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Must Like Dogs:  How to Clean Up  with a Pet Wash

Must Like Dogs:  How to Clean Up  with a Pet Wash

By Tania Moffat

If you are searching for an additional revenue stream for your business, you need only look to man’s best friend. Self-serve pet washes have been increasing in popularity and could be the boost you’re looking for to keep your business thriving. In addition to providing added value for your customers, they deliver year-round revenue, a great return on your investment and all with minimal costs.

Why the sudden interest in self-serve, fee-based pet washes? Prior to the pandemic, approximately 35 per cent of Canadians owned dogs. Since then, Canadian humane societies have reported a 30 to 70 per cent increase in adoptions. Noticing a similar rise, the Canadian Kennel Club has stated that their breeder inquiries are up by 40 per cent.

“The pandemic has created an interesting scenario for the pet wash industry, specifically dogs. A larger amount of our population is working from home and purchasing a dog for their family. With more dogs in loving homes, there is a higher demand for pet washing products and equipment,” shares Dan Gough, equipment sales representative for Transchem Group. 

Growing customer base aside, what makes this business opportunity so attractive to store operators is a combination of the low overhead costs, small physical footprint, and affordability. All you really need to incorporate a pet wash into your business is free space, electricity, water supply, plumbing and drainage.

Getting your paws wet

Once you’ve decided to get your paws wet, you’ll need to determine what type of pet wash service you’ll offer, where the best location to set up will be and how you will accept payment. Consider your existing customer base, investment budget and staffing requirements when deciding on what style of the pet wash to purchase. Basic tub systems are more economical but require staff supervision to manage wash sales, while the more expensive cabinet-style all-in-one washes are entirely self-sufficient.

SōAX Pet-Wash System

The cost of tub-style washes such as the SōAX Pet-Wash System from Transchem Group run around $10,500 for the tub and equipment plus chemicals. “Our pet wash systems are simple, user friendly and designed to provide comfort. Transchem’s pet washing equipment is built with stainless steel, non-heat dryers and protective parts to keep pets and their owners safe and happy. We also offer a full package of easy-to-use products for the family dog. These products include de-skunk, oatmeal shampoo, pet crème conditioner, and deodorizer and disinfectant for sanitizing the pet washing equipment. All of the products we offer are environmentally friendly and hypoallergenic,” adds Gough. 

Basic tub systems require some staff supervision, as customers will need to prepay at the counter for their washes, and tubs will require cleaning between uses. 

Furever Clean K9000

Completely self-operating units such as the K9000 come in various sizes and can be customized for your business. The standard model offers an all-natural and biodegradable flea solution, shampoo, conditioner and disinfectant, as well as a built-in two-speed warm dryer. 

“This model is the most popular and can accommodate all sizes of dogs, even multiple dogs at the same time. I’ve even seen the standard used to bathe miniature horses,” says Evelyn Rutherford, director of Furever Clean Dog Wash. 

If space is an issue, the compact dog wash is the smallest of the K9000 range and is designed to accommodate small and medium-sized dogs. While it only offers two dispensing options, you can add an extra pump. Furever Clean also sells a twin wash with the same features as the standard but with a tub on either side of the cabinet. This model allows two dogs to be washed at the same time and offers twice the amount of profit in a smaller footprint. 

Rutherford recommends business owners budget an upfront investment of $18,000 to $30,000. Customers can purchase or lease the units and have them customized with their business name, additional payment options, security frames, overhead lights, extra product options and more. 

“Our machines are relatively maintenance-free. Three filters located under the floor help to keep drains clog-free,” Rutherford adds. 

Location, location, location

Location and access are a key consideration when setting up your pet wash. Adding a timer lock to an outside-accessible door will allow you to run the dog wash during extended hours, even after your business is closed.

Sometimes finding the perfect location can be difficult. If you think a pet wash is the perfect investment for your business but are having trouble finding a location to set it up, Rutherford has the solution. “We can supply a fully insulated, waterproof, portable building that has been designed specifically to hold our dog wash machines. They are durable for Canadian weather and are equipped with an HVAC unit to moderate the inside temperature year-round. They are also easy to move should you want to change location.”

Lap up the added revenue

Another added benefit to having a pet wash is that it opens the door for you to sell pet-related items such as shampoo, grooming supplies, dental products, towels, dog treats and toys. Once you’ve attracted the clientele, the retail potential is unlimited. Dog-related items can be sold in-store, at the till or in pet vending machines added to the dog washroom. 

Incorporating a self-serve pet wash may or may not be for you, but for operators who decide to welcome Fido and his friends to clean up at their sites, it’s a great way to passively earn year-round income and attract new clientele to your business. 

Tania Moffat is a freelance writer, editor, publisher and photographer. She has worked in the publishing industry for the last 17 years on a wide variety of B2B and consumer publications, both in print and online. You can connect with her at

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