What Equipment Do I Need to Start My Petcare Side Hustle?

Not much, actually. Petcare is a popular side gig due to its low barrier to entry. But here are some things you may want to consider:

FOR SERVICES AT THE CLIENT’S HOME (DOG WALKING, DROP IN VISITS AND HOUSESITTING)

Congrats, you have chosen (in my opinion), one of the lowest maintenance side gigs out there. I put about zero dollars into my outcall business every year; the profit margin is FANTASTIC. I live in a big city and all of my clients are within walking distance.

But here’s my thing: I always like to have my own leashes on hand. This is because 1) I walk dogs full-time and 2) I don’t trust client equipment. Have you ever been strolling outside and you see someone on their phone walking the dog, while the dog is pulling the other way and their collar has already half slipped off the dog’s head? Don’t be that person. Oftentimes, clients don’t have great fitting equipment and if Fido is walking with their owner and gets loose, it’s not your problem. If Fido is walking with ME and gets loose, then it’s a really big problem. PREVENTION IS KEY.

Some popular dog walking equipment options:

  • Slip leads
  • Carabiners
  • Extra leash
  • Two-clip leash

Well… I’d like to think the 2-clip leash option would be more popular if they weren’t prohibitively expensive (between $40-$60 retail). So if you’re interested in a 2-clip leash, you’re in luck because I make them for dog walkers and I will ship one to you at cost. http://www.rescueropeleads.com

POOP BAGS. There’s no need to go out and buy them in bulk. Obviously you want if you want, but most clients will have poop bags, or there will be poop bags readily available in many public places. Grab 1 or 2 poop bags and shove them in your pocket or bag. Thankfully, unused poop bags go through the wash pretty easily if you forget about them. I wouldn’t know how used poop bags go through the wash, because I don’t put them in my pockets.

TWO PLY KEY RINGS

I would get a couple from the hardware store. Make sure they aren’t the kind that just go around 1.3 times and come apart easily. I have never *knock on wood* lost a key using this system. NOT LOSING KEYS is part of your job now.

DOG TAGS

In the event that Fido gets away from you, you want to be sure he is wearing identification. It’s a good idea to have identification with YOUR information on it, because sometimes clients don’t tags for Fido. “Fido is microchipped” Oh, okay. That’s great and all, but the most likely scenario is that someone comes across Fido and calls the number(s) on his tag(s) to reunite him with his people. That person might be you.

Shit some people carry that I don’t think you really need, but knock yourself out if you think it will make you a better dog walker:

  • Collapsible water bowls (I mean… how hard are you going that Fido needs water within a 30-60 minute time span?)
  • Treats; for me, they’re just more mess than they’re worth
  • First aid kit; I mean… just don’t walk Fido toward an active volacano habitually

FOR SERVICES IN YOUR HOME (BOARDING AND DAYCARE)

You can certainly ask your clients to provide everything Fido would need for his/her stay. When I was boarding, I had a lot of things on hand because clients can get very picky about their things. The fewer things they have to bring, the less likely their things will be lost or destroyed.

PRESSURE MOUNTED BABY GATES I would have 1 or two of these on hand to contain your guest dog(s). Maybe you have nice things or carpeting in an area of your home that you would like to keep free from piss. And also, it serves as an additional barrier between Fido and the outside world. Remember, we are in the business of trying not to lose dogs.

SHOP THE CLEARANCE SECTION at any major pet store or boutique pet store for bowls, toys and leashes. The things they have available may not be pretty, but they will be functional. I like Walmart or discount stores for blankets. TJ Maxx will sometimes have crates on sale. And my favorite dog bed hack is this: clearance cushion covers from Ikea cost less than $10, they’re heavy duty and come in a variety of colors and sizes. You can stuff them with $1 pillow from Ikea and voila! Washable and affordable dog bed(s)! If you have some of these things ready, it just makes pick up and drop off go much more smoothly (in my opinion) because you’re not lugging dog beds, bowls and toys in and out of your home every time.

Hope these suggestions are helpful. You’ve got this!

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