We have all seen the meme,” I just want to stay home and hang out with my dog”. This is a dream for many who no longer want to partake in the daily grind. Well, hanging out with dogs is exactly what I do, and I get paid for it.
How to get started…
A few years before I retired from teaching I started thinking of ways that I could supplement my pension. There was one thing I liked better than kids, and that was dogs. It turns out that there are websites such as Rover.com where you can complete a simple profile, get a background check, and have a couple of friends write testimonials about your character, and sites like Rover will promote you.
Dog owners across the nation are looking for doggy daycare, dog walkers, and dog sitters for overnight, weekends, and extended stays, and are willing to pay reputable people a decent wage for this service. You can earn an extra $200 a week watching a dog for daycare. Dog walkers charge an average of $20 a walk. Dog sitting in your home can earn you up to $50 a night and even more if you house sit in the dog owner’s home.
There are so many pluses to working with dogs as a side hustle:
- You can work as much or as little as you like. I like to say that I retired from teaching, to spend my days watching dogs and going on vacations.
- You can choose the days you want to work and the kind of dogs you like to watch. I prefer small dogs because my dogs are small and I think they are easier. Other people are more fond of labs and retrievers.
- You will never be bored or lonely. When you watch dogs it gives you a reason to get up in the morning. You can go for a walk or sit out in your fenced in yard and get fresh air and exercise.
- On cold or rainy days you have a buddy to pal around the house with or binge watch t.v.
- Dogs give you unconditional love. They are eager to please and are never short on kisses.
There are a few drawbacks:
- You will have to clean up after the dogs that you watch and occasionally this happens indoors. It is best not to have carpeting if you are a dog sitter.
- You have to be a patient and forgiving person when a dog is in your care. Accidents do happen and you have to be able to roll with it.
- You will also encounter the occasional difficult dog parent. The beauty is you don’t have to watch his/her dog anymore if you don’t want to.
Do you have what it takes?
If you are retired and looking for a side hustle, dog sitting just might be for you. Retirees tend to very organized, responsible, and flexible. These traits are very important when you are taking care of someone else’s dog.
Being organized is very important. You should have a system for keeping track of a variety of important issues. Dog sitters need an orderly system for reviewing a dog’s upcoming stay in terms of pick up and drop off dates and times, food intake, medicine, contact numbers, and other issues unique to the dog.
You are responsible for all the needs of the dog especially its safety. A balance of social interaction, play, and rest are important components of a responsible dog sitter.
Retirees are able to be flexible about drop off times and pick up times. Sometimes planes are delayed or canceled and traffic can be unpredictable. Flexibility also involves agreeing to stays with short notice and/or a change in dates and times of stay.
The most important quality to have in my opinion is enthusiasm, you have to really love dogs. To me it’s like teaching, you can’t just do it for the money.
So, if you love dogs and are looking for a side hustle in retirement dog sitting or dog walking might just be for you. At first you may not attract many clients, but through rave reviews and client recommendations you will be on your way to earning some extra cash.