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How to Make Money With Your Own Dog Grooming Business

Updated on August 2, 2012

Everyone wants to own a dog but not everyone wants to bathe their dog or has the facilities to do so, especially if they have a large-breed dog or a dog with special grooming needs. If you love pooches of all ages and sizes and you’re not afraid of getting down and dirty, you could turn your love of dogs into a moneymaking business.

In addition to working with man’s best friend, you’ll develop a loyal following of clients that will recommend other dog owner to you for their own dogs. A clean dog is a happy dog – and it’s owner will happily pay you for your services. How big or little your business grows is up to you. Setting up a dog grooming business has a low initial overhead and you can add services as you make money.

Bubbles and Suds

The simplest (and least expensive way) to start your dog grooming business is to offer baths and blow-drys. When a dog owner brings their pooch to you – they expect to get him back clean and smelling good. For most short-hair breeds, this involves the simple process of scrubbing the dog up, drying him and applying some good-smelling conditioner.

Bathing a long-haired breed involves more work, so set your fees accordingly. In general, you should not only charge more for a larger dog – you should also charge more for a long haired dog because it will take longer to clean his coat thoroughly and you might have to remove mats or burs.

Expanding Your Services

As you build up a clientele, use some of your profits to expand your dog grooming services. Along with bathing and blow drying – you’ll draw in more customers if you offer nail-trimming, ear cleaning, tear-stain removal and anal gland expression services. Before offering these services, visit with your vet to learn the proper (and safest) way to accomplish these tasks. By offering more grooming services, you can charge more and you’ll bring in dog owners who want more than just bathing services.

Pick up a good breed-specific dog grooming book if you want to offer professional services that include trimming a dog’s fur to meet AKC standards. This is a speciality and you can learn it a little bit at a time, breed-by-breed as you go, but make it clear to potential customers that you’re just learning about their dog breed and ask them specific questions about what they expect before grooming their dogs. These owners often have specific grooming standards in mind.

Tools and Supplies

You’ll need a commercial dog dryer, which runs about $100 dollars for an inexpensive model, because a human hair dryer doesn’t deliver the air power needed to dry a dog. Plus, a human hair dryer can be dangerous because it gets hot. A dog blow dryer emits a strong stream of cool air.

For bathing, it’s nice to have a dog-bathing station, but large metal tub on a platform with a ramp leading up to the tub is sufficient when you start out. You don’t need a grooming shop, although it’s nice, you can offer bathing services in your garage at first.

Order gallon-sized containers of concentrated dog shampoos and dilute them for the most affordable and cost-effective way of purchasing dog shampoo. Dog conditioners sell in the same way.

Purchase a variety of brushes, combs and de-shedding tools, in addition to a good pair of electric dog shears. Shears are essential if you want to offer shaving services, but they’re also the best way to remove tangled mats in hard to reach areas under the neck and in armpits.

Go Mobile

The biggest thing in dog grooming today is mobile grooming vans that right to the dog owners house and groom the pooch on the premises. This is definitely a more expensive venture, because you have to buy the van and convert it for your grooming needs. A professional paint job on the outside and a catchy name, like “Bubbles and Paws,” will make your mobile grooming van recognizable at a distance.

The Little Things

Stock up on pretty ribbons and bows or goody bags to send home with your furry clients. Dog owners love getting things like report cards on their dog’s behavior or charts and records detailing what you did and when they should next call you. Send home a special treat with each dog.

Find out the dog’s birthday and send a card or drop off a goody bag the day before. If you’re really in the mood for offering PR services, include the client’s children or the client, himself, in your birthday rolls.

Make More Money

Contact specialty dog food distributors and the manufacturers of dog toys and grooming aids to sell to increase your profits. Some suppliers require that you purchase a minimum amount of their product, but others will sell on consignment through your dog grooming business. The more products you can offer, the greater your profit margin.

The Nitty Gritty

If you open a storefront, you’ll probably need to obtain a business license and in some communities you might have to get a business license just to offer dog grooming out of your home. Check with the local authorities before you start grooming.

Do You Groom Your Own Dog?

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    • Mama Kim 8 profile image

      Sasha Kim 5 years ago

      Great guide. I have a cousin that started her own mobile dog grooming business and it's doing very well for her. Also some pet stores would love to set aside some space for a dog groomer for rental fees. Just like a hairdresser does.