Ring any bells?
Well, if you have had any of these thoughts, then you are in the right place. In this article we’re going to
look at the advantages of, and how to, start your own dog grooming business as well as a few cautionary
pointers, as it’s not all plain sailing.
We’ll also look at the myths behind the dog grooming business plan and show you that if you are
serious about starting a dog grooming business there really is more than one way to go about it (some of which
are cheaper than others too).
Starting a dog grooming business – how’s best?
There are lots of places you can go to get people’s different thoughts and opinions on how best to start a
business. Whether you’re thinking about working from home or starting a mobile dog grooming business doing
online research will turn up a seemingly unlimited number of top tips, free guides and incredibly useful blogs
and articles. Google really is your friend.
New businesses start-ups are on the increase with approx. ½million new start-ups springing up in
the UK each year. 2014 saw a record-breaking number of new companies (581, 173) registered at Companies House
There are a few ‘ifs and buts’ with this figure as a) not all companies registered are new
businesses and b) this doesn’t take in to account sole traders and partnerships that are not required to
register with Companies House. (source http://startups.co.uk/start-up-business-record-smashed-in-2014/)
How can I fund my dog grooming business?
There are often government backed schemes available to help starting a new business with plenty of training
classes and seminars. And, depending on your age and circumstances, there are sometimes elements of funding
available too. Again, do a search and you may be able to find out if your local authority has access to any
grants or subsidised / free training.
When Lisa was looking at how to start a dog grooming business she was able to secure a £500 one off grant to
help with her start up advertising costs from Tewkesbury council. Not a massive amount but certainly helped
with getting her name out there in the early days.
There’s no doubt in our minds that setting up and running your own dog groomer business is without
doubt the best way to go. Lisa set up as a sole trader when she started in business and is still trading as
one. There are no real immediate plans to change this.
How about a limited company?
One person grooming dogs doesn’t really need to be a limited company. Even two people working in
partnership doesn’t have to be a limited company although there are some advantages such as savings on income
That said in 2016/2017 the government introduced a tax on limited company’s director’s dividends.
Check with an accountant or tax specialist on these rules or at least start here https://www.gov.uk/tax-on-dividends/how-dividends-are-taxed.
What are the advantages of starting my own dog grooming business?
Where do we start on this one? There are a lot of common sense reasons, and quite a few hidden perks. I wrote my
initial thoughts down whilst writing this piece, and I’d suggest you do the same.
Once you see your dog grooming business idea take shape on paper, it becomes much more of a reality and actually
doesn’t look as difficult or daunting to achieve as you may first think. Some of these are true of franchises
also, but not all of them:
Here are my top 10 and a few points that may resonate with you:
1. Being your own boss (had to be number one really)
2. Realising your goals and ambitions – personal and professional
3. Working in an area you’re interested in or passionate about
4. Being in control
5. Financially rewarding
6. Flexibility – time and how you work
7. Self-achievement - taking credit for things going well
8. Helping other people
9. Not being told what to do by others
10. The more you put in, the more you get out
Any other thoughts or priorities spring to mind for you?
Are there disadvantages with starting my own dog grooming business?
Now, what about the scary bit? There must be some downsides, surely?
Yes. Yes, there are.
And without being an alarmist, there is a heck of a lot that can go wrong.
This will undoubtedly put a lot of people off starting their dog grooming business. I’m going to outline some
here as I think it’s unfair just to paint a rosy picture as often people offering franchises
opportunities often do.
I think it is real important to understand the downsides to running a dog grooming business so that you know
what you are getting yourself in to.
Please remember though, as Lisa has said...
‘After having the help at the start with setting up and getting going, if I can last this
long and still be going anybody must be able to do it!’
We both believe that with the right help anybody can.
Going it alone - a few cautionary pointers...
I quote this a few times in these articles as I think it is a very relevant fact.
If you’re considering how to start your own dog grooming business please take note of the quote below as there
are many additional reputable sources saying a similar thing:
According to Bloomberg, 8 out of 10 entrepreneurs who start businesses fail within the
first 18 months. A whopping 80% crash and burn.’
Eric T Wagner http://www.forbes.com/sites/ericwagner/2013/09/12/five-reasons-8-out-of-10-businesses-fail/
Also, the Telegraph claims that:
‘Half of UK start-ups fail within the first five years’
This quote (slightly longer but spot on in my opinion) is from an interview with Theo Paphitis (Drangons Den and
There are a number of reasons why entrepreneurs see their fledgling businesses
falter. "They haven't done the research, they don't know where to go for the right funding ... it's rarely one
thing." However, there is a common theme, argues the retail magnate. "The reason people fail is because they
don't do their homework." You wouldn't sit an exam without doing any preparation, he points out. "A business is
no different. It's about knowing more than the next guy or girl and performing better, and the only way you can
do that is through knowledge. It's basic stuff but we don't do it."
Is starting a dog grooming business a good idea?
I think the big take out here is that starting your own dog grooming business sees the odds stacked against you.
If there was an 80% chance that crossing a busy road you were likely to get run over would you cross that road?
Or would you look for an alternative?
Starting a dog grooming business from scratch is a really daunting prospect. Not only are there
the skills of the trade to learn and perfect, but there is all of the business stuff associated with it too.
Planning, advertising, marketing, accounts, customer service...the list is endless. But as Theo Paphitis
states, it’s all basic stuff and it all needs doing. Or does it?
Is there an alternative way to start a dog grooming business?
Maybe there is an alternative? Maybe there is a bridge somewhere across that busy road that will stop you from
getting run over, and get you to the other side of the road a lot faster and very safely?
How about if you could shortcut all of this stuff (and a lot of the trial) and have
it all mapped out in front of you? Well maybe you can. Take a peek at the
alternative to a franchise article to see what could be just what you need to help you with starting a
dog grooming business of your own.
Should I write a dog grooming business plan?
I firmly believe you can sit and draw up a dog grooming business plan until the cows come home, but in all
honesty, sometimes actions speak louder than words. Ever heard the saying ‘Best laid plans (or is it schemes, I
can never remember?) of mice and men?’ Often business plans can and do take twists and turns.
When Lisa was investigating how to start a dog grooming business I don’t think she really had a full
understanding of exactly what she wanted to do, and has jokingly said ‘I wish I could have bought all of this
information we’re putting together now when I was starting out with Blossoms!’.
Now I know there will be countless people out there in the business community that may read what I am writing
now, yell lots of abuse at me and say that I absolutely have no idea what I am talking about. I kind of get why
that would be, I really do, as some of it flies in the face of conventional wisdom.
However, as with many things in life, there are alternatives, so please stick with me.
At some point maybe look in to some of Google’s business philosophies if you get chance – very
interesting as they often buck the norm and to great success. There is a lot of new thinking in the business
world which I think shouldn’t be simply dismissed.
Read on and see what I have to say here as I believe it’s relevant to writing a dog grooming
business plan. Like I say, this isn’t for everyone but only you can decide if it is for you, or not.
Who is a dog grooming business plan really for?
Bank managers will encourage you to write a full dog grooming business plan, project figures, turn over, inside
leg measurements ... the works. Now don’t get me wrong here.
What I am not saying here is to ignore all of that stuff, but what I am saying though is that you
shouldn’t get too bogged down in the paperwork and intricates of writing a dog grooming business plan. If you
do (and I’ve seen it in real life), things can seem stacked against you, get you down and even prevent you from
getting your dream business off the ground in the first place. Not a good plan.
Is (a degree of) ignorance bliss?
They say, ‘ignorance is bliss’ (which is undoubtedly a bit dangerous in business) but I’d suggest that a little
bit of uncertainty is not always a bad thing. Too much planning and investigating every possible eventuality
(especially negative ones) is a little like being a hypochondriac and will fill the mind with self-doubt to the
point that it may even put you off starting up altogether.
Day in day out businesses carefully craft their business plans and spend lots and lots of time
researching. Yes, this is important, and it’s important to do so in any area. And for larger companies I get it
and see why they need it, and we regularly work with businesses on theirs at MA Design. They have boards of
directors and investors to keep happy as well as the bank so all of this well-established, tried and tested
stuff works. In the right environment.
Do you really need a dog grooming business plan?
Let’s take a reality check here. For many start-up businesses, especially lifestyle businesses such as dog
grooming, the plan isn’t always to be the next McStarbucks. Is all of this in depth planning really that
necessary? I’d suggest not. Lisa didn’t have a ‘plan’ as such, although she did have me in the background
granted, but I didn’t write a dog grooming business plan for her.
At the time of writing (Jan 2019), she is now only taking on new bookings that are prepared to wait about 6-8
weeks for a dog grooming appointment. That’s how busy she is. She actually has to turn new business down and
refer it on to other dog groomers on an almost weekly basis.
Yes, she has worked hard to get there, especially in her early days, but she is there and thriving and without a
dog grooming business plan in sight. What’s more, she is now in a position to take the business to its next
phase of growth by taking on staff and premises. There’s even talk (after a glass or two of wine!) of opening
local branches in different areas to increase the businesses reach.
Was all of this part of the original start up process and ‘dog grooming business plan’?
The answer is a resounding no.
Are business plans a waste of time?
No. I don’t think they are, but they have their place. I’m not totally sure that a detailed dog grooming
business plan is needed, just a pathway
and a programme to help people on their journey.
I know I’ve thrown the cat amongst the pigeons now and may probably upset a few people, but hey, so is life. I
Google’d ‘are business plans a waste of time?’. If you get a moment try doing so yourself.
Here’s an article I found which I think sums up my philosophy here (note the source – quite a respected business
website and the author has written plenty of books on business too):
‘I would go to successful entrepreneurs and ask them for copies of their original business plan. I’d
organize the plans by key business insight–marketing, distribution, whatever–and that way potential
entrepreneurs could see at a glance the sort of things they needed to do to be successful.
There was only one problem with the book concept. Most of the business plans had nothing to do with what the
businesses eventually became.’ http://www.forbes.com/sites/actiontrumpseverything/2013/08/14/why-business-plans-are-a-waste-of-time/
But surely there must be some things that people need to know and do when looking at how to start
a dog grooming business, especially if I’m saying don’t write a dog grooming business plan? Yes, yes there are.