For professional dog groomers, making a living comes second. The most important thing about a groomer’s job is taking care of any pup that comes into your salon – their happiness comes first! Caring for animals is your passion, and it just so happens that you are able to build a career out of it.

But even the most gracious people still need to make a living – and for those who take care of innocent pets, you deserve the world. So exactly how much can a dog groomer make?

Read on to find out what your salary will look like as you enter the world of dog grooming!

Average Groomer Salaries

Becoming a groomer means you have to make a crucial choice at the start of your career: where do you want to work?

Do you want to work in a pet store, or at an animal shelter? Do you have dreams of starting your own salon, or freelancing on your own schedule? Whichever roles suits your lifestyle will determine the majority of your salary as a pet groomer. However, this doesn’t mean you’re stuck in one position. As you gain experience, your employment opportunities will be endless.

Opening a grooming salon

So let’s go through the average salaries for jobs in the dog grooming industry:

  • Retail Pet Groomer: A retail dog groomer will make an average of about $10 per hour in an entry level position. With experience, a groomer will make about $14 per hour in a retail environment.
  • Freelance Pet Groomer: Freelance dog groomers are likely to make close to the national average, which is about $28,000 per year. As a freelance groomer, you can set your own prices to be more competitive and/ or based on location. For example, a dog groomer in New York City can have higher earning potential, but will have much more competition than groomers in rural areas.
  • Salon Groomer: A dog groomer working in a salon will make approximately $22 per dog, with most groomers working on 5 dogs per day. This means that a groomer working 5 days per week will make about $28,000 per year.

Depending on the salon, groomers have the ability to make more commission per dog as they gain experience in the business.


In every job, a higher salary comes with more experience and professional knowledge. Even at an entry level position, dog groomers can make about $20,000 per year. This doesn’t include tips, either!

Of course, the more skills you have as a groomer, the higher your commissions will be. Having a dog grooming certification will make you more desirable to clients, since they’ll want to know that their pup is in the best hands. Further, the more dogs you groom will directly effects your salary for the future. More dog grooming appointments means more payments and more clients. Eventually you’ll have enough experience to pick and choose who you want to work for!

Certified dog groomer earning salary in pet salon

Years 1-5

Starting out as a professional pet groomer will earn you about $20,000 per year. However, if you have proper training and are a certified groomer, you’re likely to start at a higher wage. Working as a retail groomer is a great choice for those who want to gain experience as they work through a dog grooming course.

Years 5-8

With a few years’ experience as a pet groomer, you’ll be able to start negotiating your own wages and pricing. If you work for a salon, you’ll have the potential to earn more commissions on each dog you groom. Your clients will also be willing to tip more for a groomer who does a good job! For freelance dog groomers, you’ll be able to raise your prices as your skills increase. You’ll also be able to groom more efficiently, giving you more time to groom extra pups.

Years 8+

With more than eight years’ experience as a dog groomer, you’re likely to be in charge of a salon or starting your own business. With the expertise and knowledge you possess as a groomer, you should be able to start hiring your own groomers to train. At this point, you could be earning upwards of $36,000 each year!

Supplementary Income

If you’re looking to start a career in dog grooming, but are unsure about leaving your day job, you can use grooming as a supplementary income for your household. Those who are passionate about grooming are happy to make appointments in the evenings or on weekends. Just a few appointments each week can raise your income by a few thousand dollars!

But it’s essential that you don’t burn yourself out by working two jobs – it can be difficult to say no to clients, and you can end up working too much! An alternative is cutting down the hours you work at your day job, and build up your grooming career with your spare time. From here, you can choose whether you want to groom full-time or keep both positions.

Plus, you can even add dog bathing and brushing to your services to increase your salary. Since bathing and brushing take less time than a full groom, you could offer these services in between appointments. Not only will this allow you to earn more each day, it’ll show that you have a wide variety of options available for your clients!

Are you passionate about animal care? Find out 5 careers that you’ll LOVE as a certified dog groomer!

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