When you are developing your business model it is critically important to understand how the population of your area will impact the amount demand there is for pet sitting and dog walking.
Every town, no matter the size, will have some demand for pet sitting. But the demand will be much higher if you live in a more populated area. Also, if you live in a more populated area, you’re likely to have more demand for dog walking.
Don’t Make This Mistake!
Many new entrepreneurs make the mistake of setting up a dog walking only style business in a smaller city or town only to find there is not enough demand. These business owners later find they also need to add pet sitting service to make their business sustainable. Or, worse yet, they feel they have failed and shut down their business altogether. When a better option would have been to offer services that fit their market.
Find Out What Works In Your Area
A good way to figure out what works in your town is to look at what other pet sitting companies are offering. If there is a dog walking only company in your area that has a team of 4 or more people, chances are you are your area can handle a dog walking only company (and maybe even two).
But remember, just because a company offers a service does not mean there is demand for it.
For example, I offered a pet taxi service but only got one or two clients for it per year. I later dropped the service because it was costing me more money to train sitters for the service compared to what I would make.
Some General Guidelines
Let’s cover what works best in each type of town, based on population.
Large City - (Over 300,000)
Large cities can support companies that focus solely on dog walking. When you hear of individuals making six-figure salaries walking dogs, they are usually in a large, affluent city, and have a large team supporting them. (They have also been in business for many years)
Most companies will provide both pet sitting and dog walking, because there is more demand for pet sitting services.
Medium Size City - 100,000 to 300,000
Medium sized cities generate enough demand for many full time pet sitters, but usually only have enough demand for part time dog walkers. Towns of this size may have 20-30 companies in the local google search results, and there is always more demand than supply of qualified pet sitters.
This size town is perfect for pet sitting and dog walking. Usually these towns can support pet sitting agencies with teams of 5-25 people.
A larger population also increases the chances you will be able to hire good sitters and walkers. Expect to get 100-200 applicants for every job posting. But, only 1 in 50 applicants will be worth hiring.
Small City - 10,000 - 100,000
Companies in cities of this size are usually focused on pet sitting, but may have a few dog walking clients. This size city is certainly large enough to build an agency-style pet sitting company, but there may only be a few sitters in each company. There is a lot of opportunity in cities of this size for either growing a company with a team, becoming becoming a solo-sitter, or freelancer.
Town - 1,000 - 10,000
Towns and rural areas usually need very large service areas to maintain enough demand. Even with a large service area, there may not be many clients looking for professional pet care. Although, this can be perfect for someone looking to make supplemental income.
Many small town pet sitters are solo sitters, or team up with one another pet sitter to share the workload. There may only be one or two companies that cover a large service area.
In smaller towns there tends to be fewer people applying for pet sitting jobs. So it can be harder to hire.