How Much Does it Cost to Start a Mobile Grooming Business? (Explained!)

Starting a mobile grooming business can be a little costly in the beginning. First off, you need to get your business license and you are going to need to have a van refitted if you or a friend do not have the DIY skills to refit it on your own.

This can run anywhere from 10k up to 100k, as you’ll need to outfit it with a small drying station, a washing area, a grooming table, and even restraining gear for the occasional frightened or otherwise temperamental dogs.

You’ll also need to get a good GPS if you don’t know your immediate area as well as you’d like, as well as your business license, and business-grade liability insurance to protect your client’s, their pets, and your business as well in case of a vehicular accident or a frivolous lawsuit.

Factor in costs of anywhere from $400  up to as much as $6000 for professional grooming training and you’ve got a good idea of the expenses involved in getting started.

 If your budget is tight, consider starting with a grooming trailer – there are a number of prefab units that can do the job and help you get started so that you can work your way up!

In today’s article, we’re going to take a closer look at the mechanics of a mobile grooming business. Do mobile groomers reuse water? How do they get power in the van? Find out a little more about what you’re in for with this career by staying with us and reading on to the sections below!

What do mobile groomers do?

Mobile groomers provide grooming services that come to YOU, rather than you needing to bring your dog to them. By means of small stations, installed in a van or a trailer, a mobile groomer can groom your dog, clean their nails, and provide other grooming services at your convenience.

This makes them a little more expensive, but many are quite happy to pay for convenience if they have a tight schedule, health issues that make travel difficult for them, or simply love the convenience.

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Do mobile groomers have their own water?

Yes, mobile groomers typically have water tanks, averaging around 50 or more gallons, which they will fill in the morning so that they have fresh water for washing and rinsing throughout the day.

Typically, one fill-up is all that is needed, though on rare occasion a groomer might ask to borrow a client’s waterhose for a quick refill if a home trip is not possible.

Is mobile dog grooming business profitable?

Yes! Mobile dog grooming can be profitable, but you need to have a solid business plan and routes within an area that you know very well. As a self-employed groomer, you are able to make your own rates, and if you have employees then you can give them a 50% commission and earn this way as well.

That means if your services are in demand, this is potentially quite a lucrative business – but you’ll need to be patient in the beginning until you’ve built up a roster of returning clients. That means a lot of long hours and weekend work in the beginning, so be prepared!

Do mobile groomers reuse water?

No, this is unsanitary and not even necessary. The van is going to have water tanks, much like you would see in an RV or a camper, and these can be refilled at commercial water stations or even by means of a hose at a client’s house.

More often than not, however, a fill-up in the morning is all that is needed to have enough fresh water for the day.

The biggest water drain is not necessarily from the grooming – a lot of time is spent in cleaning between groomings, as this is vital for health and aesthetic reasons and consequently this makes it one of the most time-consuming tasks for a mobile groomer.

How do you power a mobile grooming van?

Mobile grooming vans are quite similar to camping or ‘road warrior’ type travel setups. Aside from the extra water tanks, these will typically include one or even two generators to supply the power that is needed for the day’s work.

Depending on how well-equipped the van is, it is going to need a lot of power, and so this makes a good generator a must-have for a busy and successful mobile grooming business.

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Do you need a license to be a mobile groomer?

Aside from a driver’s license, you’ll need a business license, but beyond this there are no special requirements to be a mobile groomer.

You would do well, however, getting AKC safety training and a good formal education, either from a physical course or an online course – preferably one that can offer you hands-on training with a local business as part of their course. Animal Behavior college is a good example of such an online course.

Do you need insurance to be a mobile groomer?

Yes, you are going to need insurance to be a mobile groomer. Liability insurance will help to protect you in the case of any accidents or accusations, with the insurance providing assistance if you need legal representation and even possibly helping to pay a settlement if the court does not find in your favor.

This type of insurance is required even if you are simply transporting the dogs to your home for grooming, so be sure that your mobile van is going to be insured to protect yourself, your client’s and their dogs, and your business.

How can I make more money with my mobile grooming business?

There are lots of creative ways to drum up regular business. For instance, you could offer a yearly grooming plan at a slightly discounted rate, so that you have visits scheduled well in advance.

Promotion on social networks, such as Facebook and Instagram are also a good idea, and make sure that you have your business registered on Google business.

This lets you receive and respond to feedback, and even a good response to a negative comment can get you a new client if you keep your comments helpful and professional!

What is the hardest part of mobile grooming?

The hardest part of mobile grooming is going to be the cleanup afterwards, oddly enough. While grooming takes up a lot of time, that’s the ‘fun’ part, but in cramped quarters cleanliness is even more important than usual, so expect after-grooming cleanup to take up a large portion of the day.

If you work with more than one person, consider cleaning up stations after each other whenever one person is free – this can save a lot of time and maximize profits during the day as you can get to each client faster.

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Do mobile groomers get tips?

Tips are definitely part of your income as a mobile groomer, but they are a bonus, rather than a rule. Typically, if a customer likes the service, they will tip a base of 15%, with exemplary service often earning an extra 20 to 25%. That said, tips aren’t guaranteed, so consider them ‘gravy’ and budget wisely.