It used to be thought that choosing to work in the pet care field was more of a lifestyle choice and the work/life balance would be the primary benefit, but research out today has revealed that UK dog walkers earn more than the average UK salary.
Pet insurer Direct Line spoke with 150 different dog walkers across the country to compare their average hourly rate vs the national minimum wage and found that walkers charged on average 77% more than the minimum wage rate.
A dog walker will typically walk around 13 dogs per day and carry out the equivalent of 192 dog walks per month. This equates to an average annual income for the dog walker of £26,496, which is £4,450 above the UK’s average annual salary. Although professional dog walkers in London can earn over three times this amount.
Doggy day care is also big business in the UK. Providers charge an average of £17.50 per dog per day and a doggy day care business can see around 305 dogs per month. This equates to an average annual income for the business of £64,050.
For dog owners, where they live will have a big impact on how much it costs them to use the services of dog walkers or doggy day care providers. Those living in London and the South East pay the most for professional ‘dog sitting’, paying out on average £14 an hour to have their dog walked and £24.50 a day to have their dog stay in a day care facility.
Those living in the North West or Scotland pay the least for professional dog services. It costs these dog owners an average of £10 per hour to have their dog walked and just £15 per day to have their dog stay at a doggy day care provider.
So, will you consider changing profession and making pets your business, not just your passion?
Luke Winchester did just that in 2009 when he began his own business offering professional dog walking and dog boarding services. Luke was educated at a public school in Surrey and gave up his career as an estate agent in Marylebone choosing dog walking as a profession because of his love of dogs and the realisation that he could run his own business doing something he loved.
He said: “I have lived in London for 20 years and for the first 15 of those, my career was as an estate agent. I became a manager in a few of the large chains and then went onto running my own Estate Agency in Marylebone for a while. However, I then realised that dog walking would give me greater freedom in my day to day life with a similar salary. No need for a suit and more appreciative clients!”
Direct Line has recently launched Walkies, its new dog walking app, which features a ‘pack’ function allowing owners or pet professionals to track the walks of multiple dogs. Professional dog walkers will be able to use the app to monitor the walks their charges are doing and share these routes on social media or with the dog’s owners.
The Walkies app is available for free on the Apple App Store for all iOS 8-enabled devices with GPS capability. To download, please visit:http://store.apple.com/uk.