How to Start a Mobile Pet Grooming Business?

keyKey Takeaways:
  • To start a mobile pet grooming business, make sure that the vehicle and other tools you choose for your mobile pet grooming service are secure, effective, and cozy for both the animals and the groomers.
  • Get the training, certifications, and insurance coverage required to offer specialized, high-quality grooming services and stay up-to-date with the newest grooming methods, trends, and products.
  • Provide a dependable and user-friendly appointment-making and booking system that enables clients to book appointments online, receive confirmation and reschedule or cancel appointments with ease, and receive reminders.
  • A team of skilled and caring groomers with a love for animals and a good attitude toward clients should be hired and trained.

Are you an animal enthusiast looking to turn your compassion for animals into a source of income?

If yes, it will be great if you start a mobile pet grooming business of your own. 

While the idea of launching mobile pet grooming services may sound exciting, it may also trigger several questions, especially if you are new to the pet grooming industry.

  • What are the costs of starting a mobile pet business, and how do I finance it?
  • Should I register my business as a Limited Liability Corporation (LLC), S Corporation, Sole Proprietorship, or Partnership?
  • Are there any business licenses, permits, or certificates that I need to acquire?
  • What can I do to market my business well to stand out from competitors and get more competitors?
  • How will I schedule routes to handle multiple appointments efficiently?

If you want answers to all such queries, you are at the right place. This blog is a comprehensive guide on how to start a mobile grooming business for pets and steer it towards success.

What are Mobile Pet Grooming Services?

Grooming pets is a repeat business and is all about the health and beauty of pets. They include services such as:

  • Baths
  • Haircuts
  • Hair cutting
  • Nail trimming
  • Teeth cleaning
  • Ear clearing
  • Brushing teeth

There are various types of cat & dog groomers, some specialize in a specific breed, and some service all breeds. They have a dedicated team and the right grooming equipment (such as a grooming van, brushing equipment, pet clippers, and hydraulic elevator tables). 

They come directly to customers’ addresses and offer grooming services for busy pet parents who don’t have time to visit a pet salon.

Reasons to Start a Dog Grooming Business

We know that lots of people have become pet owners during the pandemic. However, they have hardly any time or ability to take care of their new ‘family members’ and keep them groomed. As a result, pet dog grooming businesses are on the rise. 

Some of the reasons to start a pet grooming business:

Begin cherishing pets: You will deal with several pets throughout the day while running a pet care business. You will find that you are doing something good for the pets and will start loving them, too.

Higher profit: Running your business will give you the desired financial freedom and give you many opportunities to earn a lot of money.

No boredom: If you are a pet lover and running a business, working or playing with pets is always fun, so you will not get bored with your job.

Now that you know why to start a grooming business, let’s delve straight into the steps on how to start it.

How to Start a Mobile Pet Grooming Business?

Starting a grooming business for animals requires you to lay a solid foundation by creating a foolproof business plan. 

It may also include steps such as determining your services, deciding on your business entity, setting up a business account, building your brand, and promoting it. 

So, here is a detailed step-by-step guide on how you can get your mobile pet grooming business started.

Step 1: Devise a mobile grooming business plan

The demand for qualified pet groomers is increasing day by day. For this reason, it is important to do a lot of research and understand the pet industry before preparing a business plan. Market research can help identify potential customers and local competition. One of the best ways to find potential customers is to contact your local pet shops.

Devise a business plan for mobile pet grooming business

Additionally, a breakdown of all costs, such as grooming products, fuel costs, equipment maintenance costs,  vehicle insurance, and permits, are required. It will help you understand your monthly overheads and revenues to make a successful business.

Step 2: Determine your services

Based on your dog grooming business plan and flexibility, you must choose the niche that works best for you. For instance, there are one or more niches that you can specialize in, such as:

  • Grooming pets with special needs or disabled dogs
  • Grooming senior pet dogs 
  • Offering a creative mobile pet grooming service
  • Providing spa treatments
  • Grooming dogs for a show

Defining a niche gives you a clear picture of your business offerings, giving you more time to focus on your business.

Step 3: Form a business entity

The next step is choosing a business name and an entity that incorporates sole proprietorship, partnership, limited liability company (LLCs), and corporation.  An accountant or business attorney can assist you in figuring out the best entity for your grooming business. The entity helps to safeguard your personal and company assets. 

Therefore, it is important to choose one that is best suitable for your mobile dog grooming business. Moreover, based on the business structure, you will have to register for taxes. There are separate state and federal taxes that may be applicable to running your business.

Pro Tip: A limited liability company (LLC) business structure is generally recommended for new small business owners. It gives you more flexibility and tax relaxations. As you scale your business, you can make it an S corporation or a sole proprietorship.

Step 4: Fulfill legal requirements 

Once you have decided on an entity, you must comply with legal requirements for the pet care business. First, you must obtain the necessary business license and permits to protect and operate your business. 

However, the requirements vary by state, so you should check with your local government.

Additionally, you also need liability insurance to protect your mobile dog grooming business against mishaps or any unforeseen accidents.

Step 5: Set up a business account

A business bank account and a credit card are required to run any business. This separates your personal assets from business assets and makes tax filing easier. Likewise, a separate business credit card will help you build a credit history to help you with bank loans later.

Step 6: Professional training

Unless you’re a professional or trained pet groomer, you should look for a school recognized by the National Dog Groomers Association of America (NDGAA), which will teach you from the basics of pet care to advanced techniques.

Professional training for mobile pet grooming business

Once your training or apprenticeship is over, you can confidently start your company.

Step 7: Finalize pricing 

To offer services and gain repeat customers, you need to create a pricing menu considering the service area. To remain competitive in the market, set your rates considering the prices of your local competitors.

The price for a mobile business (door-to-door) can be higher than that of a traditional brick-and-mortar grooming shop. This is because the cost includes the cost of fuel, grooming vehicle maintenance, and travel time to provide the service. 

Also, when setting prices, consider the breed type and type of services you will provide. You can also charge customers by offering bundled services for special packages or first-time promotions.

Step 8: Build and grow your brand

A brand is what makes you stand out from your competitors. One of the simplest marketing plans to advertise your business is through the grooming vehicle itself. You can feature your business logo and contact information on the front and rear sides of your vehicle. Additionally, you can create a business website or accounts on social media platforms for your online marketing. 

You can also volunteer your services with animal shelters, rehabilitation centers, vet clinics, and local dog parks and distribute your business cards  to market your business and get more referrals. You can use photos and videos of pets before and after grooming with customer feedback on social media accounts and run loyalty programs.  Last but not least, you must also plan the most practical routes to reach more clients quickly and earn more income per run.

Get to Your Clients Faster

Create the shortest routes to cover more clients quickly and on time. Be present to groom your clients’ pets always at the right time and ensure a superior service experience.

After finishing the above steps, you can officially start a mobile pet grooming business. 

The next section explains the pros and cons of a pet grooming business.

Understanding the Upsides and Downsides of Pet Grooming Business

While you may be all set to become a pet cat or dog groomer, it is important first to understand that this business also has advantages and disadvantages, just like all other businesses.

Pros
  • Lower upfront and overhead costs: The cost of starting a mobile pet grooming business is typically less than running your own pet salon. A mobile pet grooming van doesn’t require you to rent a physical space and pay electricity, utility, and maintenance bills. This makes mobile grooming more cost-effective, especially if you are on a tight budget.
  • LGreater flexibility: When you run a mobile business, you can decide when and how many hours you want to work daily and change them based on your personal commitments. You can also accept or turn down service requests based on your interest, preference, or prior schedule to have better control over your workload.
  • Higher and predictable income: While a pet salon’s income depends on the footfall or the average number of customers visiting in person, your mobile business income depends on how many appointments you book, making it easily predictable and scalable.
  • Larger customer base: If you provide excellent customer services, your customers will likely book you again for the next time. Moreover, they may spread good word-of-mouth recommendations about your business, attracting more customers and boosting revenues. In the long run, it can help you establish yourself as a renowned pet dog groomer with a strong client base and repeat business.
  • Improved physical health: A mobile grooming business requires you to spend most part of your day walking, bathing, or feeding a pet. Thus, it involves a higher degree of physical movement and can help you stay physically agile and improve your overall health.
Cons
  • Vehicle gas and maintenance costs: Despite being comparatively less capital-intensive, mobile pet grooming requires you to set apart a budget for expenses related to travel and reach clients. For example, you may need to spend money on your vehicle’s gas refill and maintenance like oil changes. If you want to scale your business, hiring more grooming experts and buying more vehicles may add up costs fast.
  • Water usage constraints regulations: Grooming pets in a mobile vehicle is subject to the capacity of your van’s water tank. Therefore, you may need to limit your water usage per task while ensuring quality service, making it a tricky job. Sometimes, you may also find it hard to find a permitted place where you can drain your collected gray water without attracting any fines or penalties.
  • Heavy safety equipment and insurance costs: Grooming pets can put you or your employees at risk of infections or accidental injuries if your client’s pet is infected with a contagious disease or turns violent. So, investing in high-quality personal protective equipment (PPE), including eye protection, masks, gloves, and restraints, is imperative to ensure safety while on the job. Besides, you may need to pay hefty premium amounts to insure your staff against on-site injuries, making it costlier.
  • Weather constraints: Working in a mobile van, even if it is temperature-controlled, can be hard even in severely high or low temperatures. While you may consider heating or cooling your van, the outside weather and air may rush in and disrupt your preset temperature conditions when you open the door. It may also make pets uncomfortable, aggravating the situation further and making your job tougher.

Slash Your Gas Costs by Up to 30%

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Overcome Mobile Pet Grooming Business Challenges Using Upper

Route planning is an important consideration for any business that excels in providing services. The same is true for reaching customers who need pet care services. 

Upper Route Planner is the most up-to-date route planning and optimization software for pet grooming businesses. 

It provides the following benefits.  

Reduced gas expenses: Helps optimize your daily grooming service routes to reduce your distances traveled and associated fuel or vehicle maintenance costs. 

Streamlined scheduling: This feature lets you maintain regular customers’ details as contacts and import their addresses from the contact book to add them as stops and schedule appointments, reducing scheduling time. 

Increased efficiency: Helps create the shortest routes to visit multiple customers daily and handle last-minute service orders with mid-route stop adjustments to boost daily productivity.

FAQs

The costs of starting your own mobile dog grooming business may range between $3,500 and $10,000. This includes all the grooming supplies, business licensing, and marketing costs. However, additional supplies, including shampoo, conditioners, a K9 dryer, and a hydraulic grooming table, can cost over $1000.

A mobile pet grooming salon must be equipped with grooming tools such as:

  • Clippers
  • Scissors
  • Shears
  • Clipper blades
  • Shampoos
  • Brushes
  • Blow dryers
  • Nail clippers
  • Ear cleaning supplies
  • Bandanas and bows

Some other essential grooming tools needed for mobile operation include- a power generator, water tank, water heater, adequate power connections, solid and liquid waste containers.

The market size of pet grooming in the U.S. has grown 4.7% per year on average between 2017 and 2022, and it is expected to increase by 7.5% in 2022. The global pet grooming market is expected to rise with an annual growth rate of 5.7% and reach USD 14.46 billion by 2025. Pet groomers can expect their annual earnings to grow by nearly 20 percent.

Several skills can help to build a successful career in pet grooming:

  • Groomers should be confident in handling animals.
  • Ability to recognize a pet’s body language and warning signs.
  • Sound business sense and work ethic.
  • Excellent skills in communicating with pets
  • Animal health knowledge to identify visible signs of parasites or rashes.

Don’t be Just an Animal Lover, Become a Pet Mobile Grooming Business Owner Now

The demand for mobile pet grooming businesses is far from fading soon. So, if you are ready to be your own boss in the world of mobile pet grooming, time is now.  All you need to have is a solid business plan that you can combine with your passion to start your mobile grooming business for pets. 

Following the steps discussed above along with staying prepared with the right strategy to challenges that may surface can lead you to success. Running a mobile grooming business means you can have a flexible work schedule, connect with different client bases on a personal level, and establish yourself as an established mobile pet company.

Author Bio
Rakesh Patel
Rakesh Patel

Rakesh Patel, author of two defining books on reverse geotagging, is a trusted authority in routing and logistics. His innovative solutions at Upper Route Planner have simplified logistics for businesses across the board. A thought leader in the field, Rakesh's insights are shaping the future of modern-day logistics, making him your go-to expert for all things route optimization. Read more.