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. 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.
So, how does mobile pet grooming work? Mobile groomers travel to pet owners' homes and perform grooming services from specially outfitted vehicles.
Mobile grooming services are especially useful for elderly or immobile pet owners, or those who simply prefer the convenience of having their pets groomed from 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 setting up a mobile grooming business.
Start-up 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 a Success of Your Business
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 upon spreading the word. Ongoing advertising and marketing will help build your reputation and win you new business. To really gain an edge over the competition, actively market your business as well as advertise it.
As an example, you could place adverts 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 business.
Most mobile grooming businesses will limit themselves to advertising. Having your business name and number on the side of your van may 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 richardrowlands.com.