Self-Employed vs. Employed Dog Groomer in the UK: Weighing the Pros and Cons

  /  Self-Employed vs. Employed Dog Groomer in the UK: Weighing the Pros and Cons

Self-Employed vs. Employed Dog Groomer in the UK: Weighing the Pros and Cons


Working as a dog groomer in the UK is a rewarding and fulfilling career for those who have a passion for pets. However, when it comes to choosing your career path in this industry, you have two main options: working as a self-employed dog groomer or being employed by a grooming salon or pet-related business. Each option has its own set of advantages and disadvantages, which can significantly impact your professional and personal life. In this blog, we’ll explore the pros and cons of both self-employment and traditional employment for dog groomers in the UK.

First things first…are you qualified?

Whether working as a self employed or employed groomer, the pet grooming industry supports those working in it to be qualified to Level 3 Diploma standard. Although the industry is not regulated, many employers would insist that their dog groomer be qualified with an OFQUAL regulated qualification from iPET NetworkCity & Guilds, OCN, AIM Award Qualifications or similar. Experience is also highly valuable as is continued professional development or further study. Professional Development Recognition courses such as those available from iPET Network, ensure groomers at all levels maintain their knowledge and able to join sites like The Groomers Spotlight.

What does it mean to be self-employed or employed?

Being self-employed means that an individual works for themselves rather than being employed by a company, organisation, or another person. In other words, a self-employed person is their own boss and is responsible for running their own business or providing services directly to clients or customers. They typically have control over their work, set their own schedules, and manage their own finances.

Self-employed individuals can work in various fields and industries, including freelancers, independent contractors, small business owners, consultants, and sole proprietors. They may offer products or services, and they are responsible for managing all aspects of their business, including marketing, client acquisition, accounting, taxes, and more….including dog grooming!

One key aspect of self-employment is that self-employed individuals are often responsible for paying their own taxes, including income tax and self-employment tax. This is in contrast to traditional employees, whose employers typically withhold taxes from their paychecks.

Being employed means that an individual is hired by a company, organisation, or another person to perform work or provide services in exchange for compensation, typically a regular salary or wage. When someone is employed, they have a formal working arrangement with an employer, and they are subject to the rules, regulations, and policies of the organisation they work for.

Self-Employed Dog Groomer


1. Freedom and Independence: Perhaps the most significant advantage of being a self-employed dog groomer is the freedom to set your own schedule and make independent decisions about your business. You have the autonomy to choose your clients, pricing, and work hours.

2. Unlimited Earning Potential: Self-employed groomers have the potential to earn more money since they keep all the profits after expenses. You can adjust your prices and services to maximise your income.

3. Building Your Brand: Running your own grooming business allows you to build a unique brand and reputation in the industry. You can market your services, set your own style, and create a loyal client base.

4. Tax Deductions: Self-employed individuals can take advantage of various tax deductions for business expenses, such as grooming supplies, equipment, and home office deductions.

5. Flexibility: You can schedule appointments around your personal life and have the flexibility to take time off when needed without seeking approval from an employer.


1. Financial Uncertainty: Self-employment comes with financial risks. You must manage your finances effectively to cover business expenses, taxes, and any personal expenses during slow periods.

2. No Employee Benefits: You won’t receive employee benefits like health insurance, retirement plans, or paid time off, which can be a significant drawback for some.

3. Business Responsibilities: You are responsible for all aspects of your business, including marketing, bookkeeping, customer service, and managing client relationships. This can be overwhelming and time-consuming.

4. Isolation: Self-employed groomers may experience isolation, as they work alone most of the time, without the camaraderie of colleagues.

Employed Dog Groomer


1. Steady Income: Employed dog groomers typically receive a steady paycheck, which provides financial stability and security.

2. Employee Benefits: Many grooming salons and pet-related businesses offer benefits such as health insurance, retirement plans, and paid time off, improving your overall quality of life. The larger commercial pet retailers such at Pets at HomePet ManiaPets ChoicePets and Friends have great packages for their employees.

3. Team Environment: Working in a salon or pet-related business provides a sense of camaraderie and support from colleagues, making it a more social experience.

4. Less Administrative Work: You don’t have to worry about the administrative tasks and responsibilities of running a business. This allows you to focus solely on grooming.


1. Lack of Independence: As an employee, you have less control over your work schedule, pricing, and the types of dogs you groom.

2. Limited Earning Potential: Your income may be capped, as you typically receive a fixed salary or commission, and you don’t have the same flexibility to increase prices or take on additional clients.

3. Less Creative Control: In some cases, employed groomers may have less creative freedom, as they must adhere to the salon’s style and grooming standards.

4. Job Security: Job security can be a concern, as you’re dependent on your employer’s decisions and the stability of the grooming salon or business.


Ultimately, the decision to become a self-employed dog groomer or work for an employer in the UK depends on your personal preferences, financial situation, and career goals. Self-employment offers autonomy, higher earning potential, and the ability to build your brand, but it comes with financial risks and added responsibilities. On the other hand, employed groomers benefit from job security, steady income, and employee benefits, but they may have less control and creative freedom.

Before making your decision, carefully weigh the pros and cons and consider what aligns best with your aspirations and lifestyle. Whether you choose self-employment or traditional employment, a successful career as a dog groomer in the UK can be incredibly rewarding for those who are passionate about caring for our furry friends.

Enhance your animal care career

Completing a course with Four Paws Groom School offers learners a distinct advantage in enhancing their animal care career by providing a comprehensive and hands-on curriculum taught by experienced professionals. With a focus on grooming techniques, animal behaviour, and industry best practices, our training courses equips learners with the knowledge and skills needed to excel in the competitive field of animal care. The modern facilities and personalised guidance from experienced tutors ensure that student not only meet but exceed industry standards, positioning them for success in a fulfilling and rewarding career working with animals.

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