The type of dog grooming business you start depends on how much flexible time your own life requires. Your customers can come to you, or you can go to them. You can begin as a one-person operation, hiring groomers as your business grows or if you want to expand its hours.
Certification, Licensing and Insurance
Although you don't need professional certification to become a dog groomer, such credentialing can help your business. Not only does it prove to clients that you have achieved a certain level of expertise, but organizations such as the National Dog Groomers Association of America provide continuing education and liability plans. Check state and local laws for any licensing requirements. Besides professional business and liability insurance, it's a good idea to purchase special insurance in case your premises becomes contaminated with kennel cough and you must close temporarily. If you go the mobile route, you'll also want loss of income insurance if your van is in an accident.
Stationary or Mobile
The least expensive way to start a dog grooming business is by operating it out of your home. Besides an array of shampoos, conditioners, brushes, clippers and scissors, you must have a grooming table and wash tub. Check your local zoning laws to see if operating the business out of your home is allowed. If it isn't, either rent or purchase a building suitable for a salon, or go the mobile route, if that makes more sense for you Mobile groomers generally charge more for grooming services than their bricks-and-mortar counterparts, but for many clients -- especially those with multiple pets or who no longer have the ability to drive --- it's worth the extra expense.
Buying into a pet grooming franchise gives your business name recognition, a turnkey operation and a successful blueprint to follow. Depending on the franchise, it can also give you valuable partnerships with other pet-related companies. Purchasing a franchise can cost more initially than starting a grooming business from scratch, but you benefit from the training and support services offered by the franchiser.
In addition to your primary grooming business, you can offer additional services to clients. Some of these involve taking additional courses and workshops. Extra services include tooth brushing, massage and special pedicures, as opposed to basic nail trimming. Expand your clientele to include cats and rabbits. You can also carry lines of pet grooming products, flea and tick control, treats, collars, canine deodorizers and clothing for your clientele. If you have the expertise and the space, consider offering dog training classes. Your canine students could become grooming clients.