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Can you tell me if a specific type of insurance is required for the self service grooming shops. I've worked from my home in the past (grooming) and my homeowners insurance covered what I needed. Any thoughts about allowing the "iffy" breeds ie: pits, chows, german shepards. Thanks.

Response from Dave Grass:

When I started my dog wash I found that all I needed was basic business insurance, and it didn't cost a lot. However, if regular grooming is provided and/or pets are kept in your care on the premises when their caretakers aren't there, insurance which includes "care, custody, and control" (or something similar) is recommended, as it covers you if something were to happen to a pet in your care. By the way, I would be very surprised if your homeowner's insurance included that.

It's always a good idea to shop around when it comes to insurance, as rates can vary dramatically, and one insurer may cover a particular business better than another.

I had all of the breeds you mentioned in my shop many times, and never had a problem. I did have individual stalls, which helped at times, and took common-sense precautions (a sign letting customers know their dogs needed to be on leash and not roaming around, making sure that people with dogs that didn't get along with others particularly well had their animals under control at all times, etc.). I found that people who had concerns about how their pets might get along with others they encountered, tended to be careful and go out of their way to avoid problems.

That being said, you do, as the operator of the facility, always have the right to ask that an aggressive/disruptive dog not enter (or come back), or that they come at a typically slow time, etc.

Anyone else have input on this?

I just got the insurance quotes for my business (due to open in March), and was SHOCKED at how low they were! There are a couple of things that I need to mention.

1) I formed an LLC.
2) I will not be doing any grooming, and as such, will not need the earlier mentioned increases to my insurance.
3) The landlord had many stipulations that needed to be met, and they were all covered in what the agents call a "BOP" policy.

After all of that is said, I had overestimated my insurance costs 5 fold in my preliminary financial estimates!

Hi, Bought your book, lots of good advise. I have been searching for groomers insurance to cover self service facility as well as myself and possible other groomer. Seems to be a lot of UK companies, however, need one in the good old US of A. Any suggestions for a good company?? Thanks.

I've been in the insurance business for years. I highly suggest that you go to an independent agent in your community. By independent, I mean someone who can sell all companies; not State Farm etc. as they have to sell their own product.

I would not buy insurance off the internet for something so specialized.

Insurance Agents that I spoke with in Mich are not able to write a policy as SSDW's are not an established business in this area. Is there an Agent someone can recommend?

Response from Dave Grass:

I suggest you try an independent agent who deals with a number of insurance companies. They are able to search for the best match, and often deal with companies that are more flexible (unlike State Farm, Allstate, etc.). I had an inexpensive policy through Zurich, a company which provides "customized" business insurance.

Can anyone offer any input on customers signing a "hold harmless" agreement (along with the standard insurance policy) when using a SSDW. Any forms, examples, suggestions... Thanks in advance

Response from Dave Grass:

I am not personally aware of any dog washes using anything like this, nor of insurance companies requiring it. Remember that with self-serve dog washes, customers maintain care and custody of their own pets (with the exception of any full-service grooming or staff-performed washes).

I'm curious where you heard about this? Groomers, vets, etc. apparently don't even use such forms, at least not in my area.

I do not have my customers sign one of these.

As Dave mentioned, the customer is keeping control of the animal at all times anyway, and in the event that something REALLY bad were to happen those waivers are not worth the paper that they are printed on!

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