If you’ve got your sights set on a dog grooming career, we have no doubt that you want that career to start as soon as possible! However, becoming properly trained, gaining experience, and building up your clientele takes time, and this can be discouraging for aspiring groomers who want to get the ball rolling quickly.
Believe it or not, it is possible to become a dog groomer in a short time frame – less than a year, to be specific! It may sound challenging, but trust us, with a little bit of planning and our tips below, you can become a dog groomer in no time!
Set attainable goals
While we have every confidence that you can become a dog groomer in less than a year, it won’t be easy. In general, dog grooming isn’t easy, and requires hours upon hours of hands-on experience to get to a professional level.
With this in mind, the first order of business on the path to becoming a dog groomer should be to set some realistic, yet challenging goals. Not sure where to start? We’ll help you out…
You know the saying, time is of the essence? Well, it certainly is applicable here! Becoming a dog groomer won’t happen overnight – you’ll need to complete a dog grooming course in order to learn the skills necessary to properly care for pets, and how to handle emergency situations. This takes time! One of the first goals you should set, therefore, is to find the time.
We recommend sectioning off a couple of hours each week for some no-distraction learning and practicing. This is designated “you time”, and should be communicated as such to your family members and friends. If they know how important of a goal this is to you, they’ll be supportive!
Once you start your dog grooming career, you’ll be trusted by pet owners to take care of their furry friends, making sure they’re happy, healthy and safe. Because of this trust, you’ll want to make sure you get the best training possible! As we mentioned above, time is of the essence, and this is why so many dog grooming schools have gone online – you can learn at your own pace and from the comfort of your home, without needing to travel to a brick-and-mortar school after a long day at work.
There are a lot of options out there when it comes to dog grooming courses (including some courses that will prepare you to start your own dog grooming business!), so really take your time and find the training that’s right for you – here’s a guide to choosing the right dog grooming school. Make finding the right training your first career goal – it’s key on the path to becoming a professional groomer.
Dog grooming is not something that can be learned solely from a textbook. You’ll need to take every opportunity you have to practice your grooming skills, so be sure to find some dogs that you can practice on. Asking friends and family members if you can groom their dogs is a great place to start! Those close to you are unlikely to turn down free grooming for their beloved canines (just make sure your services are free, since you are practicing for now!).
If you’re serious about becoming a professional dog groomer, practice is the number one way to master the various techniques and figure out how/when to use them. Making practicing a priority is essential on your journey to becoming a groomer, so add it to your list!
Make the most of your training
From our short list above, you know that training is a major step for an aspiring groomer, as you’ll need to have best practices down pat (no pun intended!). Not only is training a necessary step, it’s also an incredibly helpful way to move your career along, as your dog grooming course can set you up for success in several different ways.
Each dog grooming class is different, especially online courses versus in-class courses. In the case of an online dog grooming course, you’ll have access to online forums and discussions that will allow you to get to know your fellow students, as well as graduates of the school. This is an extremely useful resource, and one that you should take full advantage of during your time as a student! You never know who you’ll connect with by participating in discussions about dog grooming assignments and techniques, and how other students can help you find potential jobs or move your dog grooming career forward.
Participating in these online forums is also a great way to make sure you ace your course! You’ll be engaging closely with the course material, and are more likely to have a deeper understanding of it. The sooner you obtain your dog grooming certification, the sooner you can hit the ground running as a professional groomer.
Keep meeting people
With your dog grooming certification in hand, you’re ready to take on the world! And we’re sure you’re very keen to get your dog grooming career started.
One of the best ways to find clients is to network. As you’re just getting started, a great way to boost your career is to team up with local businesses in your area. Animal-oriented businesses, such as Petco, employ groomers to work in their stores. A newly certified, motivated groomer such as yourself would be a wonderful asset to a business, so don’t be afraid to apply and start putting your skills to use in a practical way. If you find yourself employed at a business similar to Petco, get to know the owners and find out if their clientele have ever shown interest in grooming services – this is exactly the kind of situation that often leads to recommendations or partnerships!
Pro Tip: Be sure to have some business cards ready at all times. If you’re attending tradeshows, networking events, and meeting people on-the-job, you’ll need to make sure you’re not only making an excellent first impression, but also leaving them with your contact information.
Build your brand
As you begin your career as a certified dog groomer, never underestimate the power of a good impression. Everyone you meet, including dog owners, business owners, and friends of friends will be forming opinions of you – both as an individual and of the grooming services you provide. If you want your career to move along quickly, you’ll need to set yourself apart through a strong, impressive brand.
Knowing what you can offer as a pet groomer is a great place to start, so focus on what you do well. Maybe it’s shampooing, nail clipping, or trimming – but whatever it is, be sure to emphasize your expertise in these areas. From here, you can create your social media presence, logo, business name and website, and really make them stand out.
Keep in mind that dog owners are looking for groomers who are patient, compassionate, and gentle. If you show these traits during each groom, you’ll start to build a wonderful reputation for yourself. Completing an appointment with a dog at ease and looking his best will make a very positive impression on the owner – they’ll be much more likely to trust your skills and judgment, and will feel less anxious about leaving their dog in your care. This will give your dog grooming career a major boost, and amp up the pace!