If you live in New York City, you probably don’t have a backyard that your dog can access through a pet door when he wants to go out and stretch his legs or use the “facilities.” And if you’re like many dog owners in the city, you want your dog to be able to go for a walk while you’re at work.
The late Jim Buck is considered to have started the first dog walking business in NYC. He started it on the Upper East Side of Manhattan in the early 1960s, when he saw an unmet need and capitalized on it.
Today, the dog walking business is worth around $907 million, growing more than 3% a year, according to research firm IBISWorld. It employs nearly 23,000 people. “Many operators in the industry are individuals that conduct their entire business alone, including organizational and administrative tasks and walking the dogs themselves,” IBISWorld says.
Dog walkers are much more prevalent throughout New York City today, but “it’s still a niche market. Foreigners take pictures of us,” says Ryan Stewart, who has a dog walking business called Ryan for Dogs in Long Island City, Queens, which is just across the East River from midtown Manhattan.
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