Dog walkers earn more than R510000 a year in New

Dog walkers earn more than R$510,000 a year in New York

In black leggings and a puffer jacket, Bethany Lane, 35, walks down Bleecker Street in Manhattan carrying three “Goldendoodles” (a cross between a Golden Retriever and a Poodle) and a “Bernedoodle” (a Bernese with a Poodle) Tinkerbelle. They go to a store for treats and walk through Hudson River Park.

After an hour, she takes the dogs home, a luxury home owned by a couple in their 40s who made their fortunes in real estate. “My job is to keep these dogs happy while their owners are busy. i fall in love with her It’s like my babies.”

Lane began working as a “dog walker,” a person who was paid to walk dogs, 11 years ago after graduating from Rutgers University and moving to New York to pursue a career in public health to pursue.

“I had to pay rent and my student loan, so I went to the classifieds. I saw that someone would pay me to walk dogs. Being obsessed with dogs it was perfect.”

She started getting more work as a walker and founded Whistle & Wag in 2014. Once he even worked 12 hours a day. She was able to pay off college debt and hire other dog walkers.

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Today, almost three years after the pandemic began, it can no longer cope with demand. After raising prices — he told one customer he would charge $35 a ride — and attracting dozens of new customers, Lane estimates he made a sixfigure sum last year.

She’s so confident in the business that she bought a house in Tuckerton, New Jersey, to spend her weekends there. “It’s a threebedroom house, it has a back yard, and it overlooks the bay,” says Lane, who shares a twobedroom apartment with her partner in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. “I can go to any restaurant whenever I want. I can go on vacation. If someone had told me as a kid that I could raise dogs for a living, I would never have believed it.”

The current moment is profitable for dog walkers. While job search sites show that New York City firsttime hikers charge just $14 for a 30minute walk, more experienced hikers with highend clients charge nearly three times that, earning $100,000 (R514,000). $) or more per year .

The pet groomer market is booming. According to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, more than 23 million American households — nearly one in five — have acquired a dog or cat during the pandemic. These days, with many returning to facetoface work, someone needs to hang out with all of these animals.

“Before the pandemic, I was getting a call or two a month from prospects,” Lane says. “Today there are several a week. And there are many puppies.”

Walking dogs, as a paid activity, was something that attracted people who were interested in a regular job but had flexible schedules for other activities. Something that will appeal to actors, musicians, writers, students, retirees, stayathome moms and dads, and people who are still undecided about what to do with their lives.

The increase in the number of people with pets added to the growth of the sector transformed the activity into something more akin to a business. These are not just ordinary walks, but also more differentiated services for dogs living in the city: nature walks, day trips to farms, training camps and spas.

One of those looking to capitalize on the moment is Michael Josephs, 34, of Brooklyn. A former teacher of disabled students, he trained Willy, a black Labrador mix, at Prospect Park after school. “After three months I could ride my bike in the park and he would follow me when I ran. People saw our relationship and asked me to train their dogs.”

In 2019, Josephs decided to quit his teaching job to open Parkside Pups. He charges US$20 (R$102) for a 30minute walk with a group of dogs. In one month he had already acquired eight clients who worked five hours a day to make around US$30,000 (R$154,000) a year.

The movement faltered during the 2020 pandemic lockdowns but has since recovered. “We hit it off really well in 2022,” says Josephs, who lives in Middletown, New Jersey. “We used to primarily serve customers in downtown Brooklyn or in the park area. Now we have dogs in neighborhoods you’ve never seen many before, like Ditmas Park and Windsor Terrace.”

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Today, Parkside Pups offers puppy training ($60 per hour, R$308), pet sitting ($65 per day, R$334), and 15minute puppy checkins ($12, R$62). According to Joseph, the company generated over $100,000 in revenue last year.

His wife, Clarissa Soto, helps out with the work, and the couple are now considering opening a dog daycare outside of Prospect Park and a field in western Connecticut for animal housing. “Now we have financial security for our child,” says Soto, who was born last year. “We opened a savings account to pay for his college.”

The couple also has more money for incidentals. “We just spent six days at Disney with our families,” says Josephs. “We went to Miami, to Canandaigua, for a wedding. We can spend it on things that bring us joy.”

Translated by Clara Allain