A dog-grooming salon can be set up in your home, in a rented building, or in a motor vehicle. The basic needs are the same regardless of where you will be grooming. You will need a business plan, a license and insurance, along with grooming equipment and a functional set-up. A grooming salon should be designed for efficiency and allow for easy monitoring of all the dogs in your care. If you wish to sell merchandise in addition to providing a service, you will also need displays to market the products.
Obtain a business license and insurance. You will need approval for a business even if you run it out of your house.
Set your grooming prices. Keep your prices close to other groomers in the area to be competitive.
Secure a location for your grooming salon. Devote a portion of your home or look for a building or vehicle with adequate space for the number of groomers you plan to have. Look for a place for your business that has good lighting, heating and air conditioning, and is easy to keep clean.
Create a design for your work area. Position the bathtub(s) near the grooming table so you won't have far to carry dogs from table to tub. The cages and dryers could be set up in a different room so the grooming area doesn't get heated up, but it is best to have them within your view while working so you can monitor the dogs' well-being. Tools should be within easy reach of your grooming table.
Set up a reception area with a counter and desk. You'll need a phone, a filing system and a cash box or register.
Install a bathtub at a height that allows you to bathe small dogs without having to bend over very far, but will allow you to lift medium to large dogs into it. If possible, install a second tub on the floor for very large dogs or those that are difficult to manage. An alternative would be to have a drain installed in the floor where you could bathe the largest dogs.
Assemble and stack cages and position the dryers close by. Position the grooming table(s) where there is enough room to move around the whole table and where there is good lighting. Add a shelf or countertop for storing equipment so it is easy to get at when needed.
Hook up a washer and dryer for the towels you use to dry the dogs and any other hand towels or bedding you provide to your four-legged clients while they wait.
Purchase equipment and supplies. At a minimum, you will need a grooming table, clippers, a variety of clipper blades and scissors, combs and brushes, nail clippers, enough cages for the number of dogs you'll have in the salon at one time, at least one cage and stand dryer, shampoo and towels. You will also need miscellaneous things like cleaning supplies, disinfectant, paper towels for cleaning up messes and spray lubricant for the blades.
Display any items you will have for sale in a way that is appealing to your customers. Sell the products you use or recommend.