• Dog Grooming
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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.

Dog Grooming from home: setting up a dog grooming business from home (UK)

When Lisa started Blossoms Pet Care, dog grooming from home was quite frankly the best option for her circumstances.

Buying an already established business was far too much of a burden (plus there was nothing local for sale anyway) and mobile simply didn’t appeal to her. Besides, both options cost way too much. They involve the same amount of work with running the business as is required with starting her own business from scratch, so why shell out all that money upfront to buy them?

Setting up a dog grooming business from home (UK or elsewhere for that matter) will obviously only work if you have the space. A one-bedroom flat is unlikely to be that easy to work from. That said, a lot will depend on your flexibility and how prepared you are to utilise what you already have at home. Anything’s possible. Here’s how Lisa did it…

Blossoms Pet Care and dog grooming from home – a potted history

Lisa’s very first grooms (mostly our own Poodle and dogs of friends and family) were bathed (well, showered) in our downstairs bathroom, then wrapped in a towel, carried through the lounge and then plonked on to a folding grooming table in the middle of the kitchen floor (pushing the dining table and chairs to one side). Perfect.

This worked really well and was a great starting point. For some people that want to set up a dog grooming business at home this arrangement may be sufficient, especially if having a home-based business is only ever likely to be a part time or temporary thing with a smaller income.

Employment Enjoyment

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 dream.

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 some pictures.

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.

Greeting customers

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 of shopping.

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 steam ahead.

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 parlour
  • 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 parlour
  • 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 based groomers
  • 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 looked after.

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 home?

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 competitors.

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 ‘business enemy’.

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…

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.