You grew up with a dog in your family and helped take care of it. You love animals. If these statements describe you, consider going into the dog grooming business. Groomers bathe and groom pets, cut their nails and brush their teeth, and perform other services requested by pet owners.
Here are a few things to think about before committing yourself to this business idea:
- Doing what you love
- Developing management skills: you not only need to manage the dogs, you need to manage the pet parents too
- You need physical strength to lift bigger dogs onto grooming tables and into tubs as well as to stand for hours on end to perform your grooming
- You might encounter biters and scratchers
- You need a lot of equipment, such as grooming tables, tubs, dryers, cages, combs, brushes, scissors, clippers, shampoos and styling tools
How to get started:
NOTE: Before you start your business, you should read the page on this website entitled “things to think about before you get started.” After you have taken the preliminary steps for starting any business, you can take the specific steps outlined below.
- Consider serving, for a while, as an assistant or apprentice to an established groomer. You can also practice your skills by grooming pets of family and friends for free.
- Consider what services you are able to offer and feel comfortable doing. Besides the basics of bathing and hair cutting, you can offer additional services such as nail clipping end even anal sac expressing. (Be sure you know how to perform such services before you offer them.)
- Look into licensing requirements. These will vary by state. Google “dog grooming business license in [your state]”
- If you are going to be grooming a lot of dogs, you should consider forming a limited liability corporation; this will protect you in case you accidentally injure a pet. But no state will allow anyone under 18 to be the principal in an incorporated business, so if you are under 18 you should ask a parent or guardian to be the authorized signer. (SOURCE: Small Business Administration.)
- You should make sure the pet has current vaccinations in case you get bitten.
How much to charge:
As a general, guide, the median wage for animal care and service workers is $10.69 per hour, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. But that includes a wide range of workers and varies by region. To find the rate for dog grooming in the area where you live, look for services being offered in your area and see how much they charge. A good place to start would be Craig’s List.
Your prices should fall into a similar range so your business will be competitive, and it is smart to price slightly lower when first establishing a clientele to encourage customers to give you a chance. Offering a special discount rate to first-time visitors is another sure way to get new clients in the door. It is also important to consider the size of dog when setting prices – charge more for the bigger ones.
Taking it to the next level:
Once you have gained an appreciative customer base and feel that you are ready to expand, here are some steps you can take:
- Visit local pet stores, pet supply stores and veterinary clinics to introduce yourself. Such businesses may offer referrals or allow you to leave advertising materials in their facilities.
- Consider giving away gift certificates for your services as a part of animal rescue charity fundraisers or other community events.
- Create a website and start spreading the word through social media posts and ads
- If you are thinking about pet grooming as an adult career, consider earning certification from the National Dog Groomers Association of America (https://www.nationaldoggroomers.com)
- Offer additional services such as petsitting and walking.