So, you’ve decided you’d like to start a mobile grooming business? That’s fantastic! There’s not nearly as much overhead compared to opening your own brick and mortar business. There’s a lot going for the mobile pet grooming profession right now. Business has been booming. People’s time is more valuable than ever, and pets are increasingly being treated as equal members of the family. You would never have heard the phrase “fur babies” ten or twenty years ago, but now it is common place. We’ve laid out an essential business plan to make it a reality.
Before diving straight in, ask yourself:
- Am I a good groomer? You’ll be servicing a very particular and affluent clientele. They are going to be spending more and expecting more. You’ll also need speed. You need to show up exactly at the scheduled time. You need to do a consistently great job every single time.
- Do I have a way of getting funding? If you have no money in the bank, or terrible personal credit it may be difficult to proceed.
- Do I have any clients that would go with me? This one may be more tricky if you are working for a small time operation, but if you are working somewhere big it won’t be as awkward to let them know. Also, be really nice to your coworkers on the way out, because they may end up referring you a lot of business when people ask what happened to you.
Take the Time to Actually Write up a Business Plan
You’ll need it to obtain a loan for the new business. Even if you don’t need a loan, it is still a really great idea to have one. Below is an overview of some really great info on SBA.gov. Here are the main points that it needs to hit:
- Executive Summary- An overview of your business. Think of it like the thesis statement of a research paper. Why do you want to start a mobile grooming business?
- Company Description- Since you’re a grooming business, you’ll be focusing on the the service you provide, and how it’ll make you money.
- Market Analysis- How much money is there to be split in this pie? How is competition? Where would you fit in. Make sure that you focus on this one. If there is a flooded market, the way forward may be difficult.
- Organizational Management- Should you be a sole proprietorship, LLC, etc…
- Product Line- What you sell.
- Marketing and Sales- How you will market the Business. See Below.
- Funding Request- You are asking for money. Be very clear on how you will use the money. You are making a case for your business inn your action plan. So you should really just be summarizing here.
After you secure funding, you’ll need to get a business license from the state(s) that you plan to do business in. You should make sure that you carry an insurance policy that is going to protect your customers property (including their dogs) from any damage that you may potentially cause. There are companies that specialize in grooming insurance, but any insurance provider should suffice. Just make sure that the dogs themselves are covered. Get it in writing. Here is a great article on buying insurance for a business.
How Much Does it Cost to Start?
Although enthusiasm is great, make sure that you can handle the expense. It would probably not be very wise to get started with less than $10,0000 available. That’s from personal experience. You may be able to get away with less if you have many of the supplies already available to you. You should not start a mobile grooming business without the proper capitol.
Most of your budget will be used on the van. You’ll need at the very least a serviceable van, preferably with branding on it. You’ll also need wash tubs and a store of hot water, or something to heat the water up with. Do not expect the homeowner to provide you with hot water. It is incredibly unprofessional. You will not be asked to come back. You’ll also need all of the necessary grooming shears and miscellaneous equipment. Be meticulous in your business plan and you’ll have a very good idea of exactly what you’ll need to succeed.
How to Market a Mobile Grooming Business
Every business needs advertising, especially a newer business. In the grooming business, word of mouth and repeat customers are going Here are some practical steps that you can take to market yourself.
Local business listings are incredibly important. They let people know that you are out there in their neighborhoods. Claim all of your free local listings. You’ll want to get all of your free local listings claimed and optimized. You’ll want to get them from Google, Yahoo (Yext handles them now), Bing, YP, and Yelp for sure. This is so incredibly important, because people want to buy from trusted businesses. Reviews have a ton to do with this. So, when you get up and running do whatever you can to get your customers to leave honest reviews. You don’t want to spam up these sites with a bunch of phony five star reviews. People see right through this. Don’t be upset if you have a few hum-drum reviews, and respond to the negative ones. People are much more likely to buy from someone who gives their side of the story.
Social media is a great way to get your business out there, utilize it. You’ll want to claim your Google+, Facebook, and Twitter accounts. Once you set these up, you’ll want to put content on there. Include photos of happy looking doggies, your van, and talk about how pleased you are to be doing what you are doing. Do not set these up and forget them. Try and put content on there at least twice a month. You don’t have to put a ton on there, but you’ll be shocked at how many people will think that you’ve closed if the info is not fresh.
You really need to have a website from day one. If you are tech savvy, you can just register a domain and build it yourself. There are companies out there that’ll build you one for a few hundred bucks and never touch it again. All of that is preferable to no site. You’ll really want a site that you can add content to as you go. Your gallery of clients is going to be very important.
You will need to do paid advertising as well. There are plenty of marketing companies out there. Just make sure they don’t try and sell you on doing any of the things mentioned above. You already did that. You need someone that is going to bring you clients directly. Direct mail advertising works pretty well. You need to find a company that’ll send postcards to people who are well to do dog owners in your area. If they don’t have a list that can provide that sort of demographic information, they aren’t the business for you. Google AdWords is a great resource. It allows you to pay per click to your website, and can be slowed down or shut off when you get booked up. That sort of flexibility is ideal.
You need to be a great salesman. When people call you, you are going to need to sell them on the idea of doing business with you. Always answer your phone. If you can’t, pay someone to do it for you. If someone is getting your voicemail, they are already moving on. You are a legitimate business. Show people that by answering every call.
Why Start a Mobile Grooming Business?
There are many reasons to start a mobile grooming business. You get to be your own boss. The market is growing. There’s low overhead. You don’t need a college degree. Give it a shot. There’s a lot less risk than most occupations.