A Beginner’s Guide to Mobile Grooming
BY RICHARD ROWLANDS
The grooming and boarding market is a growing sector of the pet industry—with a strong annual growth rate of 9 percent, according to IBISWorld’s Pet Grooming & Boarding
in the U.S. market research report, which was released in January 2017. As consumers continue to value more high-end services for their pets, mobile grooming businesses have emerged
as one of the fastest-growing trends within the sector.
Mobile grooming services are especially useful for elderly
or immobile pet owners, or those who simply prefer the convenience of having their pets groomed right outside their door.
Customers also value the service because it can minimize undue stress on their pets.
For retailers and grooming salons looking to break into the
market, there are a few things to consider before getting started.
Startup costs can be relatively high. There are several essentials
you’ll need, including a specially converted van fitted with a tub,
grooming tables, adequate lighting and a water supply. You’ll also
need a generator as well as your grooming toolkit and supplies.
You’ll need to consider the legal side of things before starting to
offer your services. Make sure to register your business correctly,
and check with your local government to see if a permit is required
for you to operate. Also, shop around for the best insurance policies—both for your vehicle and your business.
As far as certification goes, none is required to become a groomer. But you’ll definitely benefit from any experience you’ve had
with animals in the past. Hands-on experience grooming different
breeds of cats and dogs will improve your performance on the
job. For this reason, many first-time groomers choose to join an
apprenticeship or obtain certification to learn the craft.
A look at your competitors’ prices should give you a realistic idea
of rates in your area. Remember that mobile groomers often command higher rates than traditional groomers. This is due to the
convenience factor—so don’t be afraid to charge a little more than
your brick-and-mortar competitors.
MAKING YOUR VENTURE A SUCCESS
After investing the time and money to start your mobile pet
grooming business, you’ll want to set your business up for success.
As with any business, success depends on spreading the word.
Ongoing advertising and marketing will help build your reputation and win you new customers. To really gain an edge over the
competition, actively market your business as well as advertise it.
As an example, you could place advertisements in veterinary
clinics, pet stores and any other places pet owners are likely to visit. Alongside this, you could build a list of your customers’ email
or mailing addresses, and then send a monthly newsletter to build
relationships and encourage repeat customers.
Most mobile grooming businesses will limit themselves to advertising. Having your business’s name and number on the side
of your van might bring in some customers, but how much more
business could you win by using a marketing tactic such as a newsletter or direct mail campaign?
Richard Rowlands is a writer and marketer for the pet industry, and
a keen pet enthusiast. He works with pet businesses to improve their
marketing and increase profits. To find out more, visit his website at