How Much Do Dog Walkers and Pet Sitters Make?
Most full-time pet sitting and dog walking business owners usually make between $30K-$40K per year after expenses. A pet sitter who works 20-35 hours per week as a staff member at a pet sitting company will likely make between $20K -$25K per year.
Some pet sitting and dog walking staff members, who work fewer hours per week, or pet sit as a side hustle, will make between $3,000 and $10,000 dollars per year.
The remainder of this article is about trying to calculate how many visits a pet sitting business owner would need to book each year to reach a certain income. Also, we try to estimate how many team members a business owner would need to employ to reach various income levels based on fixed and variable expenses.
Reaching 6-figures in income is sometimes enticing for aspiring new pet sitters, However, most people find that level of income to be very difficult to achieve. It is a safety risk to try to reach that level of income on your own.
If you decide to start a pet sitting business, you will almost certainly need a team. Luckily our website is dedicated to teaching how to build a company like this.
However, it is important to go into your next business venture (or your next pivot) with open eyes. The information in this article is still based on experimental data (and loosely based on the data from my pet sitting company). I publish this information to shine a light on the financials of a pet sitting company.
Please note, you should seek the advice of a licensed HR Professional, a Certified Public Accountant, or an Enrolled Tax agent to find the exact tax numbers and financial information that is correct for you.
Solo-Sitters VS Sitters With a Team
There are a number of considerations that need to be taken into account to calculate how much you will make as a petsitter or dog walker.
The first is:
- Are you doing all the visits yourself?
- Or, do you have a team?
A Solo Sitter’s Income Based on Visits Per Year
Based on the numbers below, a solo sitter would need to do around 4000 visits per year to reach a 6-figure income. This breaks down to 14 visits per day, on average.
If we simplify the calculation and assume each visit takes 30 minutes to complete and there are 15 minutes of drive time between visits, that solo sitter would be working 58 hours per week, on average just doing the visits. Of course, in reality, that sitter would have slow weeks and busy weeks. So, some weeks would be much longer and some weeks would be shorter. Plus, most of the time there are breaks in between visits, so your days would be much longer than a regular 60 hour week.
Many pet sitters who do it on their own work from 7am to 9pm every day of the week. In addition, you need to figure in time to do sales calls, book keeping, and other office work. This can lead to 80+ hour weeks. Working this much can lead to safety issues and burnout. That’s why it is not recommended you try to get to a six figure income as a solo sitter. You should hire a team from the start if you need this high of an income.
This table shows estimated income, after expenses (bottom-line income), for 1000 – 6000 visits per year for a solo sitter.
Yearly Income Based on Visits Per Day for Solo Sitters
|Average Profit / Visit||Visits Per Year||Visits Per Month||Visits Per Day||Income From Visits||Fixed Monthy Expense||Yearly Fixed Expense||Income After Expenses|
6-Figure Income for a Team-Based Pet Sitting Agency
Most companies that want to reach 6-figures will rely on a team of sitters and walkers. Also, it takes most companies at least 7-15 years to reach a 6-figures bottom line.
Based on the numbers in the table below, a pet sitting company with a team would need to book about 15,000 pet sitting and dog walking visits per year to reach a 6-figure income.
This breaks down to about 1250 visits per month. In other words, based on this model, a company would need to book 42 visits per day, on average, to reach 6-figures bottom line.
Yearly Income Based on Visits Per Day for a Team Based Pet Sitting Agency
|Average Profit / Visit||Visits Per Year||Visits Per Month||Visits Per Day||Income From Visits||Fixed Monthy Expense||Yearly Fixed Expense||Income After Expenses||Team Members Needed|
How Did We Get These Numbers?
You might be wondering how I came up with these numbers. That’s what I’ll cover in the remainder of this article.
Average Profit Per Visit
I used the PetSitterCourse.com Pricing and Pay Example Spreadsheet, available to download for free, in this article, How Much to Pay Pet Sitting and Dog Walking Staff.
This spreadsheet is perfect for figuring your sitter’s hourly pay based on:
- Time at the visit
- Pay for average drive time
- Pay for mileage
- Worker’s Compensation Insurance
- Payroll taxes
Download your FREE Pet Sitter Pay Spreadsheet!
With this spreadsheet, you can also enter your prices and calculate how much profit you make from each type of visit. To get to an average profit per visit, average the profit from each visit type.
My calculation, in the tables above, assumes the example company is booking an equal amount of each type of visit they offer. Of course, this would not be the case in the real world, but making this assumption makes the calculation much easier.
Yearly Fixed Expenses
The yearly fixed expenses are based on my company’s fixed expenses (expenses not including payroll) for 2019. I took the total yearly cost of running my business, not including payroll, and divided that number by 12, to figure my monthly expenses.
Here is what goes into those expenses:
- Gusto payroll software
- Quickbooks online
- Pet care insurance
- Precise Pet Care scheduling software
- Credit card fees
- Worker’s compensation insurance
- Background checks for new hires
- Charitable contributions to local shelters for referrals
- Virtual assistant to do my invoicing
- Webpage hosting and plugins
- Professional / Legal / HR Consulting
- Business coaches
- Pet sitter supplies
- Office supplies
- Phone system
- Professional mailbox and use of a conference room
- Professional memberships and certifications
- Google Workspace
You might see a few areas where I spend on items that are nice to have, but maybe not necessary.
Also, it should be noted, that some of the above expenses are in fact variable expenses. Meaning some expenses will go up as you book more visits. So, a more accurate calculation would include higher expenses as more visits are booked. Such as higher insurance cost, Precise Pet Care and payroll software will cost more as I bring on more team members, pet sitter supplies will go up, etc.
On the other hand, some expenses might go down, such as advertising as the company gains more word of mouth and referrals. There might also be a few investments that only need to be made one time in your company no matter how many visits are booked, such as buying example documents, some website costs, an employee handbook, a hiring procedure, or office equipment.
Number of Team Members Needed
This calculation is based on our guide for How to Schedule Pet Sitters and get Two Days Off Every Week. If you have not read that article, it’s one you don’t want to miss.
With our scheduling guide, I’ve found it takes 2 sitters, working as a team, to handle 8 visits per day on average.
Remember, with an average, some days will be much busier, and some days will be much slower. So you could still have those 12-16 visit days, but you might also have some days where a sitter only has one or two visits.
Like it or not, you need to staff up so you can handle those busier days.
A 6-figure income from dog walking and pet sitting is not going to happen overnight. It can also lead to major burnout if you try to reach this level of income as a solo sitter.
On the other hand, a 6-figure income is not necessarily the goal for every pet sitting company. If you are not committed to building a team, I would not recommend trying to get to 6-figures because doing that many visits as a solo sitter could put pets in danger.
However, if you are determined to reach a 6-figure income from dog walking, be sure to use the tools and resources available to you. You don’t need to learn everything from trial and error. The path to success as a professional pet sitter is well paved. Check out our free resources page, be sure to take our certification course, and get coaching to help you achieve the best income of your life.
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