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Is there money in grooming?

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  • Is there money in grooming?

    Hello All- I'm new to this but I am trying to figure out if grooming is for me so I need honest and straightforward suggestions etc from all you wonderful groomers out there. I am currently an RVT at a hospital but have always dreamed of opening a business. I have lots of animal experience, training, behaviour, medical etc and have toyed with opening a dog daycare but got overwhelmed with the startup costs.
    I am considering going to a 3-4 month grooming program to get trained the right way, then work for a couple months or so gaining experience, all the while working on a biz plan for a mobile grooming/home health service biz (since I'm an RVT)
    So, basically, I'm thinking this could be a great plan-I want to be in charge of my schedule in the future but, most importantly, I really want to make money. I understand I have to work hard to get to that point, but from your experience, how is the mobile grooming business, from a financial perspective? I would love if you could give me straight up numbers. Of course, money isn't everything, but I live in a very expensive area, so cali, and want to be able to raise kids in this area. I have done every kind of animal job you can think of for little money so I'm finally ready to start making more-Is this the right field?
    ANyway, thanks for all your responses!

  • #2
    Marigold, I too am an RVT turned groomer. I worked as an RVT for 12 years, before I wanted to work from home so I could home-school my children. I work part-time (my choice) and make more per hour than I ever did as a tech. You do have to make sure you set your prices for your services at what you are worth, people will try to convince you that you are too high and try to "make a deal" for a lower price. You have to stay strong and not give in to folks, especially when you are first starting out and business will be slow. Some business classes are nice if you're going to run your own business, but not necessary.

    You need to watch doing in-home health care. I don't know about Cal., but here in Indiana, depending on what you do, it could be construed as "practicing veterinary medicine". That can result in your registration being revoked. In Indiana, an RVT must be working under the supervision of a DVM.

    If you would like, e-mail me privately and I can point you toward other helpful resources. [email protected]
    Lisa VanVleet, RVT


    • #3
      Long sorry (sometimes I just rattle on and on and on

      I think your plan to go mobile is a good one. I don't know about the home health part(don't think I'd go there) . But here's the thing. When you first start grooming, you don't start out making very good money. You are too slow. If you are working for someone else, after they get their cut it won't be that much (honestly). But if you start out taking a course, then go somewhere for some real world exp. while getting your plan in order I think that would be a great idea. You can do much less dogs per day because of the higher fee for mobile grooming.All the $ will be yours.You have to try to book mobile customers properly. If you start out with a plan and stick to it from the get go it will be easier. Map out your area that you are going to service. If it is a large area tell customers I go here on this day, I will be in this area on this day, etc...If you start out doing whatever they want it will be harder to convert them later. Then as you build up lots of business you can make the area that you service smaller if you wish to. And start weeding out dogs that are just too hard for you to do in a mobile. I'm sure your area will be great for it. And there's another thing. Alot of grooming shop owners kind of hold you back when you 1st start out. Some want you to start as bather/prep. I mean with good reason. They don't want you to mess up the dogs that they have worked so hard to acquire. I have been all. Owner,employee, mobile, independent contractor. So I understand everyone's stand on things. And when you gain lots of experience you can make some really good money. I do. I am a single mother,2 kids, 3bd/2bath pool home practically brand new. My ex was a deadbeat. Still is. Everything I have is from my work dog grooming. So go for it! And have fun! And remember you can do it. And if anyone ever tells you differently, you just say, "Maybe you can't, but I can!


      • #4
        I think grooming school is a great idea. I learned on the job, but didn't find out until a year into my apprenticeship that my boss wasn't teaching me breed standards. She did things he own way, like a 7 backward and hula skirts on schnauzers and cockers.

        I've heard of some people that start a business right out of grooming school, but I think working for someone else is better. I've made lots of mistakes that cost clients and I'm glad I've learned how to avoid some of those things. For instance I don't think dogs should jump on people, and someone let their dogs jump on me. I said, "Get off," and shook my leg. That client accused me of kicking her dog and never came back. Now I let dogs jump on me and accept as the friendly gesture it is, even though poorly trained.


        • #5
          I am not mobile (yet), but I graduated from grooming school in 2004. This is another topic, but be "very" careful what school you go to. Right out of school, I worked at a local pet something. It paid $7.00/hour, or if you groomed enough dogs you could get 50% instead of the $7 (whichever was higher). Anyway, I HATED IT...I almost quit grooming. Not only was I not making any money, but the politics and drama was just too much. So I quit and started working as an IC for a small salon. I really like the place, but the work is sporadic and after the owner takes her 50% (plus 50% of the tips), I still don't make much money. I can groom about 6 or 7 dogs per day in an 8-hour day (we have no bather/brusher). At any rate, now I am looking into my own mobile.

          I'm sure others on this board would disagree, but working for someone else as an IC, by the time you buy your own insurance and pay the self-employment tax, I have to say, that "no" you shouldn't go into grooming for the money (unless you can start your own successful business).


          • #6
            Thanks for all the advice!

            Thanks all for responding to my post. I'm currently a few months along in grooming school and things are going great. I can't wait to get into mobile grooming in my area.
            Does anyone recommend the grooming expo in vegas this september-I'm thinking about attending so I can learn about different products out there.