City & Guilds Dog Grooming Courses

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Business Setup Advice

Which business is right for me?

Each year we train hundreds of beginners from all different walks of life; career changers from finance & banking, insurance, logistics, the hotel industry, lawyers, medical staff, ex police force, ex army, and career mums who have been looking after the family and now want their chance to shine,  those who are passionate about animals and those just starting out on their career journey. All of our students become successfully qualified. Out of those, 98% will end up successfully running their own business whilst others will work in a Salon.That’s really great news if you are looking start a new career or want to run your own business.

So just what are your options after the course?

Working for yourself

There are 4 main options as follows:-

1. Set up your own commercial high street salon
2. Run a mobile business
3. Run your business from home/own premises
4. Partner up with a daycare or kennel facility

Working for an employer

Once qualified, you will have a professional City & Guilds Level 3 certificate AND you will have been trained by some of the best teachers and stylists 
in the world. It is then, no surprise to us that our students are in demand and everyone, from high street salons to Pets at Home are in frequent contact about student availability.

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.

Work from 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.

Home Pros:

  • Overheads are small compared to a salon.
  • You can advertise by word of mouth purely from talk in your local community.
  • You can choose when you work.
  • It is a fairly straight forward route into independent business.
  • You require a smaller range of equipment because you only have a small space to manage.
  • You don’t have to worry about the commute to and from work.
  • The dog becomes familiar with their groomer because it is generally just yourself.
  • You can have a very close community, where neighbours can quickly become regular clients.
  • Some clients can warm to a smaller business, thinking you will take more care of their dog.
  • You may have an accessible space already without any additional rental cost.
  • It’s a stepping stone that can be combined with part time work.
  • It can tie in if you have children that you need to be at home for.


Home Cons:

  • You are limited to the number of dogs that can be groomed at one time.
  • You have to consider the impact you have of disposing grooming waste.
  • You will spend a lot of time based in a very small space.
  • You are limited to your options of expanding unless you invest in a salon.
  • Because you only groom one dog at a time, costs have to be high to make it worth while.
  • You need to be considerate of your neighbours and consult them with any changes.
  • You are changing your living space
  • You don’t have any separation between work and home.
  • All of your clients will have your home address.
  • You need to consider planning permissions for any alterations.
  • Limited opportunities to upsell any additional products.
  • It can be more difficult to maintain high standards and appear professional in a home environment.

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.

Mobile Pros:

  • Overheads are very small compared to a salon.
  • You can advertise by word of mouth purely from driving between clients.
  • You can choose when you work.
  • You can be more sure that you have clients available for you because you are driving to them.
  • You require a smaller range of equipment because you only have a small space to manage.
  • Dogs are generally lower stressed because they are groomed outside of their home environment.
  • They’re also able to generally have one groomer for each dog, which increases dog comfort and consistency.
  • Franchise opportunities


Mobile Cons:

  • You are limited to the number of dogs that can be groomed at one time.
  • You have to consider the impact you have of disposing grooming waste.
  • You will spend a lot of time based in a very small space, including behind a wheel.
  • You are limited to your options of expanding unless you can invest in more vans.
  • Because you only groom one dog at a time, costs have to be high to make it worth while.
  • Travel and maintenance of your mobile salon have a big impact on your business.
  • To make substantial money, you have to work very long hours.

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.

Salon Pros:

  • You have a big opportunity to make a significant profit quickly.
  • You can hire other groomers and expand your business.
  • You can groom multiple dogs at once.
  • You are generally lower priced than mobile groomers because you don’t have to factor in travel costs.
  • You can also upsell additional services if you have the space or products in-line with your brand and business.
  • If designed well, clients feel they are taking their dog to a reputable place and expect a high professional standard.
  • You can have a fairly structured grooming routine that is essential for dog compliance.
  • Significant franchise opportunities.

Salon Cons:

  • Your overheads are significantly bigger than the other options.
  • You need to be aware of planning permissions and usage categories when renting or owning a salon for business.
  • 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.
  • There is generally a bigger area to manage.
  • You will have to multitask the running of administration and reception tasks with grooming.
  • Salons, with multiple dogs and more equipment can be a lot noisier.
  • 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.



What equipment do I need?

Starting up can feel like a never-ending list of items and an ever-increasing investment into your future. To help you understand the full extent of your costs, here is a list of equipment that is useful to your start up and an approximate cost for each item.

EquipmentWhat it is for?Approximate average cost (£)
ShampooYou’ll need a range of shampoos to deal with skin conditions and coat types.£25 per 4l bottle(prices range between £10 and £80 per bottle)
ClippersWhether you go for corded or cordless, clippers are an essential tool for every groomer for quick, effective consistent grooming.£200(prices range from £130-£350)
Clipper bladesYou’ll need a range of these, including 30, 10, 8.5, 7F, 7, 6F, 6, 5F, 5, 4F, 4, 3F, 3, 2F, 2.£30 per blade
Comb attachmentComb attachments will attach to blade number 30, 15 and 10 and using attachment size 1-8.£20-£50 per set
Clipper OilTo make sure your clipper blades stay working well.£7 per 500ml
Colognes and PerfumesTo give each dog a fantastic smell that each client can associate with your business.
Ear PowderTo help clear out and disinfect ears.£6.50 for 25g
Nail ClippersTo keep their nails clipped and free from infection£18 for a set of 3
Blood stopperTo manage little nips and cuts to the dog.£8
Slicker brushesTo brush out and de-matt hair£12-£25 for 3
De-shedding toolsTo help remove the undercoat in short and medium coats£40 for 2
CombsTo help de-tangle and brush hair when it is needing to be styled and is less tangled£8.50
Coat KingTo remove the undercoat on longer coated dogs.£15-£20 each
Finishing DryerTo dry the dog after a wash and removing excess water, ready for a groom.£400-£700 each
BlasterTo remove excess water after an initial wash before using the finishing dryer.£200-£800 each
ScissorsThis can be a huge range but to cover the basics of a straight, curved and thinning pair to help style and shape.£250 for 3, however, with experience this can be over £1000
Grooming tableThis can be hydraulic or set to a particular height. Having one that moves is useful for your back and the health of the dog, but is up to you.£100-£500 (non-hydraulic)£400-£1000 (hydraulic)
BathOnce again, there are a huge range available and the cost is affected by bath size and material used.£400-£1000
SteriliserTo sterilize your metallic equipment.£80
Leads and NoosesTo restrain and maintain safe control of each dog£80 for a set
CagesThis is dependent on how long you wish to hold your dogs and the space you have to hold the dogs in.£35-£350 per cage
Bath equipmentThis would including a mitt, a sponge, a jug and combs specific for hygiene areas£50 for a set

Business Setup Essentials

The idea of setting up your own business can be incredibly exciting but it can also be a bit daunting. Tackling the thoughts of “will it work?” and “can I afford this?” are difficult but can be overcome by knowing exactly how to prepare and we’re here to help you.

Find a comprehensive list of everything that you will need to consider when setting up your own business below.

TABS

What should I charge?

Quick tips

DON’T be the cheapest or undersell yourself
DO understand what other businesses in your area are charging
DO understand your target market and local area

For your business, whether starting small and just doing a friend’s Pomeranian in your own home or hand stripping in fantastic brand new facilities, you need to understand your pricing to be able to get the most from your area. There are several steps to making sure that you do this at the right level.

Firstly, research your local area; find out what people are charging; find out the range of services that are on offer where you want to work; know your market and your competition.

Secondly, do not be tempted to price yourself low. There are many groomers that do not go through proper training and sometimes experience doesn’t equal quality and it can equal complacency. Have faith in your training.

Thirdly, think of what is a reasonable mark up. Set out a business plan and look at your accounts properly. You need to be able to comfortably make profit from what you are doing. Yes, it is important to gain customers but by aiming to low you can make yourself very busy without any real profit. On the other hand, by pricing too high, you make mark yourself out of getting the custom through your doors.

Lastly, think of your USP. If you are going to be pricing yourself either similar to somebody else, or at a more expensive rate, what separates you from them? You hold a nationally recognized qualification and have trained with the best but what else can help you within your market?

Price guides

These pricings are a suggestion and a rough guideline to where you can price your services. This doesn’t factor in the price difference in your local area or the time or overheads that you will need to think about when sorting your price structure. This also doesn’t include up-selling and additional services that you may wish to charge for. If you haven’t thought of this option, please see our adding services section.

  • Extra small dogs from £25 to £35. For example, Pugs and Pomeranians
  • Small dogs from £30 to £40. For example, Shih Tzu, Miniature Schnauzer and West Highland White Terriers
  • Medium dogs from £35 to £45. For example, Cocker Spaniels, Cockerpoo’s and Schnauzer
  • Large dogs from £45. For example, German Shepherd, Samoyed and Standard Poodle
  • Extra large dogs from £65. For example, Bernese mountain dogs, Newfoundland, Saint Bernard and Great Dane
  • Hand stripping from £40

What additional services can I offer?

Additional services to consider:

  • Painting nails

    If customers are pampering their pooch, why not give them the option for a pristine finish and protection of their dog’s nails with a fantastic varnish. You can even style them further with a fantastic range of colours and patterns, all of which will be acetone free. It’s a great way for customers to show they care without piling on the calories for their furry friend. It is also a great way of adding a sense of style and additional service to the overall groom.

  • Clipping nails

    Clipping a dog’s nails is an essential part of it’s maintenance and something that can be a clear add-on opportunity. If a dog’s nails are left to grow too long, it can affect their foot formation and also how their quick grows. This can be uncomfortable for the dog and as a groomer, is a service that you can offer very quickly, even for those dogs that aren’t in for a full groom.

  • Ear cleaning

    Ear cleaning is very similar to clipping a dog’s nails. This is really imperative for certain breeds of dogs because they are much more likely to collect dirt and create the environment for breeding bacteria and holding parasites in unclean ears. For a dog’s health, this can be part of the standard grooming process.

  • Gland expression

    This is an optional service that is given to dogs that are unable to release the build up of fluid; they would usually use this to mark their territory. This is usually when a dog has been spayed or neutered.  To reduce this build up, which can cause an uncomfortable, smelly, compacted area, you as the groomer can externally clear the glands.

  • Teeth descaling

    A dog’s teeth are fundamental for their health and a build up of plaque can lead to issues with eating and infection. You can make sure your customer’s dog has a healthy set of gnashers by offering a descaling service. This is something that requires specialist knowledge, equipment and training.

  • Perfume and a quick freshen up

    This is a service that most people will jump at the chance to have and will choose to have time and time again. People respond strongly to smells and having a distinct smell can say a lot about you as a brand and also help associate a good cut and service with your name and that specific fragrance.

Products

  • Brushes and combs

    Most pet owners could and should be encouraged to do a bit of maintenance within their own homes. Unfortunately, lots of owners will be happy to use their own hairbrush or to buy one specific for humans. This isn’t effective in being able to groom a dog’s hair properly and can actually add to the knotting and matting that a dog has. By using specialist brushes and combs, you are ensuring that your owners are happy and the dog’s coat condition should generally be better.

  • Flea kit

    Although severe treatment should be carried out by vets, flea treatment and flea kits are commonly needed for dogs, especially those that regularly come into contact with other dogs. This is something can be easily used and shows that you are concerned for the welfare and give the customer an easier option than going to the vets.

  • Consumables

    This is a fantastic choice. Find me a dog that doesn’t like treats or even more importantly, find me a dog that won’t eat!  Consumables are easy options that can be matched to your brand and in a similar way to parents with children, owners will want to purchase a treat for their pets. This can be bought time and time again, which makes it a smart choice for your business.

  • Perfumes

    Perfumes are luxury items for both humans and dogs and are a great way of giving every dog that comes into your business a sense of identity. Owners will like to have something that helps their dog smell clean and fresh and give them the chance to be seen as “I get groomed here”.

  • Toys

    For owners, the idea that they are stimulating their pet is hugely important. Using toys to play with them and to help socialising skills are highly effective. This commodity is a great way of helping in still an active lifestyle for the dogs and the owners that come through your doors plus also work really well as gifts for other owners too.

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