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  • Advice PLEASE anyone

    Hey.. Im new here and I am looking for some thoughts. I got my grooming liscence/certificate about 9 years ago. I groomed for a few years, then I had a baby and stopped grooming for a few years. I got back into it for 2 years and then quit again... so Ive been out of the grooming field for about 5 years. I hope I am making sense. Anyway... this was all in New Jersey. I just moved to Tennessee. My husband and I do not have any jobs yet. Crazy...yes. But I am thinking about opening up our own grooming business. I was all for it then I talked to my dad today, who makes all the decisions for me...because I dont do anything without his opinion! He thinks it is a very scary idea... to jump into a new state, a new area and open up a grooming business. I thought it was really possible if I really put my all into advertising and everything. But, now after hours of crying and being all upset, I am not so sure I will be able to and now I am so nervous I litterally feel sick. I have been looking at spaces to rent for about $1,000 a month plus all the electric and other bills. Does this sound reasonable? Will I be able to make some profit off of this business? Please... any help????

  • #2
    It's very scary to jump out on your own. You should find a shop and work there for a little while, find out if you really want to groom again. You can also see if you want to groom in that area or another. I have groomed in several area's in Tennessee and the prices and customer's vary greatly within a 30 minute drive. I don't know where you are but there are many shop's looking for groomer's now, with the summer coming up. Good luck!!!


    • #3

      Could you do a home based shop?
      Wouldn't be as much overhead.
      Are you zoned for it? Got a garage you could redo?

      With your experience, perhaps you could go mobile.
      At least that way, your money is going into something you could
      resell if it does not work out in your area.
      Rent always scares me. But many many shops do great.

      You should not let your dad upset you so much.
      Many of our parents depending on their age seem to side on the
      Mine were raised during the deprssion and this is how a conversation with my dad went recently.

      I am going to put an add in the yellow pages dad, it should help get the word out there.
      Yellow Pages? are you nuts? Thats so expensive! The last time I ran one of those it cost three dollars a month! thats just crazy! Word of mouth is free!

      Well, I didn't have the heart to tell him its closer to 70.00 now and I can make that in one dog a month. Just wouldn't be worth the effort. He is never wrong.
      I love his opinion, but had I taken it I would have never had the horse farm for only 9 years, and resold the land for ten times + what I paid for it.
      You have to take some risk to get some rewards.
      That said, be careful, be wise, and work smart.
      Trust YOU.


      • #4
        You're a grown up married woman and you let your Dad make all your decisions for you? My folks haven't made a decision for me since I left their house. I've made plenty of mistakes along the way, but that's life. You learn and move on.

        First thing you need to do is put together a business plan. It's not as scary as it sounds. If I were you I would look into the feasibility of opening a shop, going mobile or opening a salon in your home (if that is even doable and legal).

        So for the business plan you need to get your numbers.

        It looks like you've started checking into lease prices already. Go onto the classified ads and price some of the used grooming vans to get an idea of those prices, then go to the WagnTails web site to get the price of a new vehicle.

        Call Gibson Governor to get a quote on insurance. You can ask them for a quote on business insurance for a salon as well as a mobile policy, which covers both your vehicle and the business.

        Gas isn't a big expense, even now. Where I live it's up to $3.08 a gallon, I work full time running a generator and seldom run up more than a $300 gas bill in a month (I gross $7K-$9K a month on grooms).

        To figure out your startup costs for equipment, shampoo, towels, shears, clippers, etc., go through the wholesale catalogs (I get much of my stuff through PetEdge) and simply price out what you'd need to order.

        Call around to your local newspapers to look into their advertising rates. If you go mobile you will likely NOT need a Yellow Pages ad as you only need 120-180 client dogs to be fully booked. If you go mobile you will probably only need to advertise for your first 6-9 months, one year at maximum.

        Once you have a handle on your expenses for the three types of grooming business you are investigating, you need to determine your potential income.

        Check out prices in the better salons in your area (you're not competing with PetSomething grooms, so mobile or a salon, your prices will be higher than a volume shop. Once you have a reasonable idea of the salon groom prices add about $15 for your mobile price. In house grooming where the clients are coming to you will be a bit less than mobile but still more than a volume groomer.

        Figure out how many dogs per day you think you can groom. If you open a salon will you hire a bather? Will that increase the amount of dogs you can groom at a better rate than you would pay the bather? Once you sort this out you can get a rough idea of your potential income. If you have a salon will you be selling any retail items?

        These are just the basics, this is what a business plan entails. It's not a big mystery. To be more thorough you can try to find out how many dogs are in your locale (a high density of vet clinics is an indication of a large pet population).

        So, unless your father or your husband has run these numbers I don't see where they have an idea of whether or not this is a good idea. You need to determine for yourself if this is a realistic plan. For what it's worth, I started as a mobile groomer straight out of school not quite three years ago. I was soon making more money than I had when I ended an 18 year career in publishing to make the jump. So this is doable. But if you are going to succeed in being an business owner you need be confident, self-reliant, self-motivated and gutsy. You need to be able to solve problems as they come up, you have to deal with difficult clients and you have to make your best decision and then move on.

        This Web site has groomers with what has to be centuries of combined experience to help you out, but at the end of the day it's YOU who decides whether the advice is good or not, it's YOU who has to do the actual research to find the numbers, answers and solutions pertinent to where you are going to be setting up. What works for me may or may not work for you. I can say you don't need a Yellow Pages ad, but you are in your area, you may decide that in your particular situation you do need one.

        I wish you the very best of luck wherever your career and dreams take you.



        • #5
          Wow, so much depends on the area too...Are there any groomers around? If so, how are they doing? Stop in, check them out. Maybe offer something extra that they don't have. As for renting, I say if you have doubts then maybe that's your answer. Especially since you're in a new area. Is it possible to be Home based? I don't have anything against renting at all, but I would definitely check into the area before I took that plunge. All that said, you can certainly do it! I was out of grooming for quite a lot longer than you and jumped head first back into it again with opening up my own Salon. I have never regretted it and it's been a wonderful experience. We moved to a new area several years ago and after much thought and preperation, we started working on the new Salon plan only a year after the move. I always have to think things out before I do them though, that's just me. Everything's gotta have a plan. So if I were you, I get a proposed plan together, don't leave any detail out. Run some figures - cost for everything vs. prospective pay (figure low - better to figure low than to high). You might also want to prepare yourself this way too that the first several months you won't be making profit - just paying the bills. Maybe not even making the bills, so adjust your household income accordingly. Good luck with whatever you decide. If it's what you want to do, you can do it! Wishing you the best.


          • #6

            Wow...thanks everyone. Some posts actually brought a tear to my eye. Seriously. I didnt think people would have given my post that much thought, and I thought people now a days would just skip over it. Thanks for the people that took the time out to give me their thoughts.
            Well...yes I am 28 years old, married..and I still depend on my dads opinion. Some might think thats a bit crazy...but to me he is wise...and he has been thru it all. He has owned his own carpet and tile business for many, many years. So he knows what owning his own business is like. Knowing my dad, I know he wants to make sure that I see all of the negative, and not get so excited about something and make a stupid mistake, just because I wanted to hurry and do it. I know he means well...and he wants the best for me. Maybe I just need to grow up, and stop relying on my dad to make my decisions. But for years, I have always looked up to him and 99.9% of the time, his decision is always right.
            Im not giving up just yet...but it is just so depressing. One minute I think, I can do this, maybe I can even make a dog day care out of it...then the next minute, I think I am crazy for even thinking this since I have not been working in years. There is only 1 other grooming shop in the area, and I havnt been in it, but drove past it and its a tiny little thing. The people around here...(I live in Jefferson County) seems like they have the $ to get their dog groomed. Some other areas I have looked at seems more run down and it doesnt seem like the people would have the money to get their dogs groomed. I am sure that if I go inside of this other groomers shop and ask questions, she will look at me and think "competition", so she wont be willing to share her thoughts with me. I was even thinking about asking her if she is willing to sell her shop! Its just so much right now...with him not having a job...and no income coming in, and I am trying to make a decision as fast as I can so we can get some $ rolling in. Everyone here seems very positive...and thats refreshing. It makes me think positive...when most of the time I think negative.
            For the mobile thing... I was thinking about that, but I thought people might shy away from that since its a mobile thing. I know many people do very well in it. I didnt know if there would be much room in there to groom and to move around. I will give it some thought.
            Thanks again everyone... I am going to think about everything that you all have said tonight and give it some thought. You dont know how much I appreciate your ideas!


            • #7
              if you do open, be sure to take an ad out in the yellow pages. make it informative and to the point. size, in this case, does not matter! hehehe
              I have an ad that is small, with color, and it only runs me 75 a month, but its the cutest graphics and it gets peoples attention. Also, get a web addy. Im sure you will do fine, but location can make or break you. talk to some vets in your area, maybe they will have an opening for a groomer, especially this time of year. Thats always a starting point!! good luck and keep us posted!


              • #8
                Not sure about Dad or going mobile? is my sister's little story. She is married with kids.

                My Dad though she was crazy to consider a grooming business and even worst going mobile because she lives in a VERY rural area up North. She took the JKL correspondance course, bought a trailer and went for it! No advertising, just dropping her cards to all businesses.

                She bought the trailer and started when my parents were spending their winter in Florida (they are Snowbird). She didn't want to have to hear Dad's comments/negativity so she waited until they were gone (smart sister! LOL) Dad didn't know, only Mom knew she was starting her business. Mom was all for it (you rock Mom!!)

                When they came back home after 6 months, sister ran into them upon their arrival in a little town close by (she had her trailer). She took Dad inside the trailer (sister said he didn't look too happy LOL) and showed him her agenda, flipping pages after pages of bookings. Dad's only response was...'I can't beleive there is more pets here then kids!'. Sister said Dad looked happy and at the same time pretty much speechless besides the comment he said. Now, Dad BRAGS about her business to everyone he talks too!

                Her 1st year in the business, she made 30K, all from word of mouth. She's in her 2nd year and has to refuse customers because she is always booked or refers them to another person who is mobile also. Sometimes, clients beg her to find an opening to do their pets, she makes them wait and they do wait for her service.

                You'd be surprise how much clients love mobile groomers. If there isn't one in your area, I bet you would become successfull fast!

                All this to say, if my sister would have followed 'Dad's saying', she wouldn't be where she is now, enjoying her work and making all that nice money.

                Go for it!


                • #9
                  Go Mobile!

                  Go mobile! Stand up & sit down (he he :-)) and make a plan. Why split the grooming fees with someone else? IMHO, I wouldn't pay for a Yellow page ad but get the free listing if you get a separate phone line. Make half page notices with the pull/tear taps with your name & phone on them. Post them everywhere, vets, stores, churches, school events, etc. Get in contact with other pet service providers, like pet sitters, walkers, daycare, etc. Park/drive your rig everywhere to be seen. Make the business YOUR OWN. Best advice - talk with other groomers & make your own decisions! You Go Girl!


                  • #10
                    "Father Knows Best."

                    When you're 8!!!!! You're not 8 anymore, you're 28 and you can make this decision yourself. But don't jump into it without any thought!!!

                    The problem people have is they make poor choices over and over...and over again. Poor planning doesn't make a successful business. "Fail to plan, plan to fail." It doesn't take years of planning but planning a little is better than not at all.

                    Yes, you can do it. The pet industry is growing like weeds and there are plenty of animals to go around. The problems will arise and you will be able to solve them because you planned a little. And keep in mind that even with planning, something always goes wrong.

                    Keep a positive attitude, there REALLY are plenty of dogs out there!

                    Tammy in Utah
                    Groomers Helper Affiliate


                    • #11
                      Success come to those who are succes conscious.

                      Whatever the mind of a man can concieve and believe, it can achieve.

                      Anyone can achieve what they want if they DESIRE it bad enough.

                      Sorry but from your post I'm not sure you truly have the desire. You have bounced in and out of grooming on a rather consistent basis - 4 out 9 years of not grooming

                      You are in a position now to make it work simply out of necessity. If you have a deep desire to succeed in grooming.

                      Advertising alone won't help. Seek out some business start up classes, many are free through SCORE and the local Chamber of Commerce. Prepare a business plan - this will help you set goals that will be resonable. A good business plan will take research, work and alot of time. Learn how to make a budget for your business and your personal life - These will be seperate budgets. Know going in what your expenses will be, what you'll need to make per month to pay you and the expenses. Develope a emergency fund to be used for emergencies, this fund should be 3 to 6 months of your total expenses. Also, learn about your competion, their hours, specialties etc., and see were you can set yourself up to stand apart from them.

                      I think your Daddy love youand is leaning towards caution - I say throw caution to the wind - if you truly desire to accomplish this goal, but lay a good solid foundation before you sign a lease.
                      Last edited by Dexy; 05-13-07, 10:27 AM.


                      • #12
                        Ask yourself this "can my family survive and pay the bills if it takes my salon several months to get going and I am making no money and may in fact have to pull some money from my family just to pay the bills"? If the answer is no, go work for a groomer while you build your clientele. Contrary to belief, it is okay to be a little wishy-washy but don't sacrifice your home and family.


                        • #13
                          Suzie Read this thread

                          Family, Friends, Customers Jealous

                          Do a search, read this thread. And go for it!


                          • #14
                            Thanks again everyone. We are still looking around and my dad is coming with us tomorrow to look at some of the buildings for sale that my husband and I have already seen inside. Both of these buildings are cheaper...between $60,000-$90,000... the ones that I really wanted near my neighborhood are more in the price range of $200,000 but its in a really good, upscale neighborhood. So I am thinking of trying to go with the cheaper ones and see if I can make it that way first. And then if I can, sell it and go with something closer.
                            I dont take any offence to what you said Dexy, about me not really wanting to do it. Im excited about it, but nervous, and I think that is to be expected. I think I am just being cautious. I am looking forward to it one minute, but then the next minute I think I could be living on the streets if it doesnt work out! So that scares the hell out of me. But on the other hand, things can go extremely well...I hope.
                            Spikey.. sure fathers knows best when your 8. But I still look up to him, he has been thru more in life then I have... so thats who I go to for advice. Everything you people are saying is also very good advice, so I am taking both sides of it. My dad isnt trying to tell me NOT to do it, because he doesnt know either, he just wants to make sure I see the negatives too, since I am excited about it, I might not try and LOOK for the negatives.
                            I think whats gonna happen is we are going to try this out, and in the time being, my husband is also going to get another job on the side..maybe at night so he can help me lift the big dogs during the day.
                            I really appreciate all of your postive attitudes towards this, it is sooo sooooo soooo refreshing to read that it IS possible to do it, if I really set my mind to it. Because your right, people DO have dogs. But I still have that stupid negativity in me thats saying "but what happens if they have been taking their dog to the groomer down the road and they love her, and they have been taking their dog there for 10 years"... so I will have to find something that makes me stick out, prices maybe? I gotta work on this self esteem thing, and negativity thing!!


                            • #15
                              I've worked with HUNDREDS of groomers in similar situations as a consultant for geez 17 years now, and many more in seminars.

                              When we do business we have to empty ourselves of EMOTION, it creates a foggy haze. Being your own businessperson is an evolution of what you think of yourself as right now. Every successful businessperson evolved into more than their personality with news skills, beyond grooming, learning what it takes to make a personal vision a reality, and ACCEPTING the risks and challenges with of course some amount of nervousness. If you know you are going to make, you will, but you must know the NUMBERS.

                              High rents wretching won't work. $1000 a month rent is not a big expense for a shop with employees because it can generate $10,000 a month or so down line, but one person, yes a little high...but the point is...don't close the barn doors before the livestock come home.


                              Because you are 1000% more likely to succeed in self employment if you did the great work of writing a plan. The vision and the numbers of the plan will tell you what rent you can afford, what you can expect to earn etc etc etc. I encourage people to throw up all their fear, doubt, dread, sorrow, etc and translate your vision accurately to a reasonable business plan. Start small and reasonable and generate cash flow and grow from fact we have several such sample plans that people can read today, a first for our industry. With knowledge and experience fear dissipates, and you find confidence in yourself.

                              At this point you are not ready to own your business and that is understandable, however, hundreds like you have taken this advice and evolved into business owners through the traditional planning process. Don't rush in until you have your confidence and that means hitting the books and learning small business and writing a plan...behind the scenes in our offices no one on this board hears the remarkable stories of people that became successful one person or large operation businesspersons that groom without feeling they were walking the will feel that way until you learn small business planning and finance, the numbers. Sales forecasts, operating costs etc, and no one but us has ever made it so easy but it takes commitment and change, and purging all the emotions and the environment stirring them up. Put yourself at ease and on a schedule you can live with now before you jump into self employment and learn, learn, learn about small business and self employment.

                              Usually in a room of people I can pick out immediately those people that are self employed and those that are employed. Being a great groomer is an asset to a business, but if you don't know how to be a great business owner you can have enough success to get by, or not get by. Keep in mind that statistcally over 90% of all new businesses (of every trade, not just grooming) don't survive 2 years in the U.S.

                              Write your plan and give yourself 1 to 3 months to do that even. By the time you are done you will confidence in yourself and your decision to move ahead or change course.
                              Most questions regarding GroomerTALK are answered in the Board Help Talk Forum. Thanks for coming to our community a part of