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  • Moving From Store Front to Home Shop?

    So after a lot of trying to find a smaller cheaper store front to lease for my grooming shop and coming up empty handed, and getting sick and tired of needing employees (last one gave me 2 weeks notice due to personal reasons outside of work, then just decided to not show up the next day even though we were fully booked that day and for the next 2 days when I was going to be OUT OF TOWN!), I'm strongly thinking of trying to move into a home salon.
    However I would not be doing it out of my current house. My current house is A. a good 20 mins away from my grooming shop so I would lose a decent amount of clients. B. It's not set up for it well. To get to my basement dogs would have to come to my front door, walk through my carpeted living room and my dining room and take a tight curved staircase to the basement. To get to my garage I would have to open the full overhead garage door as there is no way to get to the man door.
    So my idea would be to sell my current place and buy a place near my grooming shop that is (obviously) closer and set up for it better.
    I'm thinking more towards a garage set up.
    Has anyone that has owned a store front business moved to a home business? Do you feel it was a good decision? Did you change how you took your dogs (I currently work on more than one dog at a time, keeping dogs for 3-4 hours though I don't require immediate pick up. if I change that then I would lose some clients)? Did you have issues with your neighbours? How much time and money did it take to set up (with already having most of the equipment like tub, table, dryers, etc)? Any pictures of your home salons?

    Also as a side question, does anyone work 10 hours a day 4 day work weeks? I'm thinking of possibly changing to this if I do work from home. I dog show so I wouldn't miss work (at least not as much) if I switched to this and otherwise have 3 day weekends. I would do 7am-5pm.

  • #2
    I have never owned a retail location, although I had managed/run with absent owner about 4 shops. I am home based as of 4.5 years. I have been trying to find a retail spot so I can remove the business from the house since I started. BUT, after allot of soul searching and remembering trials that I had gone through, I really do love being at home working. My suggestion is you look for a home with detached garage . Not connected. For me , there is no separation of home and work. They share a foundation and a wall. I had a lease but was able to get out of it. With my money back. I am saving for a place that I can have separation. Make sure it is legal and zoned for where you are looking. As far as my hours, I do not have many clients with school age children. So I do my best to make sure appointments are scheduled for drop off at 9. That lets the school busses run through and traffic die down for clients that drive. Only a few dogs get picked up after 4. I do my best to be respectful of my neighbors. They all know what I do, but also can easily get me shut down due to noise. I also have a nice add on service of $10 for doggie delivery. Whatever you do just keep in mind respect. Make your policies clear. Like Crystal. I also worked for a lady that converted a shed. She could house 6 at a time and would pick up and drop most client dogs as well.

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    • #3
      I moved home after buying the shop I worked in. I work alone for the very reasons you stated above. Neighbors were not a problem because I am rural. I LOVE it! You set your own time of operation. I work Mon thru Thursday for as long as I want each day. You can contiune to work in the manner you do now, if it suits you. My customers loved it when I moved. No traffic, quiet. My husband closed in half of our back porch and made me a beautiful shop (12.5 x 16). The advice I would give you about a home business is to establish from the start the days you are open and do not put your address on your business cards. You do not want random people just dropping by at any time. I have loved being a home business.....there are many tax deductions and look at all the rent money you will be saving. I am able to make double mortgage payments to get my house paid off sooner. Check with your zoning board when you find a new property and make sure you can operate your business there then the sky is the limit. Hope it all goes well for you....I would never go back!

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      • #4
        I think the first thing you need to do is see if any area is zoned for commercial use...most neighborhoods ARE NOT. .....extra traffic, noise, signage, etc.... A rural area would be best and you probably will loose a couple of clients who do not want to drive any distance to get Fluffy groomed. Secondly, you are looking at thousands to convert any out building into a comfortable working space,....added insulation in walls and ceiling, heating/cooling units, plumbing plus added drainage in the floor, electrical work, added windows for natural light, internet service, security system....then the building of storage area, reception area, room for dogs that are waiting for pick-up, enlarged, paved driveway with parking spaces...and the list goes on and on.

        So you had better be really committed to the location you pick, because this will not be cheap.....but it will be yours to do whatever you choose to do without a landlord hovering over you. The expenses can all be deducted from your taxes. I think in the long run, you come out cheaper than paying a landlord.

        Good Luck

        Happy finding a great piece of real estate

        Dolly's Barking Bubbles, LLC

        www.dollysbarkingbubbles.com

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        • #5
          Thanks everyone. Definitely will be making sure the zoning would allow it. I also plan to ask the bank if I can add my renovating costs to my mortgage. I agree with an detached garage being the best option. I plan to go to the bank on wednesday and talk to them. Then I might look around at what houses are currently available in that price range, even though I would have to sell my current place first before moving (I have a place to live in the interim if needed) just to see if there are places out there that would be suitable for my price range even if those specific houses are not available once I start looking.

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          • #6
            I can only speak to 2 issues: no employees & small home shop. I am so happy to only rely on myself; accountable to myself & my clients. Simple life. My husband & I built my adorable, small shop off the back of our garage for $2,500 materials. Already had the concrete slab & roof. My slab is 12x8, but a sliding glass door goes thru to garage for extra storage. Pulled electricity from garage, used irrigation tubing to extend water from house hose bib to small water heater in shop, dug a dry well to drain the tub. I don't need reception area because it's just me; I have a long counter for clients to use with storage & cubby for dogs underneath. My husband is super handy & gets all the credit.

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            • #7
              My scenario same as Tuckie........had floor and roof......closed in sides......cost $5,000.00. Also have a great husband! Recovered my cost in no time.

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              • #8
                I am actually redoing my home shop as we speak! We moved in a year ago and it was a rush. AND because I was supposed to go into a retail spot I pretty much just set it how I thought it would work. I have 11 x 18. Which is pretty big house shop wise. Definitely set for one person. I have the luxury of being able to open my garage door. And having a place to talk to clients without other dogs around. I also am building 6ish foot walls so dogs won't be able to see even clients walk in. My problem has been the pups won't be qiet enough to talk so keep that in mind

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                • #9
                  I work 4 days a week as shop owner and the slower day of week my groomers run it, but I am a phone call away, but it has worked out. I know groomers that have done what you are doing. It all depends upon if you can do it legally out of your house, so let's assume you can. I would have a home where I can put a sign on the road, or my house is on a main road you will need more new customers. So you have to be able to afford the time to maybe lose some customers while you build new. If some good customers might accept pickup and delivery once a week to keep them, do that maybe. But don't move into one of those communities with bylaws and all that, you probably know that, they can shut you down.

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                  • #10
                    If it were me, I would buy a grooming trailer and park it on the side of my house or driveway and plug in for power and that's my home salon. No need for build out of a house and hurt the value of the home if you go to sell it. Who wants a dog salon in a house or garage if you are looking to buy a home and you eliminated a usable garage or bedroom and bathroom. You would need to tear it out to sell.

                    Another advantage is some day you may want to mobile groom and you have the trailer to do that. I would just use a garage or yard space for kenneling groom dogs, no real construction needed for that.

                    Now, if you had a detached building on your property, then that would make sense.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by IrishSetterTom View Post
                      If it were me, I would buy a grooming trailer and park it on the side of my house or driveway and plug in for power and that's my home salon. No need for build out of a house and hurt the value of the home if you go to sell it. Who wants a dog salon in a house or garage if you are looking to buy a home and you eliminated a usable garage or bedroom and bathroom. You would need to tear it out to sell.

                      Another advantage is some day you may want to mobile groom and you have the trailer to do that. I would just use a garage or yard space for kenneling groom dogs, no real construction needed for that.

                      Now, if you had a detached building on your property, then that would make sense.
                      I so agree! While I can take my salon with me it would be more of a pain than just moving a trailer.
                      I went the route of seperate cedar building (8x12, I had all my equipment,table, ect.) After building purchase, hubby did all my build out (some good husbands on here ladies )......it was appx 10,000 for building and build out, no labor cost included since hubby is AWESOME!
                      I retained the majority of my clients with my move to HB. You really have to be firm on hours and days you work.....but I love love being HB.
                      I am rural so no problem with neighbors and I am gated with guard dogs so no drop ins.....appt only.
                      Ain't always easy to stand up for what is right.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by IrishSetterTom View Post
                        If it were me, I would buy a grooming trailer and park it on the side of my house or driveway and plug in for power and that's my home salon. No need for build out of a house and hurt the value of the home if you go to sell it. Who wants a dog salon in a house or garage if you are looking to buy a home and you eliminated a usable garage or bedroom and bathroom. You would need to tear it out to sell.

                        Another advantage is some day you may want to mobile groom and you have the trailer to do that. I would just use a garage or yard space for kenneling groom dogs, no real construction needed for that.

                        Now, if you had a detached building on your property, then that would make sense.

                        This would only work if you were grooming a very small number of dogs a day. You would still need an area to check in/out dogs and do payments. Most salons use cage dryers, and a trailer usually doesn't have that kind of space, nor space for a bank of cages for those dogs waiting to be groomed or are done. A groomer needs to be within hearing/seeing distance of any animal in a cage dryer and the bank of cages....

                        If you spend the money on purchasing a trailer, I would then go mobile and forget about hassles of building a salon.

                        Happy going mobile

                        Dolly's Barking Bubbles, LLC

                        www.dollysbarkingbubbles.com

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                        • #13
                          I dunno. I can see the appeal of having a trailer based at home. It leaves the option of going mobile if one wants, but it does not require the not insignificant commitment of having a vehicle to haul it, plus the above mentioned benefit of no home renovation required. It seems most home based shops are fairly low volume or at least not having several dogs onsite at a time.

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                          • #14
                            The winters here are not terribly conducive to trailer/mobile grooming. I have heard of someone who has a van and it's mostly been issues in the winter since we often have tons of snow so driving isn't fun and we can easily get down to and stay in the -25*C, and I think there are even more rules of having trailers/business vans in yards more so than just businesses in the house.

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                            • #15
                              Do it!!! After having a large and stressful storefront with big bills and hard to find employees....I downsized! Best thing ever!!! My salon is in the tiny salons blog parti did! Check it out!!

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