Australians are obsessed with their furry, feathery and scaly friends. There are actually more Australian pets than there are Australian people, with over 60% of Aussie households owning pets. They are an important part of many family units and deserve to be treated as such.
For animal lovers with an entrepreneurial streak, this canadd up to a money-making opportunity. Australians spend around $13 billion on their pets every year, and this number continues to rise. By offering a pet grooming service, you can cut your own slice out of this rather large pie.
Those wondering how to start a pet grooming business will be asking themselves a lot of questions: what licences and requirements apply? How do I create, market and build a business? How do I get paid, and pay myself?
Here we’ll take a deep dive into how to start a dog grooming business (or indeed how to start any pet grooming business): why you should do it, the paperwork and equipment you’ll need, and how to ultimately build a successful company.
3 types of pet grooming business
Almost all pet grooming businesses can be placed in three main categories:
Mobile pet grooming business: As the owner of a mobile pet grooming business, you’ll travel to your clients’ houses, and groom the pets right at their own address. Most mobile groomers bring a purpose-built trailer or converted vehicle to groom the pet in, while others simply groom the pet on the property. Read on to find out how to start a mobile dog grooming business.
Home-based pet grooming business: Why go to your clients if they’re willing to come to you? Basing your pet grooming business at home can lower your costs, though it may not be as convenient for your customers unless you offer a pick-up and drop-off service.
Pet grooming shop: While running a dedicated pet grooming premises is the option with the highest overheads, it feels the most official and established, so it might be the option for you!
8 services that a pet grooming business can offer
The next step in how to start a mobile pet grooming business, a home pet grooming business, or a pet grooming shop, is to understand the different services you can offer your clients. Here are eight of the most common:
Washing: Dog/pet washing is the bread and butter service of any pet grooming business.
Hair brushing: Brushing is a standard service that can be included in packages, or as a standalone option.
Hair trimming: It’s wise to get the appropriate training if you plan to give pets a haircut.
Nail cutting/filing: Trim and dull those claws, and save your clients’ furniture in the process!
Ear cleaning: This can be a quick and easy add-on service (provided you know what you’re doing.)
Teeth brushing: Like ear cleaning, giving teeth a quick brush can be a nice little add-on.
Show trimming: Do you have a talent for trimming? You can charge a pretty penny for giving high-end cuts to show dogs.
Deshedding/dematting treatment: Just as a hairdresser has a range of additional treatments they can offer their clients, so too can a pet groomer.
Requirements to start a pet grooming business
If you decide that a pet grooming business is right for you, what are the skills you’ll need to bring to the table, and the rules, regulations and requirements you’ll need to abide by?
Skills and knowledge
Pet groomers need to pair their deep love for animals with a decent level of knowledge. You should be able to:
Read animal body language and make each pet feel comfortable.
Recognise skin conditions, and know how to manage them during grooming.
Deliver a pain-free, pleasurable and high-quality grooming service.
Work in a physically demanding job for up to eight hours a day.
While no formal qualifications are required to become a pet groomer in Australia, the above skills and more can be attained through TAFE (Cert III in Pet Grooming, Cert IV in Pet Styling) and other registered training organisations.
In Australia there’s no such thing as a pet grooming licence, though you’ll need a driver’s licence if you are going to offer a mobile service.
All Australian businesses need to register for tax. Thankfully the process of applying for an ABN is (surprisingly) simple. While most pet grooming businesses start out as ‘sole trader’ operations, those with visions of building an empire might choose to create a company or trust. If that’s you, you’ll need an ACN instead.
If you earn more than $75,000 in a year you’ll need to register for GST, at which point a professional accountant is advised (if you haven’t found one already.)
Insurance for pet grooming businesses
Insurance is important for all businesses, including pet groomers. If something goes wrong, the legal and financial ramifications can be huge.
The most significant liability you face is injuring a pet or damaging property. Thankfully public liability insurance is built for these exact situations, with reasonably priced policies covering you for millions of dollars in damages.
Other forms of insurance that apply to a pet grooming business include:
Vehicle and trailer insurance
Income protection insurance
Essential equipment needed to start a pet grooming business
What equipment will your pet grooming business need? The following core items will get you on your way.
Vehicle: Car, customised van or grooming trailer.
Grooming tools: Scissors, clippers, shears, brushes, nail trimmers, hoses, sprayers, dryers and tubs.
Consumables: Soaps, shampoos, conditioners, ear cleaners, skin and fur treatments.
Office tools: Computers, printers, scanners, phones, business software.
Market your business
It’s time to get to work, though you can’t expect that work will just come to you – you’ll need to go out and get it. Marketing a small business is a subject that deserves its own guide, but the most effective strategies include:
- Creating a website: Every business, no matter the type or size, needs a website, as this is the digital equivalent of your storefront, and makes you Googleable. Thanks to Square Online, making an online store has never been easier!
CTA SQUARE ONLINE
Social media: Facebook, Instagram and other platforms allow potential customers to get a sense of you and your work. Pet grooming is a business built for social media, so have fun with it!
Word of mouth: Perhaps the most powerful tool in your marketing arsenal, word of mouth continues to be how most pet grooming businesses get their start. Spread the word via family, friends and your personal network.
- Job marketplaces: It’s worth posting your services on all-purpose marketplaces like Facebook Marketplace and Gumtree, or on job-specific equivalents like Airtasker and hipages.
How much can you charge customers?
$40-$100 is the average rate for dog grooming in Australia, though the price can go as high as $150-$200. Your rate will depend on a number of variables:
Your experience and ability
The size of the pet
The service is chosen
Whether you offer a mobile service
The key thing to remember is that your rate should always be based on your costs. You need to cover your costs comfortably in order to ensure there’s enough left over for you.
How Square can help pet businesses
At Square we aim to make starting your own venture as easy as possible, by offering a complete suite of affordable and easy-to-use business tools.
Square hardware: Whether you want a simple, portable solution like Square Reader, a slightly more feature-rich solution like Square Terminal, or a top of the line system like Square POS, payments will be handled instantly, securely and cost-effectively with your choice of Square hardware.
Square software: You don’t necessarily need a physical payment system at all, as Square Virtual Terminal turns your computer or laptop into a payment processing station.
Gift/loyalty cards: Return customers are the best customers, and they’re far easier to create when you offer a loyalty program like Square Loyalty, and Gift Cards that your best customers can buy for friends and family.
- If you establish yourself in the world of pet grooming, you may need to produce professional quotes and tax invoices; tasks made super simple by Square Invoices.
Online booking system
- Scheduling your work can be a time-consuming task for a pet groomer. Square Appointments allows your customers to book your time and make payments upfront, which can seriously simplify and speed up scheduling.
Australians love their pets, and as a pet groomer, you’ll be able to hang around with these furry friends all day, spending your time making them fresh, clean and beautiful while getting paid for the pleasure. You’ll also enjoy regular work in a business that can be relatively easy to establish.
If you’re ready to get grooming, Square is ready to deliver the knowledge, tools and support you need!
Scheduling that puts time in your hands.