Five key steps to starting your pet grooming business

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The US pet industry is has been enjoying large scale growth for the past few years and is valued at approximately $76.8 billion. Market research shows the US dog grooming business accounts for an estimated $8 billion. With pet ownership continuing to grow, experts project an 8% annual growth through 2026. 

You have an opportunity to be a part of a pet’s entire life.  Starting your own dog grooming business is a smart bet. That type of customer loyalty and lifecycle is why the pet grooming business can be extremely lucrative.  A recent market research study by Global Pet Industry shows that 67% of pet owners use grooming services. That ranks a close second to taking your pet to the vet! 

Do not waste this opportunity by rushing into starting your pet grooming business and make a good business plan. 

Here are the five things youneed to know to set yourself and your professional pet grooming business up for success. 

Earn Certification and Training 

If you want to own your own business, make sure to take courses and graduate from a reputable professional pet grooming institute like Paragon Pet School. Your dog grooming course tuition is an expense to consider but a necessary one. Practice and gain dog grooming experience on different types of breed specific haircuts, sizes of dogs, puppies and older dogs, and get comfortable with different styles of dog grooming services like nail trimming, gland expression and ear cleaning services.

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Create a Business Plan

Creating a good dog grooming business plan at the outset is key. Being a dog groomer is one thing, having your own dog grooming business is another. A good dog grooming business plan will really set you apart. Here are few things to include...

Name Your Dog Grooming Business

A good business plan should start with naming your pet grooming business, while fun, can be harder than you think. Some things to consider for your own business name are making it unique and easy to remember, make sure other business owners have not taken the name on the internet, social media and/or business registries.  Once you know for sure that no other grooming services have claimed your name,  register it. It’s a smart move to  trademark the name as well. Now that you have your pet grooming business name, domain URL, and have claimed it on your social media communication platforms, you are off to a great start.

Register Your Business 

As a new business owner, don’t forget to register your pet grooming business as needed. You should decide which business structure to go for based on what suits your goal the best. Consult with an attorney or  legalzoom for setting up your dog grooming business as a Limited Liability Company (LLC) Corporation or other structure.  Don't be overly concerned about these business expenses it is worth getting good advice right up front. Remember to set up a business bank account too. Banks have great programs for the small business owner.

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Deciding Your Operating Concept

Brick and mortar store

If you decide you want to set up your dog grooming business in a traditional brick and mortar store then choose your location wisely. Rent, lease or purchase a location that is convenient to the public with high visibility. New business owners need to make their pet salon clean, respectable and an inviting place to be in. Most dog groomers opt for a see-through grooming space so the dog lover can see “behind the scenes” to their dogs on the grooming table being primped. It does provide a level of confidence that you and the pet groomers are taking the best care of their pets. It also shows off how clean and organized your dog grooming business is.

Adding small pet store

Think about including a small pet store in your grooming business where you can offer mid groom products like  waterless shampoo,  brushes,  leave-in conditioners and other items pet owners need to properly care for their animals in between pet grooming. 

Mobile dog grooming

According to  Global Newswire, The mobile dog grooming  market value is expected to exceed USD 1.2 billion by 2030. Mobile pet grooming industry has seen substantial growth over the past few years, and with people spending more time at home, growth has continued to rise.

Mobile pet grooming gives groomers the ability to perform a full range of services right outside the pet parent’s door. If you are opting to become a mobile dog grooming business, carefully consider your service area. Check out both new and used mobile units for your mobile pet grooming business. You want your dog grooming business profitable so be smart about pricing fro your pet grooming service.

mobile dog grooming business model

As a mobile pet grooming business, remember to account for gas and the number of hours spent traveling between appointments should be a factor in the overall price per groom. Mobile pet grooming is also limited by water capacity so account for how many grooms you can actually do in a day and in your start up costs. Vehicle maintenance is also an expense that you should account for. Save money by routinely checking and cleaning the mobile business. 

Private grooming

The pet industry does have a lot of private groomers. This often seem like the easiest approach, but this model can be limiting.  You will typically only be grooming small dogs. You will also be narrowing your potential clients to people with homes that have the right space for you to groom the pet. You have to account for travel time and ensure you leave time to clean the space after each grooming session. You can often charge higher pricing for the convenience of going to people's homes but be thoughtful about how you compare to local salons so you don’t alienate a customer by pricing too high.  

Obtain insurance, licenses, and permits.

Licenses & Permits 

Don't risk a successful business by avoiding legal requirements. Depending on your location, the types of licenses, permits, registrations, and property insurance pet groomers are required to have to start a dog grooming business vary. Make sure to check your local, state and federal websites for requirements like, Sales tax permit, Employer Identification Number, Occupancy Permit and other requirements. Here is an example where  NYC groomers are required to have a special business permit to start a new grooming business. Most states do not require you to have a professional license for grooming service. But always check as laws are constantly changing. 

You may want to consult an attorney to guide you through the process of creating a business entity. A lot of these forms can easily be filled out and submitted online via the government website. Your attorney can provide you with a list of what you need and you can do the bulk of the work yourself and save some fees.  

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Business Insurance 

When you start a dog grooming salon, mobile truck or private business, you need the right business insurance. When a dog is in your care, you are responsible for their well-being. You may also need property insurance and/or professional liability insurance. 

If running a mobile grooming business, you most likely need to add a policy to your personal auto insurance policy since most don’t include commercial activity. Also, depending on the number of dog groomers you have in your facility you will need supplemental insurance for them as well. 

These are just the starting blocks for a good business plan. Starting a dog grooming business has many layers. Making a legal business entity that is properly insured is a step you should not skip over. 

Financing

Financing your sole proprietorship can be hard when you only have your personal assets to rely on. Talk to your local bank and small business associations to help guide you in creative and safe ways to finance your new business. 

Invest in the best dog grooming equipment and grooming supplies

Outfitting your pet grooming business with the right grooming table, washing stations, pet grooming equipment and animal boarding are three important larger investments.  The pet industry innovation in this area is booming and dog groomers now have a lot of options to choose from. 

dog grooming equipment

Make sure you and your dog groomers have the  best sheers, combs and brushes. Start a dog grooming business with a good inventory of shampoos, conditioners, balms and sprays. Keep track of how much product you are using with a good log. A good dog groomer does not skimp on quality. Also understand myths around dilutionand making your gallons last versus the products being effective.  As a pet groomer, your clients come to you for the best results and using high performance formulas is key to delivering best in class grooms. 

Hiring Pet Groomers

If you are hiring a pet groomer other than yourselves, be sure they are compassionate and will treat animals with respect and kindness. Make sure they have good communication skills if they will be interacting with pet owners.  Being a professional pet groomer often demands long hours on one's feet so make sure your team is committed to hard work and that you account for time off.  Pet grooming businesses are having a hard time hiring right now. The pet industry is having a deficit of pet groomers so make sure as small business owners you are creating a good working environment and building loyalty among your employees. 

Business Software

Find a good business software for your dog grooming business. The pet industry has come far with tech. There are a lot of options to help manage sales and business accounting, make and keep appointments, and even create a rewards program. The right software helps you so much when starting a dog grooming business. Even if you are not tech savvy, it is worth employing cloud-based applications and programs from the outset.  

Promote your dog grooming business

Apart of a good business plan is marketing. In order to attract customers you want to put together a robust marketing plan for your pet services. If you want to be a successful dog groomer you cannot wait for pet parents to come to you. Know your target market.  CNBC recently reported that 50% of pet parents are millennials and Gen Z and that high-income households are adopting more than one pet.  Among many things, this indicates that the marketplace for pets cuts across all age and gender lines. This means you need to use all the promotional channels available if you're going to maximize your marketing reach. 

Groomer Website

This is your business’ home on the internet.  A basic website is key. Create an attractive and easy to use website to offer grooming services.  Make sure to offer multiple ways for your customers to contact you and make sure to follow up. Especially if you are doing mobile grooming you will likely be on the go a lot. There are incredible apps to help with website creation, online appointments, billing, etc. take advantage of these to make your website as user friendly as possible. Your business website is definitely something you should spend time and money on and should be apart of your start up costs. 

Professional Social Media Accounts

It is part art and part science. Getting comfortable with social media platforms like Instagram, Tik Tok and Facebook is crucial for today’s small businesses in the dog grooming industry.  These marketing channels are a key to tap into early on. It does take time to build a following and really hone your social media strategy.  Have friends and family take pictures or film you during grooming sessions. Show a lot of before and after images to create a portfolio for customers to view. Try and show a variety of breeds, sizes and types of haircuts.  Take pictures of your mobile grooming truck so potential customers will recognize the van. 

Creative Marketing

promoting dog grooming business

Do not leave out tried and true marketing techniques like offering discounts to repeat customers or a loyalty program. Take part in trade shows, county fairs and local pet events. Put up business cards and posters on bulletin boards in your town. Maintain an ongoing, weekly display ad in your local newspaper. Wrapping your mobile grooming truck in attractive colors or fun dog pictures will grab potential customers' attention too. 

Networking

Increase your professional profile by joining a national dog groomers association such as the  National Dog Groomers Association of America. Small business organizations can be great resources as well.  Your local pet stores, or talk to dog walking services to let people know you are in the grooming businesses. Do not forget about getting involved with your local rescue organization.  A lot of pet parents are opting to adopt versus going to a breeder directly.  Volunteering your time is not only good for the community, but can also help bring in new business.  

WHO IS PRIDE+GROOM?

The very first clean beauty brand…for dogs!

PRIDE+GROOM is a female and minority owned all-natural pet grooming company born and bred in New York City.  We designed our coat-specific dog shampoos with a light, fresh signature scent that says goodbye to the overwhelming fragrances currently in the dog grooming market. Our packaging and branding humanizes our pet products making them attractive and user friendly.

We offer wholesale pricing for professional use or resale, discover our producthere

Our company is rooted in our love for dogs and cats, and we’ve put all our energy into creating products that let us care for them, their coats and their skin in a way that is natural, nurturing, and specific. Our formulas are a unique blend of essential oils sourced from around the world. Each ingredient has a purpose.  Like Marshmallow Root Oil, in our Non-Shedder, helps detangle and nourish those dogs, like doodles, with hair that grows and is prone to matting.  

PRIDE+GROOM is deeply committed to giving back to the community. We developed our ONE FUR ALL conditioning shampoo that we have donated to over 1000 shelters around the country. This amounts to over 50,000 needy rescue dogs getting the PRIDE+GROOM treatment before heading to their forever homes for adoption.  

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