Here’s a dog-gone great idea. If you’ve ever priced the cost of a shampoo and trim for a dog compared to your own, you’ll see why I think an ideal situation for a pet lover as a part-time job into retirement is as a pet groomer.
It’s true. The cost of grooming a pet is quite high compared to a regular trip to the barber or hair salon but for good reason. Pet groomers have a real specialized job. Here’s why: their customers bark, sometimes try to bite and every now and then pee on them. But pet lovers get that and that’s what makes them the perfect match for a pet grooming business.
If you have a spare room in your home or are set up to provide mobile service, this could be the perfect fit for you. Regardless of where you run your business, you will need to consider a number of start up costs with the majority of them centered on equipment which would include the basics such as clippers, shears, scissors, brushes, shampoos (be sure to get pet-friend ones), conditioners, sprays, dryers, nail clippers, ear cleaning products and a ongoing supply of dog treats. You’ll need the last item as a reward to keep your furry customers happy and wanting to come back again.
The reason why I’m suggesting a pet grooming business is that statistics show the pet industry in the United States generated upwards of $50-billion dollars in 2011. Of that, over $3-billion was spent on ‘other pet services’ which includes grooming. The following year that figure tipped $4-billion. In fact, the American Pet Product Association says that the fastest growing sector in the pet industry is pet services.
What this means is that the demand for pet grooming services will continue to grow which ensures it will be a profitable business to start. When it comes to the pricing of your services you’ll have to do a little bit of homework. Prices will fluctuate depending on if you are operating your service out of your home or driving to a customer’s home with a mobile service. The breed of dog, which will determine the size of the animal, may be another factor for consideration when setting rates.
The best guideline to follow is to find out what other pet groomers in your community or region are charging and either set your rates to be the same or slightly cheaper. Remember, if you intend to make your pet grooming business a part-time venture, decide your hours and days of work beforehand and this may also assist with your rate structure. As is the case with any business, you will probably need to review your rate structure after the first three months. Be sure to ask clients as well to see if your rates are competitive enough to bring repeat customers.
There are a number of ways to market your new pet service in addition to the standard practice of advertising in local newspapers or distributing flyers in the mail. As pet grooming is a specialized service, you can target market directly to sources where pet owners are already engaged. This includes veterinarians, dog trainers, dog walkers and dog daycare operators who may let you post flyers in their places of work or provide you with referrals.
The key to success with this, and any new business, is to provide a service that is unique but gives the customer value for what they are spending. Even if all your customers wag their tails with joy and lick your hand after you are finished, it is their ‘human’ who will be the one you will have to ultimately satisfy with your service.
The best part about providing a service to pet owners is that if they like your work they will talk up your business, which could generate the kind of clientele you’ll need in the beginning to build your business around. You may also find yourself expanding to provide additional services or maybe even giving referrals to the dog walkers, dog trainers, vets and dog daycare providers who did the same for you when you started your pet grooming business.