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Setting up a Dog Grooming Business

All you need to know about starting and running your business

Business guides » Setting up a Dog Grooming Business

What is a Dog Grooming Business?

A dog groomer is a professional who is responsible for a number of tasks to keep dogs clean, groomed, healthy and well-cared for. Dog groomers are often described as providing cosmetic services but, in fact, grooming has many health benefits.

Regular grooming can help to prevent ear infections, dental issues and anal issues. It can also help to keep dogs’ coats clean and maintained and ensure they don’t have any fleas or ticks or painful knots.

With more than 12.5 million pet dogs across the UK and the average pet owner spending £178 a month on their dog, a grooming business has great potential to succeed and could be extremely lucrative.

As a dog groomer, there are many different types of services you can offer.

Some of your day-to-day responsibilities could include:

  • Washing and bathing the dogs.
  • Detangling and brushing fur.
  • Shampooing and conditioning the fur.
  • Clipping, cutting, trimming or shaving the dogs’ fur.
  • Trimming nails.
  • Cleaning and trimming the inside of the dogs’ ears.
  • Cleaning the dogs’ eyes.
  • Expressing anal glands and cleaning and trimming this area.
  • Grooming and styling the dogs in accordance with their breed or the owners’ preferences.
  • Drying the dog.
  • Brushing the dogs’ teeth.
  • Checking for parasites or fleas.
  • Checking for any health issues, such as skin conditions, ear infections or dental issues.
  • Assessing the overall physical health of the dogs and looking for signs of neglect or mistreatment.
  • Keeping dogs safe and comfortable throughout the process.
  • Advising customers on caring for their dogs.
  • Cleaning all equipment and work areas regularly.
  • Ordering and replenishing equipment.
  • Cleaning and maintaining equipment.
  • Creating appointments.
  • Advertising and marketing your business.

 

If you are considering starting up a dog grooming business, you will need to determine the type of business you set up.

There are several options available to you:

A dog grooming salon or shop

A dog grooming salon works in a very similar way to a human salon. The customers will visit your salon with their dogs, you will perform any grooming treatments and then the dogs will be collected after their grooming is completed. This is likely to be the most lucrative option and is usually the most successful overall. However, it will also have the highest start-up costs and running costs. Depending on the size of your salon, you could hire employees to enable you to groom more than one dog at a time.

A mobile dog grooming business

You will run your business from a van or trailer and will travel to the dogs’ homes. Your van will act as your salon and will have an in-built grooming table and bathing area and all the products you will need. You will likely need to plug your van into an outlet in your customers’ homes and use their electricity.

An at-home grooming business

You can run your business from your home, as long as you have a dedicated area or room that can act as your grooming area. You will need enough space for all of the equipment and will need to ensure the dogs remain safe while they are at your home. This option has the lowest set-up and running costs, but you will likely have to charge a lower price for your services, meaning your profits will also be lower.

 

To open a successful dog grooming business, you will need to be passionate about animals and comfortable around all types of dogs, including those that are larger or anxious. Prior experience in dog grooming is a necessity.

You will also need to ensure you undergo any necessary training. A flair for business and good customer skills can also help your business to succeed.

Types of Customers

When setting up your dog grooming business, your target customer base will, of course, be dog owners.

However, different types of dog grooming businesses attract different customers. Dog owners usually fall into one of three categories:

Budget customers

Budget customers usually prefer a groomer that has lower prices. They may be satisfied with a more basic groom and fewer products or additional services. A budget customer may be more likely to use an at-home or mobile groomer than other customers.

Mid-range customers

Mid-market customers usually look for groomers that offer more services and have better equipment and facilities. They are happy to pay a higher price, although they will likely still have a budget in mind.

Luxury customers

This type of customer wants the very best for their pooch and is happy to pay higher prices for the best services. They will likely choose a grooming business that offers the best possible products and additional services, such as pedicures, mud baths and fur treatments. They will also likely choose a business that has strong branding, the best equipment and is aesthetically pleasing.

There are several factors that will impact the types of customers you are likely to attract:

  • Your location.
  • The grooming services you offer.
  • The equipment, facilities and products you use.
  • Your branding and business aesthetic.
  • Your experience and qualifications.
Dog shampoo
Bathing dog
Dog grooming salon

Equipment You Will Need

The equipment you purchase will be an essential part of your dog grooming business. Your equipment requirements will vary depending on the type of dog grooming business you set up. For example, a mobile dog groomer will have different requirements compared to a salon based groomer. Consider the type of business you will set up before purchasing your equipment.

Some of the equipment you may require includes:

Grooming Equipment::

Dog grooming tables

A dog grooming table is usually adjustable in height. This enables you to ensure the dog is at the correct height for its size and ensures you have safe access to the dog. The table will need to be large and sturdy enough to hold dogs of different sizes and weights. Dog tables also usually have holding frames with support straps, allowing you to keep the dogs securely in place while grooming them. Electric and hydraulic tables can be lowered to the ground and adjusted without you needing to manually do this. Dog tables typically retail for £100 to £800.

A bathing station

The type of bathing station you’ll need will depend on the type of grooming business you set up. If you work from a pet shop or grooming salon, a large in-built station is recommended. These are specially designed with a hose attachment and a drain that shouldn’t become clogged with dog hair. A mobile dog groomer may need a portable dog bath.

A dog dryer

Dog owners will expect their dogs to be fluffy, dry, coiffed and smelling great when they come and collect them. You aren’t likely to receive repeat custom if the dogs are still wet. A dog dryer allows you to quickly dry the dogs’ fur before they are collected. Dryers usually cost between £100 and £500.

Grooming clippers

You will need grooming clippers with several blade lengths to allow you to groom different areas of the dog. You can expect to spend between £50 and £150.

Grooming brushes and combs

You will need several different types of brushes and combs for different tasks and to suit different types of fur and hair. Soft brushes can be used to remove dirt and unattached fur, de-matting combs for brushing tangled fur and fine-toothed combs for keeping the hair straight while you cut it.

Grooming scissors

You will need a variety of different sized scissors for different sizes and breeds of dogs.

Some of the scissors you’ll likely need are:

  • Single-sided thinning scissors.
  • Small straight scissors.
  • Medium-sized straight scissors.
  • Long straight scissors.

 

Grooming shears

Shears are a type of scissors that have a wider or thin tooth blade comb on one side and a blade on the other. They can be used for a variety of cutting purposes, including different types of fur and different areas of the dogs.

A stripping knife

Certain breeds of dogs, such as Terriers, Schnauzers, German Wirehaired Pointers and other dogs with wiry coats, should be groomed using a stripping knife. This helps to maintain the natural look of these breeds and ensure you have cut their undercoat.

Nail scissors

You will need different sized nail scissors to suit different paw sizes.

Shampoos and conditioners

You will need a variety of dog shampoos and conditioners, including de-shedding shampoos, white coat shampoos, and flea shampoos. You may also need specific products for dogs with allergies or sensitive skin.

Ear cleaning kit

Dogs’ ears can be tricky to clean and groom because of the shape of their inner ears and the amount of hair or fur. Purchase a specialised ear grooming kit to allow you to clean the dogs’ ears without causing any discomfort or damage.

Eye cleaning kit

This could include eye drops to protect the dogs’ eyes from any products you use. You will also need materials to clean the dogs’ eyes with, such as cotton wool balls or soft reusable cloths.

Other Equipment:

There are several other types of equipment your business may require, such as:

Dog crates

Dog crates can be used for dogs who are waiting for their grooming to start or waiting for their owner to pick them up. The dog crates should be large enough to comfortably fit the dog and be safe and secure. Prices usually range from £40 to £100.

Bandanas, bows and other accessories

Many dog groomers put bows, bandanas, neckerchiefs or other accessories on the dogs after they have groomed them. This is a special touch appreciated by many dog owners and could set your business apart from your competition.

Towels

Towels can be used for a variety of purposes, including drying the dogs and protecting your working area from water and other products. You will need to use a clean towel for every dog. This means you will need to purchase several towels that you can wash regularly.

A washing machine and tumble dryer

You will need to wash towels, cloths and any other material after every dog you groom. A large reliable washing machine and dryer are recommended. Prices can range from £500 to £3,000.

Cleaning products

Some of the cleaning supplies you may require include a sweeping brush, a mop and bucket, equipment cleaning sprays, bleach, sanitiser, cloths, sponges and other cleaning supplies. You should also supply hand sanitiser and handwashing facilities for staff and any visitors to your business.

A vehicle

If you set up a mobile grooming business, you will need a van that has a dog grooming table, a bathing station and appropriate shelving or storage installed. The van will need to be large enough to suit your business’s needs and look professional. The cost of a vehicle can vary significantly, depending on whether is it new or used, the size and manufacturer and whether you need to complete the installations yourself. You can expect to pay between £15,000 and £80,000.

A CCTV system

This helps dog owners to feel more secure and comfortable leaving their dogs at your salon. It can also protect your salon from potential break-ins and provide you with video evidence if you are ever accused of harming a dog. A CCTV system can cost between £300 and £5,000 depending on the specification of the equipment, how many cameras you require, and the installation costs.

Air conditioning and dehumidifier

Air conditioning can help you to keep your salon or shop at a safe temperature and a dehumidifier can remove excess moisture from the air. This can help you to keep your premises safe and hygienic.

A dog first aid kit

A dog first aid kit allows you to provide pre-vet first aid if one of the dogs in your care is injured or ill. Your first aid kit should contain essential items such as alcohol pads, adhesives for cuts and wounds, a rubber tourniquet, bandages of different sizes and tape. You can buy a first aid kit already prepared for approximately £25.

A human first aid kit

This is also essential in case you, an employee or a visitor to your business becomes injured. Ensure your first aid kit is replenished regularly. A first aid kit can be purchased for as little as £12.

Some other equipment you may require includes:

  • A laptop or desktop computer.
  • A business mobile phone or landline phone.
  • A till and POS system.
  • Water bowls.
  • A bin with a closed lid.
  • Doggy poop bags.
  • Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).
Dog grooming salon

Typical Pricing

Being aware of the typical costs associated with setting up and running your dog grooming business is an essential part of your business plan.

Although costs can vary depending on the type of dog grooming business you set up, some of the typical costs you can expect are listed below.

Equipment

Much of the equipment listed above will be considered necessities, as you will not be able to operate your grooming business without them. You can save money on equipment by purchasing it directly from the wholesalers and bulk purchasing. You can expect to spend between £5,000 and £50,000 on equipment.

Premises

If you choose to run your grooming business from a salon or shop, you will need to consider the cost of your premises per month. You will need to choose a site that is convenient and easily accessible for dog owners and is located in an area with a high number of your target customer base. Your rental costs can vary depending on your location and the size of the premises. Rental costs are often calculated per square metre and can range significantly, from £500 to £15,000 per square metre annually.

Renovation and refurbishment

You will likely need to renovate or refurbish your premises to fit your business aesthetic and to make them fit for purpose. You may need to reconfigure the space, install furnishings and set up your equipment. Your salon should be attractive, easy to clean, have appropriate spacing and fit your brand. Renovation costs can vary, depending on the level and scale of work required.

Replacing or maintaining equipment

This is an ongoing cost you will need to factor into your budget. You may need to maintain or repair equipment frequently and if your equipment is no longer functional, you will need to pay to replace it. As your equipment will be heavily used and could even sustain damage from your doggy guests, you may have to repair or replace equipment more often. Regularly cleaning and maintaining the equipment can reduce your repair and replacement costs.

Replenishing equipment

Some of the equipment you use will need to be replenished regularly. This includes shampoo, conditioner and other products and your cleaning supplies. Equipment such as brushes and combs will also need to be replaced regularly. You will likely need to make monthly orders to replenish your equipment.

Overhead costs

Your overhead costs are the day-to-day running costs associated with your business. This could include electricity, water, gas and council tax if you run a grooming salon, or petrol, MOT and vehicle insurance costs if your run a mobile business. Your overhead costs are usually paid monthly, quarterly or annually.

Staff

As your business grows, you may choose to hire other groomers or admin staff. Additional staff can help you to grow your business further, as you will be able to groom more than one dog at a time. However, there will also be additional costs associated with hiring staff. Consider the number of staff and their hourly wage and other pay-related expenses, such as holiday pay, sick pay and maternity/paternity pay.

Branding

Creating your brand identity can include creating your business’s visual identity, a logo, business name, your business website and creating your brand message. You can hire a professional to help you with branding or do some of the work yourself. Branding can cost between £500 and £10,000.

Advertising and marketing

Advertising and marketing are essential ways to attract clients and grow your business. It is recommended that you spend between 1%-3% of your annual turnover on marketing. For example, if your annual turnover is £50,000, it is recommended you spend between £500 and £1,500 per year on marketing. You may need to invest more money in advertising and marketing when you first set up your business, in order to ensure your business is well-known and potential clients are aware of you.

Business insurance

There are several types of insurance you could choose for your grooming business.

Insurance popular with dog groomers includes:

  • Public Liability Insurance (this is a legal requirement for all dog groomers).
  • Care, Custody and Control Cover.
  • Non-Negligent Cover.
  • Equipment and Tools Cover.
  • Key Cover.
  • Employers’ Liability Insurance (if relevant).
  • Contents Cover.
  • Legal Expenses Insurance.
  • Custodial Responsibility.
  • Personal Accident Insurance.
  • Legal Expenses Insurance.

 

Once you have calculated the typical costs associated with setting up and running a dog grooming business, you can then determine your pricing strategy.

Dog groomers typically charge between £30 and £90 for a full groom. Your prices will likely vary depending on the breed and size of the dog and the level of grooming the owner requests. Your location, experience and reputation will also impact your prices.

Safely Running a Dog Grooming Business

A grooming business can be a high-risk business with the potential for injury, unsafe practices or even the transmission of fleas or infections.

Safe practices can help to ensure the safety of the dogs that visit your grooming business, and you and any employees.

Some ways you can safely run your dog grooming business are:

Protect against diseases, infections, fleas and ticks

You will need to protect the dogs and yourself from fleas and ticks, as they can jump into materials or clothing and transfer onto other dogs. You should also be careful not to spread any diseases, illnesses or infections that a dog who visits your business has.

Ensure you don’t injure the dogs

You will be using sharp instruments and other potentially dangerous equipment on the dogs’ bodies. You will need to ensure the dogs stay still and that your hands are steady and that your grip on the equipment is strong. Even a small nick or cut can be painful to dogs or can quickly become infected. Not only could this have a negative effect on the dog’s health, but it could also be detrimental to your reputation and business.

Have a vet on call

As you will be working with so many animals, at some point you may have to deal with health issues, illnesses or injuries. Having a local vet that you are connected with can be extremely beneficial and help you run your business more safely. You can call this vet if you have any questions or concerns and arrange appointments if necessary. You could also arrange for the vet to make visits to your premises if an animal requires it.

Be aware of any health conditions, illnesses, injuries or allergies

This is essential for protecting the health and safety of the dogs you groom. Ask your clients to document any conditions you need to be aware of when you first begin working together and then ask them to update you if there are any changes to their dog’s health.

Properly maintain equipment

You will be dealing with potentially dangerous equipment on a daily basis. Ensuring equipment is clean and properly maintained and performing regular equipment inspections can help to protect you and the dogs and can help to extend the lifespan of your equipment.

Ensure furnishings, equipment and flooring are easy to clean

All furnishings, equipment and flooring should be easy to clean, and where possible, be resistant to liquid. Easier to clean areas can result in better hygiene practices.

Obtain qualifications

Although qualifications are not legally required, they can help to ensure best practices and help you to run your grooming business more safely.

Some examples of qualifications you could obtain are:

  • Level 2 Certificate for Dog Grooming Assistants.
  • Level 3 Certificate in Introductory Dog Grooming.
  • Level 3 Certificate for Dog Grooming Stylists.
  • Level 3 Diploma in Dog Grooming.
  • Level 4 Higher Professional Diploma in Dog Grooming.
Safely washing a dog
Dog groomer cleaning dogs ear

Conduct risk assessments

Risk assessments should be carried out before you open your dog grooming business and at any other time you require them. If your business has five or more employees, risk assessments are a legal requirement. Your risk assessments could refer to any manual handling activities and risks associated with having physical contact with the dogs. Risk assessments should cover potential risks to both humans and dogs.

Implement cleaning procedures

Having effective cleaning procedures is essential for your business. A cleaning schedule and cleaning policies should be in place that cover the cleaning of equipment, surfaces, crates and bathing and cutting areas. You should also implement handwashing procedures for staff and visitors.

Ensure you have fully stocked first aid kits

You will need a fully stocked first aid kit for dogs and a separate one for humans. The first aid kits should be checked and replenished regularly and be easily accessible for all staff.

Ensure the security of your doggy guests

This is essential for safely running your dog grooming business. There are several ways you can secure your facility including installing a CCTV system and locking the premises securely.

Use Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

This can help to protect you and your doggy customers. Wearing long-sleeved clothing can help to protect you from the dogs’ nails during the grooming sessions. Wearing PPE such as gloves and aprons can also help to protect you. This type of PPE will need to be changed for every dog.

Pay attention to use-by dates

Many people think that use-by and best before dates only apply to food. However, products such as shampoos and conditioners all have dates that you must pay attention to. Check the date before using any products and never use products that are out of date.

Ensure you (and any staff) have health and safety training

This can help to ensure safe practices at all times. You could undergo training on Fire Safety, COSHH Awareness, Electrical Safety Awareness, PAT Testing and assessing risks.

Legal Requirements

Ensuring you comply with all legal requirements is a necessity. Some legal requirements apply to the setting up of your grooming business, whereas others will apply when you are running your business.

Some of the legal requirements you should be aware of are:

Comply with the Animal Welfare Act (2006)

The Animal Welfare Act provides legislation that applies to any animal being cared for or supervised by people. As a dog groomer, you will be responsible for the welfare of any dogs you groom. Failure to comply with the Act or committing an offence under the Act could result in prosecution.

Comply with the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations (PUWER) 1998

These regulations specify that as the business owner, you must ensure any equipment is fit for purpose, is maintained and inspected regularly, that health and safety risks are minimised to an acceptable level, that you have the correct knowledge and training to use the equipment, and that protective measures are put into place. You must also ensure the equipment is used under appropriate conditions. PUWER applies to both portable and stationary equipment.

Comply with COSHH (the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health)

The COSHH regulations state that you must control any potentially hazardous substances. You should also assess, control and reduce any risks or potential hazards and protect people and dogs from harm.

Comply with consumer protection legislation

If you offer any pet grooming products or other products for sale, you must comply with consumer protection laws. This includes ensuring all products (or services) are of an acceptable quality and all pricing information is accessible to customers.

Comply with the Manual Handling Operations Regulations (1992)

Manual handling regulations can help to protect you (and any employees) from sustaining an injury or illness as a result of manual handling tasks. The regulations apply to the lifting or moving of any equipment (including the dogs), bending down and reaching high and repetitive movements, such as brushing and cutting.

Implement health and safety policies

This is legally required for all businesses in the UK. You should have policies in place that protect the animals, staff and any visitors to your business. If you have five or more employees, your health and safety policies should be recorded. Your policies should also include fire safety procedures and emergency procedures.

Apply for a Notification to Process Personal Data Licence

You can apply for this licence with the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO). If your grooming business has a CCTV system or processes personal information such as payroll information or accounts and records, you will need to apply for a licence with the ICO and renew your registration every year.

Comply with the Electricity at Work Regulations (1989)

The Electricity at Work Regulations states that any workplace that uses electricals must construct electrical systems in a way that prevents danger. They must also maintain electrical systems to ensure they are safe, ensure electrical equipment is checked by a competent person annually and conduct Portable Appliance Tests (PAT). Electrical items could include your equipment and lights.

Comply with the Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations (RIDDOR) 2013

RIDDOR states that you must report all injuries, diseases and dangerous events that occur when your business is operating. Reports must be made to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) using an appropriate recording document.

Apply for a music licence

If you play music in your grooming salon, you will need to apply for a Licence to Play Background Music from the PPL PRS and pay an annual fee.

Dispose of waste appropriately

Some of your business’s waste, such as the products you use and bodily fluids, will be classed as hazardous waste. This waste must be disposed of by a registered, authorised waste carrier. Contact your local environmental health department for more details.

Comply with employment legislation

If you employ any staff, you must ensure you follow employment legislation. You must comply with legislation relating to recruitment, working hours, pay, sickness, discrimination, dismissals, and maternity or paternity pay.

Register your business

You must register your business with HMRC before you begin operating. You can register as a sole trader or as a limited company. You will need to register your business name and any other relevant information.

Register for self-assessment tax

This allows you to calculate and pay your own taxes each year. You will need to track your finances every month and submit any expenses as part of your tax assessment.

Happy dog groomer working

Positives of Owning a Dog Grooming Business

Starting up a dog grooming business can be extremely rewarding in many ways.

Some of the main pros associated with this type of business include:

Working with dogs

If you are an animal lover, working with dogs every day can sound like a dream job. You can spend time with different types of dogs, taking care of them and helping to improve their overall health and wellbeing. Working with animals can be very therapeutic as well as enjoyable.

No qualifications required

Dog grooming can be an easy industry to get into as you won’t need any formal qualifications. Although courses on animal health and safety are recommended, they are usually low priced and quick to complete.

Constant demand

With more families than ever having a dog, the grooming industry is more in demand than ever. Dogs will always need to be groomed, whether for aesthetic or health reasons, meaning there should always be a demand for your business.

Opportunities for creativity

Some dog owners want their dogs to be beautifully groomed, have creative hairstyles or be accessorised in fun ways. This gives you the opportunity to be creative with different types of grooming.

Repeat business

Once dog owners find a groomer that they trust and their dog is comfortable with, they will usually stay with them for years. You could groom the same dogs throughout their lives and create a bond with both them and their owners.

Pick and choose who you want to work with

As the business owner, you will be responsible for hiring employees and choosing which dogs you work with. You can choose to hire staff that you think will be beneficial to your business, genuinely care about animals, and will work well. You can also refuse to groom dogs who have difficult owners or pose a threat.

Control your workload

Although operating more days and longer hours can be beneficial to your profits, you can choose to only operate part-time or not work certain days. As the business owner, you will have complete control over the scheduling of your business and your workload.

Be involved with your local community

You will likely operate your dog grooming business in your local community. This allows you to connect with other dog lovers close to you and become an important part of the community.

Rewarding work

Dog grooming can be both financially and emotionally rewarding. You will be earning money from spending time with dogs. If you are an animal lover, making a profit from doing something you love is hugely rewarding. Many dog groomers also offer their services to animal shelters or may help to groom abandoned or neglected pets. Being able to help animals in need can be very rewarding.

Unlimited income potential

A dog grooming business can be extremely lucrative, especially if you are consistently busy. You will also have the opportunity to hire more staff, expand your premises or open additional franchises. You could also sell pet products as a way of maximising your profits.

Design your dream business

You can design your grooming business exactly as you want. Once you have chosen the type of grooming business you are going to run, you can decide the design and aesthetic, the facilities and equipment and the types of services you will offer. You can create your dream business, while still making money.

Anxious dog being groomed

Negatives of Owning a Dog Grooming Business

Although running a dog grooming business can be rewarding, there are some important negative aspects you should be aware of:

It can be physically demanding

Not only will you be on your feet for a lot of the day, but you could also be handling big or heavy animals and equipment. You could also feel strain or pain in your fingers, hands, wrists and arms from repetitive movements, such as brushing and cutting.

Anxious or aggressive dogs

Some of the dogs you groom could be extremely anxious or become aggressive. Not only can this be stressful for both you and the dog, but it can also be scary dealing with an aggressive dog – especially if they are large and have the potential to cause an injury.

Potential for injury

Scratches or bites can be common when working with animals. You will also be working with sharp implements daily and products that have the potential to irritate your skin.

Long working hours

Many people take their dogs to be groomed on the weekend when they are off work. However, your grooming business will also need to open during the week, to ensure you can accommodate all of your clients. This can result in long working hours and few days off. You will also be responsible for tasks such as marketing, organisation, appointments, admin tasks and cleaning, which can make a grooming business time consuming to run.

Missed appointments

Dog owners may forget about their appointment or prioritise another engagement. Failure to turn up or a cancelled appointment with late notice can result in a loss of earnings.

Work can be inconsistent

If you are not filling all your appointments, you will see a reduction in your profits. Unfortunately, work can be inconsistent and there may be certain times of the year when you are less busy, such as in the winter when many pet owners prefer their dogs to have a thicker, longer coat of fur.

It can be stressful

Not only are you responsible for the success of your business, but you are also responsible for the safety and wellbeing of the dogs and any employees or visitors to your business. You will also have a lot of tasks and responsibilities. Running a dog grooming business can be stressful.

It can be difficult to make your business succeed

If there are already established dog groomers operating in your area, this can make it extremely difficult to grow your own business and make a success of it. Dog owners are more likely to choose a groomer that they have used previously, that has been recommended to them or that already has a lot of positive customer reviews.

You may lose business if you take time off

Your clients will rely on you for grooming appointments, which is great for repeat business. However, if you need to take time off for a holiday or because you are ill, your clients may find a new dog groomer, meaning you will lose business, particularly in the busier summer months.

High liability

You will be responsible for the health and safety of the dogs you groom. If they become injured, bite a person or another dog, run away from you or cause damage, you will be responsible. As dogs are much-loved members of their families, you could be dealing with angry owners or even receive a visit from the police.

Planning Your Dog Grooming Business

If you are considering starting up a dog grooming business, an effective and well-designed business plan is essential.

Business plans can help you to focus on the specific steps that will help your business succeed, plan your short-term and long-term goals, determine your financial needs and help your business to grow.

When creating your business plan, ensure it contains information such as:

  • Your company information.
  • Your company description.
  • The services you will provide.
  • Your branding, marketing and advertising plan.
  • The structure of your business.
  • The operational plan for your business.
  • The financial plan for your business.

 

Some of the factors you need to consider when creating your business plan are:

What type of dog grooming business will you set up?

You need to decide whether to set up a dog grooming salon, a mobile grooming business or an at-home grooming business. The type of business you set up will have significant implications on other aspects of your business plan, meaning you should make this decision first. You could even change the type of business you run as your business becomes more successful and this could be included in your plan for growth.

What type of services will you offer?

Consider your own training and experience when deciding what services you will offer. You should also consider your target market and the services they are likely to request. Offering different packages at varying prices with different available services could be a good way to maximise your business and attract more customers.

Who will your target customers be?

Your target customers will likely be dog owners who live in your local area. However, your experience, pricing, branding and services offered will also impact your customer base. Consider ways you can access your target customers and plan your advertising and marketing strategies accordingly.

What will your working hours be?

Will you operate at the weekends? What days will you take off or close your business? Will you offer any late night or evening appointments? Your hours of operation could affect whether customers choose your business, so take this into account.

What are your equipment requirements?

Consult the list above to determine your equipment requirements. The equipment you require will depend on the type of services you offer and the type of grooming business you run. Once you have determined your equipment requirements, you can then calculate the initial costs of purchasing the equipment and the monthly replenishment costs.

What are your initial set-up costs and running costs?

You need to determine your approximate start-up costs and running costs to enable you to calculate your initial investment, determine how you will fund this investment and what your monthly or annual costs will be. Creating a budget is a key part of your business plan. Your budget can also help you determine your pricing strategy.

What is your pricing strategy?

Once you have calculated the costs associated with setting up and running your grooming business, you can then determine your pricing strategy. You will need to decide whether to charge per service or per package. Consider your location and typical customers when calculating your pricing. Your pricing will also need to reflect your acceptable profit margin.

What are your sales forecasts?

You will need to determine how many dogs you can realistically groom each week and what your weekly, monthly and annual sales forecasts will be. As your business grows, your sales forecast may change.

What local competition do you have?

Analyse your local competition to help you determine how to make your dog grooming business successful. Look at the services and treatments they offer, their price points and their business aesthetic. You can then decide how to make your business stand out and how to attract customers. Looking at your local competition can also help you to confirm there is a market for your business and that the local industry is not already saturated.

What is your advertising and marketing strategy?

An effective advertising and marketing strategy is essential. You need to ensure your target customers are exposed to your advertising and are attracted to and can recognise or remember your brand. Some of the ways you could choose to advertise include on social media, using leaflets and posters, in local newspapers or on radio stations and using signs.

What are your business objectives?

Determining your business objectives is an essential component when creating your business plan. Your business objectives highlight the targets and goals of your dog grooming business and help you to create a one-year, three-year, and five-year business plan.

Your business objectives should be SMART:

  • S = Specific.
  • M = Measurable.
  • A = Achievable.
  • R = Realistic.
  • T = Time-bound.

 

Have you complied with all legal requirements?

Ensure you have filed all your paperwork and are complying with all legal requirements before opening your dog grooming business. Consult the list above to check you have followed all guidelines and applied for the necessary licences. Legal requirements are designed to help protect your business and protect the health and safety of the dogs, you and your employees and any visitors to your business.

 

Download our business plan

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