The Ultimate Guide to Buying a Dog Grooming Business cover image
22 Apr 2024

The Ultimate Guide to Buying a Dog Grooming Business


Australia's pet care industry is booming, and grooming services are becoming increasingly popular due to the country's strong love for pets. 


Over 62% of Australian homes have a pet, leading to a rising demand for pet grooming. This makes the grooming sector a profitable area for new businesses. 


Pet grooming involves more than just haircuts and baths; it's a key part of a growing economy that combines daily passion with significant profit.


Australia has a strong pet care market, spending more than A$12.2 billion annually, with over A$850 million going to grooming and boarding services. 


As more people own pets, the need for regular grooming grows, driven by the desire for good looks and essential health care. 


Pet grooming is crucial for maintaining pets' overall health, providing services that can identify skin issues or parasites. 


Starting a pet grooming business is not just about making money; it's an opportunity to become a part of daily life in Australia, where pets are considered vital family members.

A Spectrum of Pet Grooming Business Opportunities?


As pet grooming becomes increasingly essential in Australian households, industry figures show a striking trend: nearly 30% of pet owners report using grooming services regularly, highlighting a robust market ripe for innovation and growth. 


Entrepreneurs ready to tap into this demand can choose from a diverse array of business models, each designed to meet the distinct needs of pet owners and their cherished animals:


Mobile Grooming Services: These agile operations redefine convenience, delivering top-tier grooming services directly to clients' homes. Mobile grooming is ideal for pet owners pressed for time or those whose pets are more at ease in familiar surroundings.


Brick-and-Mortar Salons: Ranging from luxurious spas to utilitarian grooming posts within community centers or pet stores, these salons cater to both walk-ins and appointments, providing consistent, reliable service.


Self-Service Grooming Stations: Located within pet stores or as independent setups, these stations allow pet owners to use professional-grade equipment to groom their pets at a lower cost, offering an engaging DIY approach.


Boutique Grooming Shops: These establishments cater to the high-end market, offering bespoke services such as designer cuts, spa treatments, and even aromatherapy for pets, appealing to clientele seeking exclusive care.

Expanding Beyond Grooming: Other Potential Businesses in Animal and Pet Care


The realm of animal and pet care extends far beyond grooming, offering numerous other ventures that cater to various aspects of pet ownership:


Boarding Catteries and Kennels: These facilities offer dependable solutions for pet owners needing care for their animals while travelling, with options that range from basic to luxury accommodations.


Manufacturing: This sector focuses on the creation of innovative pet products, including toys, treats, grooming tools, and lifestyle accessories, driven by an increasing consumer demand for high-quality pet items.


Pet Care Services: Covering a broad spectrum from pet walking to specialised training and behavioural counselling, these services address a wide range of needs, enhancing the well-being and behaviour of pets.


Pet Shops: From selling pet food, toys, and accessories to offering live pets, these retail centres serve as comprehensive sources for pet owners’ varied needs.


Each type of business meets a specific need and offers chances for creative and financial growth. 

Whether it’s interacting directly with pets in grooming, caring for them through boarding, creating new products in manufacturing, or selling a wide range of items and services in pet stores, there are plenty of opportunities for entrepreneurs in the growing pet care market.

Advantages of Buying a Pet Grooming Business


Launching a pet grooming business taps into a dynamic and heartfelt marketplace where the wag of a tail or a content purr can mark the success of your day. 

Here are nine compelling reasons why stepping into the pet grooming industry might just be your most fulfilling and lucrative venture:


  • Steady Demand

Pets are increasingly seen as integral family members, and just like humans, they need regular grooming. This societal shift ensures a constant demand for grooming services, providing a solid customer base. In Australia, pet ownership has risen consistently, with 62% of households now having pets, cementing the need for regular grooming services.


  • High Customer Retention

Grooming is not a one-time affair. Pets need regular care, which means customers come back frequently. This repeat business model offers predictable, stable revenue streams—a significant advantage for any business.


  • Emotional Rewards

There is immense satisfaction in working daily with animals and positively affecting their health and happiness. For many, this emotional fulfilment is just as valuable as financial gain.


  • Low Entry Barrier
    Compared to other business ventures, starting or buying a pet grooming service can be less costly, with options to operate mobile services or small storefronts reducing initial investments.


  • Growing Market
    The pet grooming market is expanding. Australians spent over A$850 million last year on grooming and boarding, and this figure is expected to grow as pet ownership increases and owners continue spending on premium pet services.


  • Flexible Business Models
    Whether it's operating a mobile grooming van, a chic boutique, or a full-service salon, the industry offers various models to suit different investment levels and personal preferences. This flexibility allows business owners to scale up or pivot their business model as the market evolves.


  • Innovative Opportunities
    The pet grooming industry is ripe for innovation, from eco-friendly grooming products to subscription-based service models. There's plenty of room to differentiate and capture niche markets.


  • Community and Social Engagement
    Grooming businesses often become community hubs, places where pet owners gather and share. This social aspect can enhance customer loyalty and provide valuable networking opportunities, reinforcing the business’s role in the community.


  • Health and Wellness Focus
    Beyond aesthetics, groomers play a critical role in the health and wellness of pets. Regular grooming can help identify issues like skin diseases, parasites, or other health problems, making groomers key players in preventative health care. This aspect can be a strong selling point for responsible pet owners.


Each of these advantages highlights not only the financial potential of a pet grooming business but also the personal satisfaction and community impact it can offer. 


Investing in this sector means becoming part of a compassionate, caring community that values the well-being of its animal members as much as the humans who love them.

How much does it cost to buy a Dog Grooming Business?


Exploring investment opportunities in the pet grooming industry shows a varied and active market, with options for different budgets and business goals. 

A quick look at current listings on shows many ways to enter the market, suitable for both new entrepreneurs and experienced business professionals wanting to take advantage of the pet care boom.


  1. Entry-Level Investments: For those just dipping their toes into the pet grooming world, starting a business can be surprisingly affordable. Initial investments can start as low as $20,000 for basic setups or mobile units. These mobile units offer a flexible, low-cost entry strategy, particularly appealing to new entrepreneurs. They minimise overhead costs by eliminating the need for a leased space, while still allowing access to a broad customer base right at their doorsteps—literally!


  1. Mid-Range Options: Aspiring business owners with a bit more capital to invest might consider a small brick-and-mortar salon in a suburban shopping centre or community area. These setups typically range from $50,000 to $70,000 and offer the advantage of steady foot traffic and the potential for higher customer retention rates.


  1. Established Salons: At the higher end of the spectrum, established salons in prime locations command prices up to $100,000, influenced by their proven track records, established customer bases, and extensive inclusions such as advanced grooming equipment and well-trained staff. These salons often boast higher profitability margins, given their reputation and strategic location. Their presence in high-demand areas also contributes to a robust and consistent revenue stream, with some premium salons reporting annual revenues significantly above the industry average.


Profitability Insights

Investing in a pet grooming business is not just about the initial cost but also about the potential for ongoing profitability. For example, well-positioned salons have reported profit margins of up to 30%, particularly those that offer specialised services such as aromatherapy or hypoallergenic treatments which can command a premium. Additionally, the repeat nature of grooming services contributes to a predictable and steady cash flow, enhancing the overall financial attractiveness of the business.


Cost-Saving Tips

For those concerned about initial costs, it’s worth noting that many suppliers offer leasing options for expensive equipment, and some existing businesses come with transferrable supplier contracts that can result in immediate cost savings. Engaging in a franchise can also provide bulk purchasing discounts and marketing support, reducing the cost burden while amplifying reach.


The pet grooming industry’s pricing landscape is as varied as the services offered, providing ample room for entrepreneurs to find their niche and grow a profitable business. 


Whether you're looking for a low-risk, low-investment entry point or a high-stakes, high-reward established business, the market is ripe with opportunities to build a venture that brings both financial returns and the joy of enhancing the lives of pets and their owners.

Franchise vs. Independent Grooming Services


Deciding between a franchise and an independent business model is a pivotal choice for aspiring pet grooming entrepreneurs. Each option offers distinct advantages and challenges that can significantly impact the growth and operation of your business.


Franchise Pros:


  • Brand Recognition: Aligning with a franchise means stepping into a business with an established customer base and brand loyalty, which can significantly accelerate initial growth and attract customers from day one. A good example of this is the PetBarn mobile dog wash franchise.


  • Operational Support: Franchisors typically offer comprehensive support including training programs, marketing strategies, and operational guidelines, which can be invaluable for first-time business owners unfamiliar with the nuances of the grooming industry.


  • Network Benefits: Being part of a franchise allows access to a wider network of fellow franchisees and industry experts, providing a support system and collaborative opportunities that can lead to shared learning and growth.


Franchise Cons:


  • Ongoing Fees: Franchises come with royalties, marketing fees, and other recurring costs that can cut into profit margins, making it crucial to balance these against the benefits received.


  • Less Flexibility: Franchisees often find their creativity and business autonomy limited by franchisor-imposed rules regarding products, services, pricing, and even store layout, which can stifle innovation.


  • Contractual Commitments: Entering a franchise agreement involves long-term commitments and contractual obligations, which can be restrictive and might limit future business decisions.


Independent Pros:


  • Full Control: Operating an independent business offers complete autonomy over every aspect of the business, from setting prices and choosing suppliers to developing unique services that differentiate your salon in the market.


  • Higher Profit Potential: Without the need to pay franchise fees, independent owners keep all their earnings, which can lead to higher overall profitability, especially if the business is managed efficiently.


  • Brand Personalization: Independent owners have the opportunity to build and cultivate a personal brand that reflects their values and vision, potentially attracting a loyal customer base that connects with the unique ethos of the business.


Independent Cons:


  • Brand Building Efforts: Establishing a brand from scratch requires significant effort in marketing and customer outreach. Without the initial push that a franchise brand might provide, this can mean slower growth at the outset.


  • Operational Challenges: Independents must handle all aspects of business logistics, from sourcing equipment and products to implementing systems and processes, which requires a broad skill set and can be overwhelming without the proper support.


  • Financial Risk: Without the backing of a franchisor, independent businesses may face greater financial exposure, especially in the startup phase. Accessing capital and sustaining cash flow can be more challenging without the proven business model of a franchise.


Potential Challenges in the Grooming Industry


Entering the pet grooming industry can be immensely rewarding, but it comes with its own set of challenges that require careful consideration.

Here are nine hurdles to think about, each presented with a slice of intriguing data or trivia to give you a fuller picture:


  • Skilled Labour Shortage
    Finding qualified groomers who are adept in both skill and animal handling can be challenging. Did you know that pet grooming doesn’t require formal certification in many areas, which means the range of skill and experience can vary widely?


  • Seasonal Fluctuations
    Demand can decrease during colder months. Interestingly, despite pets spending less time outdoors in winter, the need for skin and coat maintenance remains, which is often overlooked by pet owners.


  • Regulatory Compliance
    Keeping up with health and safety regulations is crucial. Each state may have different requirements, which can be a maze to navigate. For instance, some regions require specific drainage systems to handle pet hair and waste.


  • High Initial Investment
    Startup costs can be steep, especially for upscale locations. It’s estimated that setting up a basic grooming station alone can cost around $10,000, excluding rent and utilities.


  • Competition
    The market can be saturated. In major cities, there can be as many as one grooming business for every 1,000 pets, making it essential to differentiate your services.


  • Customer Expectations
    With pets increasingly seen as family members, expectations for grooming services are at an all-time high. Approximately 60% of pet owners believe that professional grooming is essential for their pets’ health.


  • Insurance and Liability
    Handling animals can lead to unpredictable situations. A study found that groomers are more likely to experience work-related injuries than average, highlighting the importance of good insurance.


  • Emotional Toll
    The job's emotional demands can be significant. Dealing with anxious pets or delivering bad health news to pet owners can take its toll, making emotional resilience a necessary trait for groomers.


  • Technology Integration
    Keeping up with technology, such as online scheduling and payment systems, requires ongoing updates and investments. On average, small businesses spend 1-2% of their revenue on technology—not insignificant for a small grooming business.


Each of these challenges poses questions about resource allocation, risk management, and personal commitment.

They underscore the importance of entering the grooming industry with open eyes and well-laid plans.

Key Questions to ask when Buying a Grooming Business?


When venturing into the pet grooming industry by purchasing an existing business, it’s crucial to arm yourself with comprehensive information.

Here are ten essential questions to ask, designed to safeguard your investment and ensure you're fully informed:


  1. What are the historical revenue and profit margins?

Understanding the financial history of the business is crucial to assess its viability and potential future performance. Request detailed profit and loss statements, balance sheets, and tax returns from the past 3-5 years to gauge financial health and consistency.


  1. Why is the current owner selling?
    The reason for sale can indicate underlying problems or opportunities. Ask directly and look for corroborative evidence through discussions with staff or review of business records.


  1. What is the condition of the equipment and facilities?
    The state of the physical assets will affect immediate operational capacity and potential upgrade costs. Inspect all equipment and facilities personally and consider an independent appraisal for a thorough assessment.


  1. What are the terms of the property lease or ownership?
    Secure terms of the lease or details of property ownership to understand your long-term business location stability. Review the lease agreement or property deeds to ensure terms are favorable and meet your business plans.


  1. Can I review existing client contracts?
    Client contracts reveal the stability and expected continuity of the business. Examine these documents to understand service obligations, pricing structures, and customer expectations.


  1. What is the competitive landscape in the location?
    Knowing who your competitors are and what services they offer can critically affect your business strategy. Conduct market research or review industry reports to understand market saturation and identify competitive advantages.


  1. Are there any outstanding legal matters or debts?
    Unresolved legal issues or significant debt can jeopardise the business’s future. Request disclosure of any ongoing litigation and review recent bank statements or creditor correspondence to identify any financial liabilities.


  1. What are the employee relations and terms?
    Employees are crucial to business operations, especially in service industries like pet grooming. Review employment contracts and speak to current staff to gauge satisfaction and retention risks.


  1. What marketing strategies are in place?
    Effective marketing is vital for attracting and retaining customers. Request to review current marketing materials, digital marketing strategies, and customer relationship management tactics to assess their effectiveness and potential areas for improvement.


  1. Is there an existing inventory of grooming supplies and products?
    An inventory check is essential to evaluate the initial additional investment needed post-purchase. Request a recent inventory audit to review quantities and conditions of grooming supplies and products.


Each question aims to uncover critical aspects of the business that can impact your decision and operational strategy. Thoroughly exploring these areas will provide a clearer picture of the potential risks and rewards, helping to secure a successful venture in the pet grooming industry.


Owning a pet grooming business is more than a commercial endeavour; it’s a gateway to enriching the lives of pet lovers and their cherished companions. Remember the wise words, "Every dog has its day," and in the grooming business, you ensure that day sparkles with joy and style.


Visualise a place where each wagging tail and gentle purr contributes to a narrative of success, where your establishment becomes a cherished hub that draws pet enthusiasts together.

It’s about creating moments of happiness and pride that resonate with pet owners as they see their beloved pets primped and pampered.


Jump into the growing pet grooming industry and carve your path among a community of dedicated pet care professionals. Your entrepreneurial journey begins now—seize your clippers, ignite your creativity, and transform your business dreams into reality.


View all the Dog Grooming businesses for sale here.