Dog Walking & Other Top Side Hustles in Kenya 2020

An undated file image of a dog handler pictured at a dog show in Kenya.
A photo of a dog handler pictured at a dog show in Kenya.

Dog walking and sitting, as odd as it may sound, is one of the most rewarding side hustles around, with a lady from Rongai turning heads a few years ago when she revealed that she was raking in Ksh120,000 per month in the business.

The situation gets more interesting in the US, where a dog walker in San Fransisco, California, brings in an average of Ksh3,500,000 each year, that's an average of Ksh291,666 a month.

Back home, the hustle has been made simpler by apps such as (Pet Holiday) which connect dog owners to potential sitters.

The task needs adequate space if one is looking to maximise the economies of scale and rake in as much as possible by having several dogs at a time.

A german shepherd dog - Hector was a whole mood by himself.
A german shepherd dog - Hector was a whole mood by himself.

Once the owners approve your space as ideal for their dogs, your responsibilities will include feeding, cleaning and walking the dogs while the owners are away.

Needless to say, you need to have a love for the furry creatures for this hustle to work.

A Quick Note

Some of the services you can offer include:

(1)Dog training services – obedience and aggressive training, potty training, guard dog training (Average Price: Ksh30,000)
(2)Dog breeding services – breed puppies and sellig them after training (Average Price: Ksh10,000 – Ksh50,000)
(3)Dog boarding services – when dog owners want to travel they can leave their dogs with you (Average Price: Ksh500 per dog, per day)

How Much To Invest

If short of starting capital, one can start off purely as a freelance dog sitter and work towards the more lucrative dog training and breeding business.

You can however consider widening your opportunities by venturing into: 
Kennels – Ksh10,000 (average)
Puppies – Ksh 20,000 (Pure breed)
Dog food – Ksh10,000
City Council Dog License – Ksh1,000 (Rate applicable in Nairobi City Only)
Miscellaneous – Ksh20,000
Ideal Budget – Ksh100,000 to Ksh140,000.

Other ideal side hustles that can be deemed as affordable and won't leave a hole in your pocket are detailed below.

Second-hand clothes (Mitumba) Retail 
This can be viewed as one of the least capital intensive secondary source of income (from as low as Ksh1,000 to Ksh10,000), with exponential profits depending on one's level of aggression.

The government recently announced the return of mitumba following a blanket ban due to the Covid-19 pandemic, therefore a constant supply line is now guaranteed.

Unopened bales of second-hand clothes.
Unopened bales of second-hand clothes.

The typical wholesalers are based in Gikomba and Toi market in Nairobi or Kongowea in Mombasa and other parts of the country. 

Retailers normally purchase from the medium and smaller wholesalers. One could purchase as few as a single bale or as many as need be, depending on how much is available to invest. The more established retailers purchase an average of 5 bales every day.

Once clothes are purchased, retailers at markets like Gikomba will open the bales and divide the content into 3 or so groups based on the quality. 

There is the 1st Camera which is high-quality clothing, and then there is the second camera which is the next best. There could be a third camera but largely what remains after the first and second camera is ‘cleared’ as open to anyone. 

Ideally, you would be looking to work yourself up the ladder by creating relationships with wholesalers to secure the 1st or 2nd Camera.

Thanks to technology, setting up a physical store isn't necessary as you can take your clothes straight from the market, clean and iron them to give them a crisp look then post them directly on your social media pages, complete with prices.

What to Sell
When deciding what to sell, consider the following:

Competition – You can pick the kind of item many in the mitumba business within the location are not selling. Still, make sure the item is relevant to the area. This is in terms of pricing, taste, weather, demographics and such other factors.
Don’t just look at what the competition is not selling, but what you can sell and capture the market. Let your decision be market-driven.

Margins - Ideally you should go for high-margin items. In the mitumba business, the margins will depend on the quality of goods, wholesaler, income and taste of the location.

Traders pictured in Gikomba Market, Nairobi.
Traders pictured in Gikomba Market, Nairobi.

For some camera items in certain locations, you can make 100% profit on an item. There is a lot of room for haggling in the business, making it impossible to state exact margins of items

Your capital should determine what you are going to sell. This is in terms of type and quality. If for instance, you have Ksh3,000 would you rather purchase 3 pairs of high-quality boots at Ksh1,000 each or 9 trench coats at Ksh350 each? You look at this not in isolation but in line with all the above factors. 


The pandemic has opened up a whole new world of possibilities in terms of homeschooling and baby daycare. The closure of schools has left parents grappling with how to ensure their children's education isn't curtailed.

This particular hustle only needs a stable internet connection, available on leading networks such as Safaricom, a laptop and documentation to prove that you are qualified to take on the intended subject.

Speaking to, a primary school teacher, Njeri, revealed that she has been charging Ksh450 per hour, working an average of 8 hours a day, raking in an average of Ksh3,600 per day, enough to cater for any home faiba package and spend the rest of the week enjoying profits.

Kindly note that qualifications are mandatory in this field.

Selling Customized Items

This is a vast field but one that could bring you some extra cash. It would need you to keep in touch with current affairs and market trends in general.

This writer has been invested in this line of work. Kenyans are big on staying in tune with trends.

This is why you have probably come across 'Oliskia Wapi' branded T-shirts or 'Nobody can Stop Reggae Hoodies'. 

Making customised items requires 2 hours of your time. A good quality plain T-shirt retails at Ksh370. Branding costs depend on the level of detail and can go for as low as Ksh30.

This is dependent on the client specifications, do they want the writing to be pasted using vinyl stickers, etc.

It's also not capital intensive as you don't need to start off by purchasing large format printers. There are countless of affordable print shops in Nairobi's downtown area.

Whether you are looking to save up for a project or just looking to boost your income, looking into viable side hustles and consulting people in a similar line of work is highly recommended.