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Dog Grooming Franchises

The Oxford English Dictionary definition of a Franchise (a dog grooming franchise or indeed any other franchise) is:

An authorization granted by a government or company to an individual or group enabling them to carry out specified commercial activities, for example acting as an agent for a company's products:'

Toyota granted the group a franchise' http://www.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/english/franchise

So, in simple terms, buying a dog grooming franchise for sale means you will be able to open and run your own business, but look and operate as if you were part of another bigger, already established business. With dog grooming franchises you get all the benefits of running an already established business, but without some of the initial headaches usually associated with setting up a new business.

'Owning a franchise allows you to go into business for yourself, but not by yourself.’


For many this is perfect. An upfront lump sum of cash (plus ongoing commission on earnings) buys you in to already tried and tested systems and business processes. Stick to the processes, work hard and you could establish a successful business. A great thing to look out for if you are looking at dog grooming franchises for sale.

Can I get any dog grooming franchise research?

Yes, you can.

In the following article, we will share with you the type of research that we conducted around dog grooming franchises before starting Blossoms Pet Care as Lisa was exploring (and getting excited about) how to become a dog groomer.

However, we would really encourage you to do a little research yourself and see what you can find out. Do a quick search on Google for ‘dog grooming franchise’ if you haven’t done so already. If you really want a giggle, then Google ‘dog grooming business for sale’. Some very interesting figures come up there!

Once you have done this (seriously though, do a little research if you haven’t done so already – in fact, you may be right in the middle of that research now, so keep up the good work), it will really help you later on with your decision making if you make a note of your findings. This process is basically the beginnings of a Competitive (or Competitor) Analysis. Here are some of the results that we noted when looking at dog grooming franchises:

Please note: the above is an early staged document and grew to a more comprehensive chart in the end. In addition, there are a few subjective / personal observations and ‘notes to self’ with colouring on there that you can ignore. The entire process here was for us to map out what Lisa would get for her money should she decide to go down the dog grooming franchise route.

It’s by no means a fully exhaustive list and any opinions are our own. Any blank spaces do not represent a ‘yes’ or a ‘no’, we simply didn’t get around to noting everything on this version of the document as we decided dog grooming franchises weren’t the best option for Lisa and her circumstances at that time.

Please do not use this table for making your own decisions – use it as a guide to help you document your own findings. (Content and prices all correct as at April 2015)

In the doggie world, there are a handful of dog grooming franchises out there (as seen in the chart above) that offer a full grooming business but there are also companies that offer dog walking and pet sitting (or similar) opportunities. There’s a useful page on this franchise’s website that has a similar breakdown and analysis: http://www.walkmydog.co.uk/franchise/comparison-table/

When looking at a franchise (dog grooming or otherwise) it is essential that you make 100% certain that they are right for you. There is a huge commitment required from you both in terms of time and money. We look at the costs of dog grooming franchises in the mobile dog grooming franchise business section, but first we’d urge you to take a little test to see if this really is what you want to do...

Back to basics. You’re looking for a dog grooming franchise for sale. But, is a dog grooming franchise really for you?

Below are a series of statements that you may like to read and see if any of them are applicable to you. To get some real insights here, grab a pen and paper then write answers down to the questions below.

If you answer a ‘Y’ next to any question, write a number next to it from 1 to 5 showing how strong your YES is. A number 1 means ‘only a little bit’ whereas a number 5 means ‘a heck of a lot’. Answer NO if this doesn’t effect or concern you at all.

About you, your lifestyle and work

  • 1. You’re crazy about dogs and animals in general and are considering a career that enables you to work with them, so you want to become a dog groomer
  • 2. You have family or other commitments and you really need very flexible work hours that fit around you, as opposed to you fitting around work
  • 3. You’re looking to return (or considering returning) to work, but don’t really know what you want to do, but you know it must be something ‘different’
  • 4. You’re facing redundancy, or have already been made redundant and want to start your own business (potentially a dog grooming franchise)
  • 5. You are approaching retirement but still want to remain active and meet lots of new people and feel that a dog grooming franchise would enable this
  • 6. You’re approaching retirement but still have an exciting and fulfilling business to run
  • 7. You want to learn and be trained at your own pace and not have to endure weeks away from home with intensive training in running a new business
  • 8. You look at pet or animal related businesses and wish you could run one
  • 9. You have had enough of working for other people and you simply want to be your own boss
  • 10. You have you had enough of working your fingers to the bone and all hours’ god sends and now you’re looking for a better work life balance
  • 11. You are after a change of career direction. You do not want to be stuck behind a desk anymore in the usual 9-5, Monday to Friday, and you think you deserve something better and have considered dog grooming franchises
  • 12. You have qualified (or are about to) as a dog groomer, and now face the challenge of setting up in business and succeeding in your chosen area (stats show that between 70 & 80% of new business start-ups don’t survive their first 12 months – gulp!)
  • 13. You want to find an affordable way of getting to work with animals. You dream of working in an environment you enjoy being in
  • 14. You’re concerned that you don’t have any qualifications or experience in working with animals so a dog grooming franchise may be beyond your reach

Is the business ‘stuff’ a bit daunting for you?

  • 1. You want to skip as much of the business paperwork and investigating how to run a business (like dog grooming franchises!) as possible, but still ensure you have everything taken care of - you simply want to get to the good bit and crack on with working with animals
  • 2. You are daunted with all this business stuff and feel a bit isolated and unsure of what things you should and shouldn’t do in starting and running a business
  • 3. The thought of having to sort out Business Plans, Tax returns, Business Accounts, Marketing, Advertising, Customer Service and the like all scare you

Do franchises seem a little scary to you?

  • 4. You are worried that a dog grooming franchise costs a fortune and you may not be able to afford one. Or if you can afford one then it’s still a huge risk with no guarantee it will work
  • 5. You have looked in to dog grooming franchises, and you are shocked at how much they really want from you (initial cost, ongoing fees/commission, etc)
  • 6. You have found that dog grooming franchises don’t really help you to get customers in through your door and generally everything still seems to be left down to you
  • 7. You have looked at a dog grooming franchise but you:

    • 1) simply can’t afford one
    • 2) Think it’s a lot of money for what you get
    • 3) Are not sure about the value you get from them
    • 4) You don’t fancy paying ongoing commission forever (a whopping 10% of earnings is average! We discuss this more here 07 - Franchise Show at the Birmingham NEC & The BFA)
    • 5) You don’t know whether to trust their marketing advice. You question if they are professional marketers as well as groomers
  • 8. You have thought about setting up a mobile dog grooming franchise ... but:

    • 1) You can’t believe the costs (at the time of writing there is one franchise on the web offering to charge a whopping £26,400! This does include VAT, some supplies, and a van kitted-out and supplied by them. You could provide your own van for them to kit out for you but that will still cost you £19,200)
    • 2) You don’t want to be driving around all the time from job to job
    • 3) You are concerned about the weather - especially in the winter when it’s freezing cold (or baking hot in the middle of summer!)
    • 4) You think mobile grooming will be tight on space
    • 5) You simply don’t like the idea of being mobile

We’d also urge you to run these questions through your partner, and maybe your family too – especially if you have kids. Get your partner to look over these questions and see what they think? Not only are two heads better than one, but this journey you are thinking about taking will have an impact on those around you too. You really need to have them onside. If you do have kids, they will undoubtedly love the idea of you working with animals – that’s pretty much a guarantee.

What will help is having your partner complete the questions also, but on your behalf without your input. Then compare answers. This will help you to see if you are singing from the same hymn sheet. Don’t underestimate the impact working for yourself will have on you and those around you.

Running any business will have its ups and downs and will require a lot of hard work too, both in the early stages of set up, and to keep you going. But, the journey will be incredibly rewarding and fulfilling.

Your answers...

So, what are your answers looking like?

There’s no magic formula here, just a handful of honest, inward focused questions. There may be a few here that resonate with you, but none of them are too much of a problem right now and are nothing you can’t deal with. After all, work is only work and everything is fitting in fine right now. That’s superb – well done!

Keep the above to hand and revisit it occasionally. See if things change at all. Maybe even monitor it over time? In answering these questions honestly and externalising them by writing them down, you can get a sense of perspective on your work/life balance and how it is affecting you. The secret here though is to be totally honest with yourself.

Okay, do you have some 4’s and 5’s next to the statements? The ‘a heck of a lot’ answers? It may be that just one point resonates so much with you that that is enough of a reason to start your own business. If your answers seem to be fitting in to this bracket, then you may be able to resolve these problems by reading on. You may be able to sort them out easier, quicker and for a lot less financial cost than you would think.

One final thing before we move on, see if you answer ‘yes’ to any of the following questions. Again, be totally honest with yourself...

Is this you?

  • You enjoy lots of daytime TV
  • You feel that a bit of hard work isn’t really for you
  • You are owed a living and work is for idiots
  • You must have every weekend and every evening to yourself as leisure time, no matter what
  • You’re not keen on taking responsibility for the outcome of any business
  • You don’t really like dogs or other animals
  • You’re not what you would call a ‘people person’
  • You couldn’t see yourself working on your own

If you answer yes, this time to any of the questions above, then you may need to think hard about whether setting up and running your own business (whether a dog grooming franchise or otherwise) is something that can be realistically achieved. We’re not suggesting you must give up all of your spare time and the things that you like doing, but you should be prepared for sacrifice in some form.

Are there downsides of running a business?

Let’s be realistic. There are downsides to running your own business or franchise (dog grooming or otherwise) as there are with many things in life.

What are they when it comes to setting up in the world of dog grooming?

Well here is our list, and possibly those that dog grooming franchises know about but probably won’t publicly broadcast...

  • There’s a lot of effort required to become a dog groomer (especially during the early days) to get the business moving and the marketing wheels going
  • It will take time to build a loyal customer base, it doesn’t happen over night
  • There can be early starts (especially if you offer wider pet services such as early morning walks or Chicken visits if you offer other pet care services)
  • Sometimes anti-social hours. Some evening and weekend work may be needed – especially where your customers work normal office hours
  • Some days you will wonder if it’s really all worth it
  • Money – whatever option you choose, you will need to buy equipment, training, insurance, ongoing supplies and the like. What’s worse is that with dog grooming franchises, you have to pay commission to the franchisor for as long as you own the franchise

What questions should you ask yourself?

Essentially, the main questions to ask yourself are:

‘Do I really want to become a dog groomer and make this life style choice?’

‘By buying a dog grooming franchise for sale or starting my own dog grooming business, does it afford me the flexibility to spend time with other aspects of my life that are very important to me?’

… and, finally …

‘Can I afford the setup costs for a dog grooming franchise (UK or otherwise) or is there a cheaper alternative?

It’s probably fair to say that if you are still reading these words you don’t want to take over the dog grooming world (not right now at any rate) but simply set up a business that you can be passionate about and will enjoy doing. Oh, and make a half decent living from too!

So, we probably agree that working for yourself on a flexible basis is right for you. You want to work with animals is also taken for granted. Especially dogs.

So, what are the options then?

So what are your dog grooming options?

Quite simply the three main options are: buy a franchise; buy an already established business; set up your own business.

There’s a fourth option too but take a look at these three first as they are the main tried and tested ‘norms’. Not that you need to stick to any of these norms, but knowing the conventional ways will help you decide if any of them are for you - or not.

The options:

  • 1. buy a franchise – this is a big topic to cover (especially with the costs and commitments involved) so we cover it in articles ONE and TWO below. 
    • 2. buy an existing business - article THREE below
    • 3. set up your own business – again, a large topic, so a couple of articles which are FOUR and FIVE below
    • 4. the mystery option - an alternative to a franchise is looked at in article SIX

    Article 1 - franchise opportunities

    Find out more about franchises themselves, their darker secrets and franchise opportunities

    Article 2 - a mobile dog grooming franchise

    Want to know what you can really earn from a mobile dog grooming franchise? Click and see …

    Article 3 - buying an existing dog/pet businesses

    Thinking about buying an existing dog business or pet business? Then this is a must read article.

    Article 4 - how to start your own pet care business

    Looking at how to start a dog grooming business? Then this article will help you out.

    Article 5 - setting up your business from home

    If you’re setting up a dog grooming business from home (UK or overseas) then read Lisa’s story.

    Article 6 - an alternative to a classic franchise

    Is there another way? Something fairer on you, your time, your loved ones and your pocket? Find out.