How to Make Extra Money as a Dog Walker and Sitter

dog walker

There is a new site that brings together dog walkers and dog sitters with dog owners in need of someone to take care of their pooch: Rover.com If you click this link and make a purchase, we earn a commission at no additional cost to you. . This site is 100 percent focused on connecting you with pet owners looking for your services.

As a dog walker, sitter or boarder, you offer up your services to dog owners looking to get someone to care for their pooch.

Dog owners check the site for sitters and walkers in their area and pick the one they like. The site handles the money transfer. Rover is a welcomed alternative to leaving the dog alone or cooped up all day, with an unwilling friend or family member, or at the kennel.

Dog walking and sitting services have increased in popularity. According to the American Pet Products Association, pet owners spend more than $72 billion per year on pet-related goods and services.

More and more busy professionals are looking for ways to help their dog get in some exercise during the day by using dog walking services. For those who travel frequently, especially for work, finding a reliable sitter or boarder can put their mind at ease while they’re away from home.

Ready to give dog walking a try? First, let’s address one of the common questions about this side hustle:

How Much Do You Earn as a Dog Walker?

According to PayScale, the average dog walker makes $13.94 per hour. This includes both independent business owners as well as those who work for a company providing this service. In addition, this hourly rate is the average across the entire U.S. – from Tampa to Seattle.

On the other hand, Rover If you click this link and make a purchase, we earn a commission at no additional cost to you. reports that dog walkers who use the site to promote their business can expect to make up to $1,000 per month.

There are many factors that go into how much you earn as a dog walker. For starters, where you are located matters in terms of how you price your services. In addition, you need to look at the demand for your services in your area.

Provided there is a high demand for dog walkers, you may be able to charge higher rates if you run your own business. Urban areas popular with young professionals tend to have a higher demand for dog walking services.

However, if you’re in a more rural area, there may not be many people needing dog walking. To increase your earnings, you should walk several dogs at the same time. Most walkers charge per dog per day so by walking several dogs at a time, you can make more.

Where you live in the U.S. also affects how much you can charge for this service. The cost to walk a dog in Houston will be different than the same service in New York City. The best way to get an idea of how much to charge is to try different pricing options.

You can also scope out the competition to see how much they charge for similar services. This will give you a ballpark idea of how much pet owners are willing to pay in your area.

Why a Dog Walking or Sitting Business is a Great Side Hustle

Becoming a dog walker or a dog sitter is a great side gig since there is no exclusive training or certification. The main qualifications are a love for animals, being reliable, and being able to provide pets with safe, loving care.

You can make an extra $500 or even $1,000 doing this as a side gig once you hit your stride. That’s not small change – it can help you pay extra toward your mortgage, save for a vacation or a car, and so on.

It’s a flexible gig and you can make your own schedule. You can choose to work as much or as little as you want. If you have a large expense coming up, simply pick up a few more gigs to help you cover it.

Related: Should You Tell Your Boss About Your Side Hustle?

Don’t mind watching other types of pets and not just canines? Rover can help you connect with just about any type of animal lover out there, including people who have lizards, turtles, hamsters, cats, and more.

There are many options for increasing your earnings while cuddling with some furry friends.

Rover: Earn Money Pet Sitting Get paid to play with dogs. Rover makes it easy and promotes you to the nation’s largest network of pet parents. Sign Up Rover: Earn Money Pet Sitting We earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase at no additional cost to you.

How to Start a Dog Walking Business

If you’re ready to start making money as a dog walker, you can either start your own business or work for a company. Working for someone else might be easier and less time consuming but you’ll make less.

To maximize your earnings, you can start your own business and keep all of the profit for yourself. However, if this is your side hustle, you need to be strategic about how much time you spend getting your business off the ground.

How to Find Customers

  • Rover
  • Craigslist
  • Neighborhood newsletters
  • Flyers
  • Direct mail
  • Referral bonuses from existing clients
  • Neighborhood apps, such as Nextdoor

Rover.com If you click this link and make a purchase, we earn a commission at no additional cost to you. helps you combine the best of both worlds–running your own business while using an existing platform to market your services. It’s a great option for side hustling your way to extra cash without the headache of getting a new business off the ground.

Rover is the nation’s largest network of dog walkers, having a presence in most major markets. This also means that they have brand recognition and trust–something you’d have to build up from zero if you start your own business.

With Rover, you can focus on finding new clients and booking new pooches to walk while they handle customer support and site maintenance. The site also connects you with hundreds of pet owners near you who are looking for the types of services you offer.

Using Rover for your business will take a lot of the pain out of finding new jobs. Unlike general marketplaces such as Craigslist, it’s designed specifically for dog sitting services and offers a lot of the features that give responsible owners confidence in the service.

Related: 13 Ways to Make Extra Cash Renting Out Your Stuff

How I Started a Dog Walking Business

As someone who has been caring for other people’s animals off and on for years, dog walking isn’t foreign to me. However, getting more regular clients has always been the most difficult part of this side hustle. Finding Rover has made this process not only so much easier, but much more lucrative.

Once I set up my profile on Rover and passed the background check (which can take a little while sometimes), I started getting requests the very next day.

 Rover suggests to always schedule a meet and greet with potential pet owners, and their pets, before you ever perform the first sit. This is phenomenal advice because is the best way to make sure that both you, and the pet, are a good fit. Plus, when I am boarding dogs, it helps to have a better understanding of each individual dog’s personality to ensure that they will all get along pretty well.

After I started booking visits, I began to get some regular clientele. This is when my income began to overtake some of my other side hustles. The best way to achieve getting more regular clientele faster is:

  • Make sure your profile has a lot of pictures and is well worded
  • Be extremely responsive when you receive requests
  • Always be completely honest about your situation and what you can and can’t handle
  • Take lots of pictures
  • Communicate regularly through the visit with the pet owner’s
  • Be willing to negotiate on your rate with regular clients or those who have more than one dog
  • Get as many 5-star reviews as you can from all visits, including repeat customers

These are the tips that have worked very well for me to grow my side hustle exponentially within only a few months. And I get to play with dogs every day, so what’s not to love?

Set up a Dog Walking Profile on Rover

The first step in using Rover.com If you click this link and make a purchase, we earn a commission at no additional cost to you. to launch your dog walking business is to set up a profile on the site. Your profile will be manually revised within a few business days. Keep in mind that you need to be 18 years or older to start a dog walking business with Rover.

Before you are approved, you’ll need to submit a formal application and pass a general background check. Recommendations can help you get approved. Rover has pretty strict standards with a thorough screening process. Less than 20% of applicants get accepted.

When filling out your profile, make sure you include your rates, your availability, and the size and types of dog you’re willing to walk. You may also want to include photos of yourself, especially photos with your dog if you have one.

Listing your services is completely free so you have nothing to lose. You also have the option of accepting or rejecting any request, which puts you in control of how much you work. Rover connects you with many new clients so you can find what works best for both parties.

Determine Rates and Schedule

Look at what other dog walkers are charging to get an idea of how you should price your services. You want to stay competitive and offer rates that are comparable to what others are charging or even slightly cheaper so you can get new clients faster.

Once you build an existing clientele of loyal pups (and owners), you can have more flexibility with pricing. Include your schedule when doing your Rover profile so dog owners know when you’re available.

Book and Get Paid

As you start getting requests from dog owners via the platform, you can exchange messages with them and get to know them better. Consider scheduling an optional in-person meet and greet.

This will give you the chance to meet the dog and get to know each other. You can talk to the owner and ask questions about special needs for the dog during their walks and any quirks you should know before walking them.

Rover If you click this link and make a purchase, we earn a commission at no additional cost to you. makes getting paid easier by taking care of all client payments and invoices. You can receive electronic payments as well, which speeds up the process.

Once you complete a dog walk, you will get paid automatically. The payment will post two days after your dog walk ends through Rover’s secure platform. Keep in mind that Rover keeps 20 percent of your earnings, leaving you with 80 percent.

According to their site, the withholdings help Rover cover benefits for dog walkers including the costs of processing payments and ongoing promotion of services on Rover. The fee also covers Rover’s customer support, 24/7 trust and safety coverage, and important site maintenance and product improvement.

Rover: Earn Money Pet Sitting Get paid to play with dogs. Rover makes it easy and promotes you to the nation’s largest network of pet parents. Sign Up Rover: Earn Money Pet Sitting We earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase at no additional cost to you.

Offer Additional Services

One of the ways to supercharge your earnings is to offer additional services on top of dog walking. Other services you can offer include dog boarding, which involves watching dogs overnight in your home.

When people go on vacation, they need someone to take care of their pets, feed them, and take them for walks. Another option you can offer is house sitting, which can be more lucrative. This involves taking care of your client’s dog and their home overnight.

If you have the capacity and space to do it, you can also offer doggy daycare. To do this, you need to have room to house several dogs as well as activities for them to do and an area where they can play.

If you’re a dog sitter already, you’re likely constantly keeping an eye out for new jobs. It’s not every night that an owner needs a sitter, so your work is probably spotty at best. Rover If you click this link and make a purchase, we earn a commission at no additional cost to you. helps you connect with local owners who’re looking to book this particular service.

Unlike dog walking, people don’t usually need dog sitters or house sitters on a regular basis. This is why using Rover can help you get a steady stream of clients by putting your services front and center in front of those who need them.

Offering several canine-friendly services will help diversify your clientele and give you steadier income. While one side of your business may die down, other sides can pick up, helping you balance your earnings.

Related: Making Extra Money by Creating Vintage T-Shirts for Dogs

How to Become a Dog Walker on Rover

Becoming a dog walker on Rover is pretty simple, if you are one of the 20% chosen. Having a very in depth profile, with pictures, and flexible availability will certainly help. But having any experience with animals in the past is a requirement for getting chosen.

The more you can talk about your past history with animals, and especially walking dogs, the higher your chances of getting chosen. Plus, that will let pet owner’s know that you have done this before and assist with putting their minds at ease.

A few integral pieces of knowledge to have for walking dogs are:

  • Knowing the in’s and out’s of how to handle an animal
  • The different types of leashes
  • Different collars and harnesses
  • The general rules and regulations surrounding dog etiquette.

If these are skills you don’t currently have, then it would be in your best interest to brush up on them. Since pet owners will inevitably ask you a lot of questions about these topics. The more you know, the better your chance of getting chosen.

How to Become a Dog Sitter on Rover

Becoming a dog sitter is similar to becoming a dog walker but it is a bit more in-depth. On Rover, you can either dog sit as the pet’s home or board dogs at your own home. You get to charge different fees for each.

First, you need to decide which option you prefer. For us, we choose to board dogs because our situation is ideal for that.

Some things that set you apart, and make you an ideal candidate, if you want to board are:

  • Work from home or are home a lot
  • Have kids
  • Have a fenced in yard
  • Can give the animals regular exercise and potty breaks

If you don’t have adequate space to board dogs, or your situation isn’t ideal, then dog sitting at the pet’s house is a great option for you. I know quite a few college students who do this during the summer and school breaks. This gives them a place to stay, rent free, and they make some money doing it. Bonus!

Whether you are boarding dogs at your house or sitting at the pet’s house, you are getting paid to play with dogs. I can’t think of a better side hustle!

Related: How to Master Your Side Hustle

A Personal Account

I am lucky in that where I live is fairly convenient to many parts of the city that are highly populated. Since I am only approximately a 5-minute drive from downtown, and sandwiched in between the North part of the city and two of our major highways, my location is prime for Rover. This means I can get more regular requests since I am convenient to so many different areas.

When I first started out with Rover, I stuck with the predetermined rates suggested by Rover for each service I offered. This included dog walking. In my area, the predetermined rate was $15 per walk. However, I found that I was easily booking walks at that rate, so I gradually increased it to see what rate my market would actually bear. This number happens to be $20 per walk currently. So that is where I have my rate set.

rover review

 

Since I live in a town with a lot of young professionals, dog walking and drop-in visits can be in high demand. I checked out the competition in my area to see what rates other walkers were charging. I found that the more 5-star ratings a walker had, the more they could charge. So I made it a personal mission to get everybody I performed any visits for to give me a review. The review could just be a star rating or have more in-depth information. But the more reviews and 5-star ratings I got, the faster I was able to increase my rate.

rover review

 

Due to having a high level of 5-star ratings, I am booked, and found, more often which helps me rank higher in the Rover feed. This has significantly helped me bring in well over $1000 per month in this side hustle. Which I absolutely love!

The Bottom Line

You can turn your love for animals into a lucrative side hustle by offering a variety of canine-friendly services such as dog walking and dog sitting. The real trick to making a steady income is finding regular clients and using a site like Rover.com If you click this link and make a purchase, we earn a commission at no additional cost to you. .

While using Rover’s services comes at a cost, it may be worth it for being able to connect quickly with customers who’re already in the market for what you are offering. You can certainly start your own business and use other lower-cost ways to get clients but it will likely take longer and your earnings will be spottier at first.

Rover gives you access to a network of pet owners specifically looking for the services you’re offering. It also gives you the tools you need to build a successful business through a steady stream of inquiries.

Have you ever made money as a dog sitter? Have you ever used one of these sites to find a sitter for your dog?

dog walker

Comments

  1. Your figures for Rover.com are actually incorrect, and I know this because I’m a sitter that does a lot of business through the site. Rover.com takes a whopping 15% initially (not 10%), and then that percentage can drop to as low as 3% (not 5%).

  2. Mike Collins says

    I’ve never heard of either of these sites but we do have a dog so they’re worth looking into.  In the past we used a kennel whenever we went on vacation but a dog sitter might work even better.

  3. Wayne Steinhilber says

    My wife and I used a site in our area but a reference check is a necessity.

  4. I’ve considered doing this because I love dogs, but I have one and I don’t know that she’d get along with the guest dog all of the time. It’s a good way to make passive income, because you don’t always have to be entertaining a dog!