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5 Secrets To Running A Successful Grooming Business

Mike Moran

Grooming businesses are a fantastic way to love your work if you are an animal or pet enthusiast. To ensure your business brings you a profit as well as clean, cute, and great smelling customers, check out these five secrets to a successful grooming business. These are the same steps used by Dr Lamberth in 1981 to help grow Fido’s from a start up into a company that has it’s products proudly stocked in over 24 countries worldwide.

1. Have A Business Plan

Without a plan, you plan to fail. Already started your business? No problem, it’s never too late to plan to grow and develop your business.

Create a Start-up Plan

  • Determine your business structure
  • Set some income goals
  • Consider the expected life of your business, you may want a forever business, you may want to consider selling in a few years so include an exit plan
  • Understand the legal requirements in your area
  • Investigate insurance options
  • Determine the type of premises or perhaps you might consider a mobile business option
  • Budgeting (isn’t always an easy task, but essential to understand your costs and profits on each service and product you are considering)
  • Certification and training may be required to assist you to recognise any health issues present with your animal customers
  • Software programs such as point of sale and electronic customer booking programs may increase efficiencies

You might just want to get started spending time with as many pets as you can, washing and beautifying them, but having a plan and organisation upfront will mean more time to do the parts of the business you love. This means greater prospects for success, profitability, and happier animals and their human companions.

Design a Growth and Development Plan

  • Review costs versus your revenue
  • Consider whether you could reduce your variable costs without negatively affecting your service quality
  • Is there room to increase your customer service without significantly increasing your cost?
  • If you have staff, training and clearly setting expectations can go along way for little financial outlay
  • Consider if you your products are differentiating you (for good or bad)
    • The wow factor of a great shampoo that really works, and a long-lasting perfume can boost your reputation and repeat customers
  • Undertake market research
    • assists you in targeting your market more accurately or may indicate a requirement to alter your services to suit their current needs
  • Keep up to date with trends, improving or updating your core services or add ons
  • Staying abreast of vet and pet developments and current news so you can be appreciated as an authority/specialist figure in your field
  • Gain feedback – surveys, reviews, and generally asking questions
    • great way to understand your current stakeholders
    • can yield a myriad of opportunities for improvement that you can act on

2. Communication

You really do need great communication with your animal and human customers, as well as networking with your community, fellow competitors, and suppliers for a successful grooming business. If some of those things come naturally to you, but others don’t, push yourself to work on the challenging aspects or find ways to work around them. A great place to start is reaching out to our friendly wholesalers to help warm you up to networking and making business connections.

Many pet owners will judge your service on their animal’s reactions or connection with you as their groomer, as well as their personal interactions with you or your staff. If you aren’t comfortable with the humans, perhaps consider a receptionist to greet your customers. Word of mouth referrals and recommendations from vets, pet stores, and other related businesses are invaluable. If marketing and networking isn’t your thing, you could consider outsourcing this type of business activity.

{insert image of groomer/individual talking to a customer}

3. Exceptional Service All The Time, Every Time

This tip seems simple and easy, but it is often when people become complacent that their business takes a downward slide. It is vital to take the time to do all things well, all the time. It will show!

Safe practices | Friendly service | Clean environment | Well-groomed pet | Long-lasting positive experience

Your animal customers may not notice the little things but their humans will! Even with a cut-price business model, you can still ensure you have friendly service and safe processes. The grooming industry is, for the most part, self-regulated, but there are helpful guidelines set by associations such as American Kennel Club, communicating standards for grooming and cuts. Education efforts will reap the rewards when best practice standards are applied to your services. Your customers will come back again and again if they experience consistently safe and attentive grooming techniques and friendly, knowledgeable service.

4. Use Quality Products

Your product choice is key. Use the absolute best products you can. Exceptional products can not only differentiate you from your competitors but give you the leading edge of great reputation. We’re committed to quality Australian manufacturing, and all of our products are made in Australia. In fact, we’re licensed under the APVMA GMP for Good Manufacturing Process. By ensuring you choose exceptional pet care products, you keep pets healthier for longer, so your customers can create more happy memories with their best friends.

Let’s look at shampoo for example:

  • Needs both cleansing and therapeutic properties
  • Fresh and remaining fragrance for the pet’s coat
    • Customers long-lasting experiences, such as a clean smelling pet days after hydro bathing or grooming, will dramatically increase their satisfaction with your service!
  • Ensure natural and active ingredients in your products
  • Absolutely no irritants
    • this won’t add value to your service per se, but fail on this one, and you won’t ever see your customer again!
  • Product compatibility with your equipment is essential
    • Ensure no scum build up in your baths and tubs or pipe clogging – unexpected maintenance and excess cleaning costs could fold your business in an instant
  • Environmental responsibility and social conscious
    • ascertain if the products you are washing down the drain are environmentally sustainable and gentle on the earth
    • avoid excessive packaging and ideally choose recyclable packaging

Well-thought-out product brands will include a bulk size for commercial use and a range of retail sized bottles for your customers. When you help a customer fall in love with their pet that little bit more with a soft clean coat and amazing smell, they may well want to recreate this experience at home. With retail purchase sizes also available in the brand you use, you are adding value for your customers as well as an opportunity to increase revenue per customer.

Products required may include: shampoos, conditioners, deodorants/ colognes/sprays, ear cleaning products, dental sprays and gels, tick and flea treatments and sprays, hydrobath and kennel flush, bandanas, bows or other accessories.

Equipment required may include: bath tubs, linen, dryers, clothes washing machine and dryer, vacuum cleaner, grooming table, cages, and muzzles, clippers, shears, scissors, brushes, shelving and storage area, and administration systems.

{insert image of groomer washing a dog – ideally with Fido shampoo visible in the image}

5. Stay Informed

Be prepared to learn from suppliers and industry leaders about new products and technology advances happening within your industry. Take caution to obtain scientific, factual, or technical information from a credible source. Trends and fashionable pet styles are great to see on social media or mass media platforms, but formulations and ingredient information, skin conditions, and treatments need to come from substantiated or referenced journals, published papers, or qualified individuals.

Mavlab’s Pharma Data Sheets present scientific facts in quick and easy to read formats to bolster your knowledge and understanding of broad pet and grooming topics.

Finally, know when to refer on. You will retain your credibility if you are open with where your specialist knowledge ends. Vets and other animal experts are the best authorities for some issues, questions, and services, so you can continue to do what you do best.

We hope this article will give you some immediate, actionable activities to work on, so you can continue to grow your business with a strong, sustainable future. We’d love to help you offer the best pet care products to your clients, so please be sure to check out our extensive range of grooming, health care, supplements, flea & tick treatments, fly repellents and even avian treatments for our feathered friends.

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