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 top 2 tips for boosting your dog groomer salary.
It’s no joke when I tell you that you can make quite the dog groomer salary in this line of business! Admittedly, though, there are factors that can affect your level of success. Depending on location, the demand, local competition, etc. some groomers might make more than others.
Where you provide your services can play a part, too. For instance, your dog groomer salary might be a bit different for brand new groomers freshly entering the industry, compared to a seasoned expert. Similarly, you might see a different income when you operate out of your own home vs. in a salon.
All that to be said, I have some tips and tricks that may help you increase your dog groomer salary! While the following may seem like little, easy things, you’ll find that they’ll actually go a LONG way for your business…
1 – Get Your Name Out There!
You might think this is pretty straightforward. The problem is that most people don’t understand the level of work that actually goes into this marketing strategy.
If you’re thinking, ‘I just have to talk to some people, hand out a few business cards, and I’ll start racking in the clients‘ – then you’re already on the wrong track. I wish that’s all you had to do! But in reality, the process requires a lot more effort than that.
Now personally, I didn’t start my own salon, and I didn’t provide grooming services out of my home. Rather, I work alongside other people at an established grooming business. When I first started, I was lucky enough to have a mentor to guide me and lift me up. It also helped that they could put in a good word about me to clients.
But although all that was nice, I still wanted to do my share. I wanted to play an active role in growing my career, and increase my dog groomer salary myself. So, I started taking action! Here are a few things I did that I found to be extremely effective:
Promoted Myself on Social Media
These days, everyone lives online. It’s basically an unwritten rule that if you want to succeed in the modern world, you NEED to have some sort of online presence. The greater that presence can be, the better.
With that in mind, I made an Instagram account and followed everyone in my area who had a dog. (Okay, maybe not everyone, but you get the idea.) From there, I began posting photos from my grooming portfolio. Making use of social media is a fun – and constructive – way to get your name out there and show people what you can do.
If potential clients can’t see your past grooms for themselves, or see what you have to offer them, then you’re just another groomer trying to make it. There won’t be anything unique setting you apart from the crowd. If you want to stand out from the competition, then it’s important not to fall into this trap. Showcase your best work for everyone to see!
Make your account your own. Once it’s ready, get your friends and family to follow and like your posts for a while, until your channel reaches more people. With my current Instagram account, I’ll have people follow me and then the next day, I’ll see that they booked their dog in with me. SO COOL!
Focusing some of your efforts on your social media strategies will be a great way to grow your clientele, get more bookings, and increase that dog groomer salary of yours.
Word-of-mouth is something you can successfully establish through your level of high customer service. The longer your customers know you as a groomer, and trust your quality of work, the likelier they’ll be to recommend you to others.
Because let’s be real: your clients will often become like family after a while. Customers who are happy with your services will typically return back to you every 6-8 weeks. When you treat them (and their dogs) right, they’ll grow to trust you. Often, they’ll want to work with only you.
When you achieve such a fantastic reputation as a groomer, your clients will be guaranteed talk about you to their friends and family. That’s just the way she goes! As a result, you’ll hopefully get more bookings out of it, from people who can become long-term clients as well!
Another thing you can do is offer incentive and/or referral programs. For example, you can provide brand new customers the opportunity to get 10% off their first groom if they book with you. As another example, you can reward existing clients with discounted services, gifts, or a free groom whenever their personal recommendation results in you booking a new client.
I really, really appreciate the clients who continue to come and see me – and only me – to groom their dogs. It makes you feel good inside! Plus, long-term clients mean long-term bookings. These are people who can guarantee you that you’ll continue to make a dog groomer salary for the foreseeable future.
Talked to EVERY Client
This one is especially important!
Whether the owner is dropping off or picking up their pooch, you want to make sure that you talk to them each and every time. More importantly, establish that contact when they come to pick up their dog. Some things you can discuss with them include:
- Telling them how their dog did during the appointment
- If you have any concerns, based on what occurred during the appointment
- Health issues that you wish to bring to their attention
- If you have any recommendations (i.e. upkeep) for the owner once they’re back home, etc.
I feel that communicating with the client is a fundamental part of the grooming process as a whole. By chatting with you, the owner can better decide if they vibe well with you and like the work you did on their dog. Sometimes, they’ll want to book their NEXT appointment with you right then and there!
Of course, that’s always great because then you’re guaranteed another groom from them – which means money for you.
2 – Add Extra Services to Your Business!
In our shop, how we charge for things might be a little different than others. The initial price is determined by the breed of the client’s dog. Then we build off of this base rate with ‘add-ons’, as chosen by the customer.
So, if a client wanted their dog to get their teeth brushed, or have a blueberry facial, those would be extra charges (or add-ons). By adding extra services to the appointment, it all adds up pretty quickly. For every appointment, my co-workers and I then get a commission for the total amount rendered.
This is an example of a smart, effective way to set your rates, package your services, and add extra services to your business. That being said, your rates should always be set in a way that’s realistic, and won’t alienate all of your customers. While you should always charge for your worth, it’s important to remember not to get greedy either – otherwise it can have a negative impact.
It’s important to be transparent about your prices, too. Don’t try to hide your rates, or sneak them up on clients. When first making these changes in your business, don’t be surprised if some customers aren’t sure how to feel about them. They may be hesitant at first, and may have questions.
Honesty is always the best policy! Answer all of their inquiries to the best of your ability – but don’t hesitate to also tell them the awesome benefits of your extra services, too! There are plenty of clients who will be happy to pay a few extra dollars to spoil their pup. For others, even if they don’t plan to purchase those services, the fact that you offer them in the first place can still look great on your part!
Earning a reliable dog groomer salary is understandably important. But it’s also important to remember that it’s not the main priority. Instead, your job is about interacting with the clients and their dogs in a way that leaves a positive impression. It’s about putting in the effort to assure them they’re in good hands. It’s about keeping an open line of honest communication at all times.
Above all else, the #1 priority of your career should always be the health, safety, and satisfaction of your client’s dog!
That being said, I hope that I’ve been able to show you that there are many ways to make money in this industry and boost your dog groomer salary. So, take care, and as always, happy grooming!