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Australians spend an estimated $13 billion on their pets each year, including $700 million on grooming and clipping costs. So if you're looking for a career that lets you work with animals, you might be considering starting a pet grooming business.
But starting any new business isn't easy, so this guide will take you through the key steps of becoming a pet groomer.
Pet grooming businesses provide grooming services for dogs and cats. These services range from essential tasks, such as bathing, nail clipping and hair trimming, through to breed-specific clips for the show ring and even doggy day spa services.
Want to run your own pet grooming business but don't know where to start? Here's a quick rundown of the key tasks you'll need to complete to get your business off the ground.
To help you thrive in the pet industry, you might like to join an industry association, such as the Pet Industry Association of Australia (PIAA) or the Australian Companion Animal Council (ACAC). Joining an industry association helps you keep up with what's happening in the industry and learn best practice principles.
Think you've got what it takes to run a pet grooming business? Let's take a closer look at the skills, knowledge, qualifications and equipment you need to set yourself up for success.
First and foremost, pet groomers need to be competent and comfortable working with animals. It is also very important that you have a good knowledge of animal health and welfare requirements.
Other key skills and qualities of pet groomers include:
As a pet grooming business owner, you will need to be able to coordinate and schedule your workload by estimating how long each grooming session will take, how many workers you'll need and how much to charge your customer.
To help you thrive in the pet industry, you might like to join an industry association, such as the Pet Industry Association of Australia (PIAA) or the Australian Companion Animal Council (ACAC). Joining an industry association helps you keep up with what's happening in the industry and learn best-practice principles.
To become a professional pet groomer, you'll need to be certified through TAFE or a Registered Training Organisation. A good place to start is with a Certificate III Pet Grooming, which teaches you essential grooming skills, such as brushing, trimming and bathing. You will also learn operational skills in housekeeping, customer services and equipment maintenance.
Beyond a pet grooming certificate, you can complete a more advanced Certificate IV in Pet Styling, which allows you to expand your skills to become a full-fledged grooming salon owner or manager. You may even decide to study for further qualifications, such as obtaining International Certified Master Groomer status.
Remember, no matter what course you choose, it's crucial that it allows you to get plenty of hands-on experience. This is the best way to hone your skills and put the grooming techniques you learn into action.
The first major decision when opening up a pet grooming business is where you will run your business. You can either operate from your home or retail space, or set up a mobile grooming service. How your business is run will impact the type of grooming equipment you will need.
This equipment may include:
To operate the business efficiently, you may also consider the following types of software:
Before registering your business, you'll want to be clear on the type of business you're operating. The standard business structures in Australia are sole trader, partnership and company (public or proprietary).
Starting out as a sole trader is a common and uncomplicated approach, but if you're entering into business with someone else you might want to share responsibility with your co-founder through a partnership. A company can be set up as a separate legal entity to the business owner, but starting a company is a more expensive and complex option. Check out our detailed guide for more info on how to structure your business in the right way.
How much control you decide to have over the business, costs and tax implications are among the most important factors to consider for your business structure. If you're not sure which path to choose, speak with an accountant who can help you out in this area.
You'll want to ensure you have a number of legal documents in place before you launch your company.
Some of the documentation you might need to set up a pet grooming business includes:
On top of that, you will need to comply with the code of conduct for your relevant state regulatory body before you can start operating your business. For example, in New South Wales you will need to comply with the Animal Welfare Code of Practice No 8 - Animals in Pet Grooming Establishments.
You can access free templates online in order to get started. You may choose to consult with a lawyer to get a full picture of the regulatory requirements for your business. You can request a free, fixed-fee quote through various legal services sites. These include:
We update our data regularly, but information can change between updates. Confirm details with the provider you're interested in before making a decision.
It's also important to consider the tax obligations of your new business. Any income you earn will obviously need to be reported to the ATO, but registration and reporting requirements can vary based on your business structure.
For example, if you're operating as a sole trader, you can keep your individual TFN. But if you're setting up a partnership, company or trust, your business will need a separate TFN.
GST is another consideration. You must register for GST if you have an annual turnover of $75,000 or more, or if you expect your turnover to reach this level in your first year.
If you need assistance or advice, speak to an accountant or registered tax agent.
Taking out insurance cover may not be one of the most exciting parts of starting a business, but it is one of the most essential. Some of the policies you might need include:
Check out our business insurance guide for more information.
It is important to research competitors in your area before setting your prices. If you're new to the business, you can consider offering a slightly lower price than your competitors or a first-timer promotion to attract new customers. You may also want to offer discounted rates to customers who make a recurring booking.
Some of the other factors to consider when quoting your customers include the size and breed of the animal, the type of fur it has and the overall level of service required. Groomers generally offer a range of packages, from a basic bath and towel-dry service to an all-inclusive grooming and pampering session.
Rates for a standard dog grooming service can range from $50 onwards for a small dog, whereas for a larger dog you can be charged up to $150.
From social media pages to online reviews, there are many ways you can grow your customer base. Some simple and practical options include:
One of the advantages of operating a pet grooming business is that you offer a repeatable service that will be required time and again. Like hairdressers, customers also tend to stick to the same business if the service and costs meet their expectations.
Australia also has one of the highest rates of pet ownership in the world. And because many pet owners simply don't have the time or expertise to groom their pets, the demand for professional pet grooming can be very high.
However, there's no guarantee that your business will turn a profit. Thorough research and planning are essential to maximise your chances of success.
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