Mobile, Salon or Home?

When you are thinking of your business options, one of the main choices that you will consider is what type of business do you actually want?  Do you like the idea of being on the road and going to find your business at their doorstep? Do you like the idea of starting small and keeping things comfortable, setting up in your own home or do you feel the desire to have your own salon and making your mark with a brand that can take over the world?

Even if you’re not planning on global domination, knowing your options is key. There are definite benefits and drawbacks to each one, so let’s have a look at the options of each one to help guide you on the path that’s right for you.

  • Mobile

    When you think about grooming using a mobile facility, you need to be realistic in how much everything will cost because you don’t just need to factor in your grooming equipment, but also the running and maintenance costs to a vehicle.  Being truly portable means that your client base can be as large as you want it to be and you also have greater freedom to work the hours that are suitable to you. Travel does come with a drawback in that you now have to factor in issues with traffic and must be flexible with you appointments. Clients are also aware that your overheads are low and as a result, you cannot charge the same amount as you would for a salon experience. One additional factor is that you must be aware you are only able to complete one dog at a time and as a result, if you are thinking about expanding, that will mean another van. Depending on the quality of your vehicle and your equipment, you can have an initial start-up cost ranging anywhere between £5000 and £30000. Let’s summarise the main pros and cons of mobile dog grooming.

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    Pros

    Cons

    Overheads are very small compared to a salon.

    You are limited to the number of dogs that can be groomed at one time.

    You can advertise by word of mouth purely from driving between clients.

    You have to consider the impact you have of disposing grooming waste.

    You can choose when you work.

    You will spend a lot of time based in a very small space, including behind a wheel.

    You can be more sure that you have clients available for you because you are driving to them.

    You are limited to your options of expanding unless you can invest in more vans.

    You require a smaller range of equipment because you only have a small space to manage.

    Because you only groom one dog at a time, costs have to be high to make it worth while.

    Dogs are generally lower stressed because they are groomed outside of their home environment.

    Travel and maintenance of your mobile salon have a big impact on your business.

    They’re also able to generally have one groomer for each dog, which increases dog comfort and consistency.

    To make substantial money, you have to work very long hours.

    Franchise opportunities

  • Home

    When grooming from home, there are big decisions to make. Are you converting a room, a garage or having a shed within your garden? Are you using any garden space? Are you able to take multiple dogs or do you just want to have one dog at a time? The main factors that need considering when working from home, funnily enough aren’t costs at all, but in fact are neighbours! Planning permission is essential to get but keeping your neighbours well-informed and happy is fundamental to a successful venture of working from home. Working from home means you get to work the hours that you decide and importantly, get to stay in the comfort of your own home. Overheads are significantly smaller than the other options, but you would need to renovate your living space and remember that your market would only be open to those that can travel to you. This would also mean that all of your clients would know your home address.

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    Pros

    Cons

    Overheads are small compared to a salon.

    You are limited to the number of dogs that can be groomed at one time.

    You can advertise by word of mouth purely from talk in your local community.

    You have to consider the impact you have of disposing grooming waste.

    You can choose when you work.

    You will spend a lot of time based in a very small space.

    It is a fairly straight forward route into independent business.

    You are limited to your options of expanding unless you invest in a salon.

    You require a smaller range of equipment because you only have a small space to manage.

    Because you only groom one dog at a time, costs have to be high to make it worth while.

    You don’t have to worry about the commute to and from work.

    You need to be considerate of your neighbours and consult them with any changes.

    The dog becomes familiar with their groomer because it is generally just yourself.

    You are changing your living space

    You can have a very close community, where neighbours can quickly become regular clients.

    You don’t have any separation between work and home.

    Some clients can warm to a smaller business, thinking you will take more care of their dog.

    All of your clients will have your home address.

    You may have an accessible space already without any additional rental cost.

    You need to consider planning permissions for any alterations.

    It’s a stepping stone that can be combined with part time work.

    Limited opportunities to upsell any additional products.

    It can tie in if you have children that you need to be at home for.

    It can be more difficult to maintain high standards and appear professional in a home environment.

  • Salon

    This option is generally the most expensive but also the most profitable business option. Planning permissions, usage classes, equipment, rent and staffing all mean that this is a big investment that requires a lot of knowledge and probably the additional service of an accountant to manage your funds. This is because this option will have the biggest outgoings but also the biggest income. Having a salon boutique in a separate premises allows you fantastic options to make your business a huge success. The additional management and marketing skills needed for a salon are a consideration but if done properly, can help your business be a success and this can include taking in money, even when you are not there.

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    Pros

    Cons

    You have a big opportunity to make a significant profit quickly.

    Your overheads are significantly bigger than the other options.

    You can hire other groomers and expand your business.

    You need to be aware of planning permissions and usage categories when renting or owning a salon for business.

    You can groom multiple dogs at once.

    How you design your brand needs to be very carefully thought out to target the market that you are after. In a salon, this appearance can either gain or lose business.

    You are generally lower priced than mobile groomers because you don’t have to factor in travel costs.

    There is generally a bigger area to manage.

    You can also upsell additional services if you have the space or products in-line with your brand and business.

    You will have to multitask the running of administration and reception tasks with grooming.

    If designed well, clients feel they are taking their dog to a reputable place and expect a high professional standard.

    Salons, with multiple dogs and more equipment can be a lot noisier.

    You can have a fairly structured grooming routine that is essential for dog compliance.

    Your market will only be as big as those that can pick up and drop off their dogs unless you choose to expand the service you offer.

    Significant franchise opportunities.

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