Can You Make Good Money As A Dog Groomer?

How Much Does A Pet Groomer Make An Hour?

Pet Groomers can expect to make between $14 an hour on the low end for pet bathers up to $45 per hour plus health benefits on the high end for high end retail stores and salons.

$14 an hour equates to $28,000 per year and $45 an hour equates to about $90,000 per year working the standard 50 week year with 2 weeks of vacation.

To answer this question let’s dive deep into Colorado. To pull real data, let’s use Craiglist. Keep in mind that these screenshots were taken as of June 2020.

First up we have a dog grooming job in Morrison, Colorado. Morrison could be considered a far out exurb of Denver. It’s a small tourist town downtown but the surrounding area is where a lot of suburban folks of Denver live.

This particular job is working for a grooming salon. We’ll cover the differences between working in retail (e.g. Petco or Petsmart) vs. a grooming salon vs. being an independent dog groomer below.

So a dog bather in Morrison, Colorado can make $14 per hour. Groomers get 50% commission plus tips. Even though the name of the salon isn’t mentioned they do give their address. It’s Purrfect Paws.

We couldn’t find their prices so instead we’re using the prices from

Grooming costs are based on the size of your dog, at least at Purrfect Pets but Mydenverpet bases it off breed.

For a golden retriever-sized dog expect to pay $80 – $90 and it’ll take 2-3 hours.

For a small Shih-tzu or Yorkie expect to pay about $65.

At 50% commission you’ll make anywhere from $32.50 to $45 per 2-3 hours plus tip. Let’s say tip is $5. Let’s also say you’re fast and can do any dog in 2 hours.

That breaks down to about $17.50 per hour for small dogs and $25 per hour for large dogs.

Note: If you click some of the links in this article we may earn a small commission at no additional cost to you.

We found another pet salon listing in another suburb of Denver. Again they pay about 45% commission plus tips. Again, doing the math with assumptions above you can expect to make about $15-17 per hour for small dogs and about $20-25 per hour for larger dogs.

Next we found an upscale retail listing (pet store) where they are paying 60% commissions. Their groomers average about $31.50 to $45 per hour. Plus they pay for a good chunk of your health insurance.

Retail vs Freelance vs Salon Groomer

Retail refers to pet stores either big (e.g. Petsmart) or small, local independent stores. See the example above for an upscale local pet store paying high hourly rates and including partial health insurance. Some stores pay commission and some pay hourly wages.

Freelance refers to being self-employed or working as an independent contractor. Both retail and salons often hire independent contractors to groom and pay them on commission.

You can also be your own business as an independent contractor. See our section below on setting up a mobile dog grooming business.

Lastly there are salon groomers. Lots of salons, including those for people, use this model where you essentially rent your grooming space for the salon owner. They pay on commission plus tips, usually around 40-60% commission rates.

How Much Do Independent Or Self-employed Dog Groomers Make?

This depends on whether you work for another business or for your own business.

A independent contractor at a salon or retail store still makes about 40 – 50% commissions plus tips. Depending on what the store charges that comes out to $15/hr up to $45 per hour.

If you own your own business things change. You keep 100% of the grooming price but you have to reduce it by your expenses, mostly marketing and your mobile dog setup or store.

According to MSNBC most self-employed groomers make between $25-$30 per hour and bring in $100,000 a year before expenses.

Don’t forget that last part – before expenses.

How Much Does A Mobile Dog Groomer Make?

Similar to self-employed dog groomers, a mobile dog groomers make between $25 – $45 per hour depending on the size of the dog’s groomed. Based on our calculations below a Mobile Dog groomer can expect to make about $31.70 per hour ($63,480 per year) after expenses.

Mobile Dog Grooming Revenue

First as researched above, the average dog grooming job is about $60 for small dogs and about $90 for large dogs in the Denver area. We like to use Denver for two reasons – we live there and it’s a medium priced city so if you include rural areas you get an idea of what you can expect around the country.

Let’s say you’re a great groomer and you’re efficient with driving so you can groom one dog every 2 hours.

Let’s also say you do a good mix of small and large dogs so your average grooming fee is in the middle of both – $75.

That’s $37.50 per hour on average which matches up with what we quoted above.

That’s before expenses. Let’s move on to those next.

The main expenses for your mobile dog grooming business, assuming you run it alone, are the cost of the vehicle plus maintenance and insurance. In addition there’s the cost of marketing.

Next let’s dive deep into expenses.

Mobile Dog Grooming Expenses

Expect to pay about $10,000 – $20,000 for a used van.

Then expect to pay about $1,000 to $5,000 to either paint or wrap your van with your businesses logo and artwork. You can get an online designer via and other online marketplaces to design your logo and artwork for $60 to $300 and up.

Expect maintenance of the van to be about $1,000 a year. That’ll be too high in some years and too low in others but should average out to about that. Commercial auto insurance will be about $900 – $1200 per year.

Health insurance for yourself will be about $400 per month.

Business insurance for your pet business will be about $500 per year for general liability insurance.

Also, assume you pay $1,000 up front for the gear needed to outfit your van for dog groomer and have it installed in a way where it stays put while driving and it’s easy to use.

Total One-Time Expenses – $12,000 van + $1,000 setup and tools + $5,000 logo,artwork and vehicle wrap = $18,000 one-time

Total Annual On-going Expenses – $1,000 van maintenance + $1,000 commercial auto insurance + $4,800 health insurance + $500 general liability business insurance = $7,300 per year

Let’s assume we get a small business loan for the $18,000 at 6% set to pay off in 5 years. That comes to $347.99 per month. Let’s call it $350.

$7,300 per year is about $608.33 per month. Let’s call it $610.

So your total expenses are $960 per month.

Mobile Dog Grooming Profit Summary

You make $37.50 per hour. Over 8 hours, assuming you’re always booked, you bring in $300 per day.

Working 50 weeks a year at 5 days a week that makes $6,250 per month.

Your total profit for the month after expenses = $6,250 – $960 = $5,290

$5,290 per month is about $63,480 per year or about $31.70 per hour. That’s after expenses.

Not too bad!