As the pandemic pet boom means around 62% of households now own at least one pet, this might be the right time for you to register as a sole trader and start that pet grooming business.
Pet Groomers typically provide washing, clipping, trimming, nail cutting, teeth cleaning, flea treatment and coat conditioning. Along with dog grooming some groom cats and rabbits. A proportion of pet groomers also offer pet microchipping services, however legally this involves specialist training before a groomer can microchip.
The majority of pet groomers trade from salons, however, some rent a room in a vets practice or a pet shop, and others use a specially adapted vehicle to operate on a mobile basis.
Here we will go through the training, current market trend and the equipment required to begin your new sole trading business. A full and comprehensive industry report is available with many orders on our website.
Qualifications and skills
Pet Groomers have no legal requirement for formal qualifications unless they are offering microchipping along with grooming activities.
Options for government-approved microchipping courses costing around £150 include:
- Pet Scanner (www.petscanner.com/index.php/implantertraining).
- Vet Skill (www.vetskill.com/courses/microchipping-level-3-award).
- Peddymark (www.peddymark.com/microchip-training-courses).
The following courses and qualifications are suitable for anyone interested in becoming a pet groomer.
- The Level 2 Certificate for Dog Grooming Assistants and the Level 3 Diploma in Dog Grooming, which are accredited by City & Guilds. The certificates cover bathing and drying dogs, basic trimming, and grooming environment maintenance, as well as health checking. Available from training providers across the UK, the qualifications are delivered by skilled professionals. Go to www.caw.ac.uk/subject/dog-grooming for an example of a training provider.
- Level 4 Higher Diploma in Dog Grooming is an Ofqual-regulated qualification that you can receive through one of the National Pet College’s approved training centres. To be eligible for the diploma, you will need to have a Level 3 qualification in dog grooming, or be able to demonstrate equivalent knowledge and competence. For more information, go to www.nationalpetcollege.co.uk/higher-diploma.
- The Cat Grooming School in Clayhall, East London offers a range of courses to suit different levels of cat grooming skill. The Level 1 foundation course covers the basics needed to groom cats and costs £549. The Level 4 master course covers advanced grooming skills and cat psychology, as well as the legislation that applies to cat grooming and how to manage clients and staff. The master course costs £1,499. Further details https://catgroomingschool.co.uk/course
- The Cat Grooming School also runs one-day workshops on specific aspects of cat grooming, such as lion haircuts and how to deal with aggressive cats. Go to https://catgroomingschool.co.uk/workshop for details.
- First aid for pet groomers a level 3 course run online by ProTraining costs £48 (inc VAT). The course includes canine & feline physiology, along with illness and injuries that can affect both cats and dogs and suitable first-aid treatments. www.protrainings.uk/courses/501-pet-first-aid-for-pet-professionals-level-3-vtq?topic_id=14-pets-animals
Current Market trends
Current market issues affecting start-up and established pet groomers include the following:
- According to figures published by UK Pet Food (formerly the Pet Food Manufacturers’ Association) in 2022, around 62% of households own one or more pets. Dogs and cats are the most popular type of pet with 34% of households owning a dog, 28% owning a cat and 11% owning both. The website www.ukpetfood.org/resource/pawsitive-pfma-confirms-top-ten-pets.html has more information on the top ten most popular pets.
- In January 2023, BIGA (the British Isles Grooming Association) and The Groomers Spotlight revealed new courses from iPET Networks to improve learning opportunities and training in the industry. The investment into industry qualifications and training are an attempt to address concerns regarding unqualified groomers. www.petbusinessworld.co.uk/trade-news/other-trades/grooming-bodies-join-forces-to-boost-training.html
- To enhance the Groom Room salons located in the company’s stores, Pets at Home has launched its own qualification in dog grooming. The qualification is being rolled out across all 355 Groom Room salons. (www.petbusinessworld.co.uk/trade-news/retailers/pets-at-home-creates-bespoke-grooming-qualification.html).
- For start-up pet groomers, franchises offer both opportunities and competition. Examples of franchises include Dial-a-Dog-Wash, a mobile grooming franchise, and Four Paws, which offers franchises across the northwest of England. Go to www.dialadogwash.com/content/become-franchisee and https://fourpawsdogs.co.uk/franchise-opportunities for details.
- Research by MoneySuperMarket (published by www.retailtimes.co.uk) suggests dog owners in the UK spend an average of £40 per month on pet grooming. Their research also showed 76% of dog owners were spending more on maintenance (food, vet bills, grooming, insurance etc) in 2022 than in 2021.
Equipment and products
The following are examples of pet grooming equipment (prices including VAT):
- Height-adjustable grooming tables (from around £350 for a basic table to £950 for a table featuring remote control, an H-bar and two grooming nooses).
- Brushes and combs (from £10 to £90).
- Clippers, scissors, and trimmers (from £10 to £420, depending on specification).
- Animal baths (from £40 for a plastic puppy bath to £1,250 for a large, height-adjustable stainless-steel bath).
- Shower baths, (baths fitted with integral shower) (from £600 to £1,300).
- Hand-held dryers (from £20 to £60), Stand dryers (from £230 to £475) and ‘blaster’ dryers (from £140 to £595).
- Animal crates and cages (from £15 for a portable animal carrier to £700 for a stainless steel ‘waiting’ cage).
All the tools to set up as a sole trading pet groomer are available from specialist suppliers of grooming equipment. Together with products such as shampoos and conditioners, coat conditioning sprays, and pet colognes and pet-safe disinfectants, include:
- Groomers (www.groomers-online.com).
- Mutneys (www.mutneys.com).
- Simpsons (https://simpsons-online.co.uk).
- Christies Direct (https://christiesdirect.com).
To implant microchips in pets, groomers will need ID microchips, implanters, and readers. Starter kits containing microchips, implants, scanners, and sharps bins from £150. Petlog provides a list of recognised suppliers at www.petlog.org.uk/implanters-and-welfare/microchip-suppliers.
Hopefully this pet groomer overview has been both useful and motivating.
Purchase almost any of the business registration packages on our site and you will receive a full comprehensive business insight report on your chosen field. The full report gives vital information on trade associations, the PIF charter, promoting your pet business, insurance and options of specialised business software.
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