How To Start A Dog Grooming Business: The Complete Guide

Written by: Bojana Radulovic
Start a pet grooming business by following the tips listed in this article. Read on to learn how to make your grooming business last.

The pet grooming business is on the rise.

With more responsible dog owners, it comes as no surprise that overall pet health requires proper care. This is something that is best seen in dog ownership.

Dog owners know that grooming is a great deal of overall dog health. It’s common for people to equal brushing with grooming, although brushing is just a small part of a dog’s overall grooming practice.

Dog owners know that next to weekly brushing, monthly nail clipping, regular gums check, and regular ear cleaning they should keep grooming practice consistent.

However, the majority of dog owners don’t have enough time to regularly groom their dogs, which is why they turn to professional dog groomers.

Grooming is time-consuming work, and it doesn’t have to do a lot with the dog’s size.

For example, people may think that Poodle comes with higher grooming requirements, while it’s in fact much harder grooming smaller Pomeranian – it has much more to do with the coat, undercoat, and what was the original breeding purpose of the breed.

Brushing is probably one of the most commonly performed practices by dog owners. This activity makes a stronger bond between dog and owner, plus it enables quick skin check for fleas and any sign of skin infection.

Just keeping this practice constant requires a lot of time and work, which is why dog owners still go for professional grooming practices.

Are you one of those people who have entrepreneurial DNA in them, next to great love toward canines?

Or maybe you are an entrepreneurial dog lover with a Fido of your own?

If so, you are probably spending your time about thinking how would it be like to own a professional dog grooming service.

The dog grooming business isn’t difficult to start, but it’s something that demands a certain level of skills, certain expertise, and some investment.

Let’s break down what you need to kick off the best dog grooming service ever.

Starting A Dog Grooming Business

Are you serious about starting a dog grooming business? Congrats!

Being a part of the entrepreneurial system is definitely something to be excited about. However, there are many logistic moments that you have to deal with.

This is why great preparation matters. Since just entering the entrepreneurial waters is challenging, and starting a dog grooming business comes with many struggles, we have decided to step in with some guidelines and make the journey more enjoyable.

Let’s see what you need to start (and maintain) a great dog grooming business.

First Comes the Great Training

Responsible dog owners won’t leave their puppy with anyone. This means that you need to show a certain level of reputation, that easily comes with the right kind of certification.

To become a groomer you need a certain level of skills. This can be achieved by completing a formal and professional grooming program or by shadowing a well-known professional (this means that you put your time into the service of someone willing to share their knowledge with you).

Another not-so-common option is to gain experience through dog shows.

To get the right training and certificate, you should find the right school first.

Pro tip: It can be a great idea to check online courses on dog grooming first, just to get the bigger picture.

The second step is to check schools on dog grooming and what kind of training and certification they provide.

Do you need a certificate to become a dog groomer? No, but if you want to stand out and have a better start, having the right certification can help. Plus, it can be helpful in terms of marketing and overall reputation.

Plan Your Business

Have you ever heard of that saying ‘Fail to plan, plan to fail’?

If not, this is something to have on your wall or set on your mobile/desktop background as a reminder to always plan.

We all know that what we plan doesn’t always come true, but it gives us direction.

Having a plan is like having a great starting point that will eventually get you to the ultimate goal – running the best dog grooming business possible.

When it comes to planning, there are some questions to think about it first:

  • What are the initial costs?
  • Do you know who your target group is?
  • Do you know how to form a price?
  • Do you know what will you name your business?
  • Do you have an operating concept?
  • What do you envision location-wise?
  • What type of equipment do you need?
  • Do you know what channels you need to use to get the word out?

These questions and many more require a significant amount of research.

Luckily, we have got you covered because we have researched these questions already.

Now, let’s see what you can expect cost-wise.

What Are The Costs Involved In Opening A Dog Grooming Business?

If you can operate out of your home or from a mobile station (where you can also visit dogs at home) you can expect your costs to be low.

This is important when it comes to start-ups and initial costs. If you’re renting a place, you can expect initial costs to be higher, depending on the location.

Certain locations tend to be more pricey than others, so make sure that you do proper research on real estate and see what works for your budget.

Purchasing Equipment

To provide the best grooming possible, you will need to have the best grooming tools.

You cannot work without tools that aren’t of high quality – which means that they are durable and effective.

You don’t have to break the bank to buy grooming tools, but do invest in necessary tools that are durable.

Here is what you need to have as basic equipment when starting your dog grooming business:

  • Clippers
  • Shears
  • Scissors
  • Brushes
  • Shampoos
  • Conditioners
  • Sprays
  • Dryers
  • Nail clippers
  • Ear cleaning products
  • Bandanas
  • Bows

This should go without mentioning, but it cannot harm to note it: make sure that all products, especially shampoo and toothpaste are specially designed for dogs.

Some larger equipment that you may need as well, include:

  • Washing machines
  • Dryers
  • Bathtubs
  • Professional grooming tables
  • Cages

All in all, dog grooming equipment may cost hundreds of dollars. The price may vary depending on size, style, and quality.

If you still have to learn about a dog’s size, check this tool that will help you compare breeds

Spreading the word on your business is what will kick it off.

Thanks to online spaces nowadays, you can spread the word around in no time and with minimal investment.

It’s crucial to spread the word when you are just starting. Marketing generates buzz, and you want people to talk about your business.

In the world of the digital era it an imperative to use digital tools to serve you.

Before you start creating your marketing plan, make sure that you create a great business name.

Next to a great name, you will need a great logo, and website (keep it simple).

Don’t forget to set your business email address, and get active on social media.

Here are some steps that can make promotion faster and easier:

  • Create a business name that is catchy
  • Have a recognizable logo
  • Have a website. Be simple when it comes to this: you need a website that will just present your business, you don’t need a website that is complex
  • Have a professional email
  • Create coupons
  • Think about the best way to launch a referral program
  • Design business cards
  • Create flyers and share them on different corners of vet clinics, animal rescues, dog trainers, puppy schools, and dog daycare
  • Have social media channels
  • Think about investing in advertising on Google and Facebook
  • Find local Facebook groups and be active on them
  • Organize different events

Now, since we are all living in a digital area business owners invest in different tools to keep their operations easier. This is why software is so popular as a tool.

It can be easily implemented and custom-built to help with every step.

Do you need this kind of tool? Yes and no. You will definitely need business software at some point to help you with appointments, marketing steps, grooming schedules, payment, communication, and much more.

However, you might think twice about getting this tool at the beginning.

When starting your grooming business the idea is to minimize expenses and invest in operations that will help you build your business.

Pricing Services

You may love dogs and nothing makes you happier than brushing dogs and you could do it free for life, but running a business is also about making a profit.

You cannot run a business without determining the prices.

Determining the price is challenging on many levels but isn’t mission impossible. The very first step should be to research prices in your area.

You don’t want your prices to be too high, or too low compared to those on the market. You want to aim for a similar range.

As a new grooming service, you can offer first-time visitors a discount to motivate people to come.

Some of the factors that you should take into consideration when it comes to creating prices:

  • Check local dog grooming prices
  • Think about your value and how much value you bring
  • Think about the dog’s size and type
  • Think about the dog’s coat type and style
  • Think about the dog’s temperament

Don’t compete over when it comes to pricing, but rather think about your essence, and what you can bring.

When starting it’s important to focus on the value, and the rest will follow naturally.

Successful business owners will always tell you that you need to focus on delivering the best service possible, and never on quantity.

Quantity will always follow quality.

How to form the best price possible?

Prices should reflect your costs.

Make sure that you include not only costs, but also insurance, taxes, and a fund for the rainy days.

Let’s be honest, rainy days always happen. It is no secret that dog owners usually avoid taking their dogs to the groomer on rainy days.

Plus, figuratively speaking, rainy days also refers to the downsides of every business.

With a dog grooming business, you can still expect to experience some sort of downfalls, such as:

  • Plumbing breaks
  • Accidents if you are mobile groomer
  • Water-related problems
  • Equipment misfuntion

It is always better to be safe than sorry, which is why you should plan for unplanned.

It may sound like a lot of work and unnecessary expenses, but it will pay off.

Keeping yourself safe and your business in balance is the best way to run your business smoothly.

Do You Know What Customer Retention Is?

When it comes to keeping your business running, you need to think about customers.

The best way to know if your business is really working is to have customers coming over and over again.

In other words, this return is also known as customer retention. Returning customers are what keeps your business running.

One satisfied customer can bring another three easily. Plus, when you have consistent customers you can make appointments easier, as well as your income.

Think About Little Things

Keeping your customers happy goes beyond great service. Yes, a dog should always be well-groomed, but you need to think about owners as well.

If a mistake happens, admit it. Human-to-human communication is important when it comes to making a good relationship with your customers.

Send them a card on their dog’s birthday, wish them a happy birthday, or pack a special dog treat on big occasions – small things can take you a long way.

People want to feel like humans, they want to see that they are appreciated.

How To Name A Dog Grooming Business

Running a business comes with many challenges, but having a good business name is something that will keep things running and help you build your brand.

This is why you should think properly about how to name your grooming business. This sounds like a fun and easy action, right?

If you are not sure where to get inspiration for your business, check this list for the most popular dog names and start from there.

Make sure that you can use a certain name. Once you are sure that the name is free – claim it.

It cannot harm to patent or trademark the name. Don’t forget to check if the name is web-ready and if you can use that name for social media.

The Bottom Line

Did you know that starting a dog grooming business in States comes with relatively low costs?

Or that you need an investment between $50,000 to $60,000 depending on your physical location, to start a dog grooming business?

There are around 60 million homes across the States with at least one dog, which means that millions of dogs require regular and proper care.

According to the American Pet Products Association dogs are the most popular household animal in the States.

After dogs, Americans love cats and freshwater fish as pets.

This should be enough to give you the broader picture of how big the pet market is and how much space dog grooming business actually is a great move.

Is starting a dog grooming business a great idea? It is.
Is running a dog grooming business difficult? It will be challenging for sure.
Will it be worth your time and energy? This depends on you and how willing you are to grow your business.

Doublethink if running a dog grooming business is something that you want to step into and if you are ready to focus on the long-distance goal, because running a business is not a sprint, but running a marathon.