QC Pet Studies graduate Casey Bechard works as a full-time dog groomer and shop manager at Off The Leash Pet Grooming in Regina, Canada. Today, she shares her insights about becoming a certified pet groomer and entering the professional dog grooming field!
You’ve finished your last assignment and just got your grades back—YOU’VE PASSED! You’re now onto greater things. Having spent all this time, money, and energy at dog grooming school, you’re probably thinking, “Where can I possibly go with this career path?”.
Well, have I got some advice for you! Keep reading…
The possibilities are endless!
You can literally take your dog grooming career anywhere! If you want to work out of your home, go for it. If you want to travel around in a mobile salon, go for it. If you want the comfort of a salon setting, go for it!
There’s no telling where you might go with so many options ahead of you. But the important thing is that you have loyal clients to keep you busy.
How to get your name out there
I work in a salon setting. Grooming a dog was the easy part. The hard part, even when I was employed, was gaining clients who trusted my skills. When I first started professional dog grooming, nobody knew who I was as a groomer. My boss would introduce me to some of her clients and tell them what I was good at to give them an idea of my skills. But, people don’t actually know what you can do until you show them!
Having someone who knows your abilities is a great way to get your career off the ground. But you need to also create opportunities for yourself. If you have the chance to show someone what you can do, don’t be afraid to go for it. To get to the point where you have many clients, you must be proactive when self-promoting yourself, as well.
I have business cards that I hand out to dog owners. I ask stores if they wouldn’t mind handing some out and give a bunch to family and friends so they can give some out, too. The more you get your name out there, the more that people will be interested in what you do for them. It’s even better if people can see you wearing branded clothing for your business as they can come up to you and ask you about it in person!
I created an Instagram page to follow dog and industry pages. But by also following your friends and making cute posts, they might be more interested in what you do. I believe it’s all about getting your name out there!
Showing off your technical knowledge and how much you care for each and everyone’s dog makes them much more willing to come to you for their grooming needs. Most people just want to know that their babies are in the best hands so they don’t have to worry.
And always be totally and completely honest with them. If they ask how their pup did during the appointment, don’t be afraid to say, “Lucy didn’t like her nails being done today, but that’s something we can work on in the future”. This way, they’ll know you are going to take the time to work with their dog next time they come in.
It’s all about communicating with your client and gaining knowledge about their dogs so you can better serve them. We all know you chose this career path because you love dogs, so why not show it? When you do, I promise you they’ll be back!
Benefits of experience
To be honest, when I finished my dog grooming course, I had no idea what I was getting myself into. But it’s been 7 months since I’ve received my certificate, and I’ve learned so much from working and grooming many different dogs.—it’s been GREAT!
I probably learn something new every day. I can confidently say that I can talk to clients about their dog, give them advice, and not hesitate about whether I’m giving the correct answer. As you start grooming on your own and get the hang of it, you’ll be more confident in yourself.
Providing better services
As you groom more dogs, you’ll notice what each dog needs from you and can make adjustments accordingly. Some dogs are older so you need to be more cautious with some things. Meanwhile, other clients are just puppies, and you need to go slow with their first groom. Just know that you should always keep in mind what is best for the dog and what isn’t.
Even if the owner is telling you that they want something done, if you don’t think that’s the best idea for their dog, let their owners know. For example, I had this elderly dog come in for an appointment. She was double coated, and from what I could see, had some skin problems. Her owner wanted her to be shaved, so I simply informed her that I didn’t think that was the best choice for her and her health at the time.
You have the professional judgment so you have the right to tell the client what is or isn’t best for their dog. Make sure you explain why because some people just don’t understand. In that situation, I was happy I had the knowledge and experience from previous grooms to help me out.
Where ever you find yourself I hope it is full of cute fluffy dogs that need your help! There is always room for improvement and knowledge. So keep learning every chance you get and just have fun with it!
Do you have any advice for novice groomers? Leave a comment to let us know!