The Best (and Worst) Parts of Starting a Pet Grooming Business

dog grooming
••• Gary Ombler / Dorling Kindersley / Getty Images

Pet grooming is one of the most common luxury services animal owners spend money on. Many pet owners simply don't have the time, ability or desire to groom their pets themselves.

This creates an excellent small business opportunity for the experienced pet groomer who loves animals and wants to create a business polishing fellow pet owners' animals.

The Pros

Some of the benefits of starting a pet grooming business include:

  • Your business can be home-based or run from a storefront. If you don't have your own dedicated storefront, you might also be able to rent space within another pet-related business that does not already offer its own grooming services. This might be a pet store or a kennel, for example.
  • Pet grooming can make for an excellent mobile business if you have a large enough and properly equipped vehicle or if you have the finances to invest in one.
  • You can work as much or as little as you want. This can be a side job to earn extra income, but if you build up a large enough client base, this could be a full-time job. An independent pet groomer working full time is likely to make about $28,000 annually, according to QC Pet Studies.
  • You can turn your love of animals into a business. If dogs, cats, and other household pets are a passion for you, this is a great way to earn money doing what you love.
  • There is a wide range of potential clients and many ways to reach them. If renting space in another pet-based business, you'll have potential clients walking through the door every day. If working from your home or vehicle, you might also be able to build a client base by establishing a relationship with area pet stores and veterinarians.
  • You can expand your business by offering additional services such as dog walking and pet sitting.

The Cons

Some of the potential challenges of starting a pet grooming business include:

  • Startup costs can be extensive. To be successful as a professional dog groomer, high-quality supplies sufficient for breeds of all sizes need to be purchased and maintained. Some items, such as tables and bathtubs, can run well into the hundreds or even thousands of dollars.
  • More than just a love of animals is needed. You have to have enough knowledge and experience to handle multiple pets, breeds, and animal temperaments, not to mention the requisite grooming skills. While not required, certification through groups like the National Dog Groomers Association of America can help you to market your knowledge and experience.
  • Your target market can be impacted by where you live since pet grooming is typically in greater demand in more affluent areas.
  • You will need insurance and/or bonding to protect yourself from liability.
  • Expect it to take time to build up a large enough base of clients. A presence on the web is a must, but you also need to dedicate time to networking in your community with others in the pet care business.