How to Become a Professional Pet Transporter

CitizenShipper CitizenShipper · Updated February 23, 2024

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So you’ve registered as a pet transporter on CitizenShipper, you say? Augmenting your income by driving around and petting dogs, what’s not to like? Congratulations – sounds like you’ve got it all worked out.

What’s that? It’s more difficult than you’d thought? Huh. As it turns out, you’re not really winning enough bids. Turns out customers want experience, but you can’t get experience without customers, so it’s a catch-22 kind of thing. Turns out you won’t be quitting your day job any time soon.

Well first off, don’t get discouraged. Almost everyone who gets into this business has their moment of doubt at some point. But there is hope. You can truly make between $8,000 to $10,000 a month, even if they complete 15 to 20 jobs per month, according to Penny Hoarder. But let’s go through some facts and more specifics. There’s plenty of things you can try to boost your odds of success, so let’s go through them together. We’ll make a pro pet transporter out of you yet.

Cover all the basics

To start with, let’s see if you have a foundation of skills and affinities for working in pet transportation services.

Do you enjoy being around animals? It may sound obvious, but it’s really not. Some people love animals on paper but in practice, they lack the necessary patience and dedication. To be a professional pet transporter, you’ll need genuine emotion and the willpower to see it through. Many of the drivers on our platform are pet owners themselves, but that’s by no means a requirement. Some find that moving around a lot doesn’t leave enough time for them to look after a pet full-time. Speaking of which…

Do you like to travel? Who doesn’t, right? But this isn’t about going on vacation someplace fun and exotic. It’s about traveling for work, driving the cross country over and over again. Most pros stick to their established routes, but there’s always room to go off the beaten track and explore. Former homebodies often find it liberating to adapt to the on-the-road lifestyle, but it can take some getting used to.

How good are your interpersonal skills? Sadly, pet transportation services are not just about catering to animals – you need to deal with humans, too. At CitizenShipper, communicating with customers in a professional, forthright manner is a necessity. If this isn’t exactly your forte, don’t worry – you’ll improve over time if you keep working on it.

Can you handle planning and organizing? Being a self-employed pet transporter involves a whole lot of this. You’ll need to schedule your deliveries, plan your routes, and stack your shipments. If you’re not good at this sort of thing, team up with someone who is. Some of our most successful transporters work in tandem with friends or family members.

Spiff-up your profile

Now that we’ve made sure that you do have what it takes, let’s talk about communicating this to the customer.

Initial impressions. Try to exchange messages with a potential customer even before sending your bid. Some beginners just quote a price without an introduction, but pro pet transporters know better. Engaging them on a personal level greatly improves your chances. In your own words, try to relate the following:

  • You’re a regular person, an individual, not a faceless corporate entity
  • You genuinely care about animals and get along well with them
  • You’re a professional pet transporter, dedicated to getting the job done
  • You provide a flexible service, adjusting to match any transport requirement

Profile presentation: Once you’ve piqued a customer’s interest, they’ll visit your profile to see what you’re really about. That’s is your chance to shine, so pull out all the stops. Here are some rough guidelines:

  • Avoid spelling and grammar mishaps. It’s the easiest way to appear unprofessional.
  • Describe the service in clear, concise terms. Don’t waste time on fluff, but don’t be terse either.
  • List all relevant details, including your experience, motivation, and the safety of your vehicle.
  • Put all your credentials front and center. This is a big one, so see below for details.

– Above all, try to sound natural. The goal is to engage the customer in a way that inspires trust.

Reviews: The key element of your profile are the reviews left by your previous customers. Once you have a few under your belt, you’ll find it easier to win bids. To get there, arm yourself with patience. After each delivery, remind the customer how much their review would be appreciated. Also, check out other pet transporter’s reviews for tips on their customers’ likes and dislikes.

Get certified and insured

Official credentials can also improve a professional pet transporter’s chances of success. None of the following qualifications are required for a pet transportation service to operate, but we highly recommend considering them.

USDA Health Certificates: Under the USDA, the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) licenses pet transportation services for interstate travel. Applying for a Class T (Carrier) registration, you’ll find their transport requirements easy to meet. USDA’s seal of approval informs potential customers that you’re a reliable, trustworthy pet transporter.

Pet Transport Insurance: Your standard car insurance might cover damages incurred during pet transportation only to a certain extent. Check with your insurance provider and list what coverage you have on your profile – transparency is always appreciated. If available in your area, consider getting broader liability coverage for pets in your care. These are usually available only to USDA-certified transporters (see above). As an example, check out Pet Care Affiliates.

Pet Care Certification: Finally, it might also be a good idea to become a certified pet care professional. Having this proof of competence in dealing with animals is usually appreciated by potential customers. There are several options available, from NAPPS Certification to Pet Sitters International to IBPSA specialty courses. None are exactly cheap, but if you’re serious about working in pet transportation, they may be a worthwhile investment.

Learn from the best

The career of a professional pet transporter is incredibly rewarding, but it’s not an easy path to follow. CitizenShipper’s community offers plenty of success stories that you can use as guidelines or inspiration. Here’s a couple of quotes from our talks with highly-rated drivers conducted in 2018. The full interviews are available at our blog.

Dan Suttom

Your profile is a major tool for attracting customers. Just go through and fill it out with great info and pictures. Make it look professional and get your spelling right. People are catching up to technology, and your image on the web has to be sharp. It’s become more acceptable to trust someone you made a business agreement with online and haven’t met in person. Now people are glad to hand over a dog or a cat and they are happy to see you.”

There used to be a lot of skepticism, but the web has become very mainstream and interest is not slowing down. The Internet is helping the small businessman, and I’m glad to be part of it.”

Bill Russel

Here in Oklahoma, we’re right in the middle of the country, so that gives us a good base to work from. We’re picking up a lot of repeat business, so there are quite a few routes I know really well, from when we might have picked up someone’s dog to take it to their winter home, and then a few months later in the spring, we’ve done the trip in reverse,”

On most trips, we include stops of a couple of hours for the dogs to go to the bathroom, and every third stop is a little longer so we can fit in a good, long walk for them. It’s not so important with cats, but each one does have a litter tray in its crate and room to walk around. But Erica goes to the bathroom way more than the dogs do!”

If you’re totally straight with people, and don’t make a promise you can’t deliver, they appreciate what you do and they’re really glad the service exists to take a load of stress away from them”.

Eternanda Fudge, 2018

I just googled ‘long-distance trips to make money’, and that’s how I found CitizenShipper! I thought I’d give it a go, and I signed up, got my security clearance, and started bidding. Once you start getting feedback, that leads to more inquiries, and that’s how you build things up into a viable business.”

Apart from ensuring the safety of my pet passengers, I found out early on that good communication is absolutely vital. So I spend a heck of a lot of time, firstly, to make sure that my doggy passengers are completely comfortable and settled in their pens or their harnesses, then while we’re on the move, that they always have food and water, as well as enough space to be able to lie down in comfort.”

I’m doing a job I love, what can I say? I guess these comments bear that out, and from wondering whether I had done the right thing after signing up to drive, I’m now happy to have made this a regular part of my life.”

Transporting dogs around the country makes me appreciate its beauty and variety – and it makes sure I can continue to enjoy a better life in New York, and still have a whole lot of great experiences outside of it. But as far as the dogs are concerned, I love meeting them all and making friends with them – and then I get the best feeling of all when I’ve handed them over safely at the end of the journey.

Feel free to contact us with any further questions about becoming a professional pet transporter, or consult our Knowledge Base.

20 thoughts on “How to Become a Professional Pet Transporter

  1. We have a 2000 XLT Ford F150 4×4, 5.4 v8, Super Cab, + 6 ft bed, dualout exhaust, + 4 new BF Goodrich All-terrain KO2/E ply tires. Are truck is more than capable of towing a trailer. Do you ever have horses, cattle, goats, pigs, farm animals or large quantities of small animals like dogs, chickens, birds, rabbits that need to be transported buy trailer? Now we don’t have the trailer but we definitely have a good running truck.

    1. Hey there Kathy,

      Thanks for reaching out! We do have farm animals, along with just about anything you can imagine, listed on our site. We’d love to have you join the CitizenShipper Community:) Just head on over to to sign up. It takes less than 2 minutes and is completely free to create an account.

  2. I am willing to transport small animals and bigger animals if they have a crate I just need to find something close to where I live any suggestions is greatly appreciated

  3. Hi, I’m really interested in type of work. I’ve been in the customer service representative industry for over 30 years. I want to be my own boss. 50 years old, I love traveling, meeting new people, and of all kinds of animals. I have 3 cats and 3 dogs of my own. I’m looking to do this as a full time business with my daughter, we are going to be a team. I would love to hear any input from anyone in the industry. I am looking to get started within the next two weeks…

  4. I’m a disabled vet looking for something to add a little money to our income I love animals got lots of dogs and cats and chickens and a regular farm around here and if this is something I can do continuously I would be very interested in getting into this with my wife .

    1. Hi Gerald, I hope your farm is still going strong and you’re still interested in this opportunity. This can be done full time or just as a side hobby, depending on how much you want to put into it, but we have a strong driver community and lots of help. If you’re still interested you can go to this link and sign up

  5. Hello! My name is Anthony Adams I’m a retired veteran who Loves Animals and would like to get into the Animal Transport Business!!
    Thank you for your support and any tips you can help me to becoming a successful Transporter!!

    Mr Adams

    1. Anthony, please visit to sign up and choose pets as your preferred category! Upon registering, you may check out our driver courses to learn more on how to get started on CitizenShipper –

      Additionally, to learn more specifics on pet transportation, check out the CitizenShipper knowledge base on our help center –

      Good luck!

    1. Hi Debbie, you certainly can take a pet along with you when you transport. You should let potential customers know that you will have your own animal on board so there are no surprises, and be sure to safely contain all animals for transport in case of accidents and to keep them safely in the vehicle.

  6. I saw this question on the blog but no answers. Can one bring a personal pet on these trips? Or would this be an agreement between client and driver?

    1. Hi Tracey, sorry to be so late with an answer. Yes, you could bring your own pet on a transport however, for professional courtesy you would want to inform your customers that your pet would be on board and make sure everyone travels safely. Some dogs don’t get along with others very well, and we want customers’ animals to be delivered safely and with minimal negative effects. Every shipment made is a contract between the customer and the driver. We do not employ any drivers.

    2. Hi Tracey, you certainly can take a pet along with you when you transport. You should let potential customers know that you will have your own animal on board so there are no surprises, and be sure to safely contain all animals for transport in case of accidents and to keep them safely in the vehicle.

  7. What if you don’t have a vehicle, this might sound stupid to some, but I lost my vehicle,job and home all in the past month. Even my full blooded German shepherd”King” who I miss dearly. These turn of events were mostly done by my family and friends, who I thought I could trust. I don’t know where to turn. But when I saw this add on Facebook, I said wow, I love animals, grew up on a farm and I desperately need to get away from everyone. Ty

    1. Hi Carmen, I’m certainly sorry to hear you’ve fallen on hard times. Unfortunately to do this job you’d have to have your own vehicle in order to transport animals. When you get back on your feet and hopefully recover your wheels (and your pup) we’d love to have you sign on to be a driver!

  8. Do I need to start an LLC business as well as the USDA licensing? How do the income taxes work?

  9. Hello, My wife and I live fulltime in our 40ft diesel motorhome traveling the US working for Koa. We are both animal lovers and would love to transport pets around the US.

    1. Hi Michael,

      Please visit to sign up and choose pets as your preferred category! Upon registering, you may check out our driver courses to learn more on how to get started on CitizenShipper –

      Additionally, to learn more specifics on pet transportation, check out the CitizenShipper knowledge base on our help center –

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