Building a new location for a dog grooming business can be cost prohibitive. A large storage shed provides protection from the elements, walls to confine animals and equipment and a place for your grooming supplies at the end of the day. To open a dog grooming business in a storage shed, you will need to have your local government's permission and add water, heat and lights.
Acquire a storage shed large enough to accommodate your needs. Many storage sheds come equipped with windows to allow light in. To be sure you are choosing the proper sized shed, measure your grooming table, shelving and tubs and use those measurements while examining potential sheds for purchase or use.
Contact your local zoning and codes office to determine whether the land the shed will be on is properly zoned for a dog grooming business. If not, you can find land that will allow it or you can request a hearing in front of the zoning board of appeals and request the land be rezoned to allow a dog grooming business. If you seek a rezoning, be prepared to discuss aspects such as dog barking, neighbors' comfort, parking and other concerns that will be raised. If the zoning appeals board agrees to rezone the land, you are good to go. If not, you can seek out land that is properly zoned and acquire it to place the shed on. Your city's planning department can typically show you what areas of town are properly zoned for commercial dog grooming.
Once secure that the location is properly zoned, obtain a business license at city hall's business license office.
Hire an electrician and a plumber to run power and water to the shed. Overhead lighting will save space as well as provide good lighting for grooming the dogs. Water will be needed for baths and clean up. Be sure to obtain proper permits for such changes from city hall's permit office. Once the work is completed, request a city inspector to come and sign off on the work or list what else needs to be done to pass the inspection.
Prepare the inside of shed for a dog grooming business. Hang shelves to store clippers, doggy towels and cleansers on. Some drawers will provide storage for small grooming items. Set aside a corner for a desk and chair and computer to handle paperwork, receipts, invoices and other records.
Arrange for parking. Whether you provide a concrete slab next to the shed, or you have dog owners drop off and pick up their pets at the shed's door, these arrangements need to be established before you open. Paint the outside of the shed if you wish, and hang curtains over the shed windows for protection against the sun.
Hang a sign advertising the business. Most cities have regulations with regard to sign height and width. Check with your city to be sure your sign is in compliance with city regulations. A cute name playing on your location will attract customers. For example, "Shed No More" can be used as a play on words about dog grooming and your location.
Insure the shed with a commercial business policy that will cover you for liability as well as equipment loss.
Spread the word everywhere you go. Always have plenty of business cards to hand out. Leave brochures in veterinarian offices.
Cities usually have heavy fines for businesses that try to get around codes, zoning and other local laws. It is best to comply with requirements, than to try and open under the radar and face potential problems.
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