Starting a pet grooming service is a great idea for those who love animals, and are willing to put in the hours to train up as a pet groomer. Whether you have just finished your qualifications , or you’ve decided to leave a grooming parlour, there are certain things you may wish to know before you go it alone.

In this guide, we provide you with the essential steps to take when starting a pet grooming service. Below, will cover the reasons why it might be wise to start a business in today’s climate, what you need to consider when setting up your business and how to keep it going.

Assessing the Viability of a Pet Grooming Business

With more people working from home pos- pandemic, there’s never really been a better time to go self-employed as a pet groomer. More people are adopting the hybrid approach to working, and this means that they would like to spend more time with their pets. Those working from home have more flexibility in the times that they can get their pet groomed, and some may even wish to have this service done in the comfort of their own homes.

Whether you choose to run your salon from home, or travel to clients, there’s sure to be a wealth of options when it comes to getting started with your pet grooming business. However, it may well be worth looking at the mobile grooming business rather than setting up at home, as you are more likely to have higher overheads in your own premises.

Developing a Business Plan

Before you start getting your clippers out and sharpening your scissors, it’s important to have a proper grounding point for your pet grooming business. This involves creating a business plan that covers all bases such as the below.

Give your business a name

Naming your business is perhaps one of the most difficult decisions you will make. It’s important to choose a name that gives an idea of the services you provide. For example, don’t limit yourself to calling yourself a dog grooming business if you intend to groom other pets as well. It may put clients off. You could use your name as part of the business name, which makes it more personal to you. However, it’s important not to choose a name that is already taken. This can lead to legal consequences you might not have considered. It would be a good idea to contact the experts at Your Company Formations, who can assist you in making sure that all your legal requirements are met.

Set your business boundaries

Are there certain types of pets that you are not experienced in grooming? Do you want to specify business hours, or how far you will travel to clients? Would you prefer to be mobile, rent your own premises, or use your own home within which to work? All these are valid questions that should help to set a framework for your business.

Establishing clear goals

A business that only looks at the here and now is one that is less likely to succeed long-term. Take a look at the next 6 to 12 months and the next five years and create deliverable milestones for yourself. Consider how many clients that you would like to work on, and if in the future you would like to take on staff to help you grow. You can then measure yourself against the milestones you set, and remember to celebrate each one. This could help keep you motivated throughout your journey.

What competition will you have?

Part of setting up your business plan means analysing what your customers want, and this means analysing what your competitors do as well. Take a look at online reviews of pet grooming businesses, and see what people have said - good or bad - about them. This could give you an idea of the kinds of things that will attract new customers and those that will put them off.

Define your customer base

If you're mobile, then you need to look at the boundaries that you are setting as to how far you will travel. For example, if you are aware that there are many pet owners within a certain area you could set your boundary quite close to home. This could help save you on petrol, and you can always revisit this boundary and extend it should your business grow. Also, think about who you would like to target. Will you be working during the standard 9 to 5, or will you offer appointments to those who want evening and weekend appointments? Do you want to work on dogs and cats or are rabbits more your thing? It is likely that the most popular services would be dog grooming services but if you have experience in other areas, this may be useful in helping you gain extra business.

Know your figures

Depending on the type of dog grooming business you're starting, there are certain overheads that are unavoidable. For example, if you are starting a pet grooming service from a van, or you are visiting other people’s homes, you will need to factor in the cost of petrol, Insurance and equipment. If you are working from home, you would need to factor in electricity, as well as insurance and equipment, while if you are visiting other people’s homes, you will need to factor in petrol and equipment. Remember the smaller, more consumable costs too. Items such as shampoos and conditioners are used up quickly and soon mount up. Once you have an idea of the monthly cost, then you can set prices that will help you make a profit.

If there are any local or small businesses that make unique pet care accessories, you could partner up with these and you may be able to get trade discounts as a result.

Financial compliance and tax implications

You will need to register as self-employed with the government so that you can effectively submit a tax return. This is fairly easy to do and you can use the government website to do so. You will obtain a unique tax number and this will need to be given to HMRC in any correspondence. You should also get a business account as well as keeping good records of your income and outgoings. If you are unsure as to how to keep accounts, or how to set up a legal identity for your business, Your Company Formations can assist with this.

Insurance for business protection

One of the many things you will have to think about is how to protect your business. Not only will you need to ensure that your house or vehicle has the relevant insurance for you to run your business, depending on whether you are home, grooming, or mobile, but you will also have to have public liability insurance. There are specific policies available for this type of business, so it may be worth looking into various policies to see which one may suit you best.

Marketing Tactics

It is absolutely vital to market your business. However, how you do so depends on the type of business you want to run and how you intend to find your customer base. For example, a door drop leaflet may be a good idea in areas where there is a higher prevalence of elderly clients. This may be useful alongside a social media strategy, where you post in local groups online to market your business. Be aware that some of them have rules about advertising, so do not fall foul of these or your posts will not be seen.

If you are adept at making social media videos, make sure you get permission from the pet owners before you post photographs or videos of their pets. That way, you can show off your skills without upsetting any of your customers.

By taking the steps we’ve identified above, you should be well prepared. If you are starting a pet grooming service, whether you are home working, or prefer to be mobile, we at Your Company Formations can assist you in making sure your business is set up correctly, leaving you free to concentrate on what you do best.

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