How to Start a Mobile Pet Grooming Business

WagnTails.jpg
A company like Wagn' Tails can help mobile pet groomers get on the road to success. Photo courtesy of Creative Commons

Mobile pet grooming is a companion animal service sector that is rapidly growing for a host of reasons.

As people lead very hectic lives and there are more older pet owners than ever who are less mobile themselves, more folks now seek convenience and ease in caring for their pets.

This is also potentially a better option for pets that get stressed when traveling by car, are anxious or aggressive in the presence of other pets or who are elderly and less able to get around.

Plus, a pet doesn’t have to sit in a cage for hours; they are in and out, as they are serviced right at the clients’ doorsteps.

Among the advantages of owning a mobile grooming business as opposed to operating out of a brick and mortar location is that you don’t have to pay rent or property taxes or utility costs; your hours are more flexible; you can justify charging more for these services; and your vehicle can be a virtual rolling advertisement for your business.

Below are some factors to consider before you get started.

First, Get Pet Grooming Experience

Before launching any type of business, it’s best to actually work in the industry and acquire enough experience and training to build your skills and confidence.

As I point out in my article How to Become a Pet Groomer, there are a number of ways to go about this, from apprenticeships with established groomers, to working for another groomer and/or formal training which leads to certification.

While the law in the U.S. does not require the latter, I do advise this. You can learn more about this via my article How to Get Dog Groomer Certification.

Otherwise, I also highly recommend devising a business plan for any startup endeavor.

Determine Mobile Pet Grooming Business Licensing Requirements

First, find out what kind of business licensing, permits and insurance you will need for your particular region.

As I mention in the aforementioned article How to Become a Pet Groomer, you should check with your city, town or county government offices to learn what is required. Another good resource is the local chamber of commerce.

And bear in mind that business insurance for a mobile grooming operation is a very different animal than it is for a brick and mortar enterprise. In addition to specific liability and other required insurance, you have to consider vehicle insurance.

You can learn more about this via the PetBizInsurance.com.

Otherwise, I would also advise consulting with a business attorney before launching any endeavor.

The Equipment You Will Need

Of course, you will require a vehicle before launching a mobile pet grooming business.

There are two types for this endeavor: vans and hitch-on trailers, the latter of which are less expensive.

Meanwhile, you can purchase an already fully equipped and outfitted pet grooming van, which is obviously more expensive, or have one converted.

One company of note if you decide to go the latter route is Wagn’ Tails, a market leader based in Granger, Ind.

Another great thing about this company, which has clients in 43 states, is that they provide business consulting services for those who wish to enter the mobile grooming industry.

Depending on what kind of startup capital you have, a mobile grooming vehicle can range in price from $10,000 to $100,000.

Unless you are independently wealthy, as few folks are these days, you will require vehicle financing. So be sure to bear that in mind when shopping for your wheels.

Mobile Groomers Require Different Tools

While you will need the usual tools of the trade such as clippers, shears, brushes, shampoos, combs, sink, grooming table, dryers and others required for a brick and mortar pet grooming operation, there is some other equipment involved that is unique to running a mobile operation.

As you will be mobile, you will need:

  • A power generator (battery operated is the current preferred choice)
  • Water tank
  • Liquid and solid waste containers
  • Adequate lighting
  • Water heater
  • Power connections … etc.

It’s also crucial for a mobile grooming vehicle to have proper flooring and ventilation, and is kept sparkling clean and sanitary at all times.

And remember that all waste must be disposed of in compliance with municipal and environmental ordinances and regulations.

Like any motor vehicle, your grooming operation will require ongoing general maintenance, such as regular oil changes, proper tire inflation and other forms of preventative upkeep.

You also need to consider the possibility of inclement weather and prepare your vehicle accordingly, as this can grind your operation to a halt. So please bear these factors in mind, as well.

Some Other Tips to Help You Get Rolling

Be sure to pay particular attention to a catchy business name and logo, which should be displayed largely, colorfully and prominently on your vehicle.

As mentioned earlier, you are a virtual rolling advertisement for your business, which puts you at an advantage. So be sure to fully capitalize on this.

Otherwise, you should rely on the conventional and currently popular ways of advertising and promoting your business such as through print ads in local community publications, social media, and Internet business listing sites.

Of course, you absolutely should have a professional looking website.

If you follow these tips, you should be on the road to success in no time, as mobile pet grooming is a sector that is still growing.

(To learn about other services mobile pet groomers can offer to generate even more income, please see my blog.)