Thinking about starting a grooming business? The pet grooming industry, especially dog grooming has been booming for quite a while. So, starting a dog grooming business could be profitable, if done right.
That “if” is really important. Every successful dog grooming studio is just that because it’s done right. It’s really smart of you to do proper research before starting the business. If you have a very clear vision and plan, you have an advantage.
So here’s a complete beginner’s guide on how to start a dog grooming business. You will find out what you need in order to start the business and how to promote it.
Choose A Dog Grooming Salon Style
Although it’s not intuitive, choosing the grooming salon style should be your first consideration. How you want and how you are able to run the salon will determine your business plan.
By “dog grooming salon style” I mean the way you operate the business. There are plenty of options here. Let’s divide this into parts, so you can better understand what I’m saying.
First of all, where do you want your dog grooming studio to be located? Your options are: renting or buying a workspace, working in your home, or being a mobile groomer.
Each of these has its advantages and disadvantages. Your decision here should be budget-based and preference-based, of course.
- Renting a workspace is by far the most expensive option here. Some good locations ask for rent that is not really fair. But renting has its pros as well. The salon is its own promotion, you don’t have to carry equipment, and you can rent out to other dog groomers. Also, there’s something attractive about a salon.
- Working from your home is another option. Not expensive at all since you don’t have to pay for the workspace. That means that you should have a good workspace in your home. Customers can be wary of going into someone’s home, that’s a big con. Also, you have to promote your business quite a lot for people to find out about it.
- Lastly, you can be a mobile groomer. This is a good way to solve the workspace situation. A mobile groomer is someone who comes to your home to groom your dog. You will need a good cost-effective way of transport. Again, some pet owners may be wary about inviting a groomer into their home. On the other hand, elderly pet owners prefer this because they don’t have to leave their homes.
Now, how many groomers will your business have? This depends entirely on you and your budget. There’s nothing wrong with you being the only groomer in your salon?
If you are opening up a grooming salon in your home, I doubt that multiple groomers are an option for you. You have to work alone.
Let’s say you are renting a workspace though, then multiple groomers can be a smart option. The groomers can either rent out your space and work on their own. Or, you can hire them and pay them a salary.
As I said, this is your choice. Remember, renting to other groomers is a good way to cut back on that big rent.
Equipment Needed For A Dog Grooming Business
It goes without saying, you buy the pet grooming equipment after you have a space, got licenses, etc… I’m just putting this here because it’s helpful to know what you need. It helps with estimating how much budget you need.
Here are the tools professional dog groomers use. I recommend getting professional-grade equipment.
Essential Dog Grooming Equipment
- Grooming Clippers
- Grooming Shears & Scissors
- Grooming Tables
- Grooming Hammock
- Bath Tub
- Grooming Hose
- Shampoo & Conditioner
- Nail Clippers & Grinders
Make A Business Plan
What I certainly don’t recommend is doing this without a business plan, you will fail. A business plan is crucial when starting a business, no matter what kind.
Here, you will estimate your target audience, you will plan out your growth, you will calculate how much money you need. You will get an estimate of your profits as well. A business plan doesn’t guarantee a profit but it’s one of those things that help you keep on track and organized.
Mostly, business plans are used when attracting partners or investors. But even if you are not doing that, a business plan is still helpful. What do businesses do when they don’t grow as expected? Make a business plan. We’ll talk about investors in a moment. For now, let’s focus on the important things to consider. [Source]
Cost Of Starting A Dog Grooming Business
The cost of starting a dog grooming business includes getting permits and licenses, renting a location, buying the equipment, and promotions. The biggest costs are the licenses and the rent(renovations, if needed), the other stuff is quite affordable.
As always, with permits and licenses, it’s complicated. The type of permits you need depends on your location and your local state laws. There are the standard federal regulations, of course.
Professional dog grooming equipment is not as expensive as some people may think. The cost depends on the quality of the stuff you buy. Your provider matters as well, if you can get some deals, maybe you can lower the cost. Usually, buying full professional dog grooming equipment can cost 1000$-2000$.
Now, the rent. I can’t really give an estimate on the cost of renting a pet grooming salon. It really depends on the area, the rent cost in the district, whether renovations are needed.
You will have to promote your business as well. So, we should include the cost of that. Fortunately, promotions and advertisements are not that expensive. It depends on how much you are willing to spend on it. Business owners can get creative here. It’s a smart idea to have 1000$ on hand for promoting the business.
In conclusion, the cost of starting a dog grooming business is too situational for an estimate. It ranges somewhere around 50,000$, the price can go a lot lower if you are not renting a workspace. The cost is also significantly lower for cheap rent locations.
Finding The Target Market
Finding a good target audience is a good way to make sure you have potential customers. If you go around and ask pet grooming shop owners; Where do most of your customers come from? You won’t get answers that lead to some category of customers. [Source]
The thing is, every business has its audience. Every grooming salon figured out something. For instance, if you are a mobile groomer, your target market is pet owners that are not able to travel with the pet, or that are not able to leave their home.
You will have to figure this out on your own. Remember, most pet owners would prefer a lower price, that is if the grooming experience is good. Also, a lot of customers come from recommendations of other customers.
How Much To Charge
Once you know the start-up cost and the ongoing expenses, you can decide on your prices. As always, you are looking for a profitable price. Remember, you need to earn back what you invested in the business.
On average, professional dog groomers charge around 40$ for a full-service on a small dog and around 70$ for a big breed. Because big breed dogs are more work, they charge more. You should do that as well. [Source]
My advice is to not be too greedy with the price, nor be too cheap just to compete. Pick something reasonable that you know customers will say; Okay, that’s fair.
Also, offer single services like just clipping or trimming. Offer nail clipping as well. A customer may need just one thing, not a full-service.
Business Growth Plan
Lastly, your business plan should include a growth plan. Common mistake business owners make is that they reach a certain point where they don’t grow anymore. This usually happens because there was no plan.
What I’m saying is that you should have an estimate of how much you are going to make in a year. An estimate of when you got back your initial investment. What to do after that. Your business must have goals that it’s trying to reach.
You don’t really have to expand. You just need to make sure that you are reaching profit goals and customers are not going away.
Get Grooming Training And Certificates
A pet grooming certificate is not really something you need to start a business. After all, your work speaks about how good you are. However, this is something that I highly recommend doing.
Obtaining training and certificates is something that is attractive to customers. Some pet owners avoid visiting a pet grooming salon for the first time if they don’t know anything about the groomers.
Maybe this is something you already have, if you do, congratulations on the advantage.[Related Article: How To Restrain A Dog While Grooming Regardless of Size]
Get Licenses And Permits
This is the part everyone dislikes. However, it’s something every business owner must do, so you must do it as well. We already talked about the licenses and permits above but briefly.
The type of licenses and permits you need really depends on the state you live in. If you don’t know anything about this, I recommend consulting your local government. Most states have a website for this nowadays. You can also get help with establishing a business entity.
You may also want to think about getting insurance. Think about it, what if a dog bites you? I’m not saying that it will happen, but general liability insurance will help out for sure.
Promote Your Dog Grooming Business
No one can deny that social media has done wonders for promoting business. Nowadays, that’s really easy. Just remember that promoting your business means putting it out there.
First of all, you need a good catchy name and a logo. This plays a big part for indecisive first-time customers. Consider billboards, a sign in front of your salon. You can pay for advertisements on any platform, social media is preferred, of course. You can run an Instagram profile as well, maybe photograph satisfied groomed dogs.
You can get creative here, don’t overdo it though. Your work still has to be good enough. Also, do not spend too much money on promotions, that’s a bad idea for a start-up.
Consider Inviting Partners And Investors
Lastly, you need to think about whether you will be doing this on your own. There’s nothing wrong with that, especially if you are a mobile groomer or you work at home.
However, if you are renting out a salon, and if you are thinking about hiring employees, you may need financial help. That is the time where you should consider getting investors or inviting partners. Banks also provide credits for a business start-up.
Related Questions And Other FAQs
Is Dog Grooming A Good Business
The dog grooming industry has become quite profitable without a loss in profits. Dog grooming salons are often quite profitable, it depends on how the place works though. If done right, a dog grooming business can be hard to start but quite profitable.
Can I Run A Dog Grooming Salon From Home
Yes, provided that your local state laws allow it, you can run a dog grooming salon from your home. You should have a big enough and safe enough workspace with equipment.
How Much Money Can You Make As A Dog Groomer
It depends on the type of salon you work in. If you are paying rent to a dog groomer who has a salon, you earn what you are paid. If you are working for a pet grooming salon, the average hourly rate is 15$ per hour.