How to Start a Dog Grooming Business
Are you pet-obsessed? Looking for a more fulfilling career? It’s time to finally open your own business! Here’s how to start a dog grooming business.
A dog grooming business is one of the most satisfying and long-lasting types of businesses anyone could choose to build. An animal-lover (like you) providing a service to other animal-lovers is a win-win.
And anyone who owns a dog knows that it’s a challenge to keep one clean! A dog grooming business is great because it’s impossible to run out of customers.
If you’re wondering how to start a dog grooming business, here are a few ideas and tips to consider:
The real genesis of a new business is the concept. When you’re lying in bed at night wondering how to start a dog grooming business, you’ve got to concentrate first on nailing the concept. Decide if you want the business to be full-service or self-service. Or a little of each? What do you think would work best in your community? If you have a storefront, will you sell other pet-related items like food, treats, and collars?
You know the neighborhoods in your town, so only you can determine what sort of service would be most welcome and successful. Think about the car washing businesses in your area as an indicator. Do you live where people generally pay someone else to detail their car? Or do you live in a place where every Saturday morning people grab a bucket and wash their cars right in their driveways? Or do you see a lot of automated drive-through car washes?
Consider each in terms of how those same people would want to wash their dogs. You might even think about a mobile dog wash that offers house calls. Or maybe you want to buy an existing franchise!
When you first asked yourself how to start a dog grooming business, you may have simultaneously asked yourself how to name a dog grooming business. Or maybe you’re one of those people who thought of the name first! It happens.
You’ll want the name to be unique, yet easy to remember, right? Of course, you’ll also want a name that no one else is using (at least in your area) and you’ll want it to be web-ready, that is, something that you can easily create a website for that’s also not taken.
When you know for sure that no one else has claimed your name, register it. It’s a smart move to patent or trademark the name as well. Once you’ve firmed up a name and a URL, claim it on all the social media you plan on employing to communicate with customers and market your brand.
I bet this is something you haven’t thought about at all. Yes, software for your dog grooming business. You know why? Because you have to keep track of money. You have to make and keep appointments both over the phone and online. You probably want to create a rewards program. You’ll have to pay your employees! So many things!
Training and Certification
Dog grooming businesses don’t have to follow the same rules that human hair salons and barbershops do. That is, you won’t need a license that shows you’re trained to groom a dog. That doesn’t mean that you wouldn’t benefit from taking courses, though. For example, Animal Behavior College has 6000 locations in the United States and teaches people all about handling pets. Official training will make you seem, well, more official. It legitimizes your work even if it’s not technically necessary.
Getting the Word Out
As we mentioned before, social media is the least expensive way to communicate directly with your customers or potential customers. For instance, Facebook ads are targeted at specific users; you can get really specific about whose attention you’re trying to grab.
You can also create videos that you tweet out or post on your website or Facebook page. By creating a video you can speak directly to the people you want to do business with. You can show them exactly who you are and what you do without leaving your office or spending any money. And once you’ve built a good email list, you can use email as an inexpensive marketing tool.
If you’re lucky–or not so lucky–your customers will give you online reviews. Even if they’re not quite glowing you can still make them work for you. Another great way to get the word out is to visit local pet shops and veterinary clinics and introduce yourself. Hand our information about your services.
The Nitty Gritty
You have a lot of specific choices to consider when you’re trying to answer the question that’s been floating around your head for months: How to start a dog grooming business. Where will you set up shop? Just like every other type of business, when you ask yourself how to start a dog grooming business, you’ll also be asking where to start a dog grooming business.
Position your shop where dogs are. Near a dog park. Near a veterinary clinic. Near a pet store (though not a chain with a grooming service). Or, you could nestle it among shops near a cluster of neighborhoods. The type of equipment you purchase will depend, of course, on which kind of grooming service you’ve decided to start. That is, if you’re focusing on self-serve, you’ll need several large tubs with pull-down sprayers. You’ll need plastic aprons for your customers to use so their dogs won’t soak them. You’ll need soap for sensitive skin, and for regular skin, and so on.
You can also go with new or used equipment. Maybe start small and buy more as business picks up. All of this falls under the category of “nitty gritty” and you seem like a great list-maker…
The bottom line is that asking how to start a dog grooming business is definitely the right question. We’ve done some brainstorming here, but you’re onto something fabulous and now it’s just a matter of putting one foot in front of the other.
Becoming a small business owner is not easy, regardless of how awesome your idea is. If you see a way to simplify matters, take it! Now it’s time for you to make some lists and some phone calls and clean up some dogs!
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