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If the entrepreneurial bug has bitten you and you happen to be an animal lover, who would enjoy being surrounded by four-legged clientele, starting your own grooming business may provide you with a solid business opportunity along with tremendous personal satisfaction.
If the entrepreneurial bug has bitten you and you happen to be an animal lover, who would enjoy being surrounded by four-legged clientele, starting your own grooming business may provide you with a solid business opportunity along with tremendous personal satisfaction. As with any new business, the most frequently asked question is: “How do I get started?” The following are some of the must-do's and suggested items.
I believe the best place to start is at the beginning. Thus, back to school is your wisest first step. A good dog grooming school will teach you how to gently handle your fluffy clients and provide them with a fantastic clip based on the individual breeds and any specific animal needs. Further, attending dog grooming school will provide you with much of the knowledge needed for pursuing your dog grooming certification. There are only a few national entities that will offer you certification [and the title Master Groomer]. According to the National Dog Groomers Association of America, Inc. becoming certified is not a requirement, but it will clearly set you apart from the competition for discerning pet owners. The process is offered in both full and part time capacities, so whether you are jumping in head first or still working elsewhere while you get your business set up, you will be able to pursue your education and certification.
For those who want to learn one-on-one, you may consider a more ‘old school’ approach by becoming an apprentice for a few months to learn from someone already in the business. Many of the long time groomers in the industry learned in this way and it can still be an effective method.
Your next big decision is whether you want a bricks-n-mortar location or a mobile operation. If you plan on a store front, choose a place with easy access (i.e. if you are in a suburban area, choose someplace easy to get to and with ample parking). You want to be sure you have sufficient space, but not so much that you are paying for wasted space. Look at the other storefronts on the block. Do you see potential business alliances (local coffee shop where you can offer a coffee to clients who drop off during the morning rush hour or a retail pet shop that provides your coupon with a purchase at their shop)?
Be sure to build a website that makes it easy for internet-savvy consumers to find you, learn about you and make a decision to try your grooming services. Consider a social media presence that can help you market your business and develop a following. As part of your marketing effort, social media will help build your brand reputation.
Consider introducing yourself to local allied pet businesses. Whether dealing with a veterinarian, a trainer or local retail supplier, building alliances with others servicing your target market can be important for your success. Even the local animal welfare groups are important to your business. Providing a complimentary, pre-adoption ‘beauty treatment’ for Fluffy with a congratulations card in her adoption paperwork can mean a new client who is very grateful.
Another key element toward success is to choose the right software program. A POS program designed for pet industry professionals, such as GroomPro POS, will help take much of the guesswork out of your business ‘back-end’. From marketing to administration to providing your customers with super-easy appointment booking (and re-booking), the program can help make your business run more smoothly. The system can provide you with details about customer patterns that may assist you in advertising or marketing to fill in light times or outreach to specific demographics. A strong system can help you build your book of business, providing the opportunity to showcase your skills to new and existing clients.
So…gather your knowledge base, practice a lot, become a master groomer (get certified), find the right spot, set up a friendly website, make your presence known, be a part of the community, select a strong back-end, and reap the benefits of the seeds you’ve sown.
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