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Is Pet Grooming a Viable Business Option in India? Pet care market in India is expected to grow at a CAGR of more than 20% in the next 5 years

By Juhi Pawar

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The pet business in India is steadily picking up paving an incredible pathway for the future of pet-related services, especially for the pet grooming industry. India is doing exceptionally well in the pet care industry and it's only getting bigger and better. Experts have projected that the pet care market in India is expected to grow at a CAGR of more than 20% in the next 5 years.

Rise in Professional Pet Grooming Services

The past 5 years have seen an exponential rise in pet parents and an increase in hectic and stressful lifestyles has led to a demand for professional services. Giving a pet a bath at home has been replaced with look good and feel good appointments at professional pet grooming salons. Trained professionals take good care of your pet along with keeping an eye out on possible health issues which may go unnoticed by pet parents.

Money Does Come into the Picture

The most important factor while considering a pet grooming business is a natural love and attraction towards animals - it is the basis and the only motivating factor to be a part of this industry. But apart from the emotional investment let's not forget that a carefully planned launch can entail a capital investment of anything between INR 15-30 lakhs. A cash burn of anything between INR 1-5 lakhs per month as running costs include rent, products, equipment, electricity and water, and groomer salaries.

Learn Before You Leap

Before you establish your pet grooming service, the foremost thing do on priority is to train professionally to understand the pet grooming business and its finer nuances. There is a dearth of good professional grooming trainers and the ones who have undergone professional training abroad, charge a whopping fee. One needs to understand spa and salon, haircuts and hairstyles, and breeds and products. If you're adept at picking up stuff, then online training tools offer massive help. Learn the dos and don'ts of a pet grooming business.

In India, since the pet grooming industry is not very well-defined, there is a need for professional trainers who will dedicatedly train upcoming groomers. Not everyone can travel abroad or afford extravagant pet grooming courses. These groomers, in turn, have their own dedicated grooming salons wherein they train as well as run their own businesses. It is a win-win for all.

Studying and Understanding the Market

One should also consider figuring out the landscape in other markets and cities like Bangalore, Delhi and Pune to research the market, understand the pet-owner landscape, the various breeds, pet products, salon equipment and services. After all, one has to consider expansion and growth through scale.

Using digital marketing and social PR to document your work on popular channels like Facebook & Instagram is good business sense and far most cost effective than traditional marketing. Documenting good work works well. At the same time, one should not forget the importance of referrals, as ours is a service industry after all.

Although the idea of a pet salon germinated early on in my career as a marketer, it took me many years of research to understand that the pet grooming business is not just bathing or hair cutting. It involves undivided, unconditional love, patience and dedication to be a decent groomer. A really important aspect is the right manpower and in this industry, one cannot emphasise enough how professionally trained staff with a great attitude is a must. Moreover, one needs to have a knack for understanding the furry friend who walks through your salon doors so that you and your client forge an unbreakable bond of trust and love.

The location of your salon is equally important and one should zero in on a location where the pet population is dense without a pet salon nearby. Ample parking or walking space is a must.

Even though certain social and cultural norms in India dissuade pet owners from having cats as pets we have a huge number of cat owners who come in regularly for grooming services which makes pet grooming extremely fun and we need to constantly keep up with the ever-changing trends in cat and dog grooming services. For example, our aromatherapy massages for dogs are a massive hit with our clients. These massages are hour-long and we only use special soothing aromatherapy essential oils meant only for pets. The techniques used during these massages are extremely detailed because one wrong rub here, or extra pressure there, can irritate the pet.

In India, pets are not only considered companions but, a style statement as well. From what they eat to what they wear, their grooming appointments, vet services, dog walkers, trainers and behaviourists, everything has to be top notch. Pet owners care about how their pets look with dedicated social media pages where they constantly update their pet pictures and cute antics. To keep the pets healthy, attractive, and well-styled, these pet owners regularly groom their pets and also avail of a number of pet grooming products and services which assist in keeping a pet happy, healthy and relaxed.

Juhi Pawar

Promoter of Furry Friends -The Pet Salon

After an initial career in marketing and public relations with brands like Hilton Group, MSL Group and Lowe Lintas, Juhi ventured into a childhood dream of owning and operating a pet salon as a Certified Professional Groomer. After 2-3 years of careful research and planning she eventually launched “Furry Friends, The Pet Salon” in 2017 and already boasts of many celebrity clients. The Furry Friends team has also been a grooming partner for a few brand endorsements and animal welfare films.

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