FAQ's when starting a New Dog Grooming Business

Answers to Questions from Our Student Dog Groomers

  • How can I transition from my full-time job to a new career as a dog groomer?

    The process of transitioning from a full-time job to a new career as a dog groomer can vary depending on your specific circumstances. However, here are some general steps to consider:

    Assess your financial situation: Determine if you can afford to leave your current job without a steady income from your new career. This may involve saving money, reducing expenses, or finding a part-time job to supplement your income during the transition period.

    Research and plan your new career: Investigate the dog grooming industry, required skills, and potential job opportunities. Develop a clear plan for how you will build your new career, including setting goals, acquiring necessary skills, and networking with professionals in the dog grooming field.

    Prepare for the transition: Update your resume and cover letter, and begin applying for dog grooming jobs. Network with dog groomers, attend industry events, and consider taking relevant courses or obtaining certifications to enhance your qualifications.

    Give notice to your current employer: Once you have secured a new job or have a solid plan in place, inform your current employer of your intention to resign. Be sure to follow any contractual obligations or company policies regarding resignation.

    Manage your day-to-day life during the transition: As you build your new career as a dog groomer, you may need to balance your time between your current job, job search activities, and personal responsibilities. Prioritize your tasks and develop a schedule that allows you to effectively manage your time and resources.

  • What are my career/business options after my training?

    As a qualified dog groomer, you have numerous future opportunities to explore in the pet grooming industry. Some of these opportunities include:

    1. Employment at Salons/Boutiques:

    With your qualifications, you can seek employment at salons or boutiques that offer dog grooming services. These establishments may provide a fast-paced or style-based environment, allowing you to hone your skills and gain valuable experience.

    2. Employment at Daycare/Kennels:

    Daycare facilities and kennels also require the services of qualified dog groomers. Although the grooming aspect of the business may be more basic in these settings, you'll still be responsible for producing high-quality work.

    3. Employment at Large Chain Pet Stores:

    Large chain pet stores, such as Pets At Home and Tesco's, are now offering pet grooming services in selected stores. Working for these employers can provide a reasonable wage, standard hours, and a clean and professional environment.

    4. Starting Your Own Dog Grooming Business:

    If you prefer to be self-employed, you can start your own dog grooming business. There are several business models to choose from, including:

    - Home-Based Dog Grooming Business

    - Mobile Dog Grooming Business

    - Commercial Salon Dog Grooming Business

    - Partnering with Kennels/Boarding/Behaviour Training/Dog Sanctuary/Rescue Centres

    Each of these business models has its unique advantages and challenges. As a qualified dog groomer, you can leverage your skills and knowledge to build a successful and thriving business in the pet grooming industry.

    In addition to these opportunities, you may also consider:

    1. Studying a Level 4 Qualification in Dog Grooming:

    Pursuing further education in dog grooming can help you deepen your knowledge and refine your skills. A Level 4 qualification can make you more competitive in the job market and open up new career prospects.

    2. Entering Dog Grooming Competitions:

    Participating in dog grooming competitions can be an excellent way to showcase your skills, gain recognition in the industry, and network with other professionals. Winning awards and accolades can also help you attract more clients to your business.

    3. Offering Complimentary Services:

    Providing additional services, such as kenneling, dog daycare, dog walking, or other related services, can help you differentiate your business from competitors and provide added value to your clients.

  • How much does it cost to set up a grooming business?

    Well according to Entrepreneur magazine, you can set up a business for under £2,000. However, practically, this depends on several factors. The three principal questions you should ask are:-

    1. What type of business do I want to run? (Salon express/ Salon boutique/ Mobile/ home based/ partnership)

    2. What is my budget? (In other words what can I afford and what can i borrow if needed)

    3. And finally, what do you want your business to say?

    We have had students who have managed to buy all of their equipment, set up in premises for free, advertised on social media, organised an open day and all for under £3,000. It can be as cheap as that, however, we have had students who have spent £15,000 alone on their mobile vans and we have students who have spent nearly £25,000 to open their salon boutique.

    If you embark on a GroomArts Academy intensive programme then we have an extensive checklist for you to open your salon.

  • How much can I expect to make as a groomer?
    • Well, how much will you charge? (How much do you think you can charge? Exactly what type of service are you offering? IOW how will you position your business?)
    • What other goods or services will you sell?
    • Have you thought about upselling opportunities?
    • What about online services?

    As a basic example; you will be able to groom around 4-6 dogs per day depending on the breed and the requirements. With each customer there is an upselling opportunity (teeth descale, nails, special perfumes, doggy treats, collars, eye/ear cleaners etc). Ok, lets say £10 margin on perfume and just £10 for a teeth descale. So in this very simple case the potential reward is between £220-£330 per day.

    We have a Marketing and Upselling workshop which shows you many ways of how to maximise your profit.

  • Do I need any permissions to set up my business?

    The short answer is yes and no.

    Here are the summary points:

    • Every business has a usage classification.

    • Mobile is fine so long as you are truly mobile.

    • Home based requires cooperative neighbours and planning permission.

    • A pet grooming parlour is classified as Sui Generis.

    • Most shops and retail properties are classified A1.

    • So technically you would need to apply for planning permission (A1 to “Sui generis”).

    • But there is a way around it - “The pet services boutique”.

    • You should always consider the impact on your local environment.

    We have a comprehensive guide to planning which is available when attending our courses but here is an extract that explains some of the main points.

    “...Firstly, to set up your business you have 3 or 4 main choices as follows. The first 3 are the traditional ways:-

    1) Set up your business in your own home with a low volume of dogs to begin with.

    2) Set up your business as a mobile operator going to your customers' homes.

    3) Set up your business as a salon in commercial premises.

    You can actually set your business up in a variety of premises, for example:

    • A farm building

    • Industrial/ Light Industrial unit

    • A traditional retail unit (shop/salon)

    The only one from the above that can really draw attention from planning departments is setting up in your own home as it is within a suburban dwelling area. If your business is considered "light hobby work" then you don't have a problem. You just need to comply with planning laws.

    To set up a business in your home, you would need to apply for planning permission for a change of use. The application process usually takes about 8 - 10 weeks. You don't really need any special requirements to fill out a planning application and providing you make a good statements regarding the mitigation of noise, waste and traffic, then nearly all applications are successful. You just need to keep people happy around you and present an application for a 'low traffic' business. In other words you would make an application for a hobby-type business stating that if numbers increase then you will move into commercial premises.

    From option 3 above, whilst officially you may need permission for change of use for some options, 99.9% of occasions you can move into a farm/ light industrial/ mixed usage and most shops without a problem.

    It is also possible to partner up with an existing business. For example, to set up in the back of a hairdressers/pet shop is a little easier because the building is already equipped for traffic, safety, waste, noise mitigation and so on. Just as a side point, there are many people who begin their business and retrospectively apply for permission when the council insist. I don't want to officially say that this the best choice but you might be surprised about how many of our students just open their business and deal with things as and when they arrive. Remember, it is just planning law. So long as you can show that you are running your business in the right way then you are usually fine.

    The main problem of setting up a dog grooming salon in terms of planning lies with its "usage class". A business has a usage class which is determined by the type of business, for example, offices, retail, industrial, academic, healthcare and so on. The types of business that have not been defined within the main classes fall into a class known as "sui generis". Sometimes it is because a business has a "mixed use" and sometimes because it has not yet been defined correctly.

    Dog grooming salons fit the latter. What we have found is that unofficially, there are many many businesses that have been set up in a standard shop (A1 class) without going through a planning application and the local council never get involved. For example a hairdressers has the class A1. Most shops come with planning for A1 and A2. Therefore you should be able to move into an A1 facility without too much bother. If you really need planning permission then, as i said before, it is a simple and straightforward application that takes around 8-10 weeks weeks to complete.

    There is also another way around the planning issue of "sui generis". If your business intends to sell products to the public and you can show that it is upfront within the business and "technically" occupies the majority of square footage/meterage of the space then it can be deemed to fall into the class "A1". For a council planning department to prove otherwise is a very lengthy and expensive business. Therefore, in this case it just needs to look like the majority of floor space is given to retail.

    There is a 4th option for you to get going which is only now becoming popular. So...

    4) Partner up with a existing kennels/ boarding/ behaviour training/ dog sanctuary/rescue centre and provide a dog grooming facility for them.

    In this way you will not have to apply for any permission, you will have a plentiful supply of dogs, you can keep your costs low and when you are ready then you can grow into more salon-type premises.

    The fact is that you are someone who wants to work and set up their own business, and the government have sent a planning directive to all councils in England and Wales to allow you to do that. Whichever option you take, you will need to spend some time planning it out in terms of finance, customers, services and so on. If you have to add a planning application then let me reassure you that you can do it, but our general advice is to ensure that each application provides much more detail than required. You want your application to be passed at the first round as any time spent at a subsequent planning committee meeting can also include members of the public with any further potential issues that they can raise and must be resolved before proceeding/ granting an application. Therefore, provide all the necessary information required and also try to answer any possible issues that may arise with good, solid information. Try to think of any concerns that anyone might have and then provide an answer. Provide as many benefits too, for example, benefits to the local economy or benefits to local employment situation as this can also be very helpful in avoiding going to the planning committee stage.

    We have plenty of students who have in fact made planning applications and as an example we had a mother and daughter on our May course who applied for planning permission and of course were successful as a result of a comprehensive application. As far as I remember the cost of submitting an application is around £300.

    You can achieve what you are looking for and within your budget. In our opinion it is most important to have the determination to succeed and then the rest will follow with a little hard work.

  • What are planning usage classes?

    “...Planning use classes are the legal framework which determines what a particular property may be used for by its lawful occupants. In England, these are contained within the text of Town and Country Planning (Use Classes) Order 1987 (Statutory Instrument 1987 No. 764)....”

    The main problem of setting up a dog grooming salon in terms of planning lies with its "usage class". A business has a usage class which is determined by the type of business, for example, offices, retail, industrial, academic, healthcare and so on. The types of business that have not been defined within the main classes fall into a class known as "sui generis". Sometimes it is because a business has a "mixed use" and sometimes because it has not yet been defined correctly.

  • How do I find the right premises for my business?

    Finding the right property can either come from lost of research, trawling the web and digital networking or it can come by simply being in the right place at the right time and speaking to the right people. The most important thing to remember when considering a property is “Will it fit my business positioning?” and “Will it attract my customers?”.

    Here are some of the main avenues when searching for properties:

    • Go out and search by foot/car.

    • Get in touch with farm owners.

    • Speak to the property manager at your local garden centre.

    • Check in with the council. Look for vacant or unoccupied properties.

    • Search local agents and surveyors websites

    • Search commercial agents websites

    • Get on the mailing list of the national agents (LSH, Brasier Freeth, Strutt and Parker)

    • Subscribe to digital magazines (shopproperty and estates gazette)

  • What are the initial steps to start a dog grooming business?

    To start a dog grooming business, you need to research the market, create a business plan, obtain necessary licenses and permits, find a suitable location, invest in grooming equipment, and establish a strong online presence.

  • What are the essential skills required for a dog groomer?

    A successful dog groomer should possess excellent communication skills, be patient and gentle with animals, have a keen eye for detail, be physically fit, and have a passion for working with dogs.

  • How much does it cost to start a dog grooming business?

    The cost of starting a dog grooming business can vary significantly depending on factors such as location, equipment, and marketing expenses. Generally, it can range from £500.00 to £5000.00

  • What licenses and permits are required to start a dog grooming business?

    The licenses and permits required to start a dog grooming business may include a business license, a dog grooming license, a sales tax permit, and potentially a zoning permit if you're operating from a commercial space.

  • How can I market my dog grooming business?

    To market your dog grooming business, you can utilize various strategies such as creating a professional website, establishing a strong social media presence, offering promotions and discounts, partnering with local pet stores and veterinarians, and participating in local pet events.

  • What equipment is necessary for a dog grooming business?

    Essential equipment for a dog grooming business includes grooming tables, grooming tubs, clippers, scissors, brushes, combs, nail clippers, ear cleaners, and various grooming products.

  • How can I find and retain clients for my dog grooming business?

    To find and retain clients, focus on providing exceptional customer service, offering competitive pricing, maintaining a clean and professional environment, and consistently delivering high-quality grooming services.

  • What are the common challenges faced by dog grooming businesses?

    Common challenges faced by dog grooming businesses include managing unpredictable animal behavior, dealing with difficult or aggressive dogs, maintaining a consistent client base, and staying up-to-date with the latest grooming techniques and trends.

  • How can I stay updated with the latest dog grooming techniques and trends?

    To stay updated with the latest dog grooming techniques and trends, consider attending industry conferences and workshops, subscribing to relevant trade publications, and joining professional dog grooming associations.

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