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 on common dog owner grooming mistakes she witnesses at her salon!

When starting your dog grooming career, whether it be in your house, a salon, or wherever, always take pictures and remember what you did on those very first grooms. Some of those grooms you know you will have to improve on and others you’ve already done perfectly. When it’s time to start making a professional portfolio, you’ll have all the pictures and information to complete it.

Today, I’m giving a little insight on what you should put into your portfolio so you can land your dream dog grooming job.

cute shih tzu after dog grooming appointment

1. Show Off The Popular Dog Hair Cuts You Do

Some of your dog grooming clients will come to you with no a clue of the kind of haircut they want for their dog while other people will. But with both of these clients, we need to ask questions and sometimes show them pictures of what they might want.

For me, a lot of people come in saying they want a puppy or teddy bear cut or just the simple short cut. All these cuts come with different features, so go over what each cut entails, too. Some people might not know that the short cut will probably be short—and I mean short. Or that the puppy cut usually has a round head and is longer in length than the body.

Pictures of these cuts also show your clients how well cleaned up and neat your grooms are. It shows them that they are in good hands, and they shouldn’t be worried about their dog’s hair not coming out the way they want. This way, you know for sure what they want, and you don’t have to second guess yourself.

2. What Makes You Different from Other Dog Groomers

Potential clients who look over your resume and portfolio are probably going to wonder why they should hire you and not someone else. What makes you stand out than the rest of the candidates? If there are any little things that you do that you think no one else can do, put it in there.

If you have a certain breed standard cut you like and you’re good at it, put it in there! I’m sure there are tons of services or habits that you do that sought after so don’t be afraid to toot your own horn a little.

professional dog grooming grooming puppy

Tell them why you’re going to be different than anyone they have seen before—don’t hold anything back! This might take a little time to incorporate into your portfolio, and that is okay! An example that sets me apart from other professional dog groomers would be working with puppies. Not a lot of people have the time or patience to work with pups on their first groom. I simply tell clients that it may take a bit longer so I have time to work with their pup and get them used to the whole experience. The extra time also lets me create a good experience for the dog because sometimes, if you are rushing the dogs, they’ll know and it won’t be a good experience for anyone.

3. Should There Be Writing in Your Professional Dog Grooming Portfolio?

I believe a good portfolio should have words in it because it is hard to get your point across from pictures alone. Under the groom you’re showing in your portfolio, give a couple sentences on the main points of the groom or how you achieved the look. I think it would go a long way. It would also help potential clients to know more about the groom than just looking at the pictures provided.

Try and use expert grooming words instead of plain words. For example, you could say, “I achieved the round head by using my curved scissors to round out the edges, and then used my thinning shears to clean up around the eyes and mouth.” You’re explaining yourself as well as showing people that you know what you’re doing with your grooms. They’ll also know that you’ve got a handle on your grooming tools and know how to use them.

braid on dog showing off dog grooming training and braid of hair

Tips and Tricks for an Amazing Dog Grooming Portfolio

Detail is everything when it comes to impressing someone. Whether you’re applying for a dog grooming job or if you’re showing a new client some ideas for their pup’s cut. Here are some tips and tricks for your portfolio:

  • Explain different head shapes and have pictures of each. Example: round, square, shaved right off.
  • Explain different ear shapes and have pictures. Example: lamb ears, round, square, short to the ear leather.
  • Create an engaging portfolio so people are drawn into it and don’t just keep flipping the pages. Use bold letters, big (but not too big) font, and/or exciting words.
  • For each picture, provide the type of snap-on comb you used or blade you used so people know how short that would look on their dogs and it gives them a visual reference.
  • Add the dog grooming school or online dog grooming course you took. People who are looking to hire you for a grooming job will want to see that you were dedicated to finishing your course with flying colors.
  • Explain what you would do if a matted dog came in to see you and the procedures you would take to relieve the dog of those mats.
beagle dog portrait for professional dog groomer portfolio to get dog groomer jobs

Now, these are just a few things you may want to add into your working portfolio. Consider each point, and if it’s not meant for you, then don’t add it. There is so much stuff you could add, but you also don’t want it to be too lengthy so the person looking it over becomes uninterested. Make sure you are taking lots of good photos of your grooms for your portfolio! I hope this topic helps you in some way or another. Get working on those portfolios!

Do you have any portfolio tips to share? Leave a comment!

A good portfolio will land you your first dog grooming job. Now, find out how to get loyal, long-term clients!

dog grooming career trimming hair of mixed breed bichon frise

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