instead, you should consider a stone like pea gravel, limestone or gravel chips, as well as screenings as the base of the dog run.

Which dog is best for dog business? ›

Best dogs to breed
  • The French Bulldog. These French cuties are some of the most adorable dogs that you will want to raise. ...
  • Siberian Husky.
  • English Bulldog.
  • Rottweiler.
  • German Shepherd.
  • Labrador Retriever.
  • Are you planning on starting a dog breeding business but don't know where to start and how to go about it?
11 Feb 2022

Do you need a Licence to be a dog walker UK? ›

Do I Need a License to Dog Walk in the UK? In the UK, it's currently not necessary to have a dog walking licence, qualification, or certification. With no universal minimum requirements in place, all you need to legally operate a successful dog walking business is a love of dogs and adequate spare time.

Is it hard to start a dog walking business? ›

Starting a dog walking business is a fairly straightforward, low-cost way to enter the animal industry. You can get your business off to a great start by following just a few simple steps. Most people will probably start their business as a sole practitioner or as a limited liability corporation (LLC).

Do dog walkers have to pay tax? ›

How do dog walkers pay tax? Most dog walkers will be self-employed meaning they don't work for a company and they're not at the scale of having their own limited company. This means they pay tax as part of a self-assessment tax return.

How much should you pay a dog walker UK? ›

How much do dog walkers charge per hour? In 2022, the average dog walking price is around £14 for a walk lasting between 45 minutes to an hour.

Can you make a good living as a dog walker? ›

So in reality, a part-time dog walker would earn roughly $2,000 each month if they worked every week instead of just every other week. And full-time dog walkers, who work five days a week all month long, earn an average of $3,300 per month.

Is dog walking a good side hustle? ›

Dog walking is a great side hustle because the clients are adorable, you get exercise, you're helping out a caring pet owner (having a dog of my own, I know what it's like to want the best for your pup), the hours are short and you can make around $16-$24/hour depending on your rates.

Can you make a lot of money walking dogs? ›

If you like dogs and you enjoy being outside, dog walking can be a nice way to earn some additional income or you can even make a career out of it and start your own business. The average price for one 30-minute walk ranges from $20 to $30, which depends on a few factors.

How much can you make dog walking a week? ›

As of Nov 21, 2022, the average weekly pay for a DOG Walker in the United States is $616 a week. While ZipRecruiter is seeing weekly wages as high as $1,000 and as low as $260, the majority of DOG Walker wages currently range between $480 (25th percentile) to $721 (75th percentile) across the United States.

Is the dog walking industry growing? ›

The market size, measured by revenue, of the Dog Walking Services industry is $1.0bn in 2022. What is the growth rate of the Dog Walking Services industry in the US in 2022? The market size of the Dog Walking Services industry is expected to increase 5.5% in 2022.


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