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Avoid These 4 Common Mistakes When Opening a Grooming Salon

Planning on opening a pet grooming shop? Avoid these missteps to start off right.

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WHILE OPENING a grooming salon is undoubtedly a huge challenge and accomplishment, it comes with numerous hurdles and decisions that could make or break your success. To help you navigate these obstacles, here are four few common mistakes to avoid when getting your business off the ground:

1. Not following a budget or business plan

The number one mistake most business owners make is not adhering to a reasonable budget and proper business plan. Avoid investing in unnecessary expenses outside your budget, such as aesthetic elements (though some are important!). In addition to sticking to a plan, make sure your program is realistic. If you plan poorly, elements you didn’t think about can quickly add up, setting you back before you even get started.

Additionally, research the equipment you need and don’t over-purchase early on. You want to get the best price, so shop sales and don’t be afraid to ask for a discount. You’ll also be amazed at what deals you can find on second-hand equipment. Also, anticipate what you’re going to need as you grow your business and invest appropriately. For instance, will it only be you grooming or will you have additional employees to account for? All of these factors go back to the business plan you created, which should have both short-term and long-term goals.

2. Not managing your time well

Time mismanagement is another easy mistake for new founders. It is important not to rush or skimp on construction problems that could stall or close down the business. Always allot extra time and money for those small issues to be resolved as they come up and not put them off for later. For example, if you’re working with a contractor and they estimate six weeks, plan for upwards of eight or 10 so it doesn’t push your start date back.

3. Not doing your research

Research thoroughly — this alone can set yourself apart from the rest of your competition. For instance, marketing yourself to a more specific niche, such as difficult dogs, dogs with special needs, cat grooming, can set you apart. However, never charge or compare your prices with another salon. The prices should reflect what it costs to run your business accordingly. Most dog groomers don’t have a 401k or pension for retirement, so funding your retirement should be something that factors into this.

4. Not investing in self marketing

Invest time and money in creating a professional website along with social media accounts because believe it or not, your online presence is your 24/7 salesperson. We recently hired a digital marketing manager to redo our entire website and manage our Google presence. They optimized our business with Google’s algorithms to up where our website was in the list of groomers when folks were searching online.

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Marketing properly is an essential part of maintaining our business and gaining new customers. Advertise and get involved with the community, such as grooming dogs from your local rescue or humane society for free. If your town is having a 5k parade or any community-led event, make sure you have a booth or other ways to meet and greet people and market yourself to potential clients. Good ole word of mouth is still the best advertisement, in my opinion, so maintaining that connection and safe environment is what ultimately has folks coming back and referring you to friends and family.

Tammy Siert’s grooming career began in 1990 while working as a receptionist for a friend’s grooming salon. She quickly fell in love with the art of dog grooming and started to attend local dog shows with the salon owner, who showed and bred Bichon Frises. After apprenticing with him for a few years, she competed at the All-American Grooming Show, where she was bumped up to A-level status. Naturally, she became hooked on competing! After a long career in the grooming ring, earning multiple Best in Show Awards and making GroomTeam USA, she retired from competition in 2013. Tammy is currently a Global Educator for Andis, grooming contest judge, secretary for GroomTeam USA and manager of a popular, upscale grooming salon in Hinsdale, IL.

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