Thinking of becoming a Pet Groomer

Good grooming practices are essential for maintaining health and happiness for you and your dog. This is a forum to exchange tips and advice for proper care of your dog's hygiene needs.

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Ch. Chaz

We don't do- doodles!
Barked: Tue Sep 22, '09 6:12am PST 
VERY HARD to make anything from grooming... the expenses are soo high... shampoo, dryers, blades scissors, electricity, and especially insurance!!!! Dogs are always kicking the clippers off the table and breaking them, dryers quit from too much use, it is not a good way to pay bills, that's for sure! In the Summer our boarding keeps the grooming afloat, but in the Winter the grooming lets us barely get by. I am a show person/breeder so I mostly do this to help keep my own dogs in food and pay a few bills, but I have NO savings!!!

Did someone say- Dinner!?!?!?!?!
Barked: Tue Sep 22, '09 8:13am PST 
So basically Pet Grooming as a career is a bad idea
Ch. Chaz

We don't do- doodles!
Barked: Tue Sep 22, '09 5:59pm PST 
Up here in the country it's a bad idea... I suspect it may be better in the cities where people expect to pay more. There is no way our grooming would survive without the boarding kennel and daycare, but I think the boarding would not survive without the grooming, either. Put it this way, you are going to work very, very hard and you will not get rich or retire young!!!!!!!!!!!

Khan AKC- "Wrath" of- Khan RIP

Ceo of The Dog- Laundry
Barked: Wed Sep 23, '09 1:30pm PST 
If your thinking about becoming a dog groomer, you could get a job at "Petco" or "Petsmart" and they send you to their grooming schools. The only draw backs is that you're locked into working for them for 2 yrs. If you leave before the two year period they'll charge you a couple thousand dollars for the schooling that they put you through.

I own a self serve dog wash and also do full service grooming also. It is extremely hard on your body, I have had two back surgerys and also have fibromyalgia plus arthritis. It has gotten to the point that I have to have a helper come in and bathe any dog over 40lbs.
You earn every penny that you make it is hard work. Plus I have a zero tolerance policy on aggressive dogs

It is a very rewarding career but it is at times frustrating, exspecially when people do not take care of the basics combing and brushing their pets.

I truly wish you all the luck on whatever you deceide to do because as we all know "Dogs Rule"

Mommy's little- princess
Barked: Wed Sep 23, '09 4:58pm PST 
Ya I agree that it all depends on your area. My sister told me to stay out of the groom salons in London or Toronto as I would be not to happy. They charge for a small dog what we charge for big dog!!!!! They are bigger cities though. People are more willing to pay that and cost of living is more there. Where I am its tough. It may be a little better if I had my own salon but I cant afford to take that chance at the moment. As it is making what I make and still having to pay for all my equipment and its up keep is tough. If I were on my own and not married Id still be with my parents as theres no way I could make it on my own with what I make.red face
Jade- Alexandria

Dont mess with- me, I'm- chihuahua!
Barked: Tue Sep 29, '09 1:39pm PST 
A few years into grooming if you work at a shop, you can make good money. The only thing you have to pay for is the sharpening of your blades and scissors and maybe new pieces now then again. You wont make any money if you own a shop for the whole term of your loan (assuming you have to take out a loan in the first place). Working for someone you get a % of each dog you do, average runs 50%. If you own a salon, you have to give employees that % plus pay the shop utility bills and supplies with your portion of the %.

My shop in sales each week does about 2K. Half that goes to us groomers, leaving the owner only with 1K a week, 4k a month. Rent by itself is 3K for the building. See where this is going?
Rest in- Paradise- Voltaire.- 1/1

Did somebody say- deer??
Barked: Wed Jun 27, '12 6:13am PST 
this topic is from 2009
Carly- Rosebud- *2001-2012*

Red Headed Pork- Chop
Barked: Mon Sep 3, '12 9:20am PST 
Hi Guys! I know this is old, but I just wanted to add my 2 cents in case anyone new who is thinking about grooming is reading it.

I agree with what someone else said about working as a bather before going to school. I worked at a doggy daycare bathing for a year and a half before school. I learned so much about handling dogs and about how physically demanding the job is.

I went to Nash Academy, and while the school has a great reputation based on its past, I will say do your research and ask a million questions before you go about how it is NOW, and try to go tour the school. I do think the training is still the best out there as far as grooming schools go, but make sure you ask questions about what the student/teacher ratio is.

Grooming is the kind of job where you will get as much out of the training as you put into it, but there is still no way you are going to learn everything you need to know in four months. It is a job where you never stop learning. I am a total nerd when it comes to dogs. I know the breed standards, for fun I study breed trims, I read everything online I can find about trims/tools/safety. I know dog anatomy, which is essential to safety. I go to every dog show I can. I went to school with people who did nothing beyond what they learned at school to educate themselves and they either lost interest or couldn't handle the job. The more knowledge you have, the easier it is to communicate with and please your customers.

I work out of a doggy daycare. I get to know my customers very well, I talk to them and get to know the dogs and I write down everything they say about how they want their dogs groomed. I study dog behavior and do lots of training with dogs who are difficult to groom at first and get to watch as they slowly warm up to me. I also allow myself to not groom a dog if I do not feel comfortable with it or with the parents. One thing about grooming is that no matter how good a job you do there are some people that you will NEVER be able to please. People are crazy lol. Having a boss that lets me run my grooming the way I want to helps as well. I know I am lucky because some salons you just have to do what your boss tells you to.

The first year I was grooming was the only year I had a difficult time paying my bills. Since I got very comfortable and confident in my abilities as a groomer I have made a pretty good living...I am not swimming in money but I have enough to live on and some left over. I work very long hours four days a week, then one half day.

You HAVE to learn when to say NO. People will call needing "emergency grooming" and at first you want to please everyone so you just keep adding dogs to your schedule. Usually when someone has an emergency that they need grooming the same day it means that the dog has a vet appointment or company coming into town and the owners do not want anyone to see what deplorable condition their dog is in. You need to set boundaries and not crumble when someone tries to guilt trip you! I am by appointment only and I black out my days off on my calendar to stop me and other employees from scheduling dogs that couldn't fit on my schedule. Just yesterday (Sunday) I actually had a customer TEXT me (not sure how she got my cell number lol) and ask if I could squeeze her dog in right away. This was at 1:15 pm. I do not work Sundays.

Grooming is definitely a job that you need to LOVE to be able to do it long term. It is gross, it is physically exhausting, it can be very sad. You will see neglected dogs and you will not be able to eat or sleep after grooming some dogs, you may lose faith in people. You will see families with older dogs who used to be spoiled, then they get a new puppy and the old dog starts to come in with mats so bad the skin underneath has turned purple and their butts are so matted the poop can't come out. You will have customers who never socialized their dogs and then can't understand why you refuse to groom a dog that wants to eat your arm off.

For every one of those situations you will see a bunch of dogs that are spoiled babies who are treated like royalty, and a bunch of customers who are amazing. I have some customers that throw their dogs into the lobby and tell me to do whatever I want with the trim. I have lots of dogs who wag their tails the entire time I groom them and try to give me kisses the whole time, and drag their parents into the building to see me. I have customers who tip me $20 on a $30 bath for a small, short haired dog. I have people who email pictures of their dogs passed out on the bed when they get home from grooming saying thank you so much, we love the trimsmile

No matter how hard it is I love grooming so much, I can't imagine ever wanting to do anything else.


Snow- Queen
Barked: Mon Sep 3, '12 5:03pm PST 
Very well put! applause

It's not the easiest job in the world and its not for everyone, but I love it.

I have to say, it always amazed me when I worked at a grooming shop how easy some of the new apprentices thought it would be. Only to find out its not easy, you won't magically be able to do a perfect cut on your first try or heck, maybe not even the 50th try. We had one apprentice quit after ONE day. And saying over and over again "this is WAY harder than I thought it would be!". So to anyone wanting to do this, have realistic expectations.

Like what was said, this is a very physically AND mentally demanding job. Your going to have back aches, scratches, you're going to get bit, sore arms, pooped on, peed on, covered in fur, maybe anal glands, you're going to get wet, you're going to see neglected dogs, you're going to deal with some really crappy people and you're are not going to please them all. You'll have to learn to stand up for yourself and not take things personally. Those last two things were the hardest for me to learn.

If you can handle the above, then you get to enjoy the little things. Like puppy kisses, smiling owners, doing a cut your really proud of, pictures and updates on the dogs. The dogs being happy to see you. And honestly, it was the best puppy/ dog fix I ever got. You get to see so many breeds you only read about. Its amazing! Best part for me, was grooming shelter dogs/ neglected dogs and making them feel better. Getting rid of all the mats and seeing them wag their tails. These parts are the best!

And I couldn't agree more with this line:

"It is a job where you never stop learning"

This is so unbelievably true. I don't believe in setting limits on yourself or you become stagnant. Branch out, explore and keep an open mind. Technology and techniques are changing all the time.

Edited by author Mon Sep 3, '12 5:08pm PST

Maxie CGC,- TDI

Social Butterfly
Barked: Tue Sep 4, '12 4:23am PST 
I am not a groomer- but decided to start grooming my own dogs (2 poodle mixes)about 8 months ago. I learned very quickly that groomers really earn their money...and then some! shock

Before this- I switched groomers a few times before finally finding someone who was very caring toward my dogs, and it was such a nice feeling to know your dogs were safe when you dropped them off. Really appreciate a good groomer.

I like grooming my dogs- but they are easy, and tolerate my bumbling. Kudos to those who do it professionally and are wiling to spend the hours it takes to do a quality job.
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