Home Business Ideas for Dog Lovers
Love dogs? You’re not alone! Nearly 78 million dogs lived in homes across the U.S. in 2015. That sure is a whole lot of canine companionship.
The popularity of dog ownership can go far beyond pet preference and can actually turn into a lucrative home-based business. Think about this, people spend $60 billion annually on their pets. Even if you can get the smallest sliver of that gigantic pie, you’d be making a pretty impressive living each year.
The best part of starting a business built on passion? When you actually enjoy what you do for a living, it never actually feels like you’re working. Many home businesses start from finding what you love and figuring out how to monetize it.
Loving dogs is no different — here are ways to turn your love of dogs into your own business.
Dogs need walking. Whether you live in a major city or the suburbs, there are plenty of opportunities to earn a living walking dogs in your area. The best way to start, is to find a client or two. When you start slowly, you can build up your confidence as a professional walker and practice handling multiple dogs at once.
After you gain your footing, you can build up your client roster and the number of dogs you can walk at a time. It’s not unreasonable for an experienced dog walker to handle six large dogs at once.
How much can you charge?
The average dog walker charges $15 to $17 per each dog for 15-20 minute walks. For longer walks, 30-40 minutes, rates range from $18 to $22 per dog. Hour-long walks are charged at an average rate of $25 per dog.
Where do you find clients?
- You can advertise locally in a newspaper or monthly mailers, like Valpak
- Pass out or hang up flyers at dog parks & pet supply stores
- Post an ad on Craigslist
- Put a listing up on Find A Dog Walker
For additional inspiration, check out The Dog Walker’s Startup Guide: Create Your Own Lucrative Dog Walking Business in 12 Easy Steps.
Gourmet Dog Treats
I used to joke with a good friend of mine that her dogs ate better than I did. Turns out, many dog owners are committed to feeding their pooches quality food and treats with easily-recognized ingredients.
You can test the waters of your new gourmet dog treats business by selling them at your local farmer’s market or by purchasing a booth at a flea market, bazaar, or other marketplace.
As your business grows locally, you can turn your attention to setting up shop online. Even the simplest ecommerce store can help you reach customers across the U.S. (or even internationally, if you choose!).
How do you actually make a homemade dog treat?
You probably don’t have a recipe on hand for concocting the perfect canine treat. Finding and perfecting signature recipes will make all the difference in how well your business is received by dogs and their owners alike.
For a little inspiration, check out these Gourmet Dog Treat recipes. You can always tweak them and come up with your own style of dog treat, too!
What should I know before baking?
Starting a home-based gourmet dog treat business may be the ideal career for the dog-loving baker, but there are some things you need to know before jumping in.
The pet food industry is regulated by the Department of Agriculture. This means you will have to comply with all of their rules when it comes to making, labeling, and distributing your dog treats. Your state may even require you to carry a business license.
Don’t let a few rules and requirements keep you from doing something you love — learn how to Start Your Own Gourmet Dog Treat Business and Bake Your Way to Success.
When dog owners go on vacation or need to head out of town on business, they need to decide where to board their pet. For many, the decision to send their beloved canine companion to a kennel isn’t the right choice for them. Instead, they rely on someone to take their dog in temporarily while they’re away.
The National Association of Professional Pet Sitters
If the idea of bringing dogs into your home and offering a loving place to stay while their owner away sounds ideal, head on over to the National Association of Professional Pet Sitters (NAPPS). They have plenty of advice on what it takes to get going as a pro pet sitter.
The NAPPS is a non-profit organization dedicated to helping people start a successful pet sitting business. You can choose to join as a member and gain access to valuable perks like being listed in their database, a pet sitter toolkit, and education opportunities.
While you don’t necessarily need any kind of training or certification to be a professional pet sitter, the NAPPS does offer self-paced training courses that, once complete, allow you to become a Certified Pet Sitter.
The cost of the program is $245 for members and $395 for non-members.
More Information to Get You Started
Before jumping in and paying for a membership and getting certified as a Pet Sitter, you may want to do a little more homework on the opportunity first.
Over at About.com, you can learn How to Start a Pet Sitting Business. This article is pretty detailed and goes over things you may not have considered like insurance and drafting contracts.
One of the best books out there on the subject is Six-Figure Pet Sitting: Catapult your Pet Sitting Business to Unlimited Success by Kristin Morrison. This book is recommended by the NAPPS and helps you build a solid foundation to build a lucrative pet sitting business.
If you like the idea of getting paid to work with dogs, but just aren’t sure that starting your own business is right for you, no problem! You might find what you’re looking for in popular pet-sitting site, Rover.
Rover is like the Airbnb of dog services. At Rover, you can offer pet sitting, in-home daycare, dog walking, and a variety of other services.
What makes Rover great?
When you start your own business, you’re in charge of everything — billing, insurance, advertising. At Rover, they take care of all of those things for you. Some of the benefits that come with Rover include:
- 24/7 support
- Insurance that covers property damage, liability, and emergency vet bills
- Billing and payments handled for you
Although Rover takes over much of the business side of things for you, you still get to be in control in many ways. This includes:
- Setting your own rates
- Choosing your schedule
- Picking which dogs you want to sit for and take care of
Rover is a very active community that connects dog owners with service providers. In fact, Rover states that a pet owner books services through Rover once every minute — that amounts to a lot of potential work if you sign up with the site!
What else should I know about Rover?
Rover lets you set your rates and availability and offers a lot of tools to help you promote your business. For example, they let you bring in new clients by offering them a $20 coupon towards their first booking with you.
You can use Rover to help you supplement your income or use it as a full-time source of work. Rover is a good place to get a feel for the industry before investing a ton of time and money into building your own pet sitting or dog walking business from the ground up.
Your Rover Profile
As a Rover sitter, you will need to fill out a profile which will include your rates and some background information. It’s a good idea to include pictures of yourself with your own pets so people get the sense that you are a genuine animal lover. When a person books a stay with you, they get the opportunity to leave feedback afterward.
That’s it. Rover takes 15% commission on all services that are booked through the site.
Sites like Rover
To give yourself the best chance of securing work, it might be a good idea to sign up for multiple sites. In addition to Rover, Care.com and Dogvacay.com also help dog owners connect with people, like you, who offer dog sitting and walking.
You’re probably familiar with Care.com as the place to go if you need a nanny or babysitter — but they have pet services, too! The average person offering pet services on Care.com earns $10.00/hour working on projects of their choosing.
Care.com works a little differently than Rover: People needing services post jobs on the site and you browse through listings and apply to the ones you think you’re a good fit for.
You can register at Care.com for free, but in order to apply for jobs you will have to pay for a Featured Membership.
DogVacay is currently accepting new members into their dog sitting community. At DogVacay, you get 24/7 support and premium pet insurance every time someone books services with you through the site.
There’s also free training and education opportunities for members. DogVacay handles all payments for you and gives you tools needed to promote your business. They take a 20% service fee from your earnings. Payments are issued through PayPal or via check — your choice!
Turn Your Love of Dogs into Profits
There’s few greater feelings than doing something you love for a living. For all the dog lovers out there, consider catapulting your love of canines into a lucrative home-based business. Whether you choose to start from scratch or use a popular peer-to-peer marketplace to get started, you can make a living doing something you love.
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