Most people adore animals, and if you’re running a pet grooming company, you’ve likely turned your adoration for them into a business. In South Africa, it remains a growing industry with many opportunities.
While the pandemic brought with it multiple issues, it also strengthened the idea of companionship amongst pets and humans, with a notable improvement on the relationship between owners and their pets.
As a pet groomer, you are likely to have a large number of potential clients at your doorstep, because most pet owners consider their animals a member of the family, not just in South Africa, but around the world.
Taking care of pets is often a priority for owners, as it is not just about aesthetics, but the wellbeing of the animal.
Consider going mobile
You’ve likely established your premises for your business, but there are ways to tap into a larger pool of customers. By going mobile, you will have a unique selling proposition, and it will enable you to get to customers in different areas. You will be able to expand your business with ease into different areas and you could set up a franchise infrastructure too.
You could invest in a bakkie (pick-up truck) or, alternatively, consider converting a horse box into a mobile grooming container. You can find second-hand horseboxes for approximately R10,000 - R50,000.
Continue efforts on market research
As a business owner, you’re well aware of the importance of conducting market research. But it should not stop once you’ve established your business. Ongoing market research is crucial to running your business successfully. Always ask yourself these questions:
- Do many people own pets within the area you operate?
- What are the main pets within these areas?
- Do the pet owners in your area use pet grooming services? If not, why? How can you attract their attention?
Alternatively, always assess your competitors. Conduct ongoing research on:
- Competitive prices
- What their products and services are
- How they market themselves to their clients
- What areas they operate in
- What their unique selling propositions are, and how you can further develop these.
Market your business in innovate ways
Every business owner should have multiple social media accounts. Some ways you can improve your presence are:
- Pets are a significant part of media consumption. Videos of animals often gain millions of views, so be creative in incorporating your four-legged customers on your social media pages. Promote special offers and services alongside these.
- Competitions are a popular way to gain attention. You could incentivise clients by holding multiple competitions. Some themes could include funny videos, tricks that a customer’s pet can do, or a heart-warming story of the pet’s life.
Networking and building relationships
Forming a mutually beneficial relationship with a pet store or dog training school could be a great way to build your client base and offer some extra value to them.
You can mutually advertise each other’s businesses online and at your premises. A great additional idea would be to offer each other’s clients discounts on products and services. You could even go as far as to offer some pet grooming at their store or school on special occasions.
Even though flyers are an old method of marketing that does not work well for many industries anymore, it can be a great option for a pet grooming business. You could distribute some eye-catching flyers at traffic lights, pet stores, vets, dog training schools and local grocery stores.
Some tips on managing your inventory
- In order to run a successful business you need to manage your inventory and running a pet grooming business is no exception. For a small business, an excel spreadsheet should be sufficient.
- Take a stock count of the items you use on a regular basis that need to be replenished such as shampoos, soaps, brushes, scissors and electric hair clippers.
- If you are working on a budget, it could be helpful to estimate how much of a product you need for individual pets.
Some interesting facts about pet ownership in South Africa
- According to a survey done with East Coast and Jacaranda FM listeners, most pet owners spend between R500 to R1,500 per month on accessories and toys for their furry companions.
- The same survey revealed that more than 40% of pet owners get pet care tips from the internet
- South Africa is considered a ‘dog country’, with 9.1 million dogs exceeding 2.4 million cats.
Ways you can support yourself financially and grow
We’ve run through financing options before, but here is a reminder of the avenues you can take if you need to finance your business:
- Credit cards
- A stokvel(a unique form of community-orientated saving specific to South Africa)
- Angel investors
Hiring new employees and training them
A pet grooming business does not require a large amount of staff. But if you are looking to expand your brand, or want to consider turning it into a franchise, you’ll need to hire a receptionist and more groomers.
Staff can be trained or be sent to a pet grooming school, or you can hire someone with experience. The average salary for a pet groomer is around R76,000 per annum.
Considerations when selling your business
It can be a challenge to start a pet grooming business from scratch, so buyers will be interested in purchasing a well-run, efficient pet grooming business.
You could choose to still involve yourself in the bigger picture of the business such as growth strategies, or you could choose to stay on and assist the new owner with the day to day operations of the business. Nonetheless, if you decide to sell your business, you will need to be aware of the common selling processes.
Most importantly, you will need to generate an accurate valuation of your business, and you can do this by using a valuation tool. Remember to include the value of your customer base (intangible assets) in your valuation, as this will be an integral value driver for a pet grooming business.
When it comes time to negotiate the sale of your business, you will need to consider the lease, and you will need to remember that the animals will be accustomed to you, so it may be beneficial to hand over the business to someone who the animals are familiar with, like an employee, manager or family member.