There are so many valuable skills and insights to be learned from a dog grooming course – you’ll master nail trimming and de-matting, and know how to respond calmly in any situation. However, there are some things you just can’t prepare for as a dog groomer, and being told to “relax” isn’t going to help matters at all!
No matter how hard you study and how much you practice, some things must be learned out in the real world. Read on for 6 things no dog grooming school can prepare you for, and know what to expect!
1. Clients who always want discounts
Dog owners who are searching for a groomer will be shopping around and looking for the best value. This goes for any savvy shopper who wants to make sure they get the best value for their money, and it’s even more important when you’re working with their beloved pooch!
As a new groomer, you’ll meet clients who will do everything they can to score a deal on your services – they’ll see that you’re just starting out and assume that you’re keen to take on new clients, no matter what. However, you need to know what you’re worth, and stick to your guns. Before you even begin your career as a dog groomer, you need to package your services in both appealing and realistic ways, and provide your pricing information to new clients.
Steer clear of clients who want to haggle and bargain with you, but keep an open mind when it comes to clients who have multiple dogs – in cases like this, a discount is a great way to welcome them to your salon, and it makes sense! Ultimately, your skills are necessary to a dog’s health, so be firm about your prices and don’t allow yourself to be too swayed by pushy clients who demand regular discounts.
2. The expensive equipment
It shouldn’t come as a surprise that most dog grooming tools are pricy – after all, groomers and clients alike don’t want cheap, potentially harmful clipper blades used on their dogs! As a new dog groomer, however, expensive equipment can make things tricky, especially when you’re building your client base and trying to make a name for yourself. You likely won’t be working with an unlimited budget, so you’ll need to find ways of saving money while still using high-quality tools.
Fortunately, many dog grooming schools know how tough it is for new groomers to stock their dog grooming kits, so they will provide students with a starting point. These kits are intended to help aspiring dog groomers complete their course, and enter the industry well-prepared. These kits usually include clippers and scissors as well as different kinds of combs and brushes.
To top this all off, many dog grooming schools will partner up with top-quality vendors to provide further discounts on tools. This is why a dog grooming course is so important – not only will you gain the skills to be successful, you’ll also receive serious perks in the form of starter kits and discounts on equipment!
3. Harmful perfectionism
As you begin your career as a dog groomer, you may be under the impression that every animal must be groomed perfectly. While this attention to detail is much appreciated by your clients, you’ll be more efficient if you ease up on the perfectionism.
Now, we’re not saying that you should rush through every groom and not do your best, but we’ll let you in on a little secret that you won’t learn in dog grooming school: clients can’t tell if their dogs are groomed perfectly. They didn’t seek out your grooming services to achieve the perfect dog hairstyle or nail length. Rather, they want their pup to be properly cared for while in your salon, and leave looking clean and happy. So take your time, of course, but know when your job is done and it’s time to move on to another client.
4. Being honest, even when it’s tough
If you’re an aspiring or current dog groomer, you’re naturally a people person. More than that, you’re a people pleaser. Whenever you take on a client, you become responsible to both the dog and their owners, and you need to communicate constantly. The owners are going to want one thing for their pet, but you’re the expert – and because of this, you have the final say.
Now, this is easier said than done. Dog groomers are able to tell if their furry client is suffering from a skin condition or other ailment, and this needs to be communicated to their owner so they can seek veterinary attention. In some cases, it won’t be safe to groom a dog at all if you find a condition present during your evaluation, and you’ll have to tell the dog’s owner that you are unable to complete the appointment.
Your dog grooming course will prepare you to deal with different client personalities, but not necessarily how to deliver bad news. You’ll need to learn how to do so in a tactful, kind manner, and this can be unpleasant, especially if you want your clients to be happy. Don’t fret—it’ll come with experience!
5. The harsh reality of burning out
A dog grooming course is truly your ticket into an exciting career, and it’s the type of training that you’ll use for many years to come. However, the quicker you jump into your role as a dog groomer, the sooner you’ll find yourself swamped with clients and appointments. You’re likely thinking that this is exactly what you want – to be run off your feet with a full calendar of dogs to care for. But believe us, it’s not!
One of the biggest mistakes new dog groomers make is biting off more than they can chew. Of course you want to get moving with your dog grooming certificate, but the reality is you simply can’t work on 8 or 10 different clients in a day (especially when you’re just starting out), and you shouldn’t pursue projects that you don’t yet have the skills to execute. We recommend easing your way into the dog grooming industry instead of taking on more than you can handle right out of the gate.
You’re much more likely to build a strong, capable reputation and avoid total exhaustion as a dog groomer if you move slowly and steadily. Putting yourself and your own needs first will take you far!
6. How rewarding this role is!
While it’s true that no dog grooming school will discourage you from becoming a groomer, you also won’t understand just how amazing this role is until you actually start your career. Building your list of clientele, getting to know them, and providing amazing grooming services is really just the beginning.
You’ll be helping dogs every minute of the day, improving their health, happiness, and the quality of their lives, and earning a good salary while you’re at it. Your dog grooming course showed you what to expect day-to-day, but it couldn’t have prepared you for the dynamic, fun nature of the role and how enjoyable of a career it is. That has to be learned on the job!