If you recently started a dog-walking business or you’ve been thinking about it, there are plenty of apps out there that can help you get new clients, and help you keep the ones you have—and make your life easier in the process. Here are a few of our favorites:
The free Bring Fido app can be a lifesaver for city-dwelling dog walkers, since it helps you locate pet-friendly businesses like restaurants, shops, and of course, dog parks. This may not sound important, but if you’re spending a lot of your day holding a leash, it’s nice to be able to quickly check and see if there’s a local cafe where you can pop in, use a restroom and grab a coffee while you’re out on your third long walk of the day!
This isn’t an app for dogs, specifically, but it will show you all the trails in your area, helping you find nicer, more off-road places to walk your dogs. (Some clients might even be willing to pay a premium to have their pups get out in nature rather than walk around a city block!)
For new dog walkers or those looking to increase their client list, Rover is a great app that connects you with new dogs looking for walkers. The app does take a 20% cut of your fee (which you can set), but if you are low on clients and just getting started, it is a great way to build your walking resume. (Wag is another alternative, but all the apps that connect clients and walkers are going to take a hefty cut of your fee—though they do often have plenty of small biz benefits that you may not have on your own, like insurance, which makes them worth considering!)
Google Forms + the Payable Add-On
Once you have a clientele, you may want to skip the apps that connect dog walkers and clients and create your own booking page, at least for regulars! Rather than investing in a pricey website just to book your regulars for dog walks or collect info about new pups, use a Google Form to get info from your clients about their pup’s needs, and accept payments from clients at the same time. Using the Payable Add-On, you can add a checkout and get paid instantly rather than hoping your client remembered to get cash. You can even add bonus options, whether you include grooming or, for more active dogs, dog runs instead of walks. In just a few minutes, you can have a landing page and checkout created for new clients, without needing to pay for pricey web hosting. (Find out how to set up your Form here.)
Animal Poison by ASPCA
A free mobile app that can help you stay aware of what’s toxic for pups—key if you’re in an area where dogs can get into a variety of plants or garbage!
Pet First Aid by the Red Cross
Another app you hope you’ll never need, but could come in handy in a pinch—this free app from the Red Cross has all the basic first aid you need to know if something happens on your walk.
Just a quick reminder to any new dog walkers: If you’re planning to make this a career, or even a lucrative side hustle, you may need to look into insurance, since you’re dealing with people’s precious pets, as well as the financial side of the business in terms of taxes you may owe. Even if you’re starting small, it’s a good idea to think about these things ahead of time!