People love their pets, and they love spoiling them (hey, doggy ice cream is a thing now, right?). And you know what else? People also love convenience.
So if you’re an animal lover with an entrepreneurial spirit, starting your own mobile dog grooming business could be an excellent resource for folks in your community — and your ticket to becoming your own boss!
But just like starting any new business, you want to make sure you have a solid game plan before you open. To help, we put together a beginner’s guide to starting your own mobile dog grooming business so that you can get on the road in no time!
In this article:
Build a Business Plan
Before you start a mobile dog grooming business, you need to understand your market, costs, and how much you can expect to charge for services. While there are many resources to help you build an entire business plan, let’s talk about a few specific areas that are especially important for dog groomers or other pet-focused businesses.
Research Your Market
First, you want to measure the need for a mobile dog grooming business in your area. You can plan a much more successful business by getting a sense of client potential and any competing mobile groomers already in your area.
Start with a simple Google search for mobile dog groomers in your area, and ask yourself the following questions:
- Are you finding any mobile dog grooming businesses already in your area?
- What services are they offering, and how much are they charging?
- How can you make your business stand out from theirs?
Dig in as deep as you can, so you have a good idea of how you can get a step ahead of your competition.
Plus, don’t forget to explore local vet clinics and pet shops to pick their brain about a mobile dog grooming business. You could even go door-to-door around your neighborhood or conduct research at the local dog parks to see how many folks would be interested!
Pro Tip: If you’re just getting started and you’re on the hunt for an online scheduler to book your grooming appointments, Schedulicity has all the tools for mobile dog grooming businesses. With an on-the-go calendar, marketing tools, built-in payment processing, and a feature just for mobile businesses, you’re sure to crush the dog grooming market!
Know Your Costs
Once your business is up and running, the day-to-day costs are relatively minimal, but before you get on the road, you want to map out those up-front costs, such as the vehicle you’ll be using.
Whether you’re buying a van that’s ready to go or converting a trailer yourself, you’re looking at start-up costs anywhere from $10,000 to $100,000.
Just be sure when deciding on your setup, keep these features (and their cost) in mind:
- Power generator
- Water heater
- Water tank
- Good ventilation
- Good lighting
Since you’re not paying to rent a space, your ongoing costs aren’t too high, but there are a handful of day-to-day expenses to keep in mind.
- Vehicle maintenance (routine maintenance, like oil changes and tires, and insurance)
- Fuel costs
- Marketing costs
- Equipment maintenance (such as blades and sheers)
- Supplies (shampoos, conditioner, etc.)
Know What to Charge
Research your area to see what your competitors charge, and base your price point on that. We can tell you that, on average in the U.S., grooming appointments cost between $30–$70 (not including any additional services).
Pro Tip: Looking for a payment processor and a scheduler that allows you to charge clients and collect tips on the go? With Schedulicity’s built-in payment processing, you can charge clients by clicking on their appointment right from your phone. Sign up today!
Get the Proper Licensing and Insurance
Before jumping into a new business, you need to determine what licenses, permits, and insurance you need to operate a mobile dog grooming business in your area. Different states require different permits.
If you’re unsure, the Small Business Administration can give you details on the permits and licenses you may need in your state.
Don’t forget, on top of specific liability and other insurance for your business, you’ll want to make sure your vehicle is properly insured, too.
Bonus: Wanting a pet groomer’s certification? The National Dog Groomers Association of America is a great place to start.
Pick Your Tools
Having the proper dog grooming supplies is a necessity, and while things may be a little different working from the road, you still need to have all the traditional tools of a brick-and-mortar shop.
Here’s a checklist to keep you on track:
- Shampoo and nail clippers
- Grooming table
- Hair clippers and sheers
- Deshedding and dematting tools
- Accessories (ribbons, bows)
- Cleaning supplies
Grow Your Brand
Now that you have a solid game plan and all the tools to get the job done, you can start thinking about how to get the word out — i.e., marketing.
Build a Website
Your website will likely be the first place clients get to know your business, so your website has to hook them! With so many easy-to-use website builders out there — like Wix or SquareSpace — you can showcase your brand and give clients a look into your work and who you are.
Here’s a handy checklist of critical items every business website should include:
- A Book Now button
- A full breakdown of each service you offer
- High-quality photos representing your work
- Testimonials from clients
- An “About Me” or “My Story” page
Pro tip: With Schedulicity, you can add a Book Now button on your website to take clients right to your booking page, or you can even build your Schedulicity booking page directly into your site, meaning clients never have to leave your site to book!
Use Social Media — the Right Way
Social media is a powerful marketing tool, and it’s essential to get the most out of it. That means more than just posting randomly on various platforms — it takes consistency, creativity, and call-to-action buttons to encourage new clients to book with you. (Check out our guide to marketing on Instagram to help draw clients.)
Don’t Forget About Email Marketing
Email marketing allows you to build a relationship with your clients and to target content directly to their inboxes. We’re talking about promos, specials, BOGO deals, or special events you’re hosting — right to their phones!
With some scheduling platforms, like Schedulicity, you can even set up automated emails to go out for you, such as automated birthday emails or reminders for clients that it’s time to book their favorite pooch a haircut!