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 the 6 mistakes every rookie dog groomer makes their first year!

Your first couple months in this new, rewarding career can be challenging. There’s a lot to take into consideration when grooming dogs. Not to mention the whole business side to it, like how much to charge a client or how to speak to a client.

This article is more so how to make it through those first months, heck maybe even though the year, hopefully you can take somethings out of this blog post into your everyday work field.

Dog Grooming Mistakes

dog groomer working on a dog on dog grooming table

1. Not keeping tabs on the dog grooming process

When I first started pet grooming, I had to remember a lot of stuff. From the order of the grooming process to the most-used grooming tools in a professional dog grooming kit. For me, the easiest way to remember things is to write them down and keep them nearby.

I wrote down all the steps necessary to groom a dog efficiently. If you are scattered brained you will most likely forget a major step in the process. And then, you’ll have to go back and fix it, which may take up a lot of time you don’t have. So write down your routine and have it close by—eventually, you’ll have it down pat, and it’ll save your life for almost every groom!

2. Not keeping track of time

Time management is a big one. When you’re first starting out, this isn’t a huge issue because you’re working towards perfecting your grooms, which takes time. But once you get the hang of everything, it will be a lot easier to groom a dog in an hour and a half.

keeping track of time during dog grooming appointment

Timing is everything when you’re grooming. You must do everything within a certain time frame. You’re going to fall behind sometimes, and that’s fine. But you always have to keep a mental clock going in the back of your head. You must keep track of when your next grooming appointment comes in.

Thankfully, if you work at a grooming salon with other employees, other groomers will be there to help you out if you’re behind. They can answer the phones and help walk-in clients while you finish your groom. You just focus on the dog that’s on your table. Because if you’re constantly walking away from the dog to do other tasks, you’ll never finish on time!

Dog Grooming Career Mistakes

As you’re progress through your dog grooming career, certain things will come easy while others may not. A few common mistakes that might make it harder for everything to run smoothly at your shop might include…

  • Double-booking clients
  • Not knowing how to be honest (but not blunt) with clients
  • Undercharging for your dog grooming services
  • Overcharging for your dog grooming services
dog groomer with happy dog

3. Double-booking dog grooming clients

Over booking or double booking clients can happen. When this happens, it’s a hassle to get everything figured out while hoping that the clients will understand the error and be reasonable. When they do come back, be sure to apologize again for the inconvenience.

4. Not being honest about the groom with pet owners

Learning how to talk to clients is so important. It can either make or break your relationship with that client. You really need to know how to talk to all types of clients, the good and the bad. If the client’s dog wasn’t reacting well to the groom, I won’t just say, “Yeah, so your dog was really bad and didn’t like any of the grooming processes”—NO! Instead, I would say, “Charlie wasn’t a fan of the dryer and getting his nails trimmed, but the more you bring him in, he’ll get used to it for sure.”

You never want to be too bunt with what you’re saying, but you also don’t want to lie. Owners want to know the truth about how their dog’s spa day went, so don’t be afraid to tell the truth. Just know how to put it nicely!

bathing a dog grooming job

5. Undercharging your dog grooming clients

When I first started my dog grooming career, I gave many deals to people who would let me groom their dogs because I needed all the practice I could get. But once you become a certified dog groomer, make sure you are charging normal grooming prices and not giving out too many deals. You went to school for this you have experience you have a right to charge for a full groom.

Even if your client isn’t the biggest fan of your grooming job, charge them full price. You gave that client a service, and you did the best you could to make their dogs look how they wanted them to look. So don’t feel shame about charging the right amount.

6. Overcharging your dog grooming clients

Another mistake is overcharging. You can definitely overcharge for a groom, and you have to be aware of the price for specific breeds. For example, if I am grooming a little Shih Tzu, I wouldn’t charge $100 for the groom. At my shop, we charge $70 for Shih Tzus, so if I overcharge the client, the difference is big.

Be aware of the service price. If you overcharge a client, you’ll have to contact the owner and credit their account or ask them to come back. Sometimes, owners will catch the error and let you know. Other times, they won’t say anything, which is really nice of them, but it’s still too much for a Shih Tzu groom.

dog grooming in a professional dog groomer salon

Every dog grooming business will be different with their pricing. Just knowing what a good price is for your shop will go a long way. Once you get the hang of it, you won’t even have to think about it often. It will just come to you.

There is a lot to take in your first year as a dog groomer. Don’t worry—you’ll get it, I promise. It was a lot for me all at once, too. But with every mistake, keep your chin up high and learn from them! Just keep moving forward with what you know now, and you will be good to go!

Are there any newbie mistakes we missed? Let us know!

Want to earn more as a dog groomer? Find out how and when to raise your dog grooming prices!

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