Small Business Advice

How to become a dog walker on Wag

Wag is an app that matches dog walkers with dogs in need of walking. Here's how to sign up and start making money with this platform.

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The global pet care market is on the rise. Despite the COVID-19 crisis, the market size estimated for 2020 was $179.4 billion. Moreover, that number is forecasted to grow at a CAGR of 5.2% and reach $255.4 billion by 2027.

 

In the same vein, The United States owns the largest pet care market in the world at an estimated $76.8 billion by 2020 and growing. But what does it all mean? It means that opportunities for pet caregivers are multiplying as you're reading this. As demand grows, so do ways of satisfying it, and that's exactly where apps like Wag come to save the day. Wag was created in order to make it easier for dog owners to find someone to walk their dog. The app connects dog owners with dog walkers in their area. Wag is available in a number of cities, including Los Angeles, New York City, and San Francisco. You can find the Wag app in the app store.

 

Whether you want it as a side hustle or a career, getting paid for enjoying the outdoors with your furry friends is a great way to blend passion and work. If that sounds like something you'd like to do, you've come to the right place; we're going to tell you everything you need to know to start that journey today.

 

Ready? Fasten the leash and let's go.

 

How to become a dog walker on Wag?

To become a dog walker on Wag and start earning extra cash you have to fulfill a series of steps online, we'll describe right away. Bear in mind that the process of admission to the platform does take a few steps for completion, requires hitting several benchmarks, and can take 5 to 10 business days. As a dog walker using Wag you would be an independent contractor. This means your taxes will not be withheld for you by Wag, you should keep track of this yourself.

 

But worry not because we're going through it step by step shortly and concisely. 

 

Step 1. Create an account

The first step is kind of obvious, but it is worth talking about it because it hides some tricks up the sleeve. So, to get started, you should go to the Wag website and create an account using your personal information. This includes giving the contact email address of people who can recommend you as a dog walker. 

 

The more sponsors for your account you can get, the faster it will be processed, and the faster you'll be making money.

 

Bear in mind that Wag will indeed email these people and ask them about your performance, so let them know in advance. This process might take some days to be completed.

 

Step 2. Training

Once you've completed your personal info and references, you'll be requested to watch some videos about proper ways to care for dogs. Don't overlook these videos because they are followed by quizzes about what you learned with them. 

 

The assessments are:

 

-Proper dog walking techniques - this is a quiz on safety and the general aspects of dog care.

 

-Collar and harness test - A dog walker's most important assets for walking dogs are the collar, the harness, and the leash. This test will evaluate your knowledge about different types and how to use them.

 

-Situation assessment - Unpredictability is the name of the game for dog walkers, thus, this test will measure your ability to handle unforeseen circumstances. An example could be recognizing and dealing with aggression.

 

As an expert tip: pay close attention to harness and leash material, it is paramount to passing the exam.

 

Also, bear in mind that you only have two attempts to pass this quiz after watching the videos. If you fail to do so, you'll be out of chances with Wag. In the same vein, you can only reattempt to get admission to the platform once. So, make sure you're paying attention, you're well-rested, caffeinated, and have all senses pointing forward when taking the quizzes.

 

Step 3. Background check

If step 1 works and you pass step 2 flawlessly, you'll move forward to step 3, a background check that will cost you $29.99. You can think of it as an investment in your future.

 

This background check includes credit score, criminal check, and other important items about you. As a part of this process, you'll also need a valid State ID, Passport, Permanent Residence Card, or License.

 

Step 4. Profile setup

Finally, you need to set up a profile that can attract potential clients; therefore, your bio and photo are paramount. 

 

Your photo should be uplifting, easygoing, and fun but remain professional. The trick is to think like a pet owner rather than as a pet walker. What would you look for in a dog walker for your own pet? Well, those are the attributes you need in your profile. 

 

A great pro tip in this sense is to pick up a piece of paper and a pen and write those down.

 

The right way to write your bio in Wag

The moment you sit down to write your bio a zillion things cross your mind. What should you include to keep it professional, engaging, and appealing? Well, worry not because you are in the right place and we're going over some expert tips. 

 

- Dog experience - The first thing that a pet owner will look for in your bio is your experience with dogs. Here, you should name everything that makes you close to them, like, for example, the dogs you've had in your life, having volunteered at a dog shelter, past work fostering dogs or other dog walking businesses you’ve worked with. Every dog-related piece of info goes here, right at the top.

 

-Why you? - The key in this section is not being afraid of being your own sponsor and, maybe, bragging a little while selling yourself. With that in mind, include here what you like doing with pets on walks or maybe your favorite trails. For example, you can say something like "I love taking them to the park and playing fetch" or "I have this great trail going up the hill they just love." Remember, if you're showing off a little, you're in the right direction.

 

- The extra mile - This is the section in which you add value to your work. One of the main reasons they should choose you is because you can do something special nobody else offers, in other words, you go the extra mile. It could be anything from carrying special toys that dogs love, to teaching them some tricks. Be creative, this is a very important part of your bio.

 

-Your preferences - To round out your bio, you may want to include your availability and preferences. For example, you might be an early riser and prefer to walk dogs in the early morning. On the contrary, perhaps you can do it after school in the dusk hours. Also, you can include what areas you cover and how often you can walk them. This will tell the owners if your preferences match their search.

 

Frequently asked questions:

Do you still have questions about joining Wag as a dog walker? Again, worry not because you're in the right place to evacuate all your doubts. Let's go through some of the frequently asked questions.

 

What equipment do I need to walk the dogs?

Before your first walk these are some of the essentials that can't go missing from your backpack or fanny pack.

 

-Leashes - Leashes are to dog walkers what the car is to a taxi driver: a core element of your work. Make sure they are always in good shape and bring an extra one just in case.

 

-Bags - Although some owners will provide you with poop bags, some might not. Hence, you need an assortment of bags with you at all times. 

 

-Water & dish - On hot days or hot weather, dogs get just as tired and thirsty as you do from walking. So, always bring with you some water and a dish to hydrate your friends.

 

-Dog whistle - Even though most walks with dogs are relaxed and beautiful moments, a lot can happen on the street. You might run into aggressive dogs, your dog might get aggressive, or any other similar scenario. A dog whistle will distract all dogs and give you a chance to act.

 

To learn more about it, here's an equipment check video made by Wag that might be useful.

 

What do I do if the dog doesn't want to walk?

Dogs usually love going out for a walk, especially those living in small spaces with no yard or grass. That being said, it can happen that a dog doesn't want to walk. You can divide your actions into three stages if you encounter this scenario.

 

-Make sure the dog is OK - Lethargic dogs might be experiencing fever or any other affection. Get in touch with the dog owners to inform them of the panorama. Maybe they forgot to tell you something.

 

-Avoid pulling - A stubborn dog is testing your skills as a dog walker. Don't fall into that trap. If your pet parent approved treats, use them to tempt the dog and get it to walk with you. 

 

-The magic words - Maybe the dog is trained by a professional and all you need is to say the magic word. Try "sit" and then "OK" or "let's go", maybe that'll solve the issue. Otherwise, you can also call the pet parent; they may have encountered this scenario before.

 

This video by Wag about what to do with a dog that refuses to walk might be helpful.

 

Am I allowed to take pictures and videos of my favorite dogs?

Yes, you're not only allowed to; you should. Indeed, after every dog walk, you're supposed to tell the pet parent how it went, and that includes pictures as well as writing a report card. Make sure you catch them at their happiest.

 

Am I obliged to wear the t-shirt?

Although you're not obliged to wear the t-shirt, you'll earn an extra dollar if you do.

 

How much can you earn as a dog walker?

According to the latest numbers, in the US, the average monthly payment for a dog walker is $2,493. That being said, the same survey indicated that the income can also go as high as $4,250, and as low as $1,042.

 

The payments in Wag are divided into three rates or walk types:

 

-20-minute walk: $9

 

-30-minute walk: $12

 

-60-minute walk: $18

Wag also provides the ability to be a sitter, or “Pet Caregiver”. When doing pet sitting you as the Pet Caregiver can set your own pricing, meaning that you can earn even more depending on if you can find people willing to pay your rates.

 

On the not-so-good side of things, Wag provides the customers but keeps 40% of the money for it. If you think about it, though, having a constant stream of customers (and thus, of money) is one of the hardest challenges freelancers and self-employed workers in every niche face.

 

Do you need qualifications to be a dog walker?

No, you don't need qualifications to become a dog walker. You can perfectly be a dog walker with no experience and work for Wag.

 

That being said, the qualifications you can earn as a pet caregiver are, first and foremost, something that will make your job easier. Furthermore, although demand is high (and on the rise), a great way to stay on top of the stiff competition is having a qualification to stand out.

 

In other words, you don't need a qualification, especially to get started, but you might want to get a qualification down the road and let the dog walking pay for it.

 

Wag recommends Fear Free, a program created by a veterinarian and enriched by professionals in many areas. Once you take their course, the badge can appear on your profile bringing further ease to the pet's owner when trusting you with it.

 

How do you become a dog walker as a teenager?

To be a dog walker for Wag you need to be eligible, thus, you need to meet the minimum requirements. Those include being over 18 years old. Because being 18 is, technically, still being in your teenage years, you can just follow the steps above and start walking dogs in no time while you enjoy the crazy teenage years with an extra buck in your wallet.

 

Is being a Wag walker worth it?

Being a Wag dog walker is definitely worth it. If you love dogs, the outdoors, exercising, and making money, then Wag is everything you want in a job. But that's not all; let's go through some of the pros of Wag as a dog walking service.

 

-Tips - The platform encourages pet owners to tip dog walkers. Moreover, you get to keep the whole tip; Wag only takes 40% off the fee. That can significantly change your income.

 

-Flexible schedule - Wag, in a way, works just like uber for dogs: you can choose when you want to walk dogs and when not to. So you can use Wag as a part time gig or a full time venture. Furthermore, you can just check what dog walks are available in your area and then pick.

 

-Choose your walks - You can choose to accept or reject any wag walks. Plus, you can choose your modus operandi by selecting only one-off walks or building rapport with the pet owner through recurring walks. 

 

The platform Wag offers is flexible enough to accommodate people looking for a side hustle to their main income or to make a living from walking dogs. Whichever is your case, Wag might be a great option.

 

Wag vs. Rover: Which is best?

Wag's main competition is Rover. Although they are very similar, there are some key differences between them.

 

- Rover allows you to choose your fee - When using Wag the fees are standardized throughout the platform. On the other hand, Rover allows you to set your fee. Remember, though, competition is fierce and the cost is a big factor for most pet owners.

 

- Rover's commission is smaller - Besides allowing you to set your fee, Rover takes 20% off your payment; Wag's commission is 40%.

 

- Walk more than one dog at once - While Wag only allows you to walk one dog at a time, you can easily scale up with Rover and walk several of them together. This is perfect for maximizing your profit per hour as long as you can handle more than one dog pulling from you simultaneously.

 

That being said, you can always download both. Indeed, they are not exclusive to each other. Hence, you can just work on both platforms and hopefully make more money than working with either of them alone.

 

Conclusion

Wag might be a great way to make money while enjoying your passion for the outdoors. Of course, like any job, it also offers challenges. Still, if you love dogs and the outdoors, rain or sunshine, you'll be doing what you love and getting paid for it.

 

Moreover, Wag is present in over 4,500 cities in the USA with an army of 150,000 pet caregivers. In other words, regardless of where in the country you are, you might be able to set up your Wag account and start working right away.

 

Furthermore, the steady flow of work that the app offers solves one of the biggest issues in the gig economy: keeping a steady income to pay the bills.

 

Finally, you can always download the app, fill out the info, and turn it on only when you feel like or need it. There are no maintenance-associated costs.

 

Happy dog walking!

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