Setting up your dog grooming business - The essentials for your dog grooming starter kit

You're out of training, and it's time to decide what to do with your new qualifications. Our students are on demand everywhere from high street salons to big chains like Pets At Home, but you've decided you want to set up your own dog grooming business. But where do you start? We've compiled a great guide to get you on your way to being a small business owner.

How do I start a dog grooming business?

Starting your own business is incredibly rewarding and being your own boss gives you the freedom to work when you want and how you want. There's a lot of things to consider when you first decide to set up your dog grooming business, like what type of business it will be, the equipment you'll need, how much you'll charge your customers and what insurance you'll need.

As Mark Twain said, "the secret of getting ahead is getting started" – the best way for you to start your dog grooming business is to begin. Start planning, start talking to your neighbours who own dogs, start saving for your equipment. We have a range of business development workshops and awards available for business owners, including social media and digital marketing tips and customer insights to help you start and grow your dog grooming business. 

What does a dog groomer do?

Dog groomers keep dogs looking good and feeling good. They keep pooches’ coats in good condition by shampooing, brushing, trimming and well, grooming them. Dog groomers will also advise dog owners on coat maintenance for their pup. A groomer might also offer other services to boost their business and be a "one-stop-shop" for all an owner's needs; these services can include clipping nails, ear cleaning, gland expression and teeth descaling. 

A dog groomer needs to be confident around all sizes and breeds of dog. Most dog groomers are self-employed so good administrative, marketing and numeracy skills are also really important. 

What different types of dog grooming business are there?

Earlier we mentioned that one of the main things you need to decide when setting up your dog grooming business is what kind of dog grooming business you will be. Will you work from home? Perhaps you'll rent a salon? Or buy a van for a mobile grooming business? It's essential to think about how you want your working life to look and go from there. 

If you're somebody who enjoys travelling around, you'll probably prefer a mobile grooming business. If you like the idea of starting small and building up your client base, converting a space in your home might be the way forward. And if you're somebody who wants to start big and go bigger – a well-branded salon might be the way for you. 

Read more about the pros and cons of each type of dog grooming business.

What insurance do I need for a dog grooming business?

There are plenty of specific dog grooming insurance options out there for dog groomers. You will need public liability insurance if you work with animals, preferably a policy that includes accident and injury cover – mistakes can happen, and it's better if you're prepared. 

What equipment do I need to set up a dog grooming business?

When you start a new business, it can feel like the number of costs is never-ending. A dog grooming business needs a fair amount of equipment but consider it an investment. You'll need a range of different shampoos for different fur and skin types; these can cost between £10 and £80 per bottle. 

Things like a grooming table, a bath, a dryer and scissors/clippers can all add up but having the right equipment will make your work better and keep your customers coming back. If you're looking to add extra services like nail cutting and ear cleaning, you'll need to get the correct equipment for that. 

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