• Mobile Dog
    Grooming Franchises

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.

A mobile dog grooming franchise / business – what’s in it for you?

An alternative to setting up your own business from scratch is to consider buying a mobile dog grooming business for sale. This can take the form of an already established dog grooming business, or a franchise opportunity.

Both are discussed in greater detail in our other related articles which can be found here: Franchise Opportunities,

and here: Dog grooming business for sale.

In addition, in our Dog Grooming Franchise article we break down what franchises are, how they work and we have a few searching questions we would encourage you to ask yourself to see if a mobile dog grooming franchise is really for you. There are some downsides as well as upsides so it’s worth a read.

So, in this article we are going to look specifically at the mobile dog grooming franchise.

How much does a mobile dog grooming franchise cost?

I once asked Lisa whether she thought if mobile dog grooming would have been a better option for her that starting her own dog grooming business. She said that mobile dog grooming never appealed to her. On asking why, she made two comments:

‘The cost would be huge … ’

and...

‘besides I didn’t fancy driving round all day and being coupled up in a little van – especially in the winter ‘.

Fair comment I think.

Mobile dog grooming certainly is an option for some, especially if they don’t have the room at home, but do have the money to invest up front so they can afford a van. And they don’t mind working in cramped conditions.

On researching the mobile dog grooming franchise (UK mostly) field a bit more, it seems that with mobile franchises, you have two main options:

Option One from one franchisor:

All training, manuals, fully kitted out van – effectively all the bells and whistles. Cost £22,000 (plus VAT, so £26,400 in total). (Prices as at April 2015)

Option Two:

All training, manuals, all van equipment – effectively some of the bells and whistles, but you have to find a van. They do provide ‘help with sourcing a van if needed’. Cost £14,999 (plus VAT, so £17,998.80 in total) (Prices as at April 2015)

Alternatively, you can figure out how to set up a mobile dog grooming business yourself from the ground up with no training, no manuals, and no van and simply learn it all yourself. Cost here is unknown for most people. However, this is exactly what Lisa did and it has been quite an exciting adventure in doing so. More on that later as we share her secrets with you (Home based dog grooming for anyone).

As an aside, it’s definitely worth you performing a similar comparison of different mobile dog grooming business offering so you can see for yourself what’s out there – take a look at an extract from ours here: Dog Grooming Franchise.

What can you earn from mobile dog grooming?

As with any business, this will depend on many things, so let’s see what some of the franchises in the mobile dog grooming world are claiming.

Although working away from home as they’re out with clients, mobile dog groomers can still try and work other commitments around their grooming sessions should this be a life priority. And let’s face it, many people do want their own business so that they can have a degree of flexibility in their own life...even if only the smallest of amounts.

To follow is my analysis of a statement that I found on a leading mobile dog grooming franchise (UK based) website.

FACT - Your earning potential is phenomenal with our proven technical knowhow and advice. It really is possible to earn £40,000 - £70,000 from one van. http://www.dialadogwash.com/content/become-franchisee

Some nice figures quoted there and no doubt they are attainable. They must be as Dial a Dog Wash belong to the British Franchise Association (BFA) so some of their franchises must be earning this kind of money.

Before we go on:

A quick caveat before we go on – to follow are my own personal thoughts and comments that are not to be taken as factually based on any mobile dog grooming franchise experience. My observations are, as will be seen, entirely hypothetical. Nor should my comments be used for the sole basis for deciding to buy (or not) in to any franchise opportunity dog grooming or otherwise.

I would highly recommend doing your own research and speaking to franchises, franchise organisations such as the BFA, and legal professionals.

My writings are subjective and based on Lisa’s home-based dog grooming experiences (8+ years), combined with my business experience and personal thought processes.

The devil is in the detail

As with a lot of promotional literature, the devil is in the detail and understanding what the wording means is really important. Let’s quickly break the above statement down and see what is needed to get the above kind of revenue. Here are a few assumptions for the purpose of this exercise:

1. Let’s assume a groom will take approximately two hours if done properly and being fair on the dog. So, brush, wash, dry, scissor / clip, cut nails, and clean eyes and ears...everything. This is based on Lisa’s dog grooming experience.

2. Then half hour to clean tidy up, deal with customer, take payment, drive to next groom, meet the next customer and get the dog ready to start the next groom (probably a tall order in half an hour, but let’s stick with it for now)

(note: both of the above are quite conservative in my opinion based on how long grooms can take for Lisa to do in her workshop. There is no drive time allocated in this two-hour allowance – it’s purely grooming. I also acknowledge that some grooms will take less than two hours, some more. Likewise, with the time taken in dealing with customers and actual drive time, sessions and days will vary)

So realistically, we are looking at say three grooms in a day that would total (7.5 hours with clean down and travel to and from each groom).

That’s with no lunch break and no down time between grooms, no allowance for tricky dogs with matted fur for instance or heavy traffic round schools and so on. With allowing half hour for lunch, we’re looking at an eight-hour day. Sound reasonable so far?

Mobile dog grooming – what do franchises have to say?

Now let’s outline a few more assumptions and then see what would be needed to realise the minimum earnings of £40,000 and then the maximum potential of £70,000 projected by some mobile dog grooming businesses for sale:

  • an average groom is say £40 (Lisa’s grooms range from £25 - £50)
  • there are 52 weeks in a year, and I am allowing four weeks’ holiday (20 days) a year including Bank Holidays. Therefore, we have 48 working weeks. As an aside, the legal minimum holiday entitlement in the UK for PAYE employees working full time is 28 days including Bank Holidays.
  • I am allowing weekends off so a working week is Monday to Friday.
  • to reiterate, these timings and example costs for grooms are based on Lisa’s experience of running a home-based dog grooming parlour from a separate workshop attached to the house. I am simply making an analysis based on Lisa’s experiences to see what it is possible to achieve in terms of amount of output from a mobile dog grooming van.

Scenario 1 - £40,000pa

£40,000 divided by 48 weeks equals £833.33 per week.

With three grooms in one day we can earn £120 (3x £40).

So, in one week, that equates to £600 (5x £120).

We therefore have a shortfall of £233.33 (£833.33 - £600) in order to earn £40,000.

If we divide £233.33 (shortfall) by £40 (revenue per groom) then that means we need to do an extra 5.83325 grooms per week (every week for 48 weeks of the year) in order to achieve the suggested £40,000 earnings.

For ease of calculation, lets round this down to five grooms meaning that’s one extra groom a day (making for a 10½ hour day).

Alternatively, we could use the weekends to accommodate the extra grooms needed, so a full 7½ hour day on Saturday, then a few hours on Sunday maybe?

Or maybe a combination of the two? A few longer days in the week and a few sessions on the weekend perhaps?

The reality is that some grooms could take as little as an hour (a small Yorkshire Terrier for instance) but others can take up to three hours (a large Standard Poodle for instance). In addition, individual grooms will vary in cost – from £25 to £50+ depending on the dog and your geographical location.

So essentially, you will need to be working for 10½ hours a day with half an hour for lunch five days a week and only have four weeks holiday (which includes the 8 bank holidays) a year to earn the suggested £40,000pa.

You will still have your weekends to yourself though. Think you will need them to recover after doing a 55 hour perfectly executed trouble-free week.

Scenario 2 - £70,000pa

To realise the £70,000 earning potential, you would certainly need at least two people involved in the business.

If you’re looking for a mobile dog grooming businesses for sale, are you going it alone or do you have a business partner? A husband and wife team maybe? Or two best friends?

Let’s have the van working a minimum of 10½ hours a day and doing 5 days a week on this one too shall we?

If this were the case let’s assume 1½ hours per dog as there are two people working together, with travel time included in that time too (so basically an hour to groom a dog) then we have a potential of 7 grooms a day.

£70,000 divided by 48 weeks equals £1,458.33 per week.

With 7 grooms in one day we can earn £280 (7x £40).

So, in one working week (5 days), that equates to £1,400.

We therefore have a shortfall of £58.33, which in reality is only one groom a week. So a 12 hour day one day in the week will cover it.

Therefore, it could be possible to achieve the suggested £70,000 turnover from one van based on the above conservative timings, if the mobile dog grooming business has two people involved in it.

Granted there are lots of variations that could be considered here with one, two or even three people using the grooming van at different times. Employing people and paying a wage as opposed to profit sharing maybe? Then there’s the option for people to work weekends and even late in to the night.

There are some grooming companies in the UK that will take appointments up until 10pm. I wouldn’t be surprised if 24/7 dog grooming services are next. Maybe that’s an opportunity right there for any dog loving insomniac workaholics? Probably more for the USA market place than the UK.

One of the other UK based mobile dog grooming franchises (Barking Mad Grooming) suggest that it is possible to earn £30,000 in your first year with one of their franchises. How do these figures stack up then?

One final bit of mathematics then...

Scenario 3 - £30,000pa

£30,000 divided by 48 weeks equals £625 per week.

With three grooms in one day we can earn £120 (3x £40).

So, in one week, that equates to £600 (5x £120).

We therefore have a shortfall of just £25 (£625 - £600) which is just the one additional groom in order to achieve the suggested £30,000 earnings.

One 10½ hour day and four eight-hour days seems a lot more reasonable, based again on conservative timings and trouble-free days.

Don’t be fooled

Sorry to go all financial, but these of the types of things people often fail to investigate when they are caught up in the romance of having their own mobile dog grooming business. This is only a small reality check, but a very, very important one. Almost done with this now, so again, stick with me!

This exercise is intended to at least make people think about what they are looking at when making what is quite frankly a potentially life changing business decision.

Get it right, and you will have the best time ever, lots of flexibility and the ability to take control of many areas of your life. Get it wrong, and you could be in a land of misery working flat out and missing out on all of the things that you originally set up in business to achieve.

Please, please, please ... get this bit right.

Whichever combination of people and hours we use above, we need to consider running costs. These need to be taken out of the yearly revenue generated (£30,000, £40,000 or £70,000).

The below costs are based on those advertised by franchises. We’ve then combined these with Lisa’s own expenses for things the franchises don’t tell you about.:

1. 10% commission to franchise (10% of earning without taking out any of your overheads or day to day costs out) £4,000pa

2. Shampoos, blade sharpening, and consumables £1,500pa

3. Business running costs (insurances, advertising and marketing, professional services (such as accountants) etc) £1,000pa (very conservative if your franchisor doesn’t cover your advertising costs – which few, if any, do)

4. Vehicle running costs (fuel, tax, insurance, MOT, servicing etc) £2,000pa

5. Any business loans taken out to buy the franchise (which Lisa never had to) in the first place (assuming a borrowing of £20,000 paid back over 5 years, monthly repayments would be approx £350 based on a representative APR of 6.0%) so £4,200pa (naturally this is to be reduced if cheaper borrowing is arranged or removed if set up funds are already available).

Total Outgoings: £12,700 in total.

Scenario 1 – the reality

Earnings of £40,000 would leave you with an income of £27,300 after deducting the Total Outgoings of £12,700 above.

Then there’s the Taxman to pay (see below).

Scenario 2 – the reality

Earnings of £70,000 would leave you with a combined income of £54,300.

(note: the Total Outgoings of £12,700 will become £15,700 as there’s an extra £3,000 commission to pay. Also note that there are two people involved here so this is between the two of you, meaning you will have an individual income of £27,150 each)

Then there’s the Taxman to pay (see below).

Scenario 3 – the reality

Earnings of £30,000 would leave you with an income of £18,300.

(note: the Total Outgoings of £12,700 above will become £11,700 as there’s £1,000 less commission to pay.)

Then there’s the Taxman to pay (see below).

Do I need to think about the Inland Revenue (aka The Taxman)?

You will need to make allowances for paying tax from day one. Put money away in a separate account each month to cover this and to save having a big bill to pay all in one go.

In the UK you:

  • a. Can earn £11,850 tax free (more if you are married)
  • b. Have a taxable income above your Personal Allowance of:
    • i. Basic rate – 20% on anything over £11,851 and under £46,350
    • ii. Higher rate – 40% on anything from £46,531 to £150,000
  • The above rates are correct at time of writing (Jan 2019). They will vary depending on an individual’s circumstances (single, married, etc). For current figures visit:

Scenario 1 – take home pay

With scenario one above (ie one person earning £40,000):

  • Your turnover before costs will be £40,000
  • £12,700 of running costs need to be deducted
  • £27,300 is how much you will earn after expenses
  • take from this £11,850 which is your tax-free allowance
  • this leaves you with £15,450 that you will pay 20% tax on
  • this 20% tax works out at £3,090 – this is what you wil pay the tax man
  • so, your final pay packet for the year will be £24,210 take home

Here’s a great tax calculator so you can work out the figures for yourself:

https://www.incometaxcalculator.org.uk/

We’ll stop here with the mathematics and financial analysis, shall we?

Oh, don’t forget national insurance to take out also...

Mobile dog grooming business - conclusions

The main (and very substantial) take out here I think is that in order to realise these projected figures you need to really, really put the work in. If a mobile dog grooming franchise (UK based) belongs to the British Franchise Association (BFA) they (the franchisor) will have to be able to substantiate these claims and figures and show they are actually being achieved.

If they don’t belong to the BFA, then they don’t.

So, if you are on the lookout for a full blown mobile dog grooming business for sale in the form of a franchise then really do your homework. Seriously, really dig deep and ask any mobile dog grooming business to prove their claims. Listen carefully to what they say and don’t let them gloss over these figures.

In addition, the figures and timescales used above in seeing how much effort it takes to hit £40,000 and £70,000 have been very conservative. There’s no account for traffic between grooms, realistic distances, all grooms going exactly to plan, no mechanical problems, no real breaks in the day for the groomers...lots of things really.

I know first-hand that setting up a mobile dog grooming business and surviving the early years is hard work. My point is that if you are aware of these kinds of things from the very beginning of the journey, you are better informed to decide if a mobile dog grooming franchise / business is the right thing for you.

There’s nothing worse than starting with complete naivety, uncovering the facts later, and then regretting your decision as you’re legally tied to franchise. A dream opportunity could very easily become a nightmare reality if you’re not careful.

I must stress however that all the above is purely my own personal opinion and calculations are based on Lisa’s home workshop based grooming experiences, combined with making what to me are common sense ‘guestimations’.

Things like travel from one appointment to another and traffic and the like, any form of clean down, problematic dogs, and even people not being at home when you get there are difficult to quantify. It may be that no cleaning is done until the end of the day for instance, so time may be saved there. Depends on the franchisor’s processes and level of cleanliness I guess.

Legal bit

Please do not rely on these comments and figures solely for making any decisions in buying a mobile dog grooming franchise or a mobile dog grooming business for sale. I’d recommend speaking to franchises themselves and asking them to explain their figures in the kind of detail we have above, as well as speak to organisations like the BFA.

It is also my recommendation that you consult solicitors and/or accountants that specialise in dealing with franchises to get certified professional advice.

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.