Have you ever thought about running your own pet grooming business? In 2009, pet owners in the U.S. spent 45 billion dollars on products and services for their pets, and in 2010 the projected number is 47.7 billion dollars. We are a country that loves and cares for the comfort and well being of our pets! It is not unusual to find pet-friendly outdoor restaurants that offer iced water bowls and treats to include your pet in the dining experience, and hotels are also becoming pet-friendly by offering free stays for Fido while hooking him up with pillow services, doggie baskets and spa appointments with a dog masseuse. Hydrotherapy, aromatherapy and Yoga to pamper and connect with your dog are also new trends in luxury pet care. If you have a passion for pets and are considering claiming a share in the 7th largest retail segment in the U.S., now is the time. There is an opportunity for animal lovers to start their own pet grooming business. Among the most successful small businesses in the pet industry are pet services. The profit margin for a pet grooming business can be as much as 68 percent. But like any small business, a successful grooming salon requires a business strategy and plan. Before taking the leap into the pet grooming business, look into the following areas to map out a plan for your dream pet spa.
Conducting Market Research for a Pet Grooming Business:
Focus your research on industry trends, customer needs, and your local competition. Enroll in professional associations, newsletters and blogs and become part of the conversation; insider industry information is disseminated through these channels. Discover which services and products customers value in the pet grooming salon by talking to pet owners and spa owners. Visit your competition as a customer to see what services they offer and what you can bring to the industry that sets you apart from the other service providers. If an area is saturated with grooming salons, consider a mobile grooming business.
Licensing for Small Pet Grooming Businesses:
Check with your state to learn about regulations and permits required for operating a pet grooming business. Pet groomers are not required to become licensed groomers to provide grooming services. However, to increase your credentials, and give credence to your skills, the National Dog Groomers Association of America certifies dog groomers and holds ongoing professional development seminars and workshops.
Developing an Integrated Marketing Plan:
The ultimate goal of any small business is to turn a profit while offering a quality service. An integrated marketing plan combines four core components to make your small business successful. These are Products and Services, Price, Promotion and Distribution. What specific services will you provide? In the grooming business you can have a basic bath, cut, dry and nail clip service or you can include more trendy stylized services like fur dying. Your market research should guide these decisions. Consider the cost of equipment, the venue and overhead required to provide these services. Will you sell products in your spa? A sizeable 10 billion dollars was spent in 2009 on pet products!
How will you market your new pet grooming business? You might want to consider a mixture of traditional print media and 21st century technologies to get the word out on your salon. Posting flyers in veterinarian offices and pet stores will target customers in your community directly. Direct mail marketing and newspaper classified ads are also effective marketing strategies. These days, most people seeking information turn to the Internet. Building a website and joining social media sites like Facebook and Twitter are great ways to generate word of mouth business. There are some online companies, such as demandmart.com, that offer online marketing suites for small businesses that facilitate coupon promotions, customer loyalty programs, virtual storefronts and other SEO marketing tools, all in one in place, to bring you more customers from the Internet.
How you distribute your services depends on the need in your area, the nature of your pet grooming services, and the type of customer service and vision you have for your pet spa. There are a variety of ways to service your clients. Some options include a storefront – preferably high traffic areas where people will see your business -your home, a partnership with a veterinarian or pet shop, or a mobile grooming business where you bring your services to your clients.
These are just a few tips for conceptualizing a pet-grooming salon. As a small business owner, the important thing to remember is to provide quality services and products without growing too rapidly. The pet grooming industry offers many resources online, in print and across the country in expos and conventions to support your business and the industry. Now is the time to turn your passion for furry companions into a lucrative pet grooming business – and anything that improves the health, behavior and overall well being of your pet has potential for success!