Is anybody a dog groomer?

(16 Posts)
Babyshine2020 Sun 03-May-20 16:50:30

So, I'm due to start my maternity leave in 2 months and based on my salary when I return I will simply be going to work to pay for childcare.

I've been contemplating becoming a dog groomer for some time and thought this could be a perfect time to train - there are courses at my local college that are City and Guilds level 3 for around £3000.

I'd be looking at setting up from home (reduced overheads) and erecting a plastic summerhouse type outbuilding.

There is a demand in my area, I know myself from trying to find a groomer for my dog.

I guess what I'm asking is, what do I need to know? How expensive will the initial outlay be? Is it better to buy equipment second hand first? Do I need planning permission? The building wouldn't be a permanent structure (technically) but as its a "business"?

I know this is a very scrambled post, I'm just not sure where to start!

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LovingLola Sun 03-May-20 16:55:26

Our dog groomer had to give up working from home. She needed planning permission and was unable to get it.

Babyshine2020 Sun 03-May-20 16:59:06

I've just been looking at the planning permission in my town and there have been 5 dog grooming business set up in the last 10 years and none have had their permissions turned down.

I was thinking something like a insulated 3X5 plastic summer house type building that could either fit on our drive (still enough space to park 3 cars with the building) or in the back garden with access directly from the drive way so no need to come into contact with our house.

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LovingLola Sun 03-May-20 17:15:57

How would you manage childcare?

Babyshine2020 Sun 03-May-20 17:30:17

Training is 2 days a week for 3 months and I wouldn't pick it up until the new year when my mum said she'd have our little one (as they'd be 6 months so less dependant on me).

I'd still use childcare, but could set my own work hours so I could groom say Tuesday-Saturday, my mum would have baby on a Wednesday (she asked for this, not presumed) so it would mean only 3 days childcare/week which is enough for baby to socialise but also be more manageable financially.

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Ylvamoon Sun 03-May-20 18:01:32

I have done 1 dog grooming course (just for pet owners so a lot cheaper) I have also worked/ been mentored by my friend who is a professional dog groomer & trainer. I only groom my own dog's and some of my friends that I know well.
I think you need to look at it as an apprenticeship and find someone who can mentor you. It's the kind of job, where practice makes perfect... and then you meet that dog!

Babyshine2020 Sun 03-May-20 18:35:59

@Ylvamoon that was one of my though, if it was that kind of job or not.

I wouldn't say you need to be as trained as say a hairdresser, but at the end of the day there is skill to it.

The course I was looking at would be 60 cuts over 15 different breeds included, and then when I "set up" I would advertised as newly qualified etc and reflect that in the price.

That's also why I'm thinking of the career change after mat leave, once we're used to living on a reduced wage etc so it wouldn't feel like that much of a hit.

I have enough I believe in savings to buy equipment, a course and an out building (from what I've read online) so the initial outlay wouldn't be a big hit.

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Ylvamoon Sun 03-May-20 20:21:19

Babyshine2020 - no not as trained as a hairdresser, but you need a solid understanding of dog training. A good groomer will teach a dog to stand, give paw for nail clipping, hold still for ear cleaning and will know when the dog needs a break. You will also find that with some specific cuts there is a lot of scissoring involved for which you will need the cooperation of the dog. Although you will find that the classic puppy cut is a fashion favourite!
Just see if you can find a mentor first and you will be fine.

Babyshine2020 Sun 03-May-20 20:54:22

@Ylvamoon I'm thinking of trying to get a part time job in the field in say Feb next year and dip my toe in before throwing everything into it, at least that way I'll know if I like it and have some experience from somebody whose been there and done that so to speak.

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Ylvamoon Sun 03-May-20 21:37:22

That's a good idea, find out what it is about first, before paying out all that money.

Louise24902 Mon 04-May-20 00:44:30

I am a dog groomer and run my own business from my converted garage so happy to answer any questions you have!

If you're looking to start for yourself then definitely do the C&G level 3 course and get your certs framed to put up in your salon once you open it.

Every council is different with regards to planning permission, I would send them an email now before you buy anything just to find out - I was lucky that I didn't any but have heard of others in my area that have for converted sheds etc. Once you've emailed you'll know exactly what you need and by doing it via email you will have it all in writing. They will ask questions such as what days you plan to work, how many dogs a day and how you will ensure there's not going to be any parking/traffic problems in your street that would cause complaints from neighbours etc, for me I have a driveway and only have one customer at a time so this wasn't an issue.
You will also need insurance, have a look about, I use Protectivity and it's about £95 for the year and this covers public liability insurance. There are others out there aswell so worth having a google and reading reviews. You will also need to contact your home insurance company to say you are running a business from home - you may need to change company for this as a lot of companies won't cover your home insurance anymore so best to find one that will.

For start up costs I worked out to be about £5000, this was for the costs to convert the garage (add insulation, plastering, floors etc) and then also all my equipment I needed to start up.
My course was £4500 on top of this.

I would recommend going for a taster day at the place you will be training - most will offer this and it lets you see if grooming is for you before taking the plunge and spending the full amount for it.

As for the statement about not being as hard as hairdressing - I was a hairdresser before a groomer and to be honest I would argue that grooming is harder in many aspects, your clients don't sit still, a lot of them bite/scratch/fight the full time, there are many many different coat types/styles/temperaments and you need to know warning signs/stress signs, dog first aid (worth doing a course in this aswell so you're fully prepared).

It is a very rewarding job and there is money to be made at it once you get your speed up, I can now comfortably do anywhere between 4 and 8 dogs a day depending on breed/temperament etc so definitely a good profit but it takes time to build up to this so it's good to be prepared that it may take a while for you to start making a decent profit, although definitely being on mat leave is the perfect time to start!

I would also check that there's a want for a groomer in your area, if you have any local community Facebook pages etc post on there asking if it's something people would like, then you'll know if you're likely to get enough business or not. Being part of these groups is also the best way to advertise when it comes time to open up. It's great to have leaflets/business cards etc but these days the best advertising is on social media and word of mouth. I would also join dog grooming pages if you're in the UK there's one called Trainee and Newly Qualified Dog Groomers UK that's a great one for support! Also one called Dog Grooming Equipment for sale UK and it's great for getting second hand equipment and things!

Louise24902 Mon 04-May-20 00:45:02

Sorry that was a very long message🙈
Hope it helps though and as I say let me know if you have any questions etc😁 x

jinxpixie Mon 04-May-20 11:05:38

Are you fit, very fit? Dog grooming is physically very hard work - . Just brush a dog on a grooming table for 15 mins and see how your back feels.

I do not know how groomers do it smile

Babyshine2020 Mon 04-May-20 16:49:08

@jinxpixie I'd like to say I'm reasonable fit, pre-baby I did 3 spin classes a week and I currently walk out Springer 3 miles a day (sometimes twice this depending on where my husband is working).

Thanks @Louise24902, that was really insightful. I was thinking about doing a day course one day towards the end of this year/start of next (around £150) and see if its something I want to learn more, then see about doing a day or two in a groomers (even say a Saturday voluntarily, they're only open half days here so it would give DH time with baby) and take it from there. I'm not due back to my work until July 2021 (9 months mat + holidays) so it isn't some rash idea, I have been thinking about it and I want to be realistic.

I'd say there is a demand where I am. When we got our springer we had to wait almost 4 weeks for his first groom (I didn't expect the wait to be so long!) and even the likes of Groom Room @ Pets at Home is a 10 day wait and I know a lot of people who don't like using them due to the volume of dogs and the equipment they use such as a the drying cages.

I never thought of emailing the council prior to thinking of this so thank you, I'll get on that now. I know there are a few business on my estate, its a new build estate so there are plenty of garages etc that people are operating nail salons out of etc.

I'm not expecting it to be a ridiculous money earner, I've just always wanted to work with animals and this idea has been festering for some time now so I thought this is a perfect opportunity to pursue something new and also have a more flexible (arguably) diary to be able to spend time with my little one. The idea of evenings and weekends doesn't bother me as DH will be around and it ensures he has one on one time with baby too.

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Louise24902 Mon 04-May-20 22:42:45

@Babyshine2020 you sound fitter than me so should be fine in that aspect! I would recommend when you get started to get a table that has adjustable height, either an electric or hydraulic as not having it at the right height is definitely a back breaker! Also your wrists can get quite weak, I've started to get a touch of carpal tunnel so worth doing some wrist exercises each night after working (sounds silly but really does work!)

For the day course, it's worth emailing and ask if they do a tester first, for most places this will be a couple of hours but it is free, so worth doing that first and going along then if you like doing that you could go along for the day course, saves you the money initially if maybe you go for a few hours and are put off or anything. I would also recommend watching videos on youtube, there are loads of good videos on there of grooms start to finish. I remember watching loads before I started my course and found them really interesting. There's loads on different breeds/styles and how to deal with things like aggressive dogs/matting etc.

It's really good that you're taking the time to look in to it rather than rushing straight in, I spent ages debating and weighing up the pros and cons but for me the pros far outweighed and it's the best decision I ever made!

That's good that there's a demand then, should get plenty of business! I worked at pets at home before opening up myself and we were always fully booked for 3/4 weeks in advance. Some people do prefer having a one on one groomer though as there was 4 of us and as it was in a shop would constantly get people coming in for nail clips and to book appointments etc so some people didn't like that, it's owners preference, some will prefer a setting like that and some will prefer to know you're the only groomer there so will only have one dog at a time. It's good aswell for owners that have quite anxious dogs as it can be a lot calmer of an environment grooming one to one. This is usually a good advertising point too that you work one to one or don't crate etc which is all stuff you can look in to when the time comes.

Yeah definitely send them off an email, means that you'll know where you stand and whether when the time comes you will need permission or not, takes a weight off not having to stress about it further down the line.

It does start off slow but as I say it can make a good profit once you're established. After your initial costs of starting up there isn't much outlays so most of the money you make is your own. Just have to remember to put money aside for your tax return each year. I would also highly recommend using quick books to keep track of your accounts, makes it so much easier when it comes to tax returns and saves the need for an accountant.

You will also need to come up with a business name and register as self employed with HMRC, I would recommend sole trader rather than a ltd company personally although worth researching both to see what is right for you.
Having more flexibility was the reason I started myself too, we are TTC (and have been for 19months) so wanted to be able to book my dogs in round appointments etc then eventually school times/plans etc. Even for holidays and things it's great being able to choose your own hours, it works as long as you're sticking to doing enough hours to earn however much you need. It will be very handy for you with a baby and childcare as you can sort your customers round all of this!

Funf Tue 05-May-20 14:42:13

We have ague locally who work out of a converted van so avoid planning

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