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Starting a Dog Grooming Business

If you have started DIY dog grooming with your own dog, you might just find yourself getting the bug!  If you enjoy dog grooming and love being around dogs, what better way to earn some extra cash (or change careers entirely) than by starting a dog grooming business?

Starting your own business is an exciting but also daunting task. You need to think about handling your taxes, selling your services and so much more.

However, ultimately running your own dog grooming business is meant to be fun, so in the following paragraphs we’ll outline the key things that you need to know so that you can spend more time developing your new business and less worrying about getting to grips with it all.

Developing your skills

Even if you have become an expert DIY dog groomer from endless hours of practicing on your own dog, grooming other people’s beloved pets is a completely different kettle of fish.

You’ll need to gain some basic qualifications to ensure that you have covered everything you need to know and have obtained the necessary skills.

If you are just starting out, the most relevant course is The City & Guilds Level 2 Certificate for Dog Grooming Assistants – this is perfect if you have had no formal training.

Once you have obtained your Level 2 you can start your dog grooming business. Although after some time you may wish to further develop your skills to command a higher rate or expand your offering, if this is the case, there is a Level 3 course that is targeted towards those with significant industry experience.

Finally, don’t forget to get yourself covered by taking out the necessary insurance packages!

Registering as self-employed

Once you have gained the necessary skills to start a dog grooming business you’ll then need to start thinking about tax. For the most part you have two options, either to open up a limited company or simply register as self-employed.

As you are just starting out, setting up as self-employed is probably the best option, but an accountant will be able to give you more personalised advice. All you need to do is fill out a form on HMRC’s website and you are good to go.

Once you have registered as self employed you’ll need to start keeping track of your income and expenditure. A straightforward spreadsheet that you spend 20 minutes or so completing every month is enough to keep track of what you need.

Each year you’ll need to notify HMRC of your earnings by completing a Self-Assessment Tax Return, but an accountant can help you with all this. From your tax return you’ll then be able to calculate how much tax you owe.

We suggest hiring a good accountant and ensuring that you always stay on top of your paperwork. It consumes minimal time each month and you’ll definitely be happy you didn’t leave it all until the last minute.

Sales and Marketing

So now you have developed your skills and registered as self-employed, what’s next? Well now you need to start spreading the word and generating business.

It’s ok, you don’t have to be some sort of sales and marketing guru, there are countless approaches you can take to generate business and none of them require a special degree or years of sales training.

Build a website

Everything is online these days. You can go as far as to say that you don’t have a business if you don’t have a website.

With this in mind, you’ll need to build a website to promote your services. It doesn’t need to be too fancy and you can get a freelancer to build you an affordable, yet professional site that doesn’t break the bank.

Things to include on your website are:

•    About section
•    Services & prices
•    Testimonials
•    Gallery

Remember to promote your website on social media and consider using a SEO agency to help you appear for a variety of search terms on Google.

Do a leaflet drop

Leaflet drops are still an effective approach if you are looking to drum up business locally. Simply ensure that your leaflet is eye catching, promotes your services and includes your contact details and you should generate some high quality leads.

Consider introductory offers

People are always encouraged to try new services if there is a deal to be had. In the early stages it won’t be easy to generate business, you’ll have minimal customers who can recommend you to friends, so you will rely heavily on sales and marketing.

You can give all of your marketing efforts a boost by offering introductory reductions. For example, on your leaflets you could offer 20% off when a customer presents the leaflet.

From refer a friend schemes to loyalty bonuses, there are countless special offers that you can use to drive you business forward.