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A Beginner’s Guide to Mobile Grooming

Pet ownership has never been more popular. But along with the joys of a fluffy, furry friend comes plenty of care and maintenance. How can that work with the growing demand for accessibility and control of schedules? This trending career option: mobile pet grooming. Are you hoping to tap into this growing market and set up a mobile grooming business of your own? There are some key things to know.

Why Mobile Grooming?

Along with increased – and especially first time – pet ownership comes a new focus on what might previously have been considered as ‘high-end’ pet care services. More than ever before pets are seen as family members. They’re also often at home with family members who are working or schooling remotely, so extra fluff and fur can quickly become an issue. (Just one more reason that virtual dog training is so hot right now too!)

With owners’ time at a premium, the option of having a vital service like pet grooming come to them at a convenient time can be a game-changer. With the mobility and transportation options of mobile grooming services, owners aren’t inconvenienced, and Sparky is more comfortable, being close to his own turf and not having to deal with other animals in close quarters. But before we consider all the benefits of going mobile, let’s define terms. 

Take Advantage of a Growing Trend

Just what is mobile grooming? It’s a pet care business that’s taken to clients’ driveways, doorsteps, or curbsides. Mobile groomers travel to clients’ homes and perform requested grooming services on their pets within a specially designed and equipped vehicle, often a van or truck. There are plenty of ways that this routine beats out having a brick and mortar setup, for both clients and groomers. (Some pets say they like it better too!)

If your interest is piqued and you want to jump on this trend, first take note of some details you’ll want to iron out well before hanging a shingle:

Training Basics

No formal certification stands in the way of becoming a mobile groomer, but experience in handling pets is always a plus. Hands-on learning in a previous job is priceless when it comes to reading a dog or cat’s behavior and body language. If you can keep an animal calm and cooperative, that can protect both you and the pet from injury. Since experience can be key to success, it can’t hurt to look into certification, apprenticeship, or other hands-on training options.

Legal Requirements

Before you invest in expensive equipment and start taking clients, check with your local authorities to see what legal requirements you need to meet. Be sure to register your business and check whether a permit is necessary to open up shop. 

While it sounds like fun, working with animals is always a risk. And so is being out on the road! Pets can be unpredictable, and sometimes the only way they can get their point across ends up being abrupt or violent. That sounds a lot like driving on today’s roadways, so business vehicle protection is key too. Should illness, injury, escape, or worse result from a grooming session, or if you get in a fender bender between appointments, you’ll want to know that you have rock-solid protection backing you up. Here’s where partnering with an agency that offers comprehensive mobile grooming insurance is invaluable. 

Equipment Needs

To get into mobile grooming, you’ll obviously need a vehicle. Whether it’s a specially-designed mobile grooming getup, or a converted van, truck, RV, or other road-worthy vehicle, a few components and accessories are non-negotiable to fully service pets: a tub, grooming table, adequate lighting, water supply and drainage, and a generator to power everything. Beyond those fixed logistical needs, you’ll of course have your favorite tools and other essential supplies to bathe, primp, and trim.

Business Ins and Outs

Before rolling out to your first appointment, you’ll need to think seriously about which services you’ll offer, and how much you’ll charge. This could take some sleuthing to find a price that works in your area, and for the specific services you offer. Because of the higher overhead costs and the convenience factor, you can generally expect to charge more for your services than what’s available in a box store or the vet’s office. (But don’t forget -- your clients are also happy to pay for the added convenience!

You’ll also want to take time to think beyond basic price lists. Ask yourself: 

Will I take an a-la-carte approach, or bundle services together? 

Will I offer a loyalty or points program? 

Will I set definite limits, or will I cater to pet owners’ requests? 

Defining boundaries and service expectations might be your way, or it might not. Just know that you have the power to guide the course of your business wherever you want it to go.

Growing Clientele

The success of your mobile grooming business depends heavily on whether folks in the community know about you and are looking for your services. Before you get out on the road, shears in hand, muse for a while on a business name and brand. Once you find a name and ethos that fits you and your business, stay consistent. Get active on social media, run local advertising, reach out and make partners in the community, and find ways to get your personal and company name out there to pet owners. Even small, consistent steps – like advertising in vet clinics and pet stores, building a client email directory, and sending a brief monthly newsletter – can give you an edge over local competitors. 

Build relationships, reinforce connections, and encourage loyalty. You’ve already invested the time and money and made the leap, now make sure that you’re supporting the work you’ve already done. Would direct mail be a good fit? Can you offer a referral program to turn one connection into several? How about investing funds for clear and catchy advertising on the side of your grooming vehicle? Every little bit helps. 

Vital Support for Your Mobile Grooming Business

However you decide to run your business, you’ll want to be sure that when you take that leap of faith, you’ve got a safety net too. At ZINC Insurance for Pet Care we get what you do, and we know it’s niche. That’s why we craft coverage options that fill in gaps and protect against both common and potential risks. Beyond understanding your industry, we know that peace of mind is powerful and can help propel you to greater success. So take on your passion project and break the mold! We’ll be here to make sure you’re ok. Get in touch to learn more about coverage options, or to hear us gush about our favorite good boys and girls. Either way, we look forward to hearing from you!