There are a lot of things to be said for being a dog groomer – you can set your own hours, work at a variety of places, and gain a lot of very serious dog handling skills. And you can’t really underestimate the job satisfaction that comes from seeing a sweet, clean puppy face at the end of every session.
- Be able to provide basic grooming services such as washing, drying, trimming, scissoring, ear cleaning, flea and tick bathing, anal gland expressing, and nail clipping.
- Be able to move animals (and merchandise) up to about 50 pounds.
- Be able to spend long hours on your feet.
- Be able to interact with clients in a professional manner.
- Be able to perform more complicated grooming tasks such as hand stripping and shaping, utilizing knowledge of breed characteristics and standards.
- Be able to calmly, safely, and effectively handle dogs who really don’t want to be bathed, groomed, clipped, or blow-dried.
- Be able to purchase and maintain your own grooming equipment.
- Be able to accept that, at the end of the day, you will be very damp, covered in fur, and fragrant with the aroma of wet dog.
Compensation: Groomers can expect to earn around 50% of the list price for services (plus tips), depending on experience. Most salons do not offer benefits, unless you are considered a full-time employee.
Equipment: Pet salons and other facilities that offer dog grooming will have the basic heavy equipment and supplies (such as shampoo) for performing the job; however, you should expect to purchase and maintain your own professional grooming equipment kit. You’ll also need comfortable shoes with non-slip soles and some sort of cover-up, apron, or lab coat (if the salon doesn’t supply them).
Pros: a flexible work schedule, lots of employment opportunities (with national chains, salons, doggy daycares, mobile vans, or veterinary offices), and the chance to become familiar with many different breeds and grooming requirements.Cons: a lot of time on your feet, a fair amount of heavy lifting and dog wrangling, and evening and weekend hours. Many employers will require certification from a professional dog grooming school (which can run $4000 or more) and/or previous experience, and may expect new groomers to complete an in-house training program/apprenticeship or shadow a more experienced groomer before allowing them to groom solo.
Jamie Damato Migdal, CPDT-KA and CEO/Founder of FetchFind, has been innovating within the pet industry for over 25 years. A sought-after consultant and public speaker, Jamie has built four national pet service companies and has wide-ranging industry expertise in education, technology, business development, sales, marketing and management. Her fourth and current company, FetchFind, provides staff training and engagement, as well as digital marketing and other business solutions, to pet care service and pet-friendly companies around the globe.