The Booming Business of Pets
People are spending a record amount of money on pets and associated costs. There are over 80 million dogs in homes and the pet-related spending in the US alone is almost $60 billion.
Sure, a significant portion of that spend goes to pet food, as families look for healthy or organic options for their furry friends. But a considerable portion of spending on family pets also goes towards pet services, including pet sitting, training, and grooming. These services grew by over 6% last year, the largest increase in pet-related spending.
Runts, on the other hand, are often the last to be eaten, leading to inadequate nutrition and growth. Does this mean that runt dogs cannot grow up to be happy, healthy, normal dogs? Not really. We explain below.
Evidently, there is clearly a growing market for pet support services that help owners care for their best friends. Every pet owner realizes the part these services play in keeping their pet happy, clean and healthy.
How to Increase Business (and Profits!)
In these days of cut-throat competition, it’s often difficult for small business owners to stay afloat. However, the small store model is far from dead. Proprietors are coming up with innovative ideas to keep their businesses thriving. It might be foolhardy to compete against the bigger box chains, but competition is a good thing and nothing to fear.
With close to 40 percent of households in the United States owning at least one dog, there is no lack of opportunity in the pet care business. It’s a strategy that can earn substantially well for you.
Why a Dog Wash ?
Self-serve dog washes are gaining in popularity, enabling those in the pet industry as well as other small businesses to clean up – both literally and figuratively.
Even though every pet owner wants their pet clean, they find bathing a dog at home cumbersome and pet groomers expensive. This is where you come in: you can offer a low-cost dog wash that benefits both the owners and their four-legged friends.
Coin operated dog wash equipment can be a great way to allow pet owners to have fresh smelling pets without the hassle of cleaning them up at home. Thanks to their affordability and low overhead costs, self-serve dog washing stations have been growing in popularity. And with a self-operated dog wash
station, you just require a small footprint for your business. A growing number of these can be found on their own or alongside already existing businesses.
Some businesses that can benefit from a coin-operated pet wash station include the below.
• Car Washes, Gas Stations
• Convenient stores
• Pet stores
• Living Communities, Apartment complexes or Condos
• RV parks
• Pet-friendly hotels
• Full-service groomers
Apart from the above, any location near Campgrounds, Parks, the Beach, etc. are ideal prospects for stand-alone dog wash businesses.
People nowadays treat their dogs like they treat their kids. Once they chance upon your service and find it convenient, it turns them into frequent visitors. There’s little you need to do to convert them into loyal customers.
How to set-up a Dog Wash Business
All That You Need To Set Up a Dog Wash
You don’t need much to set up a Dog Wash unit. Most establishments would already have these requirements in place. This includes essential stuff like:-
• Free space
• Water supply
• Plumbing and Drainage
• General business insurance
A few other simple easily procurable items include
• Non-skid pet ramps
• Supplies – Shampoos, Towels etc.
• But what’s most essential is a liking for pets and people!
The first step is figuring out where to set up the dog wash. The largest part of set-up costs is not the equipment itself, but setting up the facility the right way.
The place where you choose to put up the wash unit should, in addition to having sufficient space, have access to proper plumbing and other utilities. You can choose to set this up in existing free space or lease some dedicated space for this purpose. Most importantly, the space should be extremely safe, clean and well-maintained at all times.
Costs for setting up a dog wash can vary widely, depending on the scale you need. Coin-operated self-service systems from ICLEAN can range from $7,500 for a basic unit to 5 times that for a full-fledged modular unit. It all comes down to the kind of operation you want to set up.
Get the right insurance even though the dog wash operation is not a high-liability undertaking. If your facility is set up right, it’s then the owners who are responsible for their pets. Any regular general business liability insurance should be sufficient cover.
ICLEAN offers self-service and coin operated units that only require minimal supervision. In any case, having someone present is always useful if customers have questions, to keep the facility clean and to ensure smooth operation in general.
Setting Up at Home
A dog-wash business based from your residence is a good choice for testing the waters without a significant capital outgo. The many advantages include reduced overheads (rent, dedicated utilities, signage etc.) The disadvantages include arranging the facilities, residential zoning and the usual problems that can crop up from mixing your work and personal space. However, starting up at home is often the best first step because it’s relatively easy to move your equipment and products to dedicated premises later on.
The Economics of a Dog Wash (Financial Information)
With assured all year round business, low cost, negligible maintenance and a nominal amount of consumables, you stand to gain with even a wash a day! Your ICLEAN Dog Wash system will pay for itself in a mere 18 months time. Or with the lease option, every second dog wash a day is a profit in your pocket!
Water: 8-12 liters per minute and 40-60 liters per wash. With water priced around € 2.00 per 1000 liters, the average cost of water would be € 0.10 for per wash.
Power: Maximum utilization for the ICLEAN Dog Wash system is 2 kW (during the drying cycle) at high volume and half of that at low volume.
2 kW for a water heater if opted for, which will not work at the same time as the dryer.
Power requirement would be 13 Amps (standard normal fusing is 16 Amp) at 230 V.
Power consumption per wash cycle of 10 minutes duration at a rate of € 0.15 p/kWh, the average energy cost works out to € 0.05.
• Water: € 0.10
• Power: € 0.05
• Chemicals:€ 0.79
• Total: € 0.95 (excl. VAT)
The above is an estimate of average consumption per wash. A lot of factors make it impossible to state the exact usage. Remember that dogs differ in size and type of fur, in levels of cleanliness and also, owners vary in their particular standard of cleanliness.
Return On Investment Calculation ( dog wash ROI calculator )
Based on an estimated 30 dogs washed over a week at a suggested pricing of € 7.50 for 10 minutes.
Margin per wash : € 7.50 – € 0.95 = € 6.55
Profit per week : 30 dogs x € 6.55 = € 196.50
Profit per year : 52 weeks x € 196.50 = € 10,218
You will be able to recover your investment in less than 18 months!
Break Even Point Estimate – Leased Option
If you go in for a lease of 72 months, it would cost you around € 240.00 per month or € 60.00 per week. At the rate as seen above (i.e., profit per wash – € 6.55), even if you wash 10 dogs a week – your machine is paid for. Every second (and over) wash a day is profit that goes directly into your pocket!
ICLEAN units are built for hundreds of washes per month with minimal maintenance. Compared to an average of $10 per wash, and as little as $1 for shampoo, water, and electricity, you stand to earn a huge profit margin! ICLEAN units are stand-alone, self-contained machines that do not require assistance or continuous maintenance.
It’s a positive return on investment compared to any business. It will also bring in more footfalls and lead to a stronger cross-selling opportunity. A Dog Wash system not only earns you a regular revenue but also creates value for your business, brand, and reputation.
Insurance is essential for any business and even-more so when dealing with pets because of the often strong bond between the parent and the pet. If anything untoward happens, there can be considerable hurt and anger on the owner’s part which can easily take the form of legal measures. You need to be covered for any such contingency.
You’ll need basic insurance coverage like public liability insurance and professional indemnity insurance, that can protect you from allegations of third party damages and any allegations of wrongdoing. It’d be wise for pet groomers to take out insurance from companies that specialize in animal-related industries.
As you take on the responsibility for the animal’s care when they come under your possession, several specialist insurance policies can cover you in specific and unique circumstances. Make sure you discuss the terms and conditions in detail with your insurer (before you take a policy) especially that which is covered and – even more importantly – that which is not covered. If you are unsure, it’s always best to speak to other insurers until you can get the policy you need.
If you grow your business and eventually hire additional staff, you should have the appropriate employer’s liability insurance in place.
Ways to increase revenue
Pricing can vary according to location, timing and season. In remote or less populated areas, the rate can be $5 for 10 minutes, while in a more upscale locale, the rate can be double or more. So carry out some research and determine your market’s profile.
Depending on your customer base and location, you can adopt various pricing. For instance, you can charge higher fee’s during weekends or holidays or even during peak rush hours.
In contrast, you can provide rate discounts or increase the session timings on off hours, weekdays, winter season, etc. And in addition to offering the basic standard pet supplies such as shampoos, and towels, you also get to tap a whole new customer base with a slew of regular merchandise.
In addition to the basic supplies, the additional retail potential with a dog wash has enormous potential. There are a number of cool items that you can offer up for impulse purchases such as doggy treats, colognes, pet grooming products, brushes, dental products, pet toys and accessories, plastic ponchos the dog owners can wear to keep from getting wet…you name it.
ICLEAN also offers coin-operated vending machines that can dispense items ranging from dog mints to ear and eye wipes. The more you offer, the more you earn!
Now you can have coin-operated vending machines set up close to the washing unit that can dispense items ranging from dog mints to ear and eye wipes. Make sure that best-selling or fast moving items occupy prime shelf space in the store and are the easiest to find.
You can offer pet-grooming services too. If you don’t have room at the store, tie up with an excellent groomer/grooming service and make money off referrals. Hand out free samples or promotional material to encourage frequent customer visits.
Raise your profile by assisting the local animal shelter, the ASPCA (American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) and local veterinarians. Let the organization place brochures and other materials in the store. You may host contests or promotions from time to time that can raise the store’s profile in the local market and gain new customers.
Growing Your Business
Alert store owners are always thinking of new marketing ideas that can add to their stores’ sales performance and profitability. The supplemental retail potential for a place with a dog wash is virtually limitless.
A self operated dog wash can be an easy and low risk entry into the pet grooming business. You can set up one with ease, requires minimal facilities, not much expertise and can cater to most pet owners.
Pet grooming is certainly a business with considerable potential, and increasingly in demand from pet owners in today’s ‘time-scarce’ society, but you should ensure there’s sufficient demand and adequate skill-sets before you commit to the venture.
Dogs are potentially the largest market, but you can ramp up revenues by extending your services to other pets, such as cats, guinea pigs and bunnies. It’s not wise to extend your services to cover pet animals just because you like them or to increase business. You have to be diligent in training or investing in facilities for any particular species, else you will end up with a poor return on investment.
With time, confidence and to eventually expand the business, you can increase the number of your offerings. This can include an obvious extension into grooming and cosmetic treatments. The more adventurous can also branch out into other areas like product sales, daycare / holiday stays and obedience training.