The rise of the Gig Economy has made way for all sorts of new and unusual avenues of employment. One of the most interesting among the lot is the professional dog walker. That’s right – walking dogs has become a real way to earn some serious dough. But there’s more than meets the eye when it comes to the dog walk. It takes good time management skills to become a dog walker who gets any success. Not to mention, there is training each dog walker will need to undertake to even qualify for the job in the first place.
Fortunately, after suffering a heavy hit during the pandemic, dog walkers are finally returning to work. That’s the case for both private-business walkers as well as those who are employed through a platform. On that same note, one of the biggest platforms for dog walkers is known as Wag!. It’s commonly referred to as the “Uber for dogs.” Founded in 2015 in Los Angeles California, Wag! currently employs over 150 thousand dog walkers across over 4,000 cities in the US. Plus, they’ve maintained a 4.97 average overall rating amidst an 8-second booking turnaround! In other words, Wag! Provides a powerful foundation for dog walkers and inquisitive clients alike.
Whether you’re interested in how to become a dog walker or how Wag! can be the right fit for you, we’ve got you covered. In this article, we look at some benefits to become a dog walker and the best way to get started as a dog walker.
Benefits of Being a Dog Walker
As we mentioned, dog walking is almost always a gig job. That means it comes with all the benefits of being an independent contractor. One of the best things about working a gig job is its sheer amount of freedom. As a dog walker, there’s a great deal of flexibility around one’s work hours and availability. This makes it one of the best side hustles for college students who find themselves with empty hours in between their studies. Independence within one’s work also means no boss looking over your shoulder, which is nice. To top it off, you’ll have the opportunity to set your own rates and declare your own business guidelines.
Walking dogs is also a great way to get out of the house for some physical exercise. Modify your running routine to fit into your work routine. Dog walking also gives you a chance to explore the community and make friends with others who have dogs. For this reason, it’s a great side hustle for stay-at-home moms who need to make use of their downtime. Lastly, if you find dogs appealing… well… you’ll be getting paid to take care of them. That pretty much closes the case.
Of course, being a dog walker will still require the accountability of communicating with clients and providing a fair service. Like any job, it should be taken seriously. To add, most folks view their dogs as part of the family. Investing the time to create personal relationships with your dogs may mean keeping the job or not.
Become a Dog Walker on Wag!
It takes some preparation to be a dog walker on Wag!, and it’s worth some review. First, you’ll have to go to the Wag! homepage and create an account, giving up some basic information. After signing up, you’ll be required to give the emails of a few people who can provide personal or business recommendations. Wag! will then send a form to these folks to complete. The more endorsements you provide Wag!, the faster your application will be processed. This is the longest part of the procedure and can take a few days to finish. Afterward, you’ll be asked to watch some training videos on the proper ways to care for dogs. Then, you’ll be quizzed on what was learned.
Assuming that all goes well, the last step is to complete a background check. As of the date of this post, background checks cost $29.95. It’ll be used to check employment, criminal record, and credit score, amongst other things. You’ll need a valid License/State ID, passport, or Permanent Residence Card to apply. Once that’s over and done with, you’re ready to rock! You can then sign into the Wag! dog walking app and begin applying for jobs. The total sign-up process usually takes days to complete, sometimes even weeks. Luckily, you can always check the status of your application by way of the portal link offered by Wag! to all pending participants.
If your application is rejected due to failing the pet-caring quiz or inactivity, you’ll only have one more attempt at reapplying. After that, any more failed attempts will terminate your chances to become a dog walker. For that reason, it’s important to have a clean record and an aptitude for the work at hand. We’ll discuss that latter detail a little later on.
How to Get Paid on Wag!
The payment system for Wag! is funneled through Stripe Connect. Wag! users will need to set up an additional account with Stripe in order to receive payments. All payments for completed Wag! dog walking jobs are deposited directly into bank accounts. Payouts are distributed weekly in alignment with Wag!’s pay periods. How much Wag! pays depends on each job. Factors like the walkers’ rate and length of the walk will influence the price. Aside from what is earned from each job, Wag! keeps 40% of each payout! It’s a steep fee to pay, but the market is bustling with opportunities.
Training to Become a Dog Walker
Obviously, it’s important to know how to care for dogs if you plan to make a career or side-career out of it. Moreover, you won’t be working for Wag! unless you pass the training quiz in no more than 2 shots. That being said, take some time to receive training before stepping to the plate. There are quite a few online dog-walking courses available for rather affordable prices. For those who already have professional experience, brush up on your skills in preparation for a new work platform. For example, learn more about clicker training and its benefits when communicating with dogs. The goal is to become a dog walker that even you’d want to hire.
A Quick Tip When Dog Walking for Wag!
- Get Health Insurance Wag! does provide health insurance for its workers by way of Stride. You can check your eligibility here. Regardless of which insurance you choose, it’s a good idea to get covered before you become a dog walker. There is potential for you or your clients’ pet(s) to get hurt in the work environment. Hospital visits are pricey, so it’s best to be safe instead of sorry.
For more career-building and gig resources, check out more posts on our blog page! Stay ahead of the industry — we’ll meet you on the other side.