You love being outside in the fresh air, a dog alongside you, with the autumn leaves crunching under your collective six feet. You also love having money to spend on groceries, clothes or healthy dog treats.
If this sounds like you, you may want to consider a dog-walking career.
Love is Priceless, But Pet Products and Services are Big Money
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We love our companion animals, and the numbers sure reflect that. In 2012, pet parents in the United States will spend an estimated $52.87 billion on their furry pals. Much of this is spent on food, vet care, medicine and other supplies, but $4.11 billion will be spent on pet services.
That massive number translates to plentiful opportunities for people looking to help walk and care for people's dogs.
How Much Can I Make?
With more than 46 million dog parents in the United States, chances are you live near a dog or two. Dog walkers may charge an average of $15 to $25 per visit, but this depends on location, experience and other factors.
Walking one dog per day could raise an average of $100 per week. If you are motivated (and strong), you can walk multiple dogs at once, or several individual dogs per day, earning several hundred dollars per week.
How Do I Begin?
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With dogs and their owners in every direction, wonderful networking opportunities are available. Start locally, talking to neighbors and friends. Order business cards and give them to neighbors. Visit dog parks and other places where dog parents visit.
To market yourself further, some dog walkers offer additional services. For example, getting certified in Pet CPR and first aid will make dog parents feel extra-confident in your ability to care for their furry loved one.
Love and Money are a Great Combo
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With a genuine love for dogs, a desire for fresh air and exercise, and a passion to earn money in a growing field, pursuing a job as a dog walker rewarding in both personal and financial ways.
Considering you can earn a few hundred dollars a week, and you will be getting plenty of exercise, you might even cancel that gym membership. This will save you even more money for anything you want, including more dog treats.
Sarah Whitman's work has been featured in newspapers, magazines, websites and informational booklets. She is currently pursuing a master's degree in nutrition, and her projects feature nutrition and cooking, whole foods, supplements and organics. She also specializes in companion animal health, encouraging the use of whole foods, supplements and other holistic approaches to pet care.