Tech Thoughts — Mobile Pet Grooming & Care

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(Photo | By Tima Miroshnichenko)

The Path to the Future

As I write this, we have two veterinarian techs in our home clipping our cats’ claws, combing out their matted fur and giving one of the dogs her rabies shot. According to the research firm Global Market Insights, the pet care market is slated to grow at 8.8 percent. Thirty-seven percent of that market is focused on cats and will reach over $350B worldwide and was nearly $100B in the U.S. in 2020.

One aspect of this market that is showing significant strength is mobile pet grooming. Let’s explore that and other things as we look to the future of pet grooming.

The Growth of Mobile Pet Grooming

The pandemic has shifted a lot of the emphasis and growth to mobile services and away from fixed sites. This is not surprising when you consider that, like us, many people have multiple pets, and have, thanks to that pandemic, gotten used to people coming to them rather than having to go to a remote location. Granted, after seeing the amount of hair that comes off our dogs when we have them groomed, I’m not planning on having the groomers come to me unless they use their own truck to groom in, I have no desire to have my house filled up with dog hair. In spite of the hair factor, interest in remote pet care is growing anyway according to Global Market Insights.

Pet Grooming has historically been recession-resistant, which is important given we appear to be heading towards one. But mobile pet grooming has a number of additional benefits, including much lower overhead (you don’t need a store front, only a van you can work out of) and your need for administrative support is reduced, as well, because you don’t need to maintain a site and you can largely outsource much of that side of your business, including the folks who answer the business phone (though given how much these services differ in quality, don’t go cheap here).

Like with on-premises stores, much of the profit will likely come not from the direct services but from being able to recommend and supply pet products to your customers. Today you can have the things you recommend drop shipped to the customer and may only need to stock trial bottles which are usually provided for free as a teaser. Pet food, leashes and pet beds are more easily supplied by pet stores, but treatments for softer hair or to reduce matting in long haired dogs and cats, and to address cosmetic problems like the stuff that builds up around your pet’s eyes are all viable things that a mobile groomer could reasonably use to enhance revenue and profit.

You can also sell things like pet Insurance and get reference fees for recommending a dog sitter, though realize that if the sitter doesn’t work out, you’ll likely also lose a customer so be careful with stuff like this. It’s far easier to get a customer than it is to recover one that no longer trusts you.

According to market research (in this case BRANDONGAILLE) your most lucrative target customer is in the 45 to 54 age range and the cost of setting up a grooming business is moderate at $50 to $60K. It is advised that you attend dog grooming school if only to avoid mistakes and become aware of the resources available to you.

While a grooming certificate isn’t required where I live in Oregon, getting a job as a groomer may require one (but given the massive staffing shortages now, I’ll bet that isn’t always true). But without that certificate, if a pet is injured, you may have a harder time protecting your business from punitive and negligence penalties, and you are more likely to make one of those critical mistakes. If you search on “How to Become a Dog Groomer in Oregon,” you can find resources that can help you get your grooming business started.

Wrapping Up:

The future of pet grooming, for now, appears to be mobile. More convenient for the customer, less expensive to operate (unless gas gets a ton more expensive) and far cheaper to set up than a fixed location. It’s also historically invulnerable to recessions, so this is a decent choice for those who love to work with pets.

And while other industries, like food, are pivoting hard to robotics and automation, pet grooming isn’t likely won’t. There’s just too much variation in pet size and personality that would make such a solution too complex and expensive for this segment of the market.

So cheaper, more secure, and, assuming you do it right, with a more reliable income particularly in pet-heavy Central Oregon. Mobile pet grooming could be the answer to what you will do when you retire from your current virtual job. It may be an ideal job for someone who loves pets more than people and wants something to do that is fun and makes decent money when you really aren’t ready to retire yet or want to have a job that still allows you to take time off to enjoy the wonderful resources and weather we have in Central Oregon.

enderlegroup.com • 408-272-8560 • renderle@enderlegroup.com

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Rob Enderle — Enderle Group

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