If you’re thinking about making the career switch, you’re probably trying to find out all you can about dog grooming as a profession. If you are a dog owner yourself, you’re probably well aware of all that goes into grooming. But it takes more than just knowledge on effective ear cleaning and undercoat stripping to find success in the business!

Admittedly, your chances of becoming the premiere pet stylist in Hollywood are slim (although not impossible!), but that doesn’t mean that there aren’t many full-time groomers who live comfortably and are happy with their careers. If you dedicate all your time and resources to growing your business, just how successful can you realistically aim to be?

Read on to find out!

Celebrity dog groomers

Some of the most successful groomers are employed by celebrities. Becoming a dog groomer for the stars isn’t easy, but you can expect to be compensated very generously for your work. Just like how many celebrities are constantly under the scrutiny of the public eye, it would make sense that they want their pets to be in perfect health and properly groomed if they appear alongside them.

In all honesty, the defining aspect of a grooming job is not in how they approach grooming. Grooming to breed standards is incredibly important because a dog’s health is reliant on how you groom them. Grooming techniques really shouldn’t change too much between one groomer to another in regards to the same breed – the ultimate goal is the same. The main difference lies in the luxury products and extra pampering doled out. The dogs who walk out are a billboard of your work and placed under heavy scrutiny.

A successful celebrity pet groomer can expect to earn around $300 per grooming session—more than quadruple the amount a regular groomer can expect for grooming a small dog!

pampering a luxury dog client

Competitive grooming

Competitive grooming is where the crazy extreme grooms happen. It’s a far cry than what regular dog groomers usually do, but even successful neighborhood groomers may attend competitive grooming shows for fun or cash prizes. These competitions ultimately test out the creativity and product knowledge of the groomer. It’s one thing to know how to de-mat a border terrier, but to know how to sculpt out a pink flamingo on a poodle’s body safely and comfortably? That takes some serious skills.

Some critics believe that competitive grooming is often cruel to the dogs being groomed, but as with regular dog shows, dogs who are groomed for these purposes often have positive and patient attitudes. To top it all off, professional groomers use non-toxic dyes specifically made for animals. A great groomer is able to use industry approved tools in order to achieve unique looks while keeping the dogs happy and safe.

For groomers, not only are they competing for a cash prize at most competitions (a modest amount of $2500), but they’ll also get their work and name recognized in the grooming community. Finding success as a regular dog groomer and a hobbyist competitive groomer can lead you to becoming a prominent member of the pet industry.

well-groomed dog competition

Conformation dog shows

Conformation dog shows are quite the opposite from competitive grooming. Whereas you have to make your grooming job stand out uniquely and creatively in competitive grooming, conformation grooming involves grooming a dog perfectly to breed standards—without all the bells and whistles!

When dogs are entered into shows, they are judged not against all the other dogs at the venue (although that is often the first round of judging), but they are mostly assessed by their biological attributes and how their groomers groom them according to the ideal breed standard.

The good news is that anyone can participate in conformation dog shows! It’s a great way to get your work recognized by canine experts, and it provides groomers with a wonderful opportunity to network and learn about best practices in the field.

Monetary prizes are rare at dog shows, but there aren’t many other situations where you’ll win a meaningful award for your talent. As success isn’t always measured by the amount of money in your pocket, being renowned for your expert clipping and trimming work and eye for detail can grow your brand, business, and opportunities.

conformation dog grooming show

Success takes work!

Of course you don’t only have to measure your success up against the earnings of Miley Cyrus’ dog groomer. It’s completely possible to have a thriving business without having celebrities as your patrons. If you provide consistently fantastic grooming services, then promoting yourself won’t be hard—your happy clients will do the legwork for you!

Besides working hard, keeping up-to-date with the latest grooming products and trends, being well-informed about product safety, anticipating a dog’s needs, and knowing what tools and techniques to use for each unique breed that comes through your door will afford you success.

Expanding your toolkit is expected, but some tools are not worth the money. Check out these terrible grooming gadgets!

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