Starting a dog grooming business has never been easier!
If you have a love for dogs & cats and you are thinking of starting a new local small business, then starting a pet grooming business might be right up your alley.
When looking to start a new local small business, the key is to find something you are passionate about doing. So, if you love animals, especially dogs, then having a dog grooming business can be a rewarding choice. With the latest trend of mobile pet grooming, the dog grooming business is exploding with new options and popularity.
Bottom line: People Love Their Pets!! They are willing to pay to have them taken care of!
Let’s take a look at how to start a dog grooming business and get it off the ground!
Dog Groomers are folks who specialize in helping our furry best friends look their best. From shampooing & hair/fur cuts to nail cutting, dog groomers offer services which busy pet owners either do not have time for or the ability to do at the expectations they have for their family pet.
Those who make great dog groomers are those who have a passion and love for animals. Someone who wants to take their passion for pooches to the next level by creating a small business which allows them to spend their day with everyone’s best friends.
So, if you have a love for animals and you feel you have what it takes to work with pet owners who might be a little neurotic about their family’s loved ones, then keep on reading. Starting a Pet Grooming Business might be right for you!
What Exactly Does a Dog Groomer Do?
Being a dog/pet groomer is not for everyone. Liking dogs is not enough to be successful in this business. Keep in mind, washing, and cutting is only part of the challenge. You need to know what else is involved.
Successful dog groomer business owners also realize this is a people business. Each of these pooches has “parents” which will need to be advertised to, given great customer service and “groomed” themselves for future business! Some might say, they can be obsessive about their “babies”.
You will also be handling dogs of all shapes and sizes. So you will want to be in good shape to lift or maneuver dogs up to 120 lbs.
What Are the Advantages of Becoming a Dog Groomer?
We already mentioned, if you love dogs or animals, then being a dog groomer is a great option for you. However, did you know these are some of the other perks?
Flexible Schedule: If you have a Mobile Business, you can make some good money depending on how good you are. Even if you are looking for part-time only, you control it. You work when you want to take appointments.
It is an easy business to get into since the requirements aren’t too overly aggressive and you can start relatively cheap with the right experience. Even out of your home.
Pet businesses are a fast-growing market. People will spend money on their “babies”. So why not tap into that? Plus you can always add side pet businesses to gain extra income.
You are helping dogs with their care and health.
The best one? The daily, unconditional love you get from the dogs trying to lick your face when they are so darn happy.
How Much Can I Make?
Great question! It really depends on you and how you set up your business. Will you be part-time? Will you charge extra for nights and weekends? Will you specialize? Will you have discount packages? How many upgrades will you offer? How much are you willing to hustle?
Now with that said, let’s just say your average “sale” (wash, cut, nails, ears) is around say $40 – $50. You book about 6-8 dogs each day. Your number will vary on location, mobile vs stationary, etc. But if you hit this number, you are looking at $250 – $350 a day. Let’s say you work 5 days a week. Now you are looking at $1250 a week, $5,000 a month or $60,000 a year. You can do more or less depending on how you set the business up but not too shabby!
I personally have a goal to help local small business owners hit $100,000 in profit.
For more on how to make $100,000 in profit here is the information over at The Local Small Business Coach website for more.
*Keep in mind, this is before taxes & expenses so make sure you to do a business plan!
We also discuss how much you can make on this episode of the Start a Local Small Business Podcast:
What Should You Name Your New Business?
Naming your new business will drive you crazy. You will change your mind a million times. You have probably noticed quite a few of the dog groomers have some pretty catchy and cute names. Let’s face it, people love fun names. You can either go simple or clever. Patty’s Pampered Pets, Happy Tails & Pet Paws are all some great names I have seen.
Please make sure you check your state’s websites for business names. You will want to make sure no one else has beaten you to the punch. So, how creative will you be? What will you call your new dog grooming business?
Sole Proprietor or LLC?
Either of these two classifications will work. As a sole proprietor, you will be doing business as (dba) the name you choose. For example, Betty Boob dba Betty’s Doggie Boutique. This will work for the vast majority of you. If you do decide to do an LLC to take advantage of the additional protections, you will need to file the business with your state.
Before you start filling out forms and checking boxes, make sure you do your homework on how to classify your business. The best resource is a local CPA / Accountant and an attorney as they both have tax liabilities and offer different protections for you personally.
Even if you are doing business by yourself with no partners or employees, you have options other than a sole proprietor so definitely check it out.
I discuss this further on Start a Local Small Business Podcast (see below) as well as dive in deeper in the Video Training Course
Brick & Mortar or Mobile Dog Groomer Business?
One of the fastest growing businesses right now is mobile pet grooming. Most of the necessary equipment will fit into a van or trailer. People will pay a little more for the convenience of having you come to them. Think how much more profitable this can be especially with a much lower overhead.
The downside is, you will have travel time between appointments vs being able to go from dog to dog as you could with a brick and mortar dog grooming business.
If you decide to go brick and mortar, the con side is you will have much higher startup costs as well as ongoing overhead. On the pro side, you can help quite a few more people; and in most cases offer even more services due to the larger space.
Your local service area will play into this decision. What is the greater need in the market? Rents might be sky high, so having a brick and mortar might be too costly.
Both are great options. Just do your homework on your costs so you make an informed decision.
How Far Will You Travel if Doing Mobile Dog Grooming?
If you do decide to go mobile, then one critical decision you will need to make is, how far are you willing to drive? Traditionally we call this your “trade area”.
The key to determining your trade area is to remember that time is money. Depending on your normal commute in your area, you might look at a 5-mile radius or a 15-mile radius. The key will be the drive time. Keep it under a ½ hour if you can. Time is money. So don’t waste it!
How Do I Get the Training?
Most states and cities do not require any special training for dog groomers. However, we do recommend that you spend some time working (even if part-time) for an existing dog groomer.
Is this mandatory? No. Is it necessary to be successful? No. But it helps.
While you might be tempted to think that since you have done your dog’ grooming through the years and maybe a friend or two, that you have what it takes. While this might be true, getting some real hands-on training is best.
You can either ask to shadow some existing dog groomers as an apprentice or just volunteer in exchange of them showing you the ropes.
There are also some professional courses you can take in many states. Beware, these can be pretty pricey but they cover a ton of ground; and you might find them worth it if you are starting at ground zero!
You can also get a certification as a National Master Groomer through the National Dog Groomer’s Association of America.
Another option is higher your first employee who has tons of experience; and they can help teach you the ropes.
Types of Additional Training You Will Want
If you do not have prior experience, it will be good for you to seek out training in the following areas:
- Bathing and Drying of Dogs & Cats
- Combing, Brushing & Styling of various types of fur/ hair/breeds
- Nail clipping & Ear cleaning
- Scissor & Clipper Use
- Breed Recognition & any special needs
- CPR & Basic Health Care, Nutrition, Skin & Coat care
Don't forget any business training you can learn!
Check out the localsmallbusinesscoach.com
Do You Need a Special License or Certification to Be a Dog Groomer?
Certification Needed? – There is no mandatory certification needed as of the time of this posting. However, there are several courses offered online or in certain areas for folks who would like to take their knowledge to a new level. Please know these can be expensive but might be worth the knowledge you get.
License Needed? – Same at with certifications, at this time there is no mandatory license specific to dog grooming. However, you will need a business license for your city and possibly county or state. It is important that you check with your local area for which business license you need to operate. Also, make sure you check on any special licenses needed if you do a brick and mortar vs a mobile grooming business.
Also: Make sure to research your city, county, and state for any other special requirements they may have. Some examples out there would be special home business requirements, licenses for any chemicals or waste, special facility requirements of any pet grooming business.
What Start-Up Costs Will I Have?
Depending on the type of dog grooming business you start with (mobile vs storefront) the amount you will need will vary. Obviously, the van/trailer will cost much less than opening a store. Typically, a mobile unit will have 1 station and the ability to do 1-2 animals at a time while a physical location will typically have more stations driving the costs up.
Mobile: The tools of the trade might cost between $1500 – $2000. However, the van or trailer will vary depending on if you need to purchase one. If just starting out on a limited budget, look into a used one you can buy. You can always budget and upgrade down the line.
Brick & Mortar: You can pretty much count on the costs to jump depending on the number of stations. You are probably looking at $4000 – $8000. The largest cost coming with the costs of the monthly rent, electric, water, etc. You will want to do your homework on the various locations in your area. Word of wisdom, a cheaper location with no traffic or hard to find will cost you more in the end so do not settle, explore your options.
What Other Start-Up Costs Will I Have?
There are some other costs you will want to keep in mind when starting your dog grooming business:
Insurance: You will need general liability insurance, for sure. If you have employees, you will need workers comp as well. You will need special vehicle insurance if you go mobile, and possibly for a home-based business.
Safety Training: You might want to consider special training like CPR or other basic emergency training. You never know if something might happen while the animals are with you. Make sure to know any OSHA requirements
What is Typical Pricing?
Your prices might vary depending on f you are mobile or brick & mortar. The biggest thing is to keep your dog grooming business competitive. Down the line, as you build your client base, you can raise those prices; and they will pay for it if you are good.
Keep in mind the service you are performing and the types of dogs. Are some more difficult to cut? Heck yeah! Trimming a German Shepard is very different than say a Yorkie.
Will you charge more for night appointments or weekends? Keep in mind, when a is client home. Don’t miss out on taking advantage to those willing to pay for these select times.
Call around to other local dog grooming places to gather your intel on their pricing. We talk more about this in our free course and offer a workbook to help you with your research.
Will I Need Employees?
It really depends on the type of Pet Grooming Business you set up. It is possible to be a solo entrepreneur and be the only person doing the job. You will find those running the business out of their home or doing a mobile business will take this route, and eventually grow enough to take on employees. If you are looking for a larger operation or a storefront, odds are you will have employees.
Please know that taking on employees requires quite a bit more on your behalf as a business owner. Not only will you need a hiring plan, orientations, and training programs, you will need payroll setup, workers comp, and a host of other things. So make sure you think through starting small vs growing too fast and too soon especially if you have never had employees in the past.
We do tackle this more in our Advanced Training Course. We also include various workbooks and templates to help get you up and running in the various employee areas.
You Will Want a Website
A website is a must. You will want a place for folks not only to find you but here is where you will let them know what you do, who you are and for a dog grooming business, what a great place to show your before and after pictures. The quality of your work will pull them in. Your story will pull them in.
You will want to let them know your hours, the types of services you provide as well.
Now, a lot of dog groomers have cute and clever names for their business. Maybe you have already been thinking of your new business name. Have you checked to see if it is available yet?
Here is a tool to see if you can get it. Also, here is an article to know the 10 Website Items All Local Small Business’s Need. Please make sure that a website is on your list of to do. Even a free website with wordpress.com is better than nothing. However, I recommend Bluehost for those able to spend just a little a month (less than $5) to have more options available. (**this is an affiliate link but trust me, I only recommend tools and resources that I have used and know will help my folks)
To Learn More About How to Build a Website for Your Local Small Business, here is a video walkthrough on getting up and running in minutes.
Marketing / Branding Your Dog Grooming Business
When you start any business, one of the key things you need to research and put a good gameplan in place for is your marketing & branding.
Your brand is more than what your logo or name is. Think of it as what you plan to stand for. What will be top of mind with your customers & clients? For example, customer service, “their pet is your pet”, something that will be memorable.
Your marketing is the “how” you will do it. How will you let your local community know you are open and how will you get them through the door and using your business.
Now, you might not have a lot of money, so you will also want to be creative. For example, visit all the vets in the area, hang out by some dog parks, and don’t forget to make sure all the other “pet” people know about you, like dog walkers, poop picker-uppers, trainers, doggy daycare folks, pet stores, animal rescues, etc.
Are You Getting Excited to Start?
The Power of Social Media
Take advantage of Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest. People LOVE seeing dogs and cats on social media. Share before and after pictures. Just make sure you get permission before sharing any of your client’s pets. But have fun with it!
Social media is becoming a fantastic way for Dog Groomers to drum up business. People are in love with seeing pooches in their feeds. Don't believe me? Just head over to Instagram and check out the cool stuff some dog groomers are doing.
Your #1 Piece of Promotion is FREE! Yep, Free!
Since pet owners are very loyal and very careful who they share their loved one with it, they will brag about your great service and how well you took care of their baby!
Should you pay for advertising? You can, but with so many free options, it might be best to start there and set up a budget for future paid marketing
Website? Yes, you need one! Even a free one is better than none! People want to know who you are, what you do, where you go, testimonials, hours of business, location, you name it. Start off Free, then grow as you have the funds.
Dive in Deeper: The #1 Way to Advertise Your New Local Small Business for FREE!
Want Other Ideas vs Starting a Dog Grooming Business?
Obviously, you have a love for animals which is why you are thinking about doing this pet grooming business. Did you know there are other businesses you can do either in conjunction with your pet business or do instead?
- Dog Trainer
- Mobile Pooper Scooper
- Make Costumes or Clothes for Pets
- Pet Sitting
- Pet Baking of Nutritional Treats
- Dog Walking
- Pet Accessories / Jewelry
Other Resources to Investigate
Another great resource for you on your journey of owning your own Pet Grooming Business is PetGroomerMagazine.com. There you will find more on education, tools, products, health, etc Here are other resources: Books, magazines, blogs, websites, etc
More Resources to Help
Looking for FREE Tools & Resources to Start Your Dog Grooming Business?
Check out the Resources to Start tab up top for FREE Tools & Resources to Get your Business Going!
Listen to the Start a Local Small Business Podcast
If you are really serious, then hop on over to our advanced course where we dive in much deeper. This course is for those who are serious about starting their New Local Small Business!
Not only do we have 12 modules with 50 sections all broken down into small bite-size chunks, you will get 13 more tools and resources for each step.
So if you are Ready to Be Your Own Boss and Ready to Set Your Own Wage then check out this great course to get you open and making money right away!
Or head over to the School to preview 3 modules and see the full curriculum here —>> ADVANCED COURSE