All Posts By

Mireille Pitre

The Dog Groomer’s Salary: What to Expect in 2020

beautiful medium-size dog on grooming table, being rubbed down by towel

According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, dog grooming jobs are going to increase by over 16% over the next 10 years.

WOW!

That means you can expect the grooming job market to grow much faster than almost any other job. Great news! So how much money can you expect to make as a groomer? What can you expect in the grooming industry in 2020? Let’s find out!

Note: Please note that all amounts listed in this article are in US dollars. 

cute up-close shot of puppy

Wages

Dog Grooming Professionals

Wages for dog grooming jobs are slowly increasing over time. According to payscale.com, a dog groomer’s salary in the US is anywhere between $21,000 (on the low end) and $54,000 (on the high end). That puts the average right around $32,000. Groomers also make an annual average commission of almost $6,000.

Keep in mind that these numbers refer to dog groomers that are employed mostly at salons and pet stores. Self-employed dog groomers can earn substantially more for their work.

Dog Grooming Salon Managers

A dog grooming salon manager might be an employee of a larger company, or she could be the owner of the grooming salon. A grooming salon manager can make anywhere from $30,000 to $72,000 per year, with the average being approximately $45,000. The average salon manager also receives an annual bonus of around $2,300, and the same commission amount of almost $6,000.

groomer cutting pomeranian's nails with scissor clipper

Factors that affect salary

The numbers above are averages that represent dog groomers of every kind across the United States. Your salary will depend on many factors, including:

  • Your location. Dog groomers in New York earn a higher average salary than dog groomers in Cheyenne. On the other hand, the cost of living in New York are staggering compared to the cost of living in Wyoming.  Salary isn’t everything; consider your costs, too!
  • Your education. A certification in dog grooming can help you earn higher wages, especially if you freelance. Clients will pay more for the reassurance that you’ve been trained to not hurt their dog.

Your experience. Your years of experience as a dog groomer will have a direct impact on how much you can earn. Groomers at the top of the scales that we discuss above typically have over 10 years of professional dog grooming experience under their belt.

Job Growth

As mentioned before, the number of grooming jobs is expected to increase very quickly over the next few years. That means you can expect:

Entry Level Opportunities

When an industry expects an increase in job numbers, most of these jobs are entry-level. Therefore, anyone who is looking to become a dog groomer will have no shortage of available grooming salon jobs they can apply to. With a solid education and good interviewing skills, you should be able to land your first professional dog grooming job and start gaining experience!

shiba inu getting brushed by groomer

Freelancing Opportunities

High demand for dog grooming services means that you can likely make a very good salary offering part-time grooming services out of your own home. Not everyone is comfortable bringing their dog to a grooming salon, and many owners will pay handsomely for the premium and individualized service you can offer as a freelancer. It’s a great opportunity to earn extra income until you’re ready to make grooming your full-time job!

Expansion Opportunities

A period of industry growth like this one is the perfect time to think about expanding your existing grooming business. Depending on your experience, this might mean:

  • Expanding your salon
  • Hiring more employees
  • Launching a mobile grooming service
  • Offering specialized services
  • And more!

Changes in Customer Behavior

The millennial generation has a bad reputation, but it hardly coincides with reality. Despite popular beliefs, millennials are not selfish and entitled. This is a generation who grew up working in the service industries, and who by-and-large respect the hard work that you do as a dog groomer.

Also, with many of these millennials opting for a child-free lifestyle, they’re adopting pets like crazy. They absolutely adore their fur-babies! These customers are willing to spend their hard-earned cash on pampering their pooches.

This means that by offering a unique grooming experience that targets younger clients, you can charge way higher than the average dog grooming prices for your services.  You can be really creative with your approach! Some ideas to get your hamster-wheel turning:

  • Luxury dog grooming. This might include everything from ergonomic dog beds in the kennels, to having a doggy massage therapist on staff.
  • Green dog grooming. Global warming affects everyone, and businesses who are environmentally conscious tend to stand out in a good way. This can mean anything from powering your salon with solar panels, to using biodegradable, cruelty-free products.
  • While-you-wait dog grooming. Not every owner is comfortable leaving their dog in a salon and coming back to pick him up later. Consider having a separate “waiting area” for your clients while their dogs are groomed. Bonus points if this space doubles as a doggy play-date!
  • Partnered services. More and more doggy daycares offer grooming services. Why not flip the tables and offer dog walking services as part of the grooming experience!
  • Personalized services. Send your pupper clients a card during the holidays, and a little gift for their birthday. It’s a cheap way to stay on your clients’ minds, and hard-core dog parents will swoon!
  • Altruistic approach. Donating part of your earnings is a great way to gain some publicity while doing good work. An example: “For every 20 dogs we groom, a deserving dog from the local humane society will receive a full spa day at our salon, absolutely free!” Think about the kind of Social Media attention that could generate, not to mention how awesome that would make you feel!
cuddling small puppy wrapped in towel

All in all, 2020 will be a fantastic year to enter the dog grooming industry or to grow your business.  With a few years of experience, you can expect a comfortable salary, and as you can see, there are so many other ways you can earn even more money!

Want to earn your dog grooming certification in 2020? Enroll today in QC’s leading online dog grooming course!

QC Pet Studies’ Top 10 Dog Grooming Articles of the Last Decade

happy girl cuddling Pomeranian in grass

Happy New Year, everyone!

As we embark on a brand new decade, let’s first take a look back at your favorite Sniffin’ Around blog articles from the past 10 years.

girl high-fiving golden lab puppy

There are tons of clippers out there, and a bunch of custom blades to accompany them. As a professional groomer, it’s important to know your way around your clippers. The wrong blades can cause uneven cuts (at best) or seriously injure the dog (at worst)!

Should you go for steel or ceramic blades? What size is best for your dog?  Are 5-in-1 blades any good?  How should you maintain your blades?  We have the answers to all these questions and more in this highly informative article.

Ask any professional groomer, and they’ll tell you that the teddy bear cut is a groomer’s bread and butter. It’s definitely a style you’ll have to practice and master before you can launch your dog grooming business. QC’s online dog grooming course has an extensive breakdown of this very important cut. In this popular post, you can get a sneak peek into the course video where QC tutor, Lisa Day, takes you on a step-by-step overview of the teddy bear cut!

Becoming a professional dog groomer takes patience and dedication. But it doesn’t have to be a complicated process! Back in 2017, we outlined the 6 simple steps that anyone can follow in order to achieve their goal of becoming a dog groomer. These steps are just as relevant today! So why not work these 6 steps into your New Year’s resolution, and become a dog groomer in 2020!

As a professional dog groomer, keeping a dog’s coat healthy is the responsibility at the very core of your job description. Different coat types have very different needs. For example, double coated dogs shouldn’t be shaved. Wire coated dogs need to be stripped. Smooth coated dogs have more sensitive skin. Using the wrong technique or tool on a dog can cause a lot of damage to their coat!

But it’s not always easy to identify a dog’s coat type, especially if you’re dealing with a mixed breed. So use these four tricks to properly identify your furry client’s coat, so you can give him the groom he deserves.

pomeranian with teddy bear hair cut

Now there’s an important question if you’re looking to start a career as a dog groomer! Unfortunately, there’s no one-size-fits-all answer to this question, because any state/province can set its own regulations. But this post will guide you through finding out the basics: from what exactly a dog grooming license is, to how to find out if you need one where you work.

I guess licenses are just on your minds a lot!

Lots of people use the terms “certification” and “license” interchangeably. But they are, in fact, two completely different items. Whether it’s required or not, a certification is always a good idea for any serious dog groomer. It’s a proof of competency that you can show to potential clients. If you’re “certified”, then you’ve been trained to groom dogs safely.

Read the full article for more information on the differences between licenses and certifications, how to find out what you need, and how to obtain them.

Frankly, I was surprised this article wasn’t number one on this list. “How much money will I make as a dog groomer?” is one of the most important questions people ask before deciding whether they want to launch their grooming career!

Of course, your actual salary will vary based on your location. But this article does a great job of breaking down the criteria that will affect your grooming salary, including the types of services you offer and your years of experience. Keep in mind that you may need to adjust the numbers a little for inflation (the article was published in 2017, after all), but the overall information is still highly relevant today!

happy golden retriever in bath with bath products

Let’s face it: there are perfectly valid reasons why someone might not be suited to being a dog groomer.  It’s a wonderful career for the right person. But it can also be your own personal hell if you start a grooming career without thinking through the down sides of the job.

If you’re on the fence about whether you want to become a professional dog groomer, consider these 8 reasons why the profession might not be the best fit for you.

Okay, so maybe this is why #4 wasn’t closer to the bottom of the list. Here’s another article that’s a must-read before you decide to become a professional dog groomer! This article outlines additional start-up costs for your dog grooming business. It also gives you a ballpark range that you can expect for your salary, once your business is up and running. Want some tips to increase that base salary? We’ve got you covered there, too.

Cheers to the #1 most popular dog grooming article of the past decade (WOW)!

As a professional groomer, there are a few haircuts you’ll encounter over and over again. Yes, the teddy bear cut is going to be number one by far – but there’s also the poodle cut, the lamb cut, the kennel cut, and more. This article demonstrates 7 dog haircuts you’ll encounter countless times over the course of your grooming career.

happy dog portrait with yellow background

Are there any articles you’d like to see covered in 2020? Let us know in the comments!

Ready to turn your dreams into reality, and start your dog grooming career? Enroll in QC’s leading online Dog Grooming course today!

6 Ways to Keep Your Dog Safe during the Holidays

adorable dog photobombing family christmas photo
two golden retrievers and a chihuahua wearing reindeer antlers

The holidays are upon us; a special time of year for the whole family, including our four-legged family members. It’s also a time of year when many dogs end up at the emergency vet or in animal shelters! Here are some ways you can help keep Fido safe this holiday season.

1: Dogs are for life, NOT just for Christmas

Let’s start with the most common mistake many owners make: getting a new puppy as a Christmas present. Too often, these puppies end up abandoned before they’ve even reached their first birthday. Never buy an animal unless you’re prepared and willing to be in it for the long-haul. Please ensure you’ve thought hard on it and weighed all the pros and cons before adopting a puppy/dog as a Christmas gift, especially for a young child. Some things to consider are:

  • A child will be excited at first, but will likely not keep up with a dog’s care and training. This isn’t the dog’s fault! He can’t learn if you don’t teach him.
  • Puppies will grow! Plenty of people seem to only want the novelty of having a tiny, cute pup that everyone will swoon over. But the moment he gets bigger, and maybe doesn’t look quite as adorable anymore, the shine is gone and now he’s no longer wanted. On top of that, the number of people who adopt large breed dogs and then give them up as soon as they “grow too big” is astounding.
  • Dogs need constant care! A dog without adequate mental and physical exercise will become destructive. Again, that’s the owner’s fault. You’d become restless, too, if you were always bored out of your mind, with nothing to do. Your pooch is no different!
  • Giving up a dog is almost certainly a death sentence. If you adopt a dog with even the slightest thought that “if it doesn’t work out, you can get rid of it”, please don’t adopt him. Turn around, and go invest in a goldfish. The sad truth is, giving up an adopted dog may sentence him to a place that could spell the end for him if he doesn’t immediately get adopted again. Not to mention that the older a dog get, the worse his chances are at getting a second chance.

Remember: dogs are not commodities! If you’re not 1,000% committed to caring for him for the next 10+ years, get a stuffed animal instead. At least they won’t pee on the carpet.

2: Watch for open doors

The holidays are filled with comings and goings. If your pooch is known for bolting out the door as soon as it opens, pay special attention to your dog when family and friends are visiting! It only takes a split second for a pooch to sprint for an exit. It’s easy for this to happen while everyone’s saying “hi” and hugging at the front door.

small dog running in snow

If you’re worried about this happening, keep Rover behind another barrier while the front door is open. This could be a baby gate, a crate, or just in a separate room.

3: Be careful with food!

Holiday feasts can be a treat for Fluffy, too. There’s nothing wrong with giving her a little piece of turkey meat or some mashed potatoes as a special Christmas treat. But many holiday favorites can be dangerous to dogs, specifically:

  • Turkey bones – they can splinter and cause severe internal damage or intestinal blockage. Meat is okay, bones are not.
  • Onions, garlic, grapes and raisins, most seeds, etc. – these can be very toxic to dogs. Be sure you know what kind of food is safe for your dogs to eat.
  • Anything sweetened with artificial sweetenersthese can be lethal to dogs. Be very careful with the desserts, and make sure Fluffy doesn’t sneak a bite!

Keep in mind that guests often don’t know what’s safe for a dog to eat and what isn’t. A lot of the time, they’ll want to spoil your dog. If you can’t trust your guests not to accidentally poison your dog, it’s probably safer to her (or your guests, if you’d prefer) in a separate room while the food is out.

4: Be careful with the not-food!

Dogs aren’t exactly as discerning as we are when it comes to putting stuff in their mouths. Scented Christmas decorations like candles and other knick-knacks can be just tempting as a juicy turkey leg. I once had a golden retriever eat a bag of beeswax tealight candles. That was a fun trip to the emergency vet…

brown dog about to eat christmas tree ball ornament

Similarly, tree ornaments can be tempting toys for dogs. For larger dogs, the tree itself can make for an alluring target. Interactive Christmas toys, like your singing and dancing snowman, should probably be kept on a high shelf.

Christmas presents also probably shouldn’t be kept under a tree, i.e. at nose-level. Dogs will be eager to play with boxes and/or eat them. At best, you’ll end up with slobbery presents. At worst, you’ll end up with a hefty vet bill for emergency surgery to remove little Timmy’s legos from your dog’s tummy.

Note: If your dog does make a buffet out of your tree, decorations, or presents, call the vet or emergency vet immediately. Don’t risk your dog’s life by using a ‘wait-and-see’ approach!

5: Plan for office closures

Many pet care professionals are closed, or have reduced hours, between Christmas and New Years. Be sure these closures won’t affect your pet’s care by taking the following precautions:

  • Book your regular grooming appointment several weeks ahead of time
  • Buy extra dog food so you don’t run out on Christmas day
  • Consult with your veterinarian if your dog is under regular care for chronic conditions. Ensure you have enough medication to get you through the holidays, if your vet’s office will be closed.

6: Be mindful of stressed-out doggos

While the holidays can be a great time for us to visit family and friends, or have large groups of people over, this can be extremely stressful for many dogs.  A dog under stress can be unpredictable. Even the most gentle soul can become reactive, and hurt themselves (or someone else) if they’re put under enough stress.

scared small pup in owner's arms

Here are a few tips to give you and your pooch the best chances at an incident-free holiday season:

  • If entertaining at home, pay close attention to your dog’s body language, and look for signs of stress. Provide them a safe space to escape the noise and crowds if they need to. This is especially important if there are children present!
  • If visiting someone else’s house with your dog, the same rules apply. Bring a crate with you so you can put your dog somewhere safe, if needed. If you know your dog doesn’t do well with large gatherings, other dogs, or children, it might be safer to leave him at home.
  • If travelling without your dog, use a reputable kennel or pet sitter while you’re gone. If a friend is watching your dog during the holidays, be sure she’s well aware of your dog’s needs and how to best provide them – especially if she’s having people over for Christmas, too.
  • Keep in mind that holidays are the busiest dog park days. People bring their pooches out to “tire them out” before larger gatherings. This means that parks are crowded with dogs who are over-stimulated, and very likely don’t have too good of manners. At this time of the year, it might not be the best space for your furry friend.
  • Give your dog some TLC in an environment that’s comfortable for them. We totally get it: things are crazy during the holidays, and everyone already wants all of your time as it is. But with all the hustle and bustle, your best boy is going to miss you, too! Don’t forget to make some time for him when you can – even if it’s just for a few minutes to give him a cuddle, throw around his favorite toy, or brush his fur to keep him looking his best. Grooming a dog helps to stimulate his blood flow, which keeps him healthy, both in body and spirit!
man walking his happy dog in the snow

All these points are particularly important for puppies and senior dogs alike. Remember that puppies go through several fear-imprint periods while they’re growing up. A traumatic experience can cause life-long anxiety issues. Senior dogs, on the other hand, become much less tolerant as they age. So even if old Rex used to be fine with kids pulling his tail back in his youth, it doesn’t mean you should let your 1-year-old niece do that this Christmas.

(But also as a side note, don’t let kids pull on a dog’s tail in the first place. This hurts the dog and can cause them to reflexively react with aggression, which could put the child in danger. It’s basically a lose-lose situation for everyone involved!)

All in all, the holidays are a wonderful opportunity to take time off work and spend it with your loved ones. With the right precautions, your pupper will enjoy this time as much as you do!

How else can grooming a dog be beneficial to you? By making it your career in 2020! Enroll in QC’s leading online dog grooming course today!

7 Easy Ways to Tank your Dog Grooming Business Reputation

happy dog surrounded by paper mess

You’ve worked hard to establish your dog grooming business. You have a great space and a solid base of recurring clients. You’re booked every day. Life is good! But where’s the fun in that? Tanking your reputation will make running your business a lot more challenging, and that’s the real test for any true entrepreneur, isn’t it? If you’re looking to completely ruin your dog grooming business’ reputation, here are some sure-fire ways to get it done!

1. Triple your prices overnight

You have a solid client base, so logically it’s now time to make them pay through the nose for your services. Most business owners would incrementally increase their prices over time. But not you! Your clients should expect that you’ll jack up your prices once they see how talented you are.

Extra points: Don’t tell your clients your prices have increased until after you hand them their bill, then argue with them when they complain that a nail trim shouldn’t cost $100. If they refuse to pay, threaten legal action! Heck, why stop there? Record them with your phone and post it to YouTube so the whole world can see how unreasonable they’re being!

dog dressed as robber sitting in a suitcase full of money

2. Overbook, then rush through appointments

You’re a talented dog groomer and your business is in high demand. Time to work on your speed game so that you can cram more bookings into a standard workday! Most groomers would hire other professionals to help out with their booming business, but what a waste of resources that would be!

Why hire a brusher/bather if you can just give Rover a quick rinse in the tub, spray him down with a doggy cologne, quickly smooth down the top coat, put a bow on his head, and move to the next dog? Time is money, and cutting corners is your best friend! No need for a thorough bath, rinse, and brush.  Rover will smell good enough when his owners pick him up, so they’ll never know. By the time they get home and see the mess of a dog underneath the bow, it’ll be their problem to deal with!

3. Start using the wrong tools

If your dog grooming clippers break, there’s no need to replace them. Just head down to the drug store and buy a cheap beard trimmer. It’s basically the same thing, right? Who cares if it’s nowhere near powerful enough, ends up ripping clumps of fur out, or cutting the dog’s pads while you trim their paws!

Run out of your fancy dog shampoo? Use whatever you have in the bathroom at home. Forget that your own shampoo isn’t formulated for dogs and will irritate their skin. They’ll still get “clean” with that shampoo, and their skin will eventually heal.

(Probably. Fingers crossed.)

Can’t find your grooming shears? Grab any old pair of scissors from your office. Sure, they’re not nearly sharp enough; they’ll cause uneven cuts and will tug at the dog’s fur with every snip, making them extremely uncomfortable. It’s not like it’ll cause permanent damage.

The bottom line: no need to inconvenience yourself or invest in good tools. Dogs are resilient – they’ll survive.

(…Maybe.)

woman shrugging

4. Listen to the owner’s wishes, even though you know better

Shave a golden retriever for the summer because “he’ll get too hot”? Sure, no problem.

Put a senior dog with a heart condition through a full groom, even though there’s a chance he’ll end up at the emergency vet (or worse)? Yes, sir. Not a problem, sir. After all, the owner has a party tonight and Bella needs to look her best, health concerns be damned.

You can also totally use an oatmeal shampoo on a dog with a history of yeast infections, because the owner read on the internet that it’s good for itchy skin. What do you mean, ‘improper etiquette’? Meh, it’s not your job to advocate for the dog or educate the owner. Who cares if Fluffernutter ends up with a crazy skin infection a few days later? That’s not your fault, you were just following orders!

5. Store personal client information in an unsecured forum

Who needs privacy? Your customer’s contact information, emergency contacts, credit card numbers, etc. don’t need to be secured. Just write them all in that one messy notebook you leave on the front desk, completely open and in plain sight. Better yet, store all that information on an unsecured spreadsheet, and then email it to yourself for good measure. If someone happens to steal or hack your clients’ information, you’re innocent! Securing information is HARD and you’re BUSY. It’s not like you could easily use encrypted software to properly store sensitive data or anything.

Bonus points: When your clients’ information does get hacked, deny all responsibility and blame the victim. They never explicitly told you to not keep their credit card number and expiry date on a post-it note. What are you, a mind reader?

small dog dressed up as a mind reader

6. All aboard the gossip train!

OMG, have you seen the way Debbie looked this morning when she dropped off her poodle for a groom? Baggy sweats and puffy eyes like she’s been crying all night… Must be trouble in paradise!

Your clients, staff, and vendors are going to love the new you when you loosen that tongue and gossip with them about other clients! It’s not like they’ll expect you to be professional and refrain from spreading rumors or butting into people’s lives. Yeah, you’re there to groom their dogs, but what’s a little gossip to go along with it? Dinner and a show! If Debbie didn’t want you to gossip about her, maybe she shouldn’t so obviously have problems at home.

It’s not like everyone will wonder if you’re also gossiping about them behind their backs, too, right?

7. Start fights with online reviewers

How DARE someone criticize your business by leaving a horrible review! She’s really going to get uppity about you injuring her dog during a routine groom and then lying about it? Real mature. Doesn’t she know how difficult it is to run a business these days?

You’ll show her! You’ll reply to her so-called “honest” review by attacking her personally, calling her names, poking fun at her appearance, and using racial slurs for good measure. Since you have her contact info, you can always dox her if you really want to get revenge. You’ll find out who her employer is and you’ll send a complaint to her boss. You’ll find her social media friends and spread rumors to turn them against her, too.  She tried to ruin your business, and now she must PAY!

Bonus Points: Find out where she lives and show up at her house to attack her in person. A stalking charge is a great way to seal the deal on a ruined reputation. You might even make the news – yay for free publicity!

beautiful groomer holding dog in salon

All kidding aside, it’s easy to damage your dog grooming business’ fragile reputation by making careless mistakes, or just not thinking ahead to the consequences of doing things “the easy way”. As a business owner, it’s worth taking precautions to safeguard your reputation whenever you can. Remaining professional at all times, and following the business tips provided in your dog grooming course business training unit, will help you gain a spotless reputation that will follow you throughout your career!

Want to hear our actual tips for properly handling negative reviews? Click here to keep reading!