Starting a dog wash business is exciting, especially if it’s related to your passion. A dog grooming place can be fantastic, but you can’t solely focus on the cuteness of these canines. You need to think about the practical matters, including finances, remodeling, hiring staff, making a sign, and much more. Let’s discover what you need to become a successful entrepreneur in this industry.
1. Prepare Your Finances
The main aspect of starting a dog wash business or any entrepreneurial endeavor is to handle your finances. You need to secure enough money to begin, which can be tricky. It’s not enough to file paperwork to get a loan from the bank. Your personal finances have to be in order, too. Otherwise, trying to enter the dog grooming industry will be challenging. Try to seek the help of financial planners, who can help you move things around and recommend what debt needs to be settled quickly.
Once you get through that, you must make a clear and detailed plan for your business. What do you want from it? What are you selling or offering? Do the services include more than just dog washing? You could add a full grooming option, including nail cutting, ear and teeth cleaning, etc. You’ll also have to look at the laws surrounding all these aspects. Remember, people love their dogs like their children; anything wrong could be a liability.
Therefore, consider making an emergency fund because money in a new business will always run out quickly. Your new endeavor needs enough cash flow to keep going, so try to set aside a special fund by depositing monthly. The benefit is that you won’t have to dip into your personal savings for any issue.
2. Find a Payroll Service
Any business needs to have a way to pay their staff and their suppliers. A payroll company can provide that service, or you could buy and get familiar with a particular software. Some people may be tempted to handle that aspect manually, especially if it’s a small startup, but that isn’t the best idea. Nowadays, starting a dog wash business means trying to automate as much as possible. Finding the right software and understanding it is essential.
Installing your own software or using a payroll service also reduces the risk of payment mistakes. Remember that any tiny hiccup could bring down your store. You also don’t want to make your employees wait for their checks because that’s a sure way to lose valuable people. Aside from easily processing monthly and extra payments for each employee and supplier, a service can handle taxes.
They can give you all the proper forms for each contractor and freelancer so each person’s state and federal taxes are calculated and garnished properly. It handles paid time off payments by tracking the amount of vacation and sick days your employees have. You can receive detailed reports for your accounting. You’ll just need to search for the best payroll provider, and you can ask a financial adviser about this.
3. Set Up Your Bookkeeping
Once you get finances and payroll out of the way, you need to think about bookkeeping. First, you must pick between a cash or accrual accounting method to determine when and how your company will start recording all transactions. A bookkeeping service can help you decide and handle everything afterward. It’s often better for owners to delegate as many responsibilities as possible to specialized third parties. However, that’s not always in the budget when starting a dog wash business.
It would be smart to take some courses and handle things after consulting professionals while you get the company off the ground. Most small businesses choose cash accounting for their payments. You can switch to accrual later if you plan to expand. After that decision, you need a bank account for the business. Never mix your personal funds with the company because tracking all outgoing transactions is much easier when your personal expenses aren’t in the way.
You’ll need that information to file your taxes later. It’s much simpler. Accounting software is another must. There’s nothing wrong with manual bookkeeping, but software makes things much easier. You could handle everything on a spreadsheet program, especially if the dog wash is still a small operation. However, it’ll be harder once it grows, so getting software and learning how to use it is better.
4. Invest in a Sign
Starting a dog wash business wouldn’t be possible if you don’t promote it. Moreover, you can’t market anything if you don’t have a proper name, logo, image, and attractive sign. Whether you’re renting a space or getting a dog-wash truck, which is popular now, you need to make a sign that separates your business from others. Come up with a great idea or concept for it. Then, hire someone to create a logo or the typography of your company.
Fortunately, you can hire a graphic designer online and make something quickly. You may not have to spend much as so many freelancers are offering their services on job boards, freelance work sites, etc. Once you have all the digital files, you can send them to a sign maker, who can devise a plan. You could choose a 2D or 3D sign or both. Whatever works best. Just make sure anyone can read the business’s name easily and that it’s eye-catching.
You want people who walk by your company to see the business’s full name and find it online later. If you’re opening a location, try to make the sign big enough so people in their cars can see it as they drive. On the other hand, don’t invest too much of your budget in this aspect. Minimalism works, too, when you’re trying to get your business’s name out there.
5. Assemble Your Staff
Once you have settled all the finances, it’s time to consider your staff. They’re the core of a company unless you’re planning a solo operation. You need people who can see your vision and follow your rules and ideas. Some local recruiters can help get your job advertisement out there and filter the resumes to find the right people for your business. However, you should never trust anything unquestioningly. Conduct as many first-person interviews as you need. Have a plan for onboarding your new employees or training sessions.
Let them know how you like handling the dogs and the plan for aggressive ones. They should know a little about each product used to wash them and care about choosing the proper one. Your business will thrive if your workers understand what’s needed and how to act responsibly. At first, you’ll be the manager and have a couple of employees, which makes things easier. Once you grow, you’ll need to hire or promote one of your staff to become a new leader.
They should be standup individuals with integrity, good work ethics, and honesty. You should trust all the managers in your team. Otherwise, you won’t get anywhere. Remember, being a tyrant is not the same as being a good leader. Managers should lead by example and show sympathy for other people’s problems. They need to understand how employees feel and motivate them to work better.
6. Upgrade Your HVAC
Consider how important HVAC will be for your future business. Whether you’re starting a dog wash truck or working in an actual location, you need to make sure air circulates properly. Your staff shouldn’t have to worry about being too hot or cold during work hours. Meanwhile, you may have to keep some clients’ dogs in kennels, and it’s vital to keep that space perfect with the right heating and cooling options.
Remember that some dogs may be more susceptible than others. Being wet in a frigid environment could cause issues. Therefore, your employees must dry them quickly if you can’t lower the temperature. Otherwise, you could keep most air conditioners in other store areas and use natural air in the washing and drying section. It’s something to consider, and it’ll all depend on the weather in your city.
Upgrading the HVAC system when starting a dog wash business has several benefits. You can change to HEPA filters, which better collect the debris. You can check whether the ductwork is still intact or has to be replaced. Animals or other factors can move or damage these thin metal tubes. It’s also a good idea to think about HVAC zones. The dog washing area could be made a little warmer to prevent any risk of hypothermia.
7. Install New Lighting
You can’t think about starting a dog wash business without giving thought to how to make things beautiful. The decoration is only one aspect, and you should consider how lighting affects an area. For example, your employees will need perfect visibility while caring for the dogs, especially cutting nails or hair. Deciding which lighting options are better could be hard, so visit a commercial electrical company.
You can make the area similar to a veterinarian’s office, where the washing room looks like an exam room. That often means white LED lights, perfect for saving on electric costs. As a new small business owner, you need to think about utility bills at all times. It’s also wise to consider changing the fixtures in full because they can also change the appearance of a store.
More modern choices are often better because people like to be in pretty places. Being too practical or minimalist can sometimes be detrimental. However, changing fixtures also allows you to check the wiring and ensure everything is ready for opening day. Reducing safety risks should always be your priority. Once you check that everything works perfectly, you can think about the ambiance you want for the store.
8. Remodel Your Space
The fun begins when you remodel the space you have rented. It’s also fun if you have a truck, but there’s something about changing the flooring, walls, counter, etc., that just makes the experience much better. Starting a dog wash business means adding special baths for the pooches with hoses and nozzles. You may also want to think about the containers for shampoo and other grooming products.
The idea of renovating a commercial place is to make things easier and more practical. You don’t want your staff to wander around trying to find a product while a dog waits in the tube for their shampoo. You may need commercial demolition, depending on the space you have. You must plan the layout of each room way ahead of the game so you know what to buy and what your contractors have to achieve.
Afterward, you can focus on the fun things, like adding dog-themed decorations. Paint colors should also be cool. Leaving things barren and simple may not be the best choice. You want to attract customers. Some people don’t care where they send their dog as long as the service is done well. However, if you’re investing all this effort into starting a dog wash business, you should have fun, too.
9. Add New Windows
While renovating, consider the things that should be changed for several reasons, not just aesthetics. Hiring a local window replacement is smart if you want more natural lighting in a space. You can pick different models that bring brightness into a room. The fact that these new windows could be more energy-efficient is an added benefit. You can also pick things that will be much harder to break into.
You may think a dog washing business doesn’t have many valuable things, but you’ll have computers, equipment, etc., in one place. People will steal anything. New windows can prevent robberies or at least make things harder for criminals. Furthermore, all dog groomers have to remember that most pups shed. New windows will prevent hair from going outside, causing bigger problems. They also prevent things from getting inside, which is great for avoiding allergens and dust accumulation.
New windows also reduce noise, which could scare the dogs. If you pick ones with a great frame, they make any space more chic. Clients will want to employ your service if they see modern touches. Don’t underestimate how important aesthetics are for a new business. A pleasing location is essential to retain customers.
Now that you understand what’s needed when starting a dog wash business, it’s time to make calls, ask for estimates, and plan appropriately. Loving puppies is not enough to keep your company going. You’ll only be able to enjoy the pets fully once you get settled, earn great clientele, and pay all your debts.