Congratulations on your decision to start a dog grooming business! 

Now is an exciting time to start a pet care business, as the industry is successful year over year. Americans are spending more on pets than ever before, a number expected to reach $99 billion this year.

But now that you have made the courageous decision to start your business, you may be overwhelmed with what to do next. There are many steps ahead on your journey to creating a dog grooming business, from legal paperwork and licensing to selecting a name and designing a logo. 

We created this guide to lead you through the process of starting a dog grooming business. Read on for everything you need!

Create a dog grooming business plan.

To start a business, you need to write a business plan. This comprehensive document is necessary to secure funding and includes crucial information about your business, such as market and financial analyses and management structure. 

Select an operating concept.

It’s time to decide where you will operate your dog grooming business. 

Your choices include:

  • Rent space in a salon
  • Run a mobile grooming salon
  • Run a dog grooming salon from your home
  • Run a dog grooming salon as the only groomer
  • Run a dog grooming salon and invite groomers to rent space 
  • Run a dog grooming salon and hire groomers to work for you

Size and layout are significant factors when renting or purchasing space. A dog grooming business floor plan typically includes four sections: lobby, kennel or holding space, bath area, and grooming space.

Operating out of your home might be the most cost-effective choice, but there are things to consider. Running a business out of your home can limit growth opportunities, making expansion both in physical and staff size difficult. You also might anger your neighbors, mainly because dogs are loud. If you decide to run your business out of your home, first verify if you can legally do so. 

A growing trend is the mobile dog grooming business. Mobile dog grooming is convenient for pet parents and provides freedom for the business owner. While there are benefits, operating out of a van presents issues like faulty equipment and the cost of fuel. 

Establish a business entity.

Establishing a business entity is a crucial way to protect yourself from liability and save money on taxes. Consult with a lawyer to evaluate which option is best for your dog grooming business. Options include: 

  • Limited liability company (LLC): Owners of an LLC are not personally liable for the business’s debts and liabilities. LLCs are exclusive to the US and join a corporation’s characteristics to a partnership or sole proprietorship.
  • Corporation: A corporation is a group acting as a single legal entity. 
  • Sole proprietorship: A sole proprietorship is a business owned and operated by one person. There are no legal distinctions between the business and the owner.
  • Partnership: A partnership is a business owned and operated by two or more parties. Partnerships vary in how owners share liability and profits.

Obtain insurance, licenses, and permits.

Dependent on your location, the types of licenses, permits, registrations, and insurance required to start a dog grooming business vary

Standard local, state and federal registrations include:

  • Sales tax permit
  • Employer Identification Number
  • Occupancy Permit

If you are working in a salon or your home, get general liability insurance to protect yourself from a dog bite or pet parent slipping.  

If running a mobile grooming business, you most likely need to add a policy to your personal auto insurance policy since most don’t include commercial activity.

Buy dog grooming tools and supplies.

Be prepared for sticker shock. Tubs, dryers, and grooming tables can cost thousands of dollars. But, you can’t operate a dog grooming business without the necessary equipment. Essential investments include:

  • Grooming tables
  • Fur dryers
  • Washing machines and dryers
  • Bathing tubs
  • Kennels
  • Grooming hose
  • Shower attachments
  • Dog brushes 
  • Combs
  • Shears
  • De-matters
  • Gloves
  • Grooming clippers
  • Nail clippers
  • Nail grinders
  • Shampoo and conditioner
  • Ear cleaning products
  • Bandanas and bows
  • Face masks
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Cleaning products

Earn certifications and training.

There are no legal certifications required for dog groomers, but training helps ensure you do an exemplary job and show customers you are qualified. 

Training ensures you know necessary skills like:

  • Breed-specific haircuts
  • How to handle aggressive dogs
  • Nail trimming
  • Ear cleaning

Virtual and in-personal schools offer training and certification. You might also consider training in bookkeeping software and business management.

Establish pricing.

Set your rates in a similar range to local dog groomers to ensure your business is competitive. Keep in mind breed, type of service, and the time it takes to complete the service when establishing rates.

Consider bundling services together for special packages, offering punch cards, and offering first-time promotions. 

Pricing should reflect actual cost, taxes, insurance, and a little extra for your savings. The more prepared you are for unexpected expenses like equipment failure or a pandemic, the better off you will be.

Promote your dog grooming business.

When starting, it’s crucial to spread the word. Marketing generates buzz, and you want people talking about your dog grooming business. Promote special offers and incentivize potential clients to try your grooming services. Some things to try:

  • Create a memorable business name.
  • Design a catchy logo.
  • Design a professional website.
  • Mail or email coupons.
  • Launch a referral program.
  • Give business cards and flyers to pet boutiques, vet clinics, animal rescues, dog trainers, and doggie daycares.
  • Get active on social media.
  • Launch advertising on Google and Facebook.
  • Be engaged in local Facebook groups.
  • Offer gift certificates as a part of a fundraising event. 

Get pet care business software.

Pet care business software keeps track of everything you need to operate a dog grooming business, including appointments, marketing, groomer schedules, communication, payments, and more. 

Gingr is packed with time-saving features that make running your dog grooming business easier. Gingr simplifies your daily tasks while improving your employee and customer experience.

Contact Gingr today to schedule a demo!