How to Make 100k Plus as a Dog Trainer

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Being a professional dog trainer can be an incredibly fulfilling profession. It lets independent professionals make great money while connecting to a passion for pups and helping others. 

People are bringing dogs into their homes more than ever before. Because of this, they need a professional to help them train their new family member. They need to train their dog so that it is well-adjusted both at home and in public.

The pet market reached 99 billion in 2020 and continues to grow quickly. The growth has been fueled by more American families adopting pets and treating that pet like part of the family with premium food, toys and training. Dog training has proven itself to be a robust career choice that will put you in a position to make money because of robust demand for dogs that are well trained and a pleasure to have in the home, the park and even while traveling.

While this is a rewarding career, being a dog trainer can demand a lot both physically and mentally, so it’s important to price your services competitively and know your limits for the number of clients you can serve in a day in order to avoid burnout and make your goal income. 

There are many types of dog training. Dog trainers may choose to specialize in one of many different specializations. Some of these may include obedience training, dog show training, agility training, sheepdog trial training, hunting dog training, and many additional types of training. Some trainers also choose to specialize in working with a particular breed or group of breeds.

Whether you’re a seasoned pro or just getting started, there’s no shortage of work in the dog training industry! The rest of this blog post will give helpful tips on how to reach your goal income as a dog trainer.

The Dog Training Environment

The Dog Training Environment  

Dog trainers typically have a strong connection with animals,a curious spirit, and enjoy helping both dogs and people. This profession is all about helping not only dogs, but their people as well. 

A dog trainer’s number one job is often not training dogs but teaching owners how to effectively train their own dogs. Teaching what works and what doesn’t with dogs is often counterintuitive because dogs don’t think the same way as people. As long as there are new people adopting dogs, there will be a market for people who can teach them teach their dogs.

In many professions, it is recommended that you have a dedicated space of your own in which to work, but with dog training, this isn’t always necessary. Many trainers will either come to the dog’s home to work with the owner there or meet at a public place like a dog park to help with socialization and reactivity training. Your environment where you train really depends on your own personal business model. For example, you may want your own dedicated space if you want to offer things like group training lessons or specialized dog-sports training. After all, it’s all about the right environment for the people you serve. 

What is most important is creating a safe environment that is conducive to effective training sessions and being able to create a loyal clientele who keep booking you. Having a roster of regular clients is one of the most important things a dog trainer can do to stay booked and meet a goal income.

Economics of the Dog Training Industry

Economics of the Dog Training Industry

According to Google Trends, the search term “dog trainer” has risen significantly in the United States since mid-2020. More people searching for trainers in their area means more income for you as a trainer. 

No matter the specialization, dog trainers are seeing that there is an increasing demand for their services in recent years, and the amount of money spent on pets is currently at an all-time high.

As we mentioned earlier, people are adding furry friends to their families at astounding rates. As of 2021, approximately 48 million American households include at least one dog. 

The average dog trainer using PocketSuite is making about $48,023 per year. However, the top 10% of dog trainers using PocketSuite are making over $200,000 per year. Here are some insights on how these top pros run their successful businesses. 

First, let’s talk about numbers. The average rate for an hour-long dog training session nationally is $188. It’s important to select a rate in line with local prices and the level of service you provide.

At the national average of $188 dollars an hour for training  time, a dog trainer only has to book 11 hours of client service per week to make over $100,000 a year. That weekly goal even factors in 3 weeks of vacation yearly. 

When it comes to reaching your goal income as a dog trainer, it all comes down to your hourly rate and the number of appointments you take each week. In the following charts we will explore the number of appointments you need to fill per week at different price points to reach your goal income.

All of the charts assume you take off 3 full weeks per year with no training work. 

Dog Trainer infographic

The Path to 50K as a Dog Trainer

60 minute session cost # of Appointments Weekly Yearly Gross Income
$50 21 $51,450
$75 14 $51,450
$100 11 $53,900
$188 (National PocketSuite Average) 6 $55,272

The Path to 100K as a Dog Trainer

60 minute session cost # of Appointments Weekly Yearly Gross Income
$50 41 $100,540
$75 28 $102,900
$100 21 $102,900
$188 (National PocketSuite Average) 11 $101,332

The Path to 200K as a Dog Trainer

60 minute session cost # of Appointments Weekly Yearly Gross Income
$150 28 $205,800
$188 22 $202,666
$200 21 $205,800
$250 17 $208,250

Dog training can be physically tiring. You are constantly on your feet, moving around, handling dogs, and possibly even working with reactive dogs. So when picking your goal number of appointments to do per week, consider carefully how many you can safely do per day and not risk injury. Your path to your goal income may include raising your prices because you can’t always add tons of new dogs to your day as a trainer. 

Creating Recurring revenue as a Dog trainer

Creating Recurring Revenue as a Dog Trainer

Recurring clients helps you reach your goal number of appointments per week consistently. There are a few ways of creating recurring revenue as a dog trainer.

Group Training Classes

One really popular way that dog trainers can make recurring revenue is through classes. Many times when people get a new dog, they look for training classes in their area right away. These people may not want to book individual training sessions, so a class setting will work well for them. 

When you offer classes, people can sign up for the class with a certain amount of sessions over a period of time. For example, run a new puppy training class. Advertise 5 slots available for a 6 week class with one session per week. Then every 6 weeks you can run another cohort. 

PocketSuite makes it easy to set up class schedules. You can add class details including, class name, size, location, schedule, price, deposit, and more right in the app. If there’s more people who want to be in the class than you have slots available, PocketSuite also offers a waitlist option. Clients will confirm their spot on the waitlist with a credit card and they will be automatically booked into your class when there is a cancellation.

How to Make 100k Plus as a Dog Trainer

Individual Training Sessions

While classes are great, some people tend to prefer individual training sessions. These people want your individualized attention, and you are in a great position to give it to them. 

We all know that one training session is not going to cut it when it comes to getting a well behaved and well trained dog, so these people are going to need multiple private sessions with you in order to get their desired result. This means you will be consistently booking this person every week for as long as their dog needs your services. 

With PocketSuite, you can offer a training package for personal training sessions. The app makes it simple for you to sell a bundle of services and collect payment up front. Within PocketSuite you can track the number of sessions used and remaining. The system automatically applies eligible sessions to active packages.

Doggie Daycare

Many trainers don’t just stop with training sessions. We often see that dog trainers will start running exclusive doggie daycare as well. 

Many of your current clients would love this service, especially if they have reactive dogs. You can offer special doggie daycare options for clients who have reactive dogs. Have your clients drop them off certain days a week for more in depth training. It is a win win. Your client can feel at ease that their pup is learning something new and in great hands, and you build another avenue of recurring revenue. 

Text Marketing for Dog Trainers

Text Marketing for Dog Trainers

Just because your client’s puppy has graduated from puppy class, doesn’t mean they won’t still need your services later down the road. As a dog trainer, your list of past clients is a proverbial gold mine. You can use text marketing to send out any seasonal specials, new class offerings, or updates about your business to your entire client list. 

PocketSuite has a great tool called smart campaigns that lets you segment and text deals to your overall client list. While it does have a small cost associated with texts, for every dollar dog trainers spend on text marketing, they get back an average of $18 in bookings. It’s a great way to make sure you are reaching your goal income every week. 

Getting New Clients for a Dog Training Business

Every business needs to bring in new clients.Good for you, people are always bringing new furry friends into their family, so the demand for trainers is not going to let up any time soon. Here are a few strategies you can try as a dog trainer. 

Referrals: Most dog training businesses grow by word of mouth but that doesn’t mean referrals always just happen on their own. You can incentivize your clients to tell their friends. Offer your clients a discount when someone they referred books their first training session with you. 

Reviews: 92% of prospective new clients who aren’t coming in from a referral will check the reviews on your dog training listing online before booking. It’s easy to set up a Google Business Profile (GBP) and start getting eviews from your happy clients. 

Reviews help prospective clients get the confidence they need to book you for the first time. The more high quality, high rated reviews you have, the better.

The most reviewed dog trainers usually ask their clients for a review. You can use PocketSuite to smart campaigns to automatically text all new clients asking them for a review. 

If you don’t ask for reviews, then very few people will actually remember to leave you one. And unfortunately, the people who are likely to remember to leave you a review can often be the unhappy ones. So ask your happy clients for a review!

Social Media: People love to see cute and well trained dogs when scrolling through social media. Share your results, share cute photos, and share tips that people can do themselves. This will get them thinking while they are scrolling “wow, they seem to really know what they are doing, and my dog could really use some behavioral training”. As a dog trainer you are on social media to educate, inspire, and sell!

Animal Shelter Support: A great way to get new clients and generate more income is to offer special training for animal shelters and local dog rescue groups. You can offer a discounted training rate for shelters wanting to get their dogs adopted and then have them offer your services to all of their adopters. Discounted rates for people adopting through your local shelter can lead to a great source of recurring revenue over time.

Hiring Dog Trainers And Building a Bigger Training Business

Hiring Dog Trainers And Building a Bigger Training Business

Once you are able to fill your own book of training clients reliably, there is no reason to stop. After all, you have proven you are good at building a dog training business. You can help other dog trainers by hiring them and using your skills to fill their book of clients as well. It is a win-win for everyone!

PocketSuite Teams has a tool for managing teams and organizing the booking for all of your training staff. You can also mentor your staff to provide the atmosphere and the quality your business demands. When your business has multiple dog trainers working with full books every week, the sky is truly the limit in enjoying your life and making a great living.

The road to 100K will look different for everyone, but this roadmap will help you get where you want to be while growing your dog training empire.