Lisa was really enjoying the work and started to slowly get busier with new enquiries from Google and her
website, repeat business and people’s recommendations. Then next step for her was to move out to the small
summer house that we have in the back garden as rearranging the kitchen every day wasn’t really part of her
The summer house we used more for storage than anything else. So, we cleared out all the chairs and bikes and
general bits that hadn’t quite made it to the shed, gave it a lick of paint and added a fluorescent strip and
The grooming table could then stay up all the time, and all Lisa had to do was carry the dog from
the bathroom to the summer house. We simply ran an extension lead the length of the garden and Lisa was able to
groom until her heart was content. Smashing.
Dogs and their owners were greeted at the front door, quick chat on the doorstep, then the owners vanished off
for a couple of hours returning later to collect a perfect and professionally groomed pooch. That still often
happens to this day as some people just get out of the car, drop the dog, then speed off to do a couple of hours
However, for Lisa, the next step was to have her own dedicated workshop as she was serious about
making dog grooming from home her full-time business. It only took another month or so for her to go for it full
A dedicated workshop
We built an 8ft by 10ft (sturdy tongue and groove) garden shed kitted it all out and then Lisa was fully
operational in her own workshop right next to the side of our house. Yes, there was an outlay involved, but it
was done on an incredibly low budget of less than £2,000. We were able do most of the work ourselves, which
anyone would be able to do, apart from the electrics and erecting the shed itself.
We insulated it, painted it inside and out and even hung a notice board for pictures and put some
pretty fairy lights up too. Add to this a raised dog bath with shower, grooming table, dryer and tools of the
trade and hey presto - one dog grooming workshop!
And the dog grooming business plan?
Looking back, and both Lisa and I agree on this point, none of the above was really planned when Lisa initially
looked at how to start a dog grooming business from home. There was no dog grooming business
plan for the bank saying we will do ‘this’ by this date, have ‘that’ turnover by ‘that’ date.
No cash flow forecasts, no profit and loss, no piece by piece diarised and prescribed agenda that had to be
strictly adhered to or we get a slap on the wrists.
There was no doubt in Lisa’s mind that she was going to set up dog grooming business and it was going to work,
all she just had to get on and do it.
Yes, there were uncertainties and problems encountered, but with good business practices (all of which we are prepared to
share in with you) and hard work, everything fell (or was pushed!) in to place.
We did it, so we firmly believe that if you are reading these words, then you will be able to do it also and have
your own successful dog grooming from home business.
What are the advantages for you of dog grooming from home?
The virtues of working from home are countless, especially if you have other commitments or life priorities.
Whether returning to work after having kids, retiring and wanting a part time job to keep you fit and active, or
taking a complete career change, working from home ticks a lot of boxes.
Here are just a few of them:
- no commute to work and the associated costs involved - not just fuel and
running costs of a car, but also parking or even bus and taxi costs
- childcare costs – working from home, and working to your own hours, will
save a fortune
- time saved with travelling to work - for some this can add at least an
hour or two on to the working day, even more for some
- more time with your family
- better time flexibility
- no stress from sitting in traffic (either going to work or time from one
dog grooming appointment to another if operating a mobile dog grooming franchise)
- greater productivity – if you are a morning person, start early. If you
are a night owl, work late
- you can fit work (ie grooms) around your so other priorities like the
school run and recreational activities (like the golf course maybe?), don’t suffer
- vastly reduced costs and overheads – you have only a fraction of the
costs associated with running a business from a dedicated premises or van if mobile dog grooming
- you’re not locked up in a van all day
- you can claim certain costs back in the form of tax allowances, and even
percentages of your home bills as they are operating expenses
- easier to arrange household visits (to receive parcels and deliveries)
by not taking the day off work and waiting in for something
- often means you can eat healthier
- you can set household tasks running whilst your working which has a
knock-on effect of helping free time in the evenings and weekends
- can mean less hassle and stress with preparing family meals
- the list in endless! What would you add to this? (as you are looking at
how to start a dog grooming business from home, write them down to remind yourself that starting your
own business is worthwhile)
What are the advantages for your customers (and their dogs) of you offering
dog grooming from home?
Often for dog owners, their dog’s wellbeing can be more important than their own convenience - they simply want
what is best for their four-legged friends.
There are some obvious and not quite so obvious advantages here which include....
- There’s none of the stress for the dog of a busy high street grooming
- No big drying cabinets, loud noises and the usual hustle and bustle that
scares most dogs (and their owners!)
- No transfer of stress from one dog to another once they are there
- Much, much more calming and relaxed environment than a high street
- Not all dog owners have the time to take half a day out or more to go a
grooming parlour and it’s surprising how many don’t like the hassle of (usually) going in to town,
parking and ‘faffing’ around
- A more personal touch with inviting customers to your home
- Customers are happier as dogs are more relaxed
- Customers get one to one attention and a more tailored service from home
- A much more personal relationship (and even friendships) develop between
groomer and dog owner
- There’s a greater sense of security and less vulnerability
- People feel a lot more looked after and better attended to
How about mobile dog groomers? How do you compete with them?
It has to be said that mobile dog grooming has a massive benefit to customers and their dogs in that they don’t
even have to leave their own home. If this is something that someone has high on their list of priorities (say
their dog gets car sick very easily), then they will only be able to use a mobile dog groomer.
However, if you are looking at how to start a dog grooming business from home you could consider providing a pet
taxi service. Lisa does this with enormous success. She simply goes and collects dogs for grooms and then
returns them afterwards.
This solves all but the most extreme problems (such as a travel-sick dog). This is a straightforward way of being
able to collect dogs and drop them back off at home after the groom. Simple.
No sitting on people’s drives using their water and electricity. No cramped conditions. A much better experience
for dog and groomer alike! Lisa has offered this since day one and has managed to pick up lots of customers that
were initially looking for a mobile groomer to come to their home. However, they were just as happy to have them
collected, groomed and dropped off again.
On the other hand, don’t worry if you don’t want to offer a pet taxi service. There are an
abundance of dog owners out there that will almost drive to the ends of the earth to ensure their best friend is
And if you don’t have transport?
90%+ of Lisa’s customers are more than happy to drop their dogs off and collect them again after.
Most caring dog owners place more importance on the quality of the grooming experience, the dog’s welfare and
state of being, and the actual dog groomer themselves. They really appreciate the extra care and attention that
people providing dog grooming from home lavish on their client’s dogs.
Lisa has one customer that make a two hour plus round trip to bring their dogs for her to groom. They simply drop
the dog off, then head in to town and do some shopping for a couple of hours until Lisa has finished. Two birds,
one stone springs to mind!
Is there enough business out there for you to set up a dog grooming business at
According to the RSPCA the UK pet population in 2017 is estimated at 8.5 million dogs (https://media.rspca.org.uk/media/facts) so there are certainly plenty of customers out
there. When you’re deciding how to start a dog grooming business from home, and whether you provide a collection
and drop off service or not, there will always be plenty of dogs that will need grooming (and walking).
In the UK especially, people often make the mistake of assuming that having lots of competitors in a business
space are a bad thing. This is not always the case. Have you ever heard the phrase ‘Keep your friends close and
your enemies even closer’? In the dog grooming world, approached correctly, you can turn you competitors in to
allies – even friends.
In Gloucestershire (as with many other UK counties), there’s even a little network of groomers and walkers that
regularly meet up, exchange stories and even refer business to each other. You should embrace and not alienate
When Lisa started Blossoms, she helped out another dog groomer (Fiona, who was having an operation
so was out of circulation for several months) by looking after her customers for her.
When Fiona was back on her feet again, most of her customers returned to her, but several stayed
with Lisa. Fiona was fine with this as Lisa had effectively kept her business ticking over for her and they
still refer customers to each other and help each other out now.
Dog groomer mentoring
‘A really rewarding part of the job I never even dreamed existed…’, says Lisa.
She helps new groomers in the area to find their feet and start to establish their own customer base. She’s even
had one contact her when she first started asking for a little help. As opposed to Lisa throwing the shutters
down and keeping her at arm’s length as most people would with a new competitor, she helped her out.
She has visited Lisa several times and watched her grooming certain types of dogs she’s not groomed before, and
even phoned her up part way through a groom asking for her advice. They too refer business to each other and
even just chew the fat with each other from time to time on WhatsApp. She has become a friend and not a
I’ll leave Lisa to tell you in her words about a call that happened on a wet February evening at around 5.30pm …
Where we live, I know there are at least 4 other dog groomers, all within spitting
distance of me. 3 of them I know to speak to as I introduced myself soon after setting up.
I don't think it
hurts to get to know your competition, if you can call it that.
There is one groomer (not mentioning
her name or company) I speak to regularly on WhatsApp, swapping photos and getting on our soap boxes about
people and their doggies - normally about the state the owner has left them in.
Anyhow, this groomer I'll call Gemma, rang me about 5.45 one evening to say she had
this cocker spaniel in that was a total matted mess, she had WhatsApp'd me some photos beforehand. The problem
was that the blades she had weren’t short enough to get underneath the matts.
ME TO THE RESCUE!! I offered
to go round to help. I took my case of blades & clippers. When I arrived the poor doggie was sold with
matted fur right down to the skin, poor Gemma I could see had ploughed through as much as possible with her
#7 blade, #10 wasn't working either.
I got my #30 out which is what you shave poodle faces with and 1
up from what vets use for operations. Like a hot knife through butter it worked a treat. This will be a blade
Gemma will be investing in for sure! Now they don’t teach you that at grooming school!!
Dog grooming really is friendly and rewarding
So, as you can see, when setting up a dog grooming business from home (UK in particular) it pays to get out there
and speak to your competitors and not simply avoid them. It must be said that if you set up a dog grooming
business, especially dog grooming from home, you’ll soon find it a friendly, rewarding and fulfilling business
to be in.
All you need to do is start off on the right foot, and get some robust processes behind you.
Oh, and add a little elbow grease to the equation too…