If your dream is to become a pet groomer, then you’ve probably heard it all. Are your friends and family telling you that it isn’t a “realistic” career path? That you won’t be able to make enough money to support yourself? Or maybe they’ve also said that eventually, you’ll wish you had chosen a different career.

But, how would they know? They are not dog groomers! There are a lot of myths about a career in dog grooming, and it’s hard to know what’s real and what’s not. So today, we’ll tell you exactly how much dog groomers make. You can decide for yourself if a dog grooming career is right for you!

Meet Master Dog Groomer Lisa Day

Lisa Day, one of QC’s online dog grooming instructors, heard the same negative things when she decided to become a pet groomer. Her mom told her that she didn’t support her career decision. She wanted to see her daughter in a job that was more rewarding and financially feasible. Her mom, a pet groomer herself, was so adamantly against the idea that she refused to train Lisa.

Nonetheless, Lisa pursued her dream. She’s now a Certified Master Groomer with over 40 years of experience, and she’s still enjoying a prosperous grooming career. Lisa worked as a certifier for the Canadian Professional Pet Stylists and has won multiple awards for her work in show grooming. In 2010, she placed first for Poodle obedience in Canada!

Lisa is just one example of how it’s possible to have a successful career in the industry. The negative feedback you hear about dog grooming is just that: negative feedback from negative people. Maybe your parents want the best for you, but that shouldn’t hold you back from following your dreams. If you’re passionate about dog grooming, nothing should stand in your way!

Start-up costs for your dog grooming career

Like with any other job, you’ll have to start somewhere. Don’t expect to make big money right off the bat. Since pet grooming is a trade, you’ll first work as an apprentice or student groomer. This means that you’ll get paid as you learn!

The pet grooming industry is unregulated, which means you are not required to complete any classroom training to work. But don’t assume that your competition is skipping their schooling. Those who are serious about pursuing a career as a dog groomer will invest in education. Accumulating grooming experience as you learn and earning a physical certificate when you graduate gives you ample credibility to hit the ground running. Plus, your clients will know that their furry companions are in good hands!

Dog grooming courses cost only a fraction of what you would pay to get a college or university degree. And in today’s world, with the internet, so readily available, online pet grooming courses are a great way to save even more!

What is the average dog groomer salary?

According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, dog groomers make a median salary of $11.42/hour. Groomers can earn around $17.91/hour after a few years of experience under their belt. However, these numbers include a wide range of jobs within grooming.

On the lower end are wages for dog bathers and student groomers who don’t have much dog grooming experience or education. Expert groomers at the top of their game can make around $20/hr or just over $40,000 a year.

This salary may seem low, but your dog groomer salary will vary greatly depending on the popularity, pricing, and location of your salon. There is a lot of room for variation! In metropolitan areas where dog grooming trends and niche markets are popular, prices can skyrocket.

Dog groomers are usually paid on a commission basis, typically between 40% to 55% of the sale. So the more dogs you groom, the more money you’ll make. And don’t forget about the tips! Note, these salary estimates are for grooming jobs where you’ll be working at somebody else’s salon, or for a big company like Pet Smart.

Want a more detailed breakdown of your dog groomer salary? Check out this article to find out what the average salary for each dog grooming career is!

Professional pet grooming opportunities out there

When starting out as a dog groomer, you’ll want to work at a salon or at a pet store to gain grooming experience. But thankfully, your career opportunities are endless. Once you have your pet grooming certification and are comfortable working in the industry, you can start your own pet grooming business.

As a freelance groomer, you’ll have complete control over the prices you charge and subsequently your salary. You’ll get to take home all the profits! Here are three common freelance grooming settings:

Owning a pet grooming salon can be a lot of work, but it can also be very rewarding. If you want to hire grooming employees, then you’ll gain a fraction of what they make. You may even work less and make more! Plus, when you have your own salon you can earn more money from retail. Make sure to stock up your salon with dog essentials!

If you’re really passionate about grooming, you might even venture into feline grooming or competitive grooming. You’ll likely earn a higher salary at this level.

More than just the money

So when someone asks you if you can live off a dog grooming salary, the short answer is yes! There are plenty of full-time dog groomers out there. However, if you’re looking for a guaranteed six-figure salary, then pet grooming probably won’t be the right career choice for you. It’s definitely not a get-rich-quick scheme. Your passion for dog grooming should sprout first and foremost from your love of animals. If this doesn’t sound like you, then you probably won’t enjoy the daily work of grooming.

However, if you are an animal lover, then professional pet grooming can provide you with more than just the means to earn a living. Dog grooming is a physically demanding job, and your career as a dog groomer will keep you in great physical shape. Spending your day around animals can also improve your mental health, and improve your communication skills. As Lisa Day says, “I don’t work. I get paid to do something that I would do for free.” Does it really get any better than that?

Have more questions? Leave them in the comment section below!

Interested in getting into dog grooming right away? Check out QC’s online dog grooming courses!

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  • Freda Harrison says:

    I went to beauty school became a hair dresser loved cutting hair then I later became a nurse now ok want to groom dogs love dogs and helpng people I will still be helping people how great is this gone to the dogs groomer

  • Arlene Lauer says:

    In school now

  • Nina says:

    I wouldn’t say dog grooming keeps you in shape… I’d say it encourages you to get a gym membership to strengthen your back and arms to counteract the pain from standing (usually hunched over) a table all day and using repetitive wrist motions… Most groomers i know (ive been one for 7 years) have daily back pain complaints and carpal tunnel pains and many wear wrist guards… You’ll also be inhaling a lot of dog hair, nail dust and dander, even when wearing a mask, so be ready for all that. Groomers lung is a real thing!

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