Does a Dog Groomer Need a License?

city hallThe professions that most closely resemble dog grooming have strict regulations and licensing required.  Dog grooming typically does not have any strict rules and does not require any special licensing. There are some situations where you will need a different kind of license, such as owning your own grooming business or charging others for training. However, for the most part, anyone can currently call themselves a dog groomer and charge for services. States are taking notice of the complete lack of regulation for dog groomers and they are starting to propose state mandated legislation. To check your state’s current specific dog grooming legislation laws check your state’s local Small Business Association or whatever department of government seems applicable for your state.  If you aren’t sure about that, you can Google the phrase “business licenses and permits for the state of ……..”

Types of Licensing

Business License: Obviously, if you want to start your own dog grooming business, you will need to obtain a business license.   Pretty much every state in the U.S. has some kind of license to collect sales tax or just to register a new business.  Often times, if you live in a city, you will have some additional business permits to acquire.  The cost is minimal, but it will need to be renewed yearly and displayed in your business location. Some groomers who initially start out grooming from their home decide to bypass a business license. I wouldn’t recommend doing this because if you are caught by your state or your city the fees you will have to pay will be much larger than the initial cost of obtaining a license.

Training/Schooling License: For groomers who would like to use their skills to train others will need to obtain a training license. This is only needed for those who are going to be using their business only for training. If you are currently grooming and want to train a minimum amount of people your state should not require a license. It may help you attract potential students by obtaining a license and calling yourself a “licensed trainer”, but anyone who researches will understand that a training license really means very little.

Do Not Confuse Licensing with Certification

For a dog groomer, licensing and certification are two totally different things. Certification can be used to distinguish yourself from other grooming professionals, while licensing only allows you to comply with your state’s regulations. For better clarification, certification is offered through training and proving your skills; while licensing is obtain through an application at your local offices. Licensing does not prove that you are a skilled professional.  It only maintains your status as a legal business.

The Sad Reality

white dog looking upwardsThe sad reality is that until states take it upon themselves to regulate groomers, there will continue to be inexperienced people that are calling themselves professionals in order to make a quick buck. There are constant news stories that depict just how dangerous letting someone, who is not properly trained, groom an animal. Mutilation and death are common occurrences due to the lack of regulation. You can help by encouraging your local office to push for legislation that would require annual inspection of all groomers and grooming facilities. In addition, educate the public on the possible dangers of using an inexperienced groomer. It seems that the worse the economy gets, the more I see new people trying to start dog grooming out of their house, often for far less money than any professional can afford to charge. They don’t last long, but the damage that they do to the pet grooming business lingers.

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