I want to open a grooming salon. How should I start?

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As a pet owner, you may have noticed the growing demand for high-quality dog grooming services. More and more pet owners are looking for professionals who can help keep their furry friends looking and feeling their best. This creates a perfect opportunity for you to start a dog grooming business and cater to this growing demand.


Starting a dog grooming business requires careful planning and investment in the right tools and supplies. The right equipment and grooming products will not only help you deliver high-quality grooming services but also ensure the safety and comfort of the dogs under your care.


Create a Dog Grooming Business Plan

A business plan is a blueprint that outlines your business goals, objectives, and strategies. It also includes a financial plan, marketing plan, and operational plan. Creating a comprehensive business plan will help you stay on track and make informed decisions as you start and grow your business.


Your business plan should include:

  • A description of your business and the services you offer;
  • Analysis of your target market and competitors;
  • Financial projections and budget;
  • Marketing and promotional strategies;
  • Management structure and operational procedures.


Select an Operating Concept

Now is the time to determine where you will operate your dog grooming business. There are various options available, including:

  • Renting space in an existing salon
  • Running a mobile grooming salon
  • Operating a dog grooming salon from your home
  • Running a dog grooming salon as the sole groomer
  • Running a dog grooming salon and renting space to other groomers
  • Running a dog grooming salon and hiring other groomers to work for you

When choosing a space, size, and layout are significant considerations. A dog grooming business typically includes four sections: a lobby, kennel or holding space, bath area, and grooming space.


Operating your business from home may be the most cost-effective option, but there are several factors to consider. Running a business out of your home can limit growth opportunities, making it difficult to expand in terms of both physical space and staff size. Additionally, barking dogs may cause issues with neighbors. Before choosing to operate your business from home, make sure that you are legally permitted to do so.


Mobile dog grooming is a growing trend that offers convenience for pet parents and freedom for business owners. However, operating a mobile salon also presents its own set of challenges. These include the possibility of faulty equipment and the cost of fuel.


Ultimately, the decision of where to operate your dog grooming business will depend on your personal circumstances, goals, and budget. It's important to carefully weigh the pros and cons of each option before making a final decision.


Establish a Business Entity

Setting up a business entity is an essential step towards protecting yourself from liability and reducing tax expenses for your dog grooming business. It's important to seek legal counsel to determine the most suitable option for your specific needs. Some of the available options include:

  • Limited Liability Company (LLC): An LLC offers protection from personal liability for the business's debts and liabilities. It combines the features of a corporation with those of a partnership or sole proprietorship and is only available in the US.
  • Corporation: A corporation is a group of people acting as a single legal entity. It is a separate legal entity from its owners and has the ability to enter into contracts, own property, and sue or be sued.
  • Sole Proprietorship: A sole proprietorship is a business owned and operated by a single individual. There are no legal distinctions between the business and its owner, and the owner is responsible for all aspects of the business.
  • Partnership: A partnership is a business owned and operated by two or more parties. Partnerships vary in how profits and liabilities are shared among the owners.

Choosing the right business entity is critical, as it can have significant implications for your business's financial and legal responsibilities. It's important to weigh the pros and cons of each option and consult with a legal professional to determine which structure will best suit your business goals and needs.


Obtain Insurance, Licenses, and Permits

The licenses, permits, registrations, and insurance required to start a dog grooming business may vary depending on your location. It's essential to research the specific requirements for your area before starting your business. Common local, state and federal registrations may include:

  • Sales tax permit
  • Employer Identification Number
  • Occupancy permit

If you plan to operate your business in a salon or your home, it's crucial to obtain general liability insurance. This type of insurance protects you from potential issues such as dog bites or pet parents slipping. If you're planning to run a mobile grooming business, you may need to add a policy to your personal auto insurance policy. This is because most personal auto policies don't cover commercial activity.


It's important to ensure that you have all the necessary licenses, permits, registrations, and insurance in place before starting your dog grooming business. This will help to protect both you and your clients and ensure that your business is operating legally.


Buy Dog Grooming Tools and Supplies

One of the critical aspects of setting up a dog grooming salon is investing in the right tools and supplies. Here are some of the essential items you'll need to buy before launching your business:


Hair clippers: Clippers are essential tools for any dog grooming salon. They come in various types and sizes, and it's crucial to choose clippers that can handle the coat types and sizes of the dogs you'll be grooming.


Shears: Shears are essential for trimming and shaping the dog's coat. They come in different sizes and types, and you'll need to choose scissors that are comfortable and easy to handle.


Grooming Tables: Grooming tables provide a comfortable and safe surface for dogs to stand on during grooming. They come in various sizes and types, including hydraulic and electric grooming tables.


Tubs: Tubs are essential for washing and rinsing dogs during grooming. They come in various sizes and types, including stainless steel and plastic tubs. My personal recommendation is to choose a bathtub with ozone and microbubble technology because it can improve the effect of skin and coat care products and even help to treat various skin problems.


Dryers: Dryers are essential for drying dogs after washing. They come in various types, including stand dryers, force dryers, and cage dryers. I recommend investing in the Tauro Pro Line coat dryer with a stand because it is 2in1 – a fluff dryer and a force dryer. Also, to optimize the drying process, I always put a pet into a drying box first.


Brushes, Combs, and other Grooming Tools: Different dog breeds require different types of brushes and combs. Some breeds may need slicker brushes, while others may need pin brushes or combs. Always choose tools that are ergonomic and made of high-quality materials. Don’t forget about nail clippers or nail grinders for paw care.


Skin and coat care products: shampoos, conditioners and other bathing products are essential for maintaining the dog's coat health and cleanliness. Choose skin and coat care products that are gentle, natural, and safe for dogs.


Investing in high-quality dog grooming tools and supplies will help you deliver exceptional grooming services and keep your customers happy. Additionally, it's essential to keep your tools clean and well-maintained to ensure their longevity and efficiency. With the right equipment and grooming products, you can build a successful and profitable dog grooming business.


Earn Certifications and Training

Dog grooming is a skilled profession that requires training and certifications to provide safe and quality services. Consider earning certifications from reputable organizations like the National Dog Groomers Association of America (NDGAA) or International Professional Groomers (IPG). Additionally, attend grooming workshops and seminars to improve your skills and stay updated with industry trends. Training is essential to ensure that you have the necessary skills to run a successful dog grooming business. Some of the critical skills that you will learn during training include:

  • Breed-specific haircuts
  • Proper handling of aggressive dogs
  • Nail trimming techniques
  • Ear cleaning methods

By gaining these skills, you will be able to provide your clients with the highest level of service possible. It's important to invest in training to ensure that you are knowledgeable and confident in your abilities as a dog groomer. This will help you to build a positive reputation and attract more clients to your business.


Establish Pricing

Set competitive pricing for your services by researching your competitors and analyzing your expenses. Consider offering bundled packages and loyalty rewards to attract and retain customers. Additionally, offer add-on services like teeth cleaning, nail trimming, and flea treatments for additional revenue streams.


Promote Your Dog Grooming Business


Market your business through various channels like social media, online directories, and word-of-mouth referrals. Build a website and social media profiles to showcase your services, prices, and customer testimonials. Offer discounts and promotions to attract new customers and encourage repeat business.


In conclusion, opening a dog grooming salon requires careful planning, dedication, and hard work. By creating a business plan, selecting an operating concept, establishing a business entity, obtaining insurance and licenses, buying quality tools and supplies, earning certifications and training, establishing pricing, and promoting your business, you can create a successful and fulfilling business in the pet industry.


Breeding dogs for more than 35 years brought me to my mission – to understand and create the best products for pets. I’m ready to share my long-tested and thoroughly created pet care system with you!
- Janita J. Plunge

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