Floor Plans & Design

Grooming Objectives for Floor Plans

In the last 50 years, manufacturers have made major improvements in grooming equipment, tools, and supplies, making our work easier, more productive, and more reliable. What continues to work against many groomers is their building design. Structural, space, and materials planning can reduce groomer stress and burnout and improve mental clarity, focus, well-being, and safety. Effective design also saves money.

Experienced members of the grooming industry may have never experienced our solutions for design and working environment problems common to thousands of stationary grooming businesses. Don’t come to quick conclusions. We base our designs on over 50 years of hands-on grooming industry experience.

There are several problematic elements common to all stationary pet grooming operations. They negatively affect productivity, client satisfaction, people and pet safety, and the ability of groomers to optimize client referrals. They are so pervasive every square foot of floor space and sometimes every cubic foot of air space is subject to degeneration. They are:

  • Noise
  • Dirt, dander, and haircoat
  • Excessive heat and humidity
  • Fleeing or off-leash pets
  • Pet Distraction

C.A.P. is an abbreviation for three directives whose mission is to address and resolve these design problems. The directives are:

  • Contain
  • Abate
  • Prevent

When we don’t incorporate these directives into the design of a grooming business, productivity is lost. Owners running businesses alone, or staff, are left doing more mundane tasks to contain, abate and prevent problems. Groomers groom less and endure environmental stress. The result is a loss of income. For example, groomers raise their voices over excessive noise every workday. Loose hair, dirt, and dander travel throughout grooming businesses requiring more cleaning tasks. Air conditioning works harder, and energy costs rise. C.A.P. directives lead to solutions and create happier groomers with less burnout.

Don’t let your grooming environment wear out people and pets because its design doesn’t contain, abate and prevent noise, excessive heat, humidity, fleeing pets, dirt, dander, and hair coat. Let groomers groom as much as possible. That’s what they do best. Lower your operational costs. C.A.P. directives make an incredible difference in your floor plan design and operation.


Containment is the prime directive. How well we master containment in our floor plan design ideas affects our ability to successfully implement the remaining C.A.P. directives, abate, and prevent. Noise, dirt, dander, haircoat, excess heat, humidity, and fleeing pets can be contained with smart design.
Traditional grooming design does little to contain these problems. We’re going in the opposite direction. Contain is our prime directive. Wall placement, materials, and gates and doors best achieve it.


Once large containment measures such as walls, doors, and gates are in place, your floor plan should look to abate the targeted problematic elements previously mentioned. Environmental factors such as noise, heat, and humidity are prime conditions for abatement.

Most grooming businesses are excessively noisy. Some groomers wear earplugs. Disregard barking, and you still have very noisy environments from equipment. It only gets worse when you have two or more groomers and other staff.

Noisy environments tire the body and minds of both people and pets. Noise is the leading stress factor in every grooming business. We telephone pet groomers on a daily basis, and most have to raise their voices. Some even yell when equipment is running in the background, and dogs are barking. Carpeting helps to absorb sound, but it never belongs in a grooming business.

Noise bounces on hard surfaces in grooming environments. Drop ceilings with acoustic boards and walls treated with acoustic dampening treatments offer a way to abate noise. It may cost extra, but the relief is worth it. You can learn more about acoustic treatments by searching the Web. Our solutions include acoustic sound absorption materials, heat exhaust fans, and strategic placement of A/C vents, walls, and contained rooms for staff.

Two advanced abatement features for midsize and large businesses are:

Noise Abatement Room
Silent Room

Now you have an extraordinary grooming environment. You enter it during the busiest period of the day with several pets being groomed and only hear the soft hum of clippers and soft music. Little or no vacuums of any kind, HV nozzle, or box dryer noise.


Can we expect building design to help us prevent undesirable events involving pets and people? We know containment helps to prevent fleeing pets from making successful escapes. But what about accidents or health conditions that cannot be predicted? Prevention is the best solution.

Who prevents? Groomers do. Place their workstations strategically, giving them a natural line of sight access to accommodated pets not actively being groomed.

We make copies of our floor plans and mark them with a Line of Sight Safety Analysis.

Get Started

To get started, state your floor plan objectives. We’ve provided you with our list, which is suitable for all grooming departments or stationary locations. Next, get ready to draw your design. You may want to use floor plan software, but paper, pencil, and ruler are adequate for most groomers with a little knowledge of maintaining scale.

Besides C.A.P.’s goals, here are ten objectives to achieve in your design for a professional grooming environment. 

  1. Relatively quiet
  2. Comfort and visual appeal
  3. Safety for people and pets
  4. Clean and sanitary
  5. Space efficient
  6. Energy efficient
  7. Optimized natural lighting
  8. Groomer friendly
  9. Cost efficient
  10. Employee friendly

Every time you draw a wall, place a workstation or tub, or indicate any other design feature, stop and ask yourself, “Is my floor plan working for me? Am I optimizing the use of C.A.P. directives?” Keep adjusting to meet all objectives.

Here is a sample of a 2,000-square-foot design created by Grooming Business in a Box®. It achieves maximum results by meeting C.A.P.’s goals and ten additional objectives.


Article based on an excerpt from Floor Plan Concepts for Pet Groomers, User Guide, and digital files part of the Grooming Business in a Box® series. ♦

Amazing Benefits of Counter Drying

Thousands of groomers have never worked in a grooming business with drying counters. Instead, pets are dried on grooming tables, in tubs, or cage-dried. We know from decades of hands-on experience that hand-drying on drying counters was our best experience.

As grooming business owners, we served over 400,000 pets and their owners. Some say quantity means no quality. We hand-dried over 400,000 pets, every pet we ever groomed. They were never left alone in a cage to dry. How is that worthy of negative grooming-related colloquialisms? It isn’t, of course.

There’s nothing wrong with drying pets on tables or in cages or tubs. However, we know counter drying by hand outperforms other methods with advantages and maximum safety. It may cost a little more to hand-dry every pet. Counter drying cut the cost of the luxury of hand-drying because it is faster and easier for most pet bathers. Once trained in counter-drying techniques, none of our bathers wanted to use grooming tables.

Drying counters lined the perimeter of our bathing department, supporting our Contain-Abate-Prevent (C.A.P.) objectives described in our book and CD titled Floor Plan Concepts for Pet Groomers.

Here are the key benefits of drying counters:

Faster Drying Times. Assume you have a dog on a drying counter along a wall of your bathing department. Face the counter and wall. The pet is between you and the wall and positioned parallel lengthwise with the wall. Some of the heated or room temperature air blown onto the dog spreads around and past the dog and bounces back off the wall. The coat facing the wall is simultaneously drying at a slower pace.

We found the bounce effect so pronounced we kept spray bottles of water handy for stretch-drying pets. By the time groomers finish the front side with stretch drying, some areas of the back side may be curled and almost dry. Quick sprays of water wetting the curled spots solved the problems. This minor problem is testimony to how fast counter-drying works.

Containment and Abatement Success. Counter drying within a bathing department enables the building design to noticeably contain and abate noise, moving air, heat, and humidity. The walls prevent these problems from spreading throughout the grooming environment, where it is not desired or useful for any reason.

Table Drying Consequences. Drying on a grooming table is counterproductive to C.A.P.’s goals to contain, abate and prevent. In fact, drying on grooming tables in open areas is one of the worst environmental quality practices for professional grooming environments. It’s not wrong for pets.

There is no containment when you dry in the open on a grooming table. Blown air, heat, and humidity travel across the pet and across the room. Groomers working on any adjacent tables may receive blasts of air and noise. Groomers trying to “stay in the zone” concentrating on the art of finishing grooming get plenty distracted. Why do stylists have to overlook and have their zone challenged by noisy equipment, including dryers, nozzles, and vacuums? Resolving these issues creates natural productivity and less stress.

Blown air sends big and little hairs out into the open, adding to cleaning duties in all departments. Some groomers flip the drying nozzle around, up, down, here, there, left, and right, and heat and humidity are being shot everywhere. Dirt, dust, and dander already at rest on objects, furniture, and fixtures become airborne again and sail throughout the business. If you have a retail area, you are forever dusting. The dryer and nozzle noise fans out 360 degrees too. Overall, C.A.P. directives fail when drying on tables in traditionally designed shops.

Accident Prevention Improves with Counter Drying. A dog securely looped to a fixed position on a walled drying counter has more security, and security makes for calmer pets. It’s easier to dry a pet that feels protected. The groomer stands on one side of the dog, and the opposite side is a wall. Some pets love to rest against it. The wall reduces visual pet distraction. It prevents looped pets from moving sideways. Fortunately, the pet retains forward vision, the most important direction if they are to feel comfortable and less restrained. Counter drying done properly by pet bathers supports pet satisfaction with the grooming experience.

Pets on open grooming tables receive 360 degrees of distraction. Information comes at them from all sides. They can more readily struggle away from groomers even when looped to a grooming arm. Pet positioning becomes more of a task when compared to counter-drying. Missing counter walls are like third arms helping groomers to keep pets positioned comfortably.

In summary, what are the advantages of drying pets on grooming tables? Absolutely none. It’s not wrong. It’s simple without advantages. Counter drying successfully allows pets to dry faster with hands-on attention, containing noise, heat, humidity, loose dirt, dander, and hair coat. What more can a professional ask for? How about a lot of extra storage space without taking up more floor space?
Here are some additional tips.

Construction. Drying counters may be mounted on walls leaving open space below them. There’s no problem with that design. However, the empty space below the counter could be used for significant storage and additional counter support. Construct storage cabinets and secure them to the walls of the bathing department as indicated on your floor plan. Build countertops secured to the top of the storage cabinets; the result is a very stable drying counter solution with plenty of storage. Some of our floor plans incorporate more than 100 cubic feet of storage under drying counters. What does that mean? You need less square footage, and that lowers rent.
Countertops. They should extend about six inches forward from the front face of the cabinets. This air space is also leg space for pet bathers sitting on stools while they dry pets. It also allows some room for dryer stand bases and rollers.

Don’t use cabinet hardware that sticks out from the face of the cabinets, such as handles and knobs. Bathers could bruise their knees on them, and cords can catch on them. Instead, use hardware that is flush with the surface of the cabinets. Raise the cabinets on your feet, creating some air space between the bottom of the cabinets and the floor. Bathing departments are wet, and you don’t want water seeping under cabinets with solid bottoms resting on floors. Seeping water can rot wood and harbor sanitation problems.

Pet Positioning Safety. Secure very strong eyelets into the studs of the counter wall. Strong but comfortable grooming loops should be able to attach to the eyelets. Never allow pets of different families to commingle on drying counters. Space pets on your drying counters so they cannot touch one another. Then attach their grooming loops, maintaining the separation. The pets are always safe from touching or harming one another.

Pets should never be left unattended on grooming tables; the same is true for drying counters. Grooming loops attached to a counter wall should never be relied upon when a bather needs to step away temporarily. Instead, bathers use temporary holding cages, the same as groomers.

Article based on an excerpt from Floor Plan Concepts for Pet Groomers, a User Guide, and digital files part of the Grooming Business in a Box® series.  ♦