As dog owners, we can all appreciate having access to a groomer when our dogs get smelly or messy. Even if your dog stays neat and clean most of the time, you might want to treat it to a spa day or give it a gift for a birthday or “gotcha” day.
If you’ve gotten used to the routine of bathing and grooming your dog, learning how to start a dog grooming business might sound like a good idea. Your pet will benefit from these skills, but you should know about a few key things before opening your own biz.
If you’re seriously thinking about starting your own pet grooming business, read on for some helpful tips.
Do You Have What It Takes to Run a Dog Grooming Business?
Do you enjoy doing this type of work? Do you see yourself making a career change? Before you take this critical step, ask yourself these types of questions.
Whether you have what it takes to be a pet grooming service shop owner depends on more than having a dog. Making dogs look fabulous and hanging out with them is excellent, but there is more involved.
Ask yourself some important questions before you start on this journey:
- Will I treat this as a career or as a hobby?
- Is this livelihood well-suited to me?
- Does handling and taking care of dogs that belong to others appeal to me?
- Are my family and friends a supportive group?
- Is running my own pet grooming business something I’m prepared for with its ups and downs?
When you need to decide whether this path is right for you to follow, being honest with yourself before you start will help. Regardless of whether you’re new to this idea or have become a grooming pro, you will benefit from knowing what you need to learn when getting started.
For example, if grooming doesn’t quite appeal to you but you enjoy being around dogs, a dog training business, or a dog walking business might be a viable alternative. One of the best things for pet lovers is that there is such an abundance of job options.
What Do Dog Groomers Make in Most Cases?
What salary you will make is an essential consideration before diving into a pet grooming business venture headfirst.
The average salary for a pet groomer comes to a little over $35,000. The services that you offer and your location can impact dog grooming prices.
The longer you have been in business, the more likely you will be to add services in high demand for your area. Another helpful part of this line of work is being able to take tips. Many owners will tip their dog groomers very willingly.
As attractive as getting tips may sound, the average salary is well below many other jobs, so you will want to consider whether you’re likely to make a comfortable living.
Will I Need Grooming Certifications or Training?
Having certification or training is helpful when embarking on a career in dog grooming, even if you already have a lot of experience involving dogs.
When prospective customers see that you’re certified, you will help earn their trust. You can also help improve what you already know or refresh skills you may have learned a long time ago.
Online courses might work best for you if attending classes in person is challenging to manage with job and family obligations. The hands-on training that comes with online grooming certification allows you to learn with the help of professional grooming experts.
When you want to be the best groomer possible but you’re ready to get started without waiting to do a 12-month training certification course, you have excellent alternatives. You may want to find grooming training schools near you that allow you to get certified in weeks or see if a groomer will take you as an apprentice.
What Are Pros and Cons of the Dog Grooming Business to Know About?
Every choice in life has advantages and disadvantages, with dog grooming being no exception. Before you decide to open a pet grooming business, let’s explore the pros and cons.
Pros of the Dog Grooming Business
Being Around Dogs All Day
If you’re a dog person, this is too good an opportunity to pass up.
A Flexible Business Model
Working as a dog groomer allows you to make changes you need easily and be flexible about your scheduling.
The Freedom of Running Your Own Business
If being your own boss sounds perfect, you’re in luck. The flexibility of self-employment means that you can work on your schedule with the customers of your choice without dealing with a boss.
Cons of the Dog Grooming Business
You’ll Need to Work with Unfamiliar Breeds
All dogs have different personalities, and some breeds are more challenging than others for groomers. Specializing in only your favorite breeds won’t be practical.
Working with a broad range of breeds during training will prove most helpful for you than trying to specialize. Never hesitate to demonstrate any experience you have with breeds that require special grooming care .
Free Weekends May Be a Thing of the Past
Scheduling your appointments according to your clients’ availability will likely mean a lot of weekend work. Your schedule can be flexible with your own dog grooming business, but much will depend on when your clients need you.
Convenience is everything for people in the service business. If you want your business as successful as possible and capable of turning a profit, working weekends in an effort to put your customers first is essential.
Many pet owners have busy schedules, and making yourself available on the weekends will help you meet these needs.
Having to Stand for Several Hours
Grooming a dog requires standing up at a table, and you may not realize the full impact of how long you’ll stand right away. Your back and legs will feel the effect, despite your performing what could be your dream job.
Having comfortable sneakers is essential to help give you the support that you need. Another thing you might consider, especially if back pain becomes an issue, is using a back brace.
Planning Your Dog Groomer Business
Planning makes a difference in any venture’s success. Opening a pet grooming business, like any commercial venture, needs to be thought out.
When you’re in the early planning stages, here are some important things to consider:
- What will you use as a business name?
- How will you build your web presence?
- How will you design your company’s logo and branding?
- What monthly expenses will you need to pay, if any?
We’ll take a closer look at each of these and what decisions you will need to make.
What Will You Use as a Business Name and How Will It Affect a Bank Account?
Filing a business name is one of the most critical initial steps to take when setting up a business. A Limited Liability Company, or LLC, is one of the most common business formation options that helps protect your personal assets.
One of the advantages of an LLC is that it helps protect you from sole liability. You won’t need to worry about an angry customer threatening to go after personal property unrelated to your business.
Your pet grooming business can also enjoy tax benefits because you will be able to deduct business expenses. If you need to use investors to raise funds, this structure makes that process easier.
You can also set up your business as a sole proprietorship, using a Doing Business As or DBA. However, most find that an LLC provides greater flexibility.
If you are interested in succeeding in business, keeping your business and personal expenses separate is essential. When you pay taxes, you will find everything easier to manage with a separate account.
Tracking profits and losses is much easier with a separate account. Paying expenses or wages is also much easier when your business funding is separate from your bank account.
Starting a Social Media Presence and Finding Ideal Customers
Social media is an excellent way to get the word out to many people very quickly. A Facebook page for your business, as well as an Instagram account, are excellent options.
Facebook and Instagram are excellent places to show off your skills as a groomer. These platforms also allow you to share messages with anyone who has questions.
Having a website, in addition to your social media presence, is essential. Many prospective customers don’t use social media and maybe left unreached with a Facebook page alone.
A basic website will do the job effectively, but should contain:
- Directions to your location
- Operating hours
- Services offered
When your customer base has grown a bit, consider sharing testimonials from satisfied customers. Don’t forget to have share buttons that allow customers to share your site by social media or email.
Establishing Your Brand and Doing Logos and Promotional Material
Establishing your business identity before opening will be the key to success. You’ll need to find that balance between originality and making sure customers know what your business does.
Keywords that you want to include in some way include:
Your logo will play an essential role in getting the word out about your business. A freelance graphic designer can help you if you aren’t proficient with a design program or don’t regularly use a local designer.
Most people notice a logo more quickly than a name. Logos are very easy to skim over quickly.
Your marketing and branding efforts can easily tie in with your business’ budget. Giveaway items that feature your name or logo can help you increase your brand presence quickly.
Examples of freebie items you may want to consider include dog bandanas, clickers, or chew toys. Customers who take one of these items are likely to remember to use you in the future.
What Are Your Dog Grooming Business Monthly Expenses?
A high amount of working capital will help you from the start, regardless of whether you are using physical premises or a mobile dog grooming business. For example, commercially zoned businesses in many locations will cost a minimum of $75,000 to purchase, along with business and property taxes.
Although the price varies depending on location and size, most commercial rentals cost a minimum of $1,000 to $2,000 a month. Some property owners use a performance model where you pay a percentage of sales in exchange for a lower price.
Dog grooming tools and supplies can also account for much of the startup cost. Grooming tables, fur dryers, dog brushes, and combs, and de-matters are essential equipment to consider. The best dog nail grinders and clippers are also necessary.
Because bathing is an integral part of grooming, you’ll also need to invest in bathing tubs, shower attachments and grooming hoses, and dog shampoo and conditioner. Grooming gloves will also come in handy.
A mobile grooming business eliminates the need to pay the expenses involved with a physical location. However, you will need to consider circumstances that are specific to a mobile business.
For example, you will need access to water and power connections. Parking restrictions and local ordinances could impact where you operate. Another thing you’ll have to keep in mind is automotive and mechanical issues.
Insurance is another vital consideration. When you have grooming insurance, you are protected in the event of any misfortune befalling a client’s dog or the client.
Opening a business is an exciting journey that is better when you do something you love. Following all the tips that experts recommend makes the process easier all around.
1. How much does it cost to start a dog grooming business?
Depending on whether you intend to buy premises or run a mobile business, you may pay $50,000 to $100,000 upfront.
2. How profitable is a dog grooming business?
A dog grooming business can be very profitable, especially if your clients leave generous tips.
3. What equipment do you need to start a dog grooming business?
At the very least, you will need tubs, hose attachments, clippers for coats and nailed, and shampoos and conditioners.
4. What qualifications do you need for dog grooming?
Personal experience can be helpful, however, certification can increase the chances of getting more clients.