How to Create a Business Plan

Everything you need to know to create a business plan from scratch for your new pet grooming business

November 2, 2023
Alex Martin

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So you’ve decided you’re going to start a dog grooming business?

Congratulations! Dog grooming is one of the most rewarding & enjoyable fields out there (not that we’re biased or anything). At this point, you’ve likely completed your training, collected some certifications, and are ready to hit the ground running!

But hold your horses turbo! We can’t start selling full-service grooming just yet.

One of the first things you need when starting a business is a business plan. Why? Put simply, it proves you’ve thought ahead & will help your business! In 2018, the University of Oregon ran a study that found businesses with a business plan grow 30% faster than those without.

Below we highlight the essential elements to create a successful business plan. We even create a handmade template for starting a dog grooming business that we give away for free at the end of the article.

Let’s get into it!

Step 1: Company Description

Before we put pen on paper, I want you to take out a scratch pad and think through some of the high level details for your new grooming business. Why are you doing this? What skills do you have that will lead to success? What is your goal for this new business?

Brainstorming answers to those questions is not only a good thought exercise, but will contribute directly to writing the Company Description portion of your business plan.

This portion of the business plan not only covers the fundamentals of your newly founded business, but 3 specifically important elements:

  1. Mission Statement - Your business’s entire reason for existing
  2. History - Your team’s background before this new endeavor
  3. Objectives - The north star for your business

These 3 elements will ultimately give context to the detailed sections throughout the rest of your plan.

Example of a company description

Woof Works Grooming Co’s mission is to bring joy to the faces of Texas dog owners through affordable mobile grooming.

Founded in 2022 by brothers Ralph and Oscar Martinez, we have over 20 years of combined grooming experience. Our team of 4 groomers have graduated from some of the top grooming programs in the United States. We plan on starting with 2 vans and servicing the greater Dallas Fort-Worth Area.

Our objectives over the next three years are to:

  • Solidify a glowing reputation online (Google/Yelp) as a top 3 mobile grooming business with over 500 4-5 star reviews.
  • Start with 2 vans during year one, 3 in year two, and 4 in year three, growing the business healthily through word of mouth, referrals, and recurring customers.
  • Increase revenue from $360,000 in FY2022 to $972,000 in FY2024.

Step 2: Market Analysis

This is the moment to demonstrate how well you might know the market. Here, you’ll take some time to outline your potential customer as well as the potential size of the market. To do so, you might need to better understand what kind of grooming business you’ll be running (mobile, storefront, hybrid). Make sure you’re as specific as possible in this section - and be realistic!

Some things to think about here…

  • Location
  • Income
  • Age
  • Type of dog owner

Example of a market analysis

Woof Works Grooming Co’s ideal customer is a wealthy millennial between the ages of 30 and 45 with a high disposable income. He or she lives in an apartment or condo downtown. They’re a working professional, often busier than most. In love with their dog, and a frequent visitor of the local dog park. They want to keep their dog well groomed but don’t have the time to take the dog to the local groomer.

Market research shows the opportunity for a mobile grooming salon has never been better:

  • In the U.S., pet care services are expected to have the highest growth of any segment of the pet industry, with spending predicted to rise by 143% by 2030.
  • A new ASPCA survey shows that 23 million American households acquired a pet during COVID-19.
  • Spending on pet care services have doubled to $5.8 billion, in the last decade, according to the latest US Economic Census.

As for our home base, we chose Dallas. Not only is it where our employees are based but the city of Dallas is expanding rapidly.

  • According to a study done from the University of North Carolina, Dallas is the 5th fastest growing city in the US.
  • The Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex has the 6th highest GDP amongst all metropolitan US cities according to the OECD.

Step 3: Competitive Analysis

In the world of dog grooming, focusing on “competitors” is a zero-sum game. We’re all here to help each other and ultimately help all of our furry friends out there. The important part of this section is to identify opportunity zones that your “competitors” aren’t thinking about.

First, I want you to think about who your competitors might be. Think about the nearest PetCo / PetSmart. Think about if the local dog park offers bathing or grooming. Once you’ve compiled a short list, answer these additional questions:

  • Where do they invest in advertising?
  • How good is their customer service?
  • What are their sales strategies?
  • How do customers typically find them?

After answering these questions about your competitors, you should have a wholistic view of the market. Can you identify any gaps? Start to think about what could set you apart. Your business doesn’t have to re-invent the wheel, but if you can come up with a few edge’s on your nearest competitor that could make all the difference.

Example of a competitive analysis

Within the Dallas metroplex mobile grooming market, there are three notable mobile businesses: (1) Jimmy’s Mobile Dog Care, (2) Fresh Fido Mobile Grooming, and (3) Uptown Mobile Pet Spa.

Jimmy’s Mobile Dog Care

  • Average price per groom: $100
  • Google My Business: 3.1 stars from 163 reviews
  • Number of trucks: One
  • Where do they hangout: Near the apartment complexes
  • Primary marketing channels: Google Ads

Fresh Fido Mobile Grooming

  • Average price per groom: $120
  • Google My Business: 4.1 stars from 234 reviews
  • Number of trucks: Two
  • Where do they hangout: Near the dog park
  • Primary marketing channels: Instagram Ads

Uptown Mobile Pet Spa

  • Average price per groom: $135
  • Google My Business: 4.6 stars from 87 reviews
  • Number of trucks: Three
  • Where do they hangout: Near the shopping mall
  • Primary marketing channels: Billboards & dog parks

Step 4: Service Mapping

This section is where we dive into your grooming services! Here you’ll discuss the benefits, supplies needed, and product life cycle.

As you know, setting your price list as a dog groomer is one of the most difficult things in the world. If you don’t believe me - ask your groomer friends - everyone will have a different price list! But we don’t need to get into that granular of a level of detail here.

First, I want you to describe what services you’ll offer and the benefits of each. If you’re looking for advice, I’d start simple. Maybe a full service groom, bath, and nail clipping broken out into 3 different sizes of dogs (small, medium, large). Obviously that doesn’t offer full coverage, but it’s a start.

Next, I want you to try to think through the equipment and supplies you’ll need to run your business. The exact supplies you need will depend on your business model, but there are some essential items you’ll most likely need no matter what.

Finally, I want you to think through certain product life cycle elements. This means opportunities for upsells, time between purchases, re-books, etc. Winning a customer is a whole lot harder than keeping one, so try and think through ways to keep a customer and continue selling them.

Example of service mapping

Woof Works Grooming Co is going to offer 3 core services: Grooming, Bathing, and Nail Clipping. These are simple & quick core offerings that don’t require a heap of professional equipment so that we can contain operations into our mobile van. Amongst other things, our equipment list includes:

  • Grooming table
  • Grooming tub or sink
  • Grooming clippers
  • Clipper blades
  • Clipper oil
  • Combs
  • Sterilizer
  • Shampoo & soap
  • Coat stripping tool
  • Scissors
  • Slicker brushes
  • Finishing spray
  • Leases
  • Bandanas & bows
  • Dryer
  • Vacuum

We plan on cross-selling bathing and up-selling our nail clipping services. The 1hr Full-Service groom will be the core product that gets people in the door.

Step 5: Marketing & Sales Strategy

This section could be as simple or as complicated as you make it out to be. It could also be the difference between filling your calendar or getting no business at all. Growth strategies are a crucial part of your business plan and lucky for you, we have quite a few marketing blogs on the Teddy website that cover marketing strategies.

In your marketing strategy, explain your launch plan to attract new business along with retention strategies to keep customers coming back. Be precise about which channels you choose to leverage. Be ready to elaborate on:

  • Where your ideal customers engage (online or offline)
  • Key aspects of your brand voice
  • Content types likely to succeed on your social platforms
  • Strategies for harnessing word-of-mouth marketing, such as referrals or client testimonials

Example of marketing & sales strategy

Woof Works Grooming Co’s marketing and sales strategy will leverage:

  • Word of mouth
  • Referrals
  • Reviews and ratings
  • Local Google Ads
  • Social media
  • Dog park visits
  • Direct mail

Reputation is the number one purchase influencer in dog grooming. As such, channels 1-4 will continue to be our top priority.

Our social media strategy will involve TikTok videos of the grooming process as well as multiple Instagram accounts and FaceBook posts showcasing our work. Lastly, our direct mail campaigns will send glossy brochures to houses in wealthy neighborhoods.

Step 6: Financials

If you’re just starting out, your business may not have any financials yet. That’s okay! You’ll still need to prepare a budget and a financial plan. Create mock-ups of essential documents like income statements and cash flow projections, incorporating these forms into your projection. Aim to project financials for the next five years. This article won’t cover much about creating these documents, but look for these templates in our resources section

Most grooming businesses are funded with personal savings and bank loans. It’s important to remember that to get a bank loan, you must submit a comprehensive business plan for the bank to assess whether you qualify.

Step 7: Organization

In a client services business like grooming, your business is only as good as the experience of the people who run it. In this section, it’s important to give a background on your team members and explain why this is the team to pull it off.

Spend time highlighting former certifications, experience, and careers. You can also note roles you will need to hire for and the type of person you’re looking for.

Example of marketing & sales strategy

Ralph Martinez, Co-founder and CEO

  • Education or certifications
  • Professional background
  • Awards and honors
  • Time in industry

Oscar Martinez, Co-founder and COO

  • Education or certifications
  • Professional background
  • Awards and honors
  • Time in industry

Groomer crew

  • Number of groomers
  • Cumulative years of experience
  • Awards and honors

Step 8: Write the Executive Summary

With your business plan in hand, now you can return to the beginning and compose your executive summary. This is technically the FIRST section that will appear in your business plan, but it’s always smart to write this last. This will serve as the opening page of your plan, functioning like a concise cover letter or elevator pitch.

Review your plan and identify the most compelling details to highlight. The executive summary focuses on your unique selling point: who are you doing this for, how will you do it, and why will it work? Keep it less than 1 page and remember - this is all that most people will ever read.

Example of an executive summary

Market research indicates that an increasing number of wealthy consumers in Dallas have adopted dogs within the last couple of years, most likely as a result of COVID. There are several new dog parks and amenities being built to service this new crowd of dog owners, but grooming services are especially lacking. Currently, only three well known mobile grooming companies exist - of which none cater to the wealthier class and proceed to do home visits.

Woof Works Grooming Co provides a premium, full-service grooming service for busy millennial with disposable incomes and a lack of time.

Step 9: Consider Including an Appendix

Depending on your preferences or investor requests, this section may be optional. If you choose to incorporate it, use this space for any supplementary documentation that wasn't included earlier, such as:

  • Licenses
  • Certifications

Just as no two dog grooming salons are identical, neither are their business plans. Get your own free template to start creating your business plan today (just fill out the form at the top!).

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