We’re going to bust a myth for you: it’s totally possible to become a dog groomer and work professionally – even if you live in a small town. Despite what the stereotypes may tell you, you don’t have to move to a big city in order to pursue your dreams.
Once you’ve taken the time to get proper dog grooming training and have earned your professional certification, you’ll be ready to enter the industry. But where exactly do you start?
Well, if your area has a local grooming salon, you can always try to get a job as an in-house groomer. But what if this isn’t an option or if you don’t want to work for someone else? Then freelance and/or mobile grooming are the best options at your disposal. By starting up your own business, you’ll be able to call the shots. Much of the success you can achieve will be dependent on the efforts you’re willing to put in!
You’ll be able to work on a client-to-client basis. Although it doesn’t sound like steady work, it absolutely can be! Once you establish yourself with a list of loyal customers, you’ll become a thriving dog groomer in no time!
Here’s how to become a successful dog groomer in a small town!
Know Your Market
Knowing your market means considering a number of factors. Ask yourself these questions before diving into a career in dog grooming…
- Who is your target client? Consider the demographics of your town. Would you be working with older citizens? Younger adults? These are things you need to know!
- What types of grooming services would you like to offer? The more areas you can properly cover, the better. After all, clients will be more likely to book with you if they can have more services tended to by a single business.
- How much competition is there in your town? Are there a number of local groomers and/or salons around you? Then you’ll need to work even harder to make yourself stand out! Research into your local competition. Find out the sort of services they provide, what their rates are, the kind of reviews they’ve gotten, and what makes them successful (or not-so-successful). This is all valuable information to help you get the edge in your own business!
- Is there a demand for dog groomers? This is perhaps the most important consideration. There aren’t going to be any clients for you to work with if there isn’t a demand! Some small-town dog groomers consider opening up their business radius to other surrounding towns. If there’s limited demand in your immediate area, find other small towns where there is a demand for dog grooming services! (hint: this is where a mobile grooming business can make the big bucks!)
Know Your Competition
As I just mentioned, it’s critical that you understand what the competition is like, in order to thrive in your local industry. Here are some points to consider…
- Determine how much experience they have. Who are the other established dog groomers in your town, and how long have they been around? Are they properly certified? Do they have experience with different breeds?
- Look into the services they offer. Dig through online reviews of the best dog groomers in your area. Learn about all the standard and specialized services they offer, along with any packages they provide for their clients. How are they pricing their services?
- How can YOU set yourself apart and stand out? Maybe, in addition to your primary training, you also have lots of experience grooming poodles, large breed dogs, or have extensive First Aid training. Offering clients what your competition can’t or (simply doesn’t) offer is guaranteed to set you apart and attract the attention of potential clients!
Know What You Can Offer (and Start Offering)
Now that you understand your potential clientele and know what you can offer, start booking these new services! Here’s where to focus to get your dog groomer business up and running (and then keep it that way):
Marketing is the best way to get your name out there! Even in a small town, marketing is still critical to your career as a professional dog groomer running their own business. It doesn’t have to be pricey! There are plenty of cheap (and even free) marketing tools that’ll serve you well, once you get familiar with them.
A quick and easy marketing technique is to build your social media presence! Having a website and/or online portfolio for your dog groomer business is a no-brainer. But social media is a great way to get people on your website and communicate with clients. Start an Instagram account, a professional Facebook page, and maybe even a LinkedIn profile. Most social media networks have built-in analytic tools to help you track data (like finding out who is interested in your work, for example).
Use those connections to build your network and obtain clients! This includes anyone from friends and family, to salon professionals, to happy customers, to other industry experts you can forge a professional relationship with, etc. A key part of becoming a dog groomer in a small town will be earning loyal clients. When you don’t have a large and loyal following right at the start, you’ll want to keep clients coming back.
Consider offering referral discounts. When a client refers someone to you, they’ll get a percentage off their dog’s next grooming appointment. You can also experiment with promotions and sales to draw in new clients. Just be sure not to give discounts forever. Know your worth!
Starting a career as a dog groomer in any town or city can be daunting. But with professional training and some helpful tips like the ones above, you’ll be set for success!