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So you want to be a Dog Groomer!

Author: Chris Chamberlin

Shop Based

Opening a grooming shop can be a very lucrative business. However, there are a number of factors that are dependent on its success. Location is key as in any small or large business. Folks like to have easy access to bring their dogs in to you. Remember that there are a greater number of senior citizens with dogs for companions and you may want to consider a pick up and delivery service for those who cannot drive. Be sure you have the potential clientele. Does the area you are setting up in need another groomer or one at all? Can the area support your business?

Dog grooming as an occupation

Be sure you have the potential clientele. Does the area you are setting up in need another groomer or one at all? Can the area support your business?

TO be sure it is really what you expect, volunteer to help out at a grooming shop to have a hands on idea of the way a shop runs.

Cost of setting up a shop will depend on the scale you want to achieve, and of course, on the area you live in. In general smaller communities will cost less than large cities for rent or real estate, but will offer better deals on equipment. The things to consider will be :

  1. Monthly rental or mortgage payment
  2. Telephone services eg-- Yellow page ads, telephone rental etc
  3. Utilities -- heat and light
  4. Insurance for the building and protection of your services
  5. Monthly costs sharpening of scissors and blades
  6. Shampoos and other necessary supplies
  7. Wages and any tax and/or benefit related costs for any assistants
  8. Advertising
  9. Inventory costs of any retail products( If you include this service you should consider all the additional expense and work involved)

The equipment for a one-man Grooming operation will consist of:

Bathing area

  1. A bathtub equipped with a noose and shower nozzle(Preferably raised to save your back)
  2. Shampoos(medicated, flea, moisturizing and tearless) Conditioners
  3. Flea and tick preparations(dips)
  4. Rubber gloves

Grooming area

  1. Table with adjustable grooming arm ( a second table is recommended )
  2. Mirror table length so you can view your work from all sides( Optional)
  3. Good animal clippers( I recommend Andis or Oster A5)
  4. Blades for clipper #30, #15, #10, # 3/8 POODLE, #7F, #4F (it is wise to have an extra set for backup as sharpening may require shipping and loss of equipment temporarily)
  5. Slicker brushes varying sizes , pin brushes and good steel combs
  6. Mat splitters
  7. Good scissors 7-9 inch blades straight and curved ( cost can be as little as under$50 and as high as $500)
  8. Conditioning and detangling sprays and colognes or perfumes
  9. Ribbons and bows( tiny elastics required) for the perfect touch
  10. Dryers – cage, free standing and hand held ( at least one of each)
  11. Crates and wire cages for holding the dogs ranging in sizes from small to extra large

Reception area

  1. Chairs for customers in waiting area
  2. Dog magazines
  3. Desk
  4. Appointment book and pen
  5. Telephone(purchased or rental)/li>
  6. Room décor eg; dog pictures calendar, flowers

Cleaning supplies

  1. Disinfectants for floors and cages etc
  2. Blade wash fluid
  3. Sprays candles, a Brush and comb disinfectant (similar to what the barbers use: Barbicide)

You will need to make an informed decision as to whether you will opt to start your grooming business out of your home to build clientele, or jump right in and open a shop. No matter which you chose you will need everything above. Before you make the move to start your own business you should have:

  1. An ability and love to handle dogs of all sizes and temperaments
  2. Been instructed through a reputable grooming school ( courses range from 2 –4 months) or had the tutoring of an expert groomer
  3. Possess some natural ability to handle scissors and clippers
  4. Acquired a course in Business or at least a good business sense
  5. Good communication skills
  6. And finally a touch of creativity will ensure success ( sculpting a beautifully groomed dog out of matted mess takes a fair amount of creativity)