Pet grooming has seen a rising trend as the career of choice, especially among people who are avid pet lovers. With the variety in pets, temperaments, and grooming requirements, every day as a pet groomer is interesting, at the very least!
However, before you begin to convert your passion for pets into an active profession and make your mark in the pet grooming business, there are a few things you need to know. Like any other business, pet grooming is not all cute dogs and well-behaved cats; there are a ton of other serious things such as licenses and compliance to be considered.
Which is why, we have complied a list of the 9 things you ought to know before you start your own pet grooming business. Here goes!
#1 Whom to Groom?
Your first and foremost question to yourself ought to be, which pets and breeds can I groom? For this, you need to analyse your skill set, your likes and dislikes, and gather information about the species you intend to care for. For instance, some breeds of cats and dogs need high maintenance grooming, which might not always be within your budget or you might not have the experience for, as a first-time pet groomer.
In such cases, it helps to be clear about the pets you will be able to handle for sure and cater to only those, gradually expanding your portfolio over time.
#2 Educational matters: Courses, Training, Compliance, and Licences
The reason we have included all four of these under one category is that they form the four pillars of education, when it comes to pet grooming.
- Courses: Depending on where you live, there are various official pet grooming courses available. Although a certificate is not always strictly necessary to start your own business, having legitimate certification not only generates more trust among your customers, but also enhances your own confidence.
- Training: Whether you opt for a course or not, training as a pet groomer is a must. To this end you can work in an existing pet grooming shop or start working as a freelancer for your neighbors. Either way, you need to get some hands-on training on handling pets in different circumstances before you start your own official pet grooming business.
- Compliance: As you begin to lay the foundation for your pet grooming business, it is necessary to familiarize yourself with all pet-related laws and compliance laid down by the Animal Rights Acts in your country. This is important as it helps to avoid any perceived indiscretions later.
- Licenses: Having an official license for setting up your pet grooming store is imperative. You can check with your local authorities to get a clear idea of the licenses you need to begin your business.
#3 Choosing A Location
There are three different options when it comes to choosing a location for your pet grooming store:
- Start a home-based business
- Rent a shop and start a complete salon
- Opt for a mobile pet grooming van service
If you opt for running your business from home, you need to set up separate rooms for bathing and cleaning the pets, as well as designating areas for clients, parking, kennels, and more. Substantial planning is necessary when you consider setting up all the infrastructure within your home. In addition, working from home comes with the need to set clear boundaries for yourself to keep your personal and professional lives separate.
If renting a shop is your choice, there are obvious things like capital investment, rent, mortgage, infrastructure setup, and more to be taken into account. However, having a separate pet grooming salon adds a professional touch to your business and helps build brand awareness.
There is a rising trend of offering mobile pet grooming services. While this has several advantages such as better client outreach and a more flexible business, the space constraints on infrastructure in the van can hinder your growth. Besides, your services can be severely limited on account of a small storage area, maintenance costs, petrol/diesel costs, and other overheads.
#4 Start-up Cost
The start-up cost includes everything from building the basic infrastructure such as tables and bathtubs, to purchasing the dryers, blowers, shampoos, conditioners, clippers, shears, and other instruments required for pet grooming. In addition, the fixed overheads will include your rent, gas and electricity bills, water supply and maintenance charges, employee costs, and more. It is necessary to create a budget for all the initial investment that will be incurred and plan expenses before you set up shop.
#5 Services Provided
As you start planning your pet grooming business, it helps to understand the niche you will start working with. For instance, do you want to run a simple, regular cleaning and bathing service or do you plan to go all the way and offer customized services such as nail clipping, styling, pet treatment, and more? You can conceivably start with one niche and then expand your area of expertise over time, as you gain experience. On the other hand, if you want to become the complete service provider for everything related to pet grooming, you can consider hiring people with the necessary qualifications to make your work easier.
#6 Ensure Insurance
Getting your company insured is a must for every pet groomer, in case of any unfortunate mishap. Pet owners are extremely possessive about their pets, and rightly so, hence, it is better to be prepared for any eventuality. Pets can be a handful at times, so you need to get yourself covered from an insurance company that knows how to handle animal-related issues.
As you are responsible for taking care of the pet when it is in your possession, you will be held accountable if the pet falls ill or runs away. Hence, it is necessary to get a policy that clearly states your insurance coverage in cases of accidents and other setbacks.
#7 Setting up your website
Now that you have your pet grooming business up and running, it is necessary to promote it. You have a niche, you have a market, but people are not yet aware of your existence. To remedy this, you can start by creating a website for your store. The internet is a powerful tool for promotion when utilized successfully. A beautiful and well-designed website can do wonders in terms of your reputation, brand awareness and customer loyalty.
In addition, it can be highly useful for setting up appointments, keeping track of the success of your business venture, informing people about the services you offer, keeping in touch with your clients, and networking to reach more people. There are several user-friendly platforms that you can avail of, such as WordPress, Joomla, etc., to build your website. Besides, if you are not a very tech-savvy person, you can always hire professional website development services to do the job for you!
#8 Marketing, Marketing, Marketing
The store is ready, your website is in place, and clients are starting to trickle in. Now if there is one thing required to make business bloom, it is marketing. The world runs on marketing today. No matter how great your service or how beautiful your store, people will not be aware of it unless you market it right.
One characteristic of the pet grooming industry is that the review about services spreads quickly among all pet owners by word-of-mouth, as the pet owners’ community is like one big family. This can be a good thing (or a bad thing) from the point of view of marketing, provided your services are top-notch.
However, you cannot simply rely on word-of-mouth publicity for expanding your business and since the days of flyers and newspaper advertisements are fast becoming obsolete, a viable alternative is email and social media marketing.
Create awareness on social media websites, encourage clients to add reviews, send out regular newsletters that talk about your services, discounts, and other offers. You can also start a blog talking about pet grooming and maintenance tips you would like to share with your audience, without giving away business secrets of course! The point is to let your clientele know that you are a veteran of your art, which increases trust and customer loyalty manifold.
#9 Creating A Network
An extension of the marketing approach, creating an affiliate network is a great way of increasing your clients. You can connect with local veterinary doctors, other pet grooming businesses, and more and build a solid network that together delivers every service a pet owner could require.
Starting a pet grooming business begins with passion, but continues with dedication. The changing lifestyle of people across the world has increased pet owners’ desire to keep their pets well-groomed and presentable and they are more ready than ever to avail of professional services to do so. In such a scenario, choosing a unique selling point that sets your grooming business apart from others is necessary.
We hope this list gives you a clear idea of all the things you need to consider before you start you own pet grooming business. Have any other suggestions? Let us know in the comments section below!