How Much Does It Cost To Start A Dog Grooming Business?

Dog Grooming Business Cost Summary

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To start and maintain a dog grooming business expect to pay the following:

  • One-Time Setup Costs = $18,000
  • Recurring Annualized Costs =$7,350

See the table below for a complete breakdown of possible costs. Note that this will change for your state, city, or county based on what you are selling and what they require. Verify this information with a local certified public accountant. This is provided for informational purposes only based on our experience in Colorado.

Expense Cost Recurring or One Time?
State Business Registration $50, varies Annual
Licensing and Training $0 (or make money through apprenticeships) Not Applicable
Website Setup and Hosting $100 Annual
Mobile Dog Grooming Van with Branding $17,000 One-Time
Dog Grooming Shavers, Shears, and Supply Kit $1,000 One-Time
Van Maintenance $1,000 Annually
Commercial Auto Insurance $1,000 Annually
General Liability Insurance $500 Annually
Health Insurance (one person, owner) $4,800 Annually
Employees $14 per hour Ongoing

Business Registration Costs

Business registration varies from state to state. In my state of Colorado it costs $50 to register a new business with the state.

Even though dog grooming is mainly unregulated, you still need to register your business with most states for tax purposes. If you plan on selling retail items at your store you may need to register for a sales tax license with your state, city, or county.

See a certified public accountant for help on this topic. We are not CPAs nor do we pretend to be. We’re just offering our experience for informational purposes only.

Keep your butt covered and find a local CPA!

Licensing And Training Costs

As discussed above expect to pay $50 a year, more or less, for registration costs to get a business license in your state.

Dog grooming is unregulated and typically licensing to be a dog groomer or formal training is not required.

This article assumes you are going into business on your own to be a dog groomer.

Costs for training vary greatly depending on if you do it for free, get an apprenticeship, or pay for formal training.

Free is free.

Apprenticeships through Petsmart, Petco, or your local salon or retail store usually pay $10 per hour during training.

Formal training at a college or online costs anywhere from $500 up to several thousand dollars.

See our complete article on training costs here.

Website Setup And Design Costs

A basic website using bluehost.com or kinsta.com will cost about $100 – $300 to setup and host annually.

In addition you’ll need to pay $60 or so for a logo.

You can hire out the writing of your main pages or ideally do it yourself. At a minimum you’ll need the following on your website:

  • Home page that tells your story, describes your services and lists costs, and includes a gmail address, phone number, and possible a form so people can contact you.
  • Privacy policy page – Use free online templates to create these
  • Contact use page

There are a ton of good YouTube videos on how to setup wordpress on your website and the pages you’ll need.

In addition since your dog grooming business is local you’ll want to register it with GoogleMyBusiness, which is free.

Cost Of Supplies Needed To Start A Dog Grooming Business

Supply costs vary greatly. If you start small and work through word of mouth you can get away with just basic grooming gear which will run you between $300 – $900. Some of the courses you can take for pet grooming included a full supply kit.

We also included costs to fully setup a mobile dog grooming business for about $18,000. You can read that article here. Most of that expense comes from buying the van and setting it up with artwork and branding.

Mobile Costs Vs Brick And Mortar Costs

When building your own pet grooming business you need to decide where you’ll do the grooming. In general you’ll be looking at two main options:

  • Renting or Leasing a Brick and Mortar dog grooming location
  • Setting up a mobile dog grooming van
  • Working from home

To start we recommend working from home and using word of mouth to grow your business. Once that gets to a comfortable level you can expand to one of the other options.

Please check with your CPA and your local zoning regulations to see if you can run this type of business out of your home. I’ve had a duck raising operation shut down due to not being zoned for it.

Working from home is great but zoning won’t always allow it.

Brick And Mortar Leasing Costs

Leasing commercial retail space for pet grooming will vary widely. Expect to pay anywhere from $10 per square foot in a bad location to $25 per square foot in a better location.

Assuming you rent a space that’s about 500 square feet that’s $5,000 to $12,500 per month. Most commercial locations require multi-year leases.

To use that’s a huge risk when you can also potentially work from a home location for free if the zoning works out.

Also, you can buy a used mobile dog grooming van and fully outfit it for $18,000.

Cost Of Mobile Dog Grooming Equipment

As discussed above we do a deep dive into setting up a mobile dog grooming van for about $18,000. See our article with the details here.

If zoning won’t let you work from home we recommend looking at the mobile setup versus leasing a commercial space.

Employee Costs And Employee Training Costs

To start we recommend working solo. Once you have some momentum with either your home-based dog grooming business or your mobile van dog grooming business you can consider adding employees.

Expect to pay about $14 – $25 per hour for the average dog groomer rate. Most dog grooming salons pay 50% commission plus let you keep tips.

If they are using your van then you’ll need to work the IRS mileage rate and recouping that from what you pay.

Marketing Costs

Using word of mouth marketing will more of less just cost your time. At first you can focus on cutting friend’s and family’s dogs hair for free and asking for referrals. Then branch out and ask your paid referrals for referrals.

If you followed the steps above you also signed up for GoogleMyBusiness. That will bring you local leads nearby through Google Maps. That is also free to an extent.

If you want you can start adding articles to your website to bring even more leads in. Facebook ads and Instagram ads are also a possibility. Use these options late in the game long after building a referral client base.

Ads to get leads will cost you 3-6 months of learning and $3,000 – $5,000 in practice ads to learn. Blogging (content marketing) will cost you your time to write the articles then 6-12 months for them to rank and start bringing in leads.