Grooming Business Requirements for Pet Groomers

Starting a pet grooming business can be a rewarding and profitable venture. But before you can open your doors, there are a few things you need to take care of, such as licensing, certification, hiring staff, renting or buying a place for your salon/spa, training, and creating a business plan.

featured image for starting a pet grooming business featuring man brushing dog hair

Licensing and Certification

The first step is to obtain the necessary licenses and certifications. The requirements vary from state to state, so check with your local government to find out what is required in your area. Generally, you will need a business license and a pet grooming license. You may also need to be certified in pet grooming.

Before starting a pet grooming business, securing the necessary licenses and certifications is crucial. Requirements may vary depending on the specific state or locality, so it’s essential to research and understand the regulations in your area.

Business License:

Obtain a general business license from the local government or city hall. This license allows you to operate a business legally and may require specific documentation, such as proof of identity and business address.

Pet Grooming License:

In many states, a separate pet grooming license is mandatory. This license ensures that you have the necessary knowledge and skills to groom pets safely and effectively. Requirements for obtaining a pet grooming license may include passing an exam, completing a training program, or demonstrating relevant work experience.

shallow focus photography of white and brown cat

What States Require A Dog Grooming License:

The requirements for obtaining a dog grooming license vary from state to state. Some states, such as California and New York, require groomers to obtain a license from the state board of cosmetology or a similar agency. Other states, such as Florida and Texas, do not have any state-level licensing requirements for dog groomers.

Here is a list of states that require a dog grooming license:

  • California
  • Connecticut
  • Georgia
  • Illinois
  • Louisiana
  • Maine
  • Maryland
  • Massachusetts
  • New Jersey
  • New York
  • Oregon
  • Rhode Island
  • South Carolina
  • Tennessee
  • Utah
  • Virginia
  • Washington

In addition to licensing requirements, some states also have continuing education requirements for dog groomers. For example, California requires groomers to complete 12 hours of continuing education every two years.

If you are planning to start a dog grooming business, it is important to research the licensing requirements in your state. By obtaining the necessary licenses and permits, you can ensure that your business is operating legally and compliant with state regulations.

short-coated brown dog on table

Certification in Pet Grooming:

While not universally required, obtaining certification in pet grooming can enhance your credibility and professionalism. Several organizations, such as the National Dog Groomers Association of America (NDGAA) and the American Kennel Club (AKC), offer certification programs. These programs typically involve coursework, practical training, and passing an exam.


Consider purchasing business insurance to protect yourself against potential liabilities and damages. Business insurance can cover various risks, such as property damage, liability claims, and employee-related accidents.

Zoning and Location:

Review local zoning regulations to ensure that your chosen location complies with pet grooming business requirements. Choose a suitable location with adequate space, ventilation, and accessibility for customers and employees.

Health and Safety Regulations:

Familiarize yourself with the health and safety regulations related to pet grooming. These may include requirements for proper sanitation, waste disposal, and the use of safe grooming products.

By obtaining the necessary licenses, certifications, and complying with local regulations, you can establish a legitimate and compliant pet grooming business that operates within the legal framework.

Hiring Staff

Once you have the necessary licenses and certifications, you can start hiring staff. When hiring groomers, look for people who are experienced, compassionate, and have a love for animals. You should also make sure that they are properly trained and certified.

Renting or Buying a Place for Your Salon/Spa

The next step is to find a place for your salon/spa. You can either rent or buy a space.

When choosing a location, consider the following factors:

Factors to Consider When Choosing a Location:

1. The Size of the Space:

The size of the space you need will depend on the type of salon or spa you plan to open. If you offer a wide range of services, you’ll need a larger space to accommodate all of your equipment and staff. If you’re starting small, you can rent or buy a smaller space and then expand as your business grows.

2. The Cost of Rent or Mortgage:

The cost of rent or mortgage is a significant expense, so it’s important to factor this into your budget. Rental rates can vary depending on the location and the size of the space. If you’re buying a space, you’ll need to factor in the cost of the down payment, mortgage payments, and property taxes.

3. The Location of the Space:

The location of your salon or spa is critical to its success. You want to choose a location that is convenient for your target customers. If you’re targeting a high-end clientele, you’ll want to choose a location in an affluent area. If you’re targeting a more budget-conscious clientele, you can choose a location in a less expensive area.

4. The Visibility of the Space:

The visibility of your salon or spa is also important. You want to choose a location that is easy to find and has good visibility from the street. If your salon or spa is located in a busy area, you’ll have more walk-in customers.


Once you have found a suitable location for your salon, the next step is to train your staff. This is a crucial step, as your staff will be the ones interacting with your customers and providing the services. Proper training will ensure that your staff is knowledgeable, skilled, and professional, which will reflect positively on your business.

The training program should cover a variety of topics, including:

Pet grooming techniques:

This is the core area of training and should cover everything from basic grooming techniques to more advanced styling. Your staff should be familiar with different breeds and coat types and be able to provide the best possible care for each pet.

Customer service:

Your staff should be friendly, courteous, and professional at all times. They should be able to put customers at ease and make them feel comfortable. They should also be able to answer questions and provide helpful advice.

Safety procedures:

This is another important area of training. Your staff should be familiar with all safety procedures and be able to implement them effectively. This includes using proper grooming equipment, handling pets safely, and maintaining a clean and safe environment.

Business operations:

Your staff should have a basic understanding of business operations, such as scheduling appointments, processing payments, and maintaining inventory. They should also be familiar with your salon’s policies and procedures.

By providing your staff with comprehensive training, you can ensure that they are well-equipped to provide your customers with a positive and professional experience. This will help you build a successful and sustainable business.

two women sitting on chair

Business Plan:

Creating a business plan is a crucial step in starting and running a business. It serves as a roadmap that outlines your goals, strategies, and financial projections. It is essential for several reasons:

  • Clarity and Focus: A business plan helps you clarify your business concept, define your target market, and identify your unique selling proposition. It provides a framework for making informed decisions and staying focused on your goals.
  • Financial Planning: The financial projections in your business plan are essential for assessing the viability of your business. It helps you estimate your revenue, expenses, and profit potential.
  • Marketing and Sales Strategy: Your business plan should include a detailed marketing and sales strategy. This outlines how you will reach and attract your target customers.
  • Fundraising and Investor Relations: If you plan to seek financing from investors, a well-written business plan is essential. It demonstrates your understanding of the market, your financial projections, and your plans for growth.
  • Operational Planning: Your business plan should outline your operational plans, including the structure of your team, the processes you will follow, and the resources you will need.
  • Benchmarking and Performance Measurement: Your business plan serves as a benchmark against which you can measure your progress. It helps you track your performance and make adjustments as needed.
  • Regulatory Compliance: In certain industries, you may be required to have a business plan in place to meet regulatory requirements.
  • Exit Strategy: Your business plan should include an exit strategy that outlines your plans for the future, such as selling the business, passing it on to family members, or merging with another company.

Starting a pet grooming business can be a lot of work, but it can also be very rewarding. By following these steps, you can increase your chances of success.

If you’re a pet groomer looking to take your business to the next level, CIXP is here to help. We offer a comprehensive range of marketing services to help you build your brand, reach more customers, and generate more sales.

Visit CIXP today and learn how we can help you grow your pet grooming business.

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