As a dog lover, you may have already considered jobs that allow you to work with them. There will always be a dog that needs to be groomed, so why not turn that need into your own business? Keep reading to learn how you can start your own dog grooming business.
1. Decide on the Services
You don’t necessarily have to own or rent a physical storefront to begin a dog grooming service. You can offer mobile grooming services to customers, or you can work out of your home if you have the room to do so. If you decide to rent and renovate a storefront to do business out of, you’ll have to find an empty storefront in an easily accessible area. Working out of your home means dedicating a large area to your business. You can also offer to travel to the homes of your customers to provide services on-the-go.
You will also need to decide on a name for your company. This may take more effort than you would think! You’ll have to make sure that no one has the same name you are thinking about before you register it as your own. Your name should be one that is easy to remember yet unique from others. As soon as you decide on one and make sure no one else has it, trademark it so that no one else can claim it.
2. Get the Certifications You Need
If you have experience in a dog grooming salon, all the better. While opening a grooming business won’t require the same certification as opening a barbershop or hair salon will, it won’t hurt to take some classes to show you have the background. Having official training will show your customers that you care about the services you provide. There are many online courses that will help you learn the different techniques that various breeds require. Every customer wants to take their pet to someone with experience, so it won’t hurt to brush up on whatever skills you already have.
3. Using the Right Software
When you get started, you may decide to simply write everything down with pen and paper. But as you become more established in the dog grooming business, it is important to use the right software to keep track of what you are doing. It won’t hurt to take a business software class before you open your business to learn about the latest business programs. You’ll want a program that can keep track of appointments and client information. If you plan on hiring help, you’ll need a program that will keep track of their hours and that can handle your payment processing needs. You’ll also need to keep detailed records for the IRS.
4. Having the Right Equipment
All the knowledge in the world won’t help if you don’t have the right equipment for the job! As a dog groomer, it is important to keep up with the latest equipment, so always be on the lookout for new ideas and visit websites like The Pampered Pup to make sure you’ve got the information you need to make a purchase. However, there are some basic tools you can start with:
Slicker brush- A slicker brush works well on a variety of dogs. You should also have a medium-toothed comb on hand as well as a fine-toothed comb. A pin brush is also an item to have for use on breeds with long, silky coats
Hair clippers- A quality pair of hair clippers is a must
Dog shampoo and conditioner
Nail clippers and nail grinder
Styptic powder- Keep styptic powder on hand to help stop the bleeding if you accidentally cut a dog’s nails too short
Dog toothpaste and brushes
Dog towels for drying
Ear cleaning solution and cotton balls
The type of equipment you purchase will depend on the money you have to invest in your business. You’ll find hundreds of quality dog grooming items online, so make sure you take your time to research each item before you purchase it.
5. Marketing Your Business
Having a professional website will be your best bet when you start your own dog grooming business. You can purchase your own website if you are tech-savvy, or you can hire a company to build one for you. You can also use social media platforms to your advantage. Create a custom Facebook page for your services and use targeted ads to reach potential customers in your area. Make sure you clearly advertise your services and prices. You can also use social media to link back to your website.
However, there are other ways to advertise your services that don’t involve social media. Print out flyers and leave them in pet stores and vet clinics if allowed. Consider a direct mail campaign. Head to dog shows and hand out flyers with your information. Build an email list as you take on customers to use as a marketing tool. You can also ask friends and family members to suggest your services and share your posts on social media.
6. Price Your Services
It’s very tempting to keep your prices lower than other groomers in the area, but this isn’t always the best idea. Customers will typically pay a little extra for the tradeoff of convenience, so consider how you can market your services to reflect this. For example, you’ll be able to price your services a bit higher when you have a mobile dog grooming company that comes out to their house. Customers will be willing to pay for the quality of your work as well as your professionalism. While you will need to compare costs in your area, it isn’t smart to price yourself so low that you don’t make any profit. Remember, you still need to pay for things like rent, fuel, insurance, taxes, and emergency situations. Don’t price yourself out of business while trying to draw in new customers with an amazing deal.
7. Consider the “Extras”
You may wish to offer extra services along with your dog grooming business. Do you know how to make gourmet dog treats? Can you sew holiday sweaters and cute booties for dogs? Maybe you have experience with dog walking or pet sitting. If you can use your knowledge to your advantage, consider offering these services as well. Just don’t burn yourself out trying to do too much at once. The health and well-being of the dogs you see should always be your number one priority!