Top Reasons Why You Should Become A Mobile Dog Groomer

Demand for pets increased by 253% during lockdown, with dogs at the top of that list. With so many pet owners in the UK, the demand for dog groomers has also significantly increased, with mobile dog groomers becoming a more popular choice for those with busy lives or working remotely.

A mobile dog groomer offers all the same services as an in-salon groomer, with the added convenience of the service being taken right to the client’s front door. If you’re a dog groomer thinking about going mobile, we’ve rounded up all of the reasons you should, alongside some considerations, before you take the leap. 

Table of contents:

Why should I become a mobile dog groomer?

How to start a mobile dog grooming business

Why should I become a mobile dog groomer?

Man grooming a spaniel in his grooming van

Becoming a mobile dog groomer allows you to do the job you love on your terms. As with most self-employed businesses, by setting up on your own, you have the freedom and flexibility to work to your schedule and book client appointments around your home life as your hours aren’t fixed. 

You can also choose which days you prefer to work and alternate them depending on your commitments. Taking your workplace to appointments also allows you to work in specific locations or allocate appointments in a similar area to a certain day to minimise travel time. Then, at peak periods, such as during the run-up to Christmas, you also have the freedom to work longer hours to capitalise on the rush. 

Here are some top reasons you should consider mobile dog grooming (and some to think about if you’re sitting on the fence).

Here’s why you should become a mobile dog groomer

An increase in profit and lower overheads

Mobile dog grooming requires little overheads compared to if you were paying to rent and maintaining a salon. Your main overheads are maintaining your grooming stock supplies, upkeep and fuel for your van, business and personal protection insurance and normal business tax (which you’d still have to pay if you were an employee in a salon).

You could benefit from much more take-home pay with fewer, cheaper overheads and the option to charge higher rates due to the convenience of your appointments.

Flexibility of working hours, holidays and length of days

We’ve already touched on this slightly, but by becoming a mobile dog groomer, you’re choosing to run your own business, which brings with it the flexibility of choosing your working hours, the length of days that you work and which days you work, whilst still being able to do what you love. And it also means that if something unexpected pops into your calendar, you can tweak your appointments to suit it.

Because you’re fully mobile, you’ll also have a much broader client base without being restricted to grooming dogs in a single postcode or city.

Low advertising costs

Your grooming van is your best friend when it comes to advertising. Decorate it with your brand name and some of your services so that when people see your van driving between appointments, it may prompt them to book. 

You could even add links to your social media accounts to prompt passers-by to give you a follow and find out more about your business.

You get to work with dogs all day long!

Although you’ll spend much of your working day on your own, you’ll spend it with a host of dogs! Mobile groomers are great for those with nervous or anxious dogs that can’t cope with the hustle and bustle of a busy salon, so if you’re particularly good with anxious dogs, this could be the perfect career move for you. 

Dogs will also love the consistency and reassurance of having the same groomer and look forward to having future appointments with you. Clients will also book you if their dogs suffer from travel sickness or are frightened of journeys in the car, as you’ll offer a stress-free experience for both them and their owners.

A dog tilting it's head with its tongue hanging out

You won’t need to groom dogs in your home

If you’ve always wanted to be a self-employed groomer but don’t have the space to set up at home, a grooming van offers the space and flexibility you require. 

A few points to consider before becoming a mobile groomer

We’ve given you the pros; now, here are considerations to make before you decide to move your grooming out of the salon and onto the open road. 

  • Most of your work will be solitary, so mobile grooming might not be for you if you love working as part of a team.
  • Although you’ll be your boss and your profit margins will be better, you will need to work long hours to make a substantial income. As with any self-employed role, you only get paid if you work and will sacrifice things like holiday pay. However, to accommodate this, you must consider the impact and costs of travelling when you work out your pricing plan. 
  • You’re limited to only grooming one dog at a time, so your price will need to factor this in. Fuelling costs and van and equipment maintenance should also be considered when you work out the price of your appointments.
  • You’ll be working long periods in a small space, operating your whole livelihood from a van, so you need to consider how this will make you feel and whether your van is well-equipped enough to deal with the hottest and coldest weather. 
  • You’ll need some money to invest in starting your business to cover van, equipment and start-up costs. It’s important to do some research to see exactly what you’ll need, whether you can afford it, or whether you can acquire a business loan to help you kickstart your journey. 
  • Organisation and punctuality are key, and if these are things that you struggle with, you might want to think about whether mobile grooming is for you.

How to start a mobile dog grooming business 

So you’ve weighed the pros and cons and decided you’re ready to become a mobile groomer, but where should you start? In this section, we’ll talk you through everything you’ll need to make your mobile grooming business a success. From equipment through to pricing and top tips for grooming on the go – let us help you make the most of your new business venture.

Equipment you’ll need

Terrier being showered in a grooming bath

Aside from your van, you will need all the essential tools you require when working in the salon. Here’s a list of what we’d recommend ahead of your first appointment:

  • A good-sized van – You need enough space to work efficiently. See if you can pick up a van already fitted for grooming to save on some initial outlay coats.
  • A grooming bath – whether your van has plumbing or you’re opting to hook it up to some water mains, you’ll still need a bath fitted in it so you can wash your dogs. Choose something sturdy and reliable and have it fitted so it can’t move around when you’re driving. 
  • Cages are a good investment if you have the space and need somewhere for a dog to relax after its appointment.
  • A good grooming table that you can easily adjust to factor in the heights of different breeds. You may also want to purchase some restraints to keep dogs safe while grooming them, like a grooming noose or belly strap.
  • A good blaster dryer with a wall-mountable arm to keep it safe as you drive around.
  • Cordless clippers as charging or plug sockets might not be readily available. You’ll also need blades, attachments and clipper oil to keep them working at their best.
  • All of your usual grooming kit, including your professional scissors and sterilisers, nail clippers, brushes and combs and shampoos and conditioners tailored to different coat types. 
Gold Aurelia Groomers scissors in front of a pouch
  • If you want to have water and electricity available in your van, you may also need to consider the following in your start-up plans:

– A power generator

– A water heater

– A water tank

– Waste disposal

– Proper ventilation and drainage 

How to set up your business properly

So you’ve got the kit, and you’re ready to go, but there are some final things to put in place before you take your mobile grooming business out on the road.

To set up properly, you’ll need to register your business and apply for personal protection insurance and public liability to protect you, and the dogs you groom should anything happen whilst they’re in your care. You’ll also need appropriate insurance for your grooming van and its contents, should anyone break in or any accidents occur with equipment.

Registering your business is essential as it’s how you’ll pay tax and national insurance on your earnings. You may want to seek advice from an accountant or business mentor to help you with this. 

How to price your service 

When deciding on your prices, you may want to start by looking at the prices of similar services offered in and around your area. Learn about the market in your area, who your target customers are and what they will be able to afford and willing to pay, as this will differ from place to place.

Remember to include journey time, the breed of dog, the time required for you to complete the groom and the travel time and fuel costs required to make the appointment. It may seem like a lot to consider; however, pricing your services too low may result in a loss if you don’t consider all of these important factors.

Man combing a King Charles Spaniel

Because of the nature of your business, customers will occasionally cancel their appointments at the last minute. To protect yourself in this situation, charge all of your customers a non-refundable deposit to cover your losses should they cancel.

People will be willing to pay more than they would in a salon because you’re bringing your service to their door, so don’t be scared to factor this into your costs.

If you’re looking for opportunities to upsell, offer additional add-on services and specialist skills as extras, such as nail maintenance or your ability to groom specific breeds, to keep you ahead of your competition.

Our top tips for grooming on the go 

So now you have everything in place to get ready to groom, here are our final few tips for making your new grooming business a great success. From planning routes to caring for your equipment, consider these things before you hit the road:

  1. Make sure you’ve experienced working in a grooming salon and that you have a wealth of knowledge before going out on your own, as this will be beneficial when running your own business.
  2. Always ensure your van is secure when you’re grooming dogs so they can’t escape and when you’re leaving it overnight to prevent break-ins.
  3. Plan your bookings smartly so that you can minimise your travel time. Try to group appointments that are in similar areas or dedicate certain working days to certain postcodes, so clients know when they can request your service.
  4. Ensure the location you’re working in has ample parking and access to water and electricity if you need it. Don’t be afraid to ask your clients about their access.
  5. Implement a good process to keep on top of your schedule and text clients to remind them when you are coming.
  6. Get your van serviced, so you don’t have to be without it. Make sure it has air conditioning and is easily accessible for all the breeds you’ll be grooming, particularly larger breeds that might be difficult to lift.
  7. Secure all of your equipment so that it can’t move or break while driving your van.
  8. Set up a website, advertise through social media, and set up an email newsletter that you can send out to retain customers and attract new ones by offering special discounts. Advertise in local pet shops and vet clinics to build your client base.

Mobile grooming – the highlights

Mobile grooming can be extremely rewarding and profitable for groomers wanting to branch out on their own. By weighing up the pros and cons and deciding whether the nature of this business model will suit you, you can decide whether you want to take the leap and offer grooming services on the go.

Investing in the right equipment and insurance from the outset will provide all the necessary tools to make your business successful while keeping your and your client’s dogs safe. Then, by establishing a well-thought-out diary to minimise your travel time, you’ll be able to fit more appointments into the day to capitalise on greater profit margins.

And with the flexibility and freedom of mobile grooming, you’ll be able to offer the best service that fits your lifestyle and plans, for happy customers every time and a great work/life balance.

To kit your mobile grooming van out for success, shop the links above or browse our complete professional collection for all your grooming necessities.

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