From day job to walking dogs
January 10, 2014 1:17 PM   Subscribe

I'm interested in starting a dog-walking service, and am seeking strategies for transitioning into this from a full-time day job.

Going part-time at my current job is sadly not an option. I've considered looking for some kind of part-time evening job and hope it doesn't conflict too much with prime dog-walking hours (middle of the day).

Quitting my current job without getting some clients lined up seems...stupid, but I can't get any clients while I'm also at work all day.

I've applied at all the local dog-walking agencies, to no avail.

I do have considerable savings, so there's that, but don't want to be sans income for any longer than necessary.

Has anyone had any success with similar situations?
posted by whistle pig to Work & Money (6 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite

Response by poster: Yes! There was also this great question: Working as a petsitter.

I think I have a reasonable idea of the business (at least, I hope!) but am specifically wondering how to make the change into the field from working at a day job.
posted by whistle pig at 1:26 PM on January 10, 2014

Would you be willing to start with petsitting locally? Pet-sitting wouldn't require you to quit your job. When I did a little petsitting for a friend, people kept asking if I was willing to do it for hire. Once you get to know pet-owners, and they know you to be reliable, they'll be more likely to recommend you as a dog-walker.

Networking at dog parks on weekend might also be a good place to start asking questions and see what people are looking for.
posted by ldthomps at 1:36 PM on January 10, 2014

I daydream about being a dogwalker. I've even read this book, which addresses a lot of your questions.

I have not become a dog walker for a zillion reasons, including "I live in the boondocks!" and "I'm not ready to ditch the business I already own!"
posted by workerant at 2:14 PM on January 10, 2014

Professional dog walker, here. Walking happy dogs since 2005. I got canned from my day was an...umm...strategic canning (engineered by me, you might say.)
Weeks later I enrolled in a business plan course offered by our local women's business start-up center. 15 grueling weeks later, I emerge with a business plan and a handful of clients; now about 40 on-and-off clients.
What's good about being a dog walker?
No boss but YOU.
No weekly meetings, 360° performance reviews, cleavage police, or United Way thugs.
Oh, hell, the list is endless.

What's bad about being a dog walker?
It's an all-weather deal, Polar Vortex or no Polar Vortex.
Last year I would have said no health insurance, but now Affordable Health Care, yeah!
You WILL get dog poop on you at regular intervals no matter how much you think you can avoid it, but it's preferable to getting figurative dog shit flung at your head on an hourly basis in the cubicle .

I've got lots more....MeMail if you like.
posted by BostonTerrier at 4:32 PM on January 10, 2014 [2 favorites]

Response by poster: Thanks for the suggestions! I may look into doing the overnight petsitting thing, and I've already downloaded and partially read the book suggestion.

BostonTerrier, that is pretty inspiring. I would much rather have literal dog poo on me than figurative office poo. I may be MeMailing you!

Thanks again!
posted by whistle pig at 8:06 AM on January 11, 2014

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