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How to Build Your First Dog Grooming Starter Kit!

Dog grooming starter kit article, July 23 2021, Feature Image

New to the industry and putting together your dog grooming starter kit for the first time? You’ve come to the right place! Join QC Pet Studies graduate and expert groomer, Casey Bechard, as she shares some tips and tricks to help you get started!

When you’re first starting out as a dog groomer, knowing which tools to use can be difficult. Personally, when I first began my career, I experimented with a lot of different tools. Over time, I found ones that I loved. On the other hand, I also found ones I didn’t love – and that wished I hadn’t spent money on.

So, if you’re brand-new to this industry and putting together your dog grooming starter kit for the first time, you’re in luck. This blog is all about just that! As we dive in, just keep in mind that all of what I’m about to say is based on personal preference, as well as my own subjective experience. Some of the tools that’ve worked for me at the start might not work for you. Think of the following tips as something I hope can help you out – but don’t think of them as gospel.

Ultimately, what works best and gets the job done will be up to you and you alone!

Building My Dog Grooming Starter Kit: Tools I Like and Dislike

QC Pet Studies’ Grooming Kit

When you sign up for QC Pet Studies’ Dog Grooming Course, they’ll actually send you a dog grooming starter kit to help you in your training. This kit (and its shipment) is included as part of your course tuition, which I found extremely helpful! Furthermore, this kit was very good for me because it gave me a good introduction to staple tools of the trade.

By practicing with QC’s tools, I could better decide whether or not they were the best fit for me – a.k.a. if I’d want to use them in my professional career or not. By extension, this kit also helped me decide what sorts of other tools I was interested in trying out.

There were definitely some tools provided in QC’s kit that I thoroughly enjoyed using. For example, I loved the thinners and the handheld clipper. In fact, to this day, I still use those thinners! However, I’ve had to invest in a new handheld clipper because I overused the other one.

QC Pet Studies dog grooming starter kit

Adding to My Dog Grooming Starter Kit

The rest of my most-used tools, I first ordered so I could give them a try. Hands-down, my most favorite comb in my kit is a Greyhound Comb. I’m completely OBSESSED with it and use it for every groom! (Speaking of which, I should probably get another one to add to my collection!)

Truth be told, I have so many combs in my grooming tool kit that I never use. Why? Because, in my opinion, none of them compare to this one. I also invested in 2 new pairs of curved scissors. They’re a bit bigger than the ones QC Pet Studies gave me, which I actually prefer. I’ve found that these larger ones do slicker work, and the length of the tool makes the scissoring go faster.

Other Personal Recommendations

If you only buy one tool for your dog grooming starter kit, though, then I recommend investing in a Chris Christensen Slicker Brush. You won’t regret it, I promise! These brushes are great for those curly-coated breeds. Moreover, they’re the absolute best at getting out knots.

I use mine every day and it’s worth the money! Now, I got the smaller size of the two (they come in either medium or large). But if you have the budget, I highly recommend buying the bigger one. I sure wish I did – and I definitely plan on purchasing it eventually! All of my other slicker brushes simply don’t compare to this one. Of course, I do use the other ones for certain looks I’m trying to achieve. But if I’m being totally honest, I mostly pick up my CC Slicker Brush 99% of the time!

Groomer brushing dog with Greyhound comb

A Tool You Can Skip in Your Dog Grooming Starter Kit

Ever heard of the Furminator brush? Chances are, anyone with a furry pet probably has. It’s quite a popular tool, particularly for pet owners to use at home. If you happen to be a fan of it, that’s awesome. I’m not here to knock it in any way. All I’m saying is that it’s not a tool I’d personally recommend for your dog grooming starter kit.

I’ve tried using it before and I’m just not a fan. Based on my experience, I found this brush to be way too sharp. As a result, it was all to easy to leave marks on the dogs and irritate their skin. A lot of times, if clients use that brush at home, they’ll come in complaining that their dogs have red marks and sores on their skin. I’ll ask what kind of brush they used at home. Almost always, it was the Furminator. So, I try to avoid this tool – and I tell my clients to do the same.

2 Tips to Keep in Mind

Firstly, if you have other groomers around you, try to see what tools they’re using on a regular basis. You can then go from there, try those tools for yourself, and see if you’d like to invest in them for your dog grooming starter kit. Importantly, I always recommend testing out a tool before putting too much money into it. So many times, I’ve seen groomers purchasing all these new, expensive tools without knowing if they like them or not. Lo and behold, they get them, try them out, and discover that they were nothing but a waste of money!

Secondly, if you’re ever unsure about a certain tool, read its online reviews before buying it. I’ve found this to be extremely helpful, and it’s prevented me from spending unnecessary cash a number of times. Furthermore, don’t hesitate to shop around! Look at a bunch of different websites in order to find better deals. Who knows, you might even find a better quality version of an item you’re interested in.

Having options is NEVER a bad thing!

Dog gets hair cut at Pet Spa Grooming Salon. Closeup of Dog. The dog is trimmed with scissors. Gray background. groomer concept

In Conclusion

As a professional groomer, having a mastery of the different tools you’re using on your clients’ pups is a MUST. Some brushes may be sharper and harsher than others. Certain scissors won’t do the same job as other scissors. If you’re grooming a dog that has lots of lumps and bumps, only the right tool will allow for a safe, careful result. My point is, it’s critical that you truly know what you’re doing and which tools to work with at all times.

I hope this blog will prove useful as you go forth and put together your dog grooming starter kit! If you use the tips I’ve provided above, I promise you won’t go wrong with the tools you’ve picked! I know it can be fun shopping for all the new and exciting gizmos and gadgets. Just remember that you won’t have everything you want (or need) overnight. That said, I promise you will get there. Have fun trying them out and I hope you can find some amazing tools!

Happy grooming!

Enroll in QC Pet Studies’ self-paced, online Dog Grooming Course and receive YOUR dog grooming starter kit in the mail in as little as 1-2 weeks!

5 Reasons Why Professional Training Will Boost Your Dog Groomer Salary

Dog groomer salary article, July 2 2021, Feature Image

Looking for ways to boost your dog groomer salary? If you haven’t done so already, this is your sign to get professional certification training!

Why will a proper grooming education better your business and help you increase your income? QC Pet Studies graduate and industry expert, April Costigan, is here to tell you! Read on to discover 5 critical reasons why you absolutely MUST get professionally certified!

Dog groomer salary article, July 02 2021, April Costigan headshot

Why I Became a Professional Dog Groomer

When I first contemplated learning more about grooming dogs professionally, I was working in an animal shelter. Each week, we took in a large number of stray dogs. Additionally, we also took in transferred dogs from other shelters, as well as relinquished dogs from families that could no longer care for them.

Many of these dogs arrived in the worst possible conditions! They’d have matted coats, or were just plain filthy. I quickly learned how to clean them up and make them more comfortable. Eventually, I began to wonder if I could perform these services professionally. But before I made any concrete decisions, I first wanted to know what a dog groomer salary actually looks like…

Researching The Dog Groomer Salary

I did a little online research, specific to my area. During this research, I discovered that there was a wide range of hourly rates – from minimum wage for bathers, to $17/hour for dog groomers working for large pet supply outlets.

Finding a specific dollar amount for a dog groomer salary proved rather difficult, as many locations were vague in their job descriptions. I then discovered that – at least in my area – the salary offered at boutique shops was based on how many dogs a groomer could complete in a day. That’s when I decided that if I wanted to pursue this career path (and I really did), I’d have to come up with a plan that would offer a sustainable income for me.

I wanted to know how I could do quality work and get paid a quality dog groomer salary. The answer was to obtain a legitimate grooming certification!

Cocker Spaniel getting groomed on grooming table

5 Reasons a Professional Certification will Boost Your Dog Groomer Salary

You may be asking yourself, “Why do I need a certification?”

Well, I can give you FIVE excellent reasons why taking the time to learn how to properly groom a dog will allow you to be paid a much higher rate!

1. Trust

When you obtain a professional certification, you’ll be able to earn and retain new client business based on your advanced skill-set. For example, in QC Pet Studies’ Dog Grooming Course, you’ll discover SO much more about dog grooming that you already do. In less than a year, you’ll know everything you need in order to work at a professional standard… and have an internationally-recognized certification to add to your resume, too!

As a graduate of this course myself, I can tell you that it’s a truly outstanding training program. QC Pet Studies will prepare you to become a top-quality, reliable, and trustworthy groomer. After all, that’s the number one thing your clients will want from you: to know that you’re taking excellent care of their beloved dog.

Moreover, they’ll be able to trust that you’ll produce the look they actually want for their dog. Dog parents WILL pay a little higher rate for this level of confidence!

2. Dependability

With a certification under your belt, your clients will depend on you to groom their dog completely and efficiently. Furthermore, they’ll schedule their dog’s regular appointments in advance. As a result, happy clients will fill up your grooming calendar and make good use of your time. Satisfied repeat customers are key to increasing the dog groomer salary!

Dog groomer salary in-post image for article, groomer and owner tending to puppy getting groomed at salon

3. Referrals

When you have happy clients, they talk about you and your qualifications – including your reputable certification. In turn, when you produce awesome results and make their dog stand out at the dog park, that’s free advertising! Dog owners love to talk about their dogs.

By the same extension, when they have a groomer that they love, they’ll likely refer you to their friends and family. Speaking from experience, I get 40% of my new business from referrals alone. And of course, more bookings means a better dog groomer salary!

4. Certification Seal

When you graduate from QC Pet Studies, they’ll provide you with a physical copy of your internationally-recognized certification. But that’s not all! You’ll also get an electronic image of QC’s International Dog Grooming Professional seal, too. You can then showcase this certification seal on all your printed media, as well as your business website.

Nothing gives me more pride that to have this seal on my marketing materials!  It’s proof that I know what I’m doing, even if a person has never seen my work before. This little seal is a BIG deal and allows me to charge more for my work.  That equates to a larger dog groomer salary!

QC Pet Studies International Dog Grooming Professional IDGP certification seal

5. Advice and Recommendations

As a professional dog groomer, I am a resource for my clients. I’m regularly asked what can be done about itchy skin, dry coats, chapped noses or paws, and tear stains. These are just a few topics of information I like to be ready to answer questions about.

QC Pet Studies prepares you to become the “go-to” person when questions pop up about how to properly care for a dog’s coat. Your expertise will allow you to educate your clients the brushes they should be using at home, how often their dog should be brushed, how tear stains can be eliminated, etc.

Just keep in mind that I never give medical advice. As dog groomers, we’re qualified to do many things – but that’s not one of them. That being said, if I find that a dog has an ear infection, an injury to their paw, or a lump that wasn’t present the last time I groomed them, I immediately take a photo and send it to the owner. My clients appreciate that I’m always on the lookout for odd things they may not have noticed.

I adore these dogs, too. So, if I suggest that a visit to the vet may be in order, my clients know that it’s because I’m a caring and compassionate person. You see, it comes back to trust. My clients trust that I am working at the front-line of their dog’s health. People appreciate that and often give me tips for letting them know that something needs to be addressed.

While you can’t always rely on this as part of your dog groomer salary, it’s definitely a nice added perk to keep in mind!

Your Dog Groomer Salary: Conclusion

I could easily come up with five more reasons why professional training will boost your dog groomer salary, but I think I’ve made my point. If you want to be able to charge more for your work, then you must do really GREAT work.

The convenience of QC Pet Studies’ online training will catapult your dog grooming career! It’ll give you all the skills and information you need to get moving in the right direction. If you have a passion for dog grooming, then you can use that same drive to obtain professional training. Trust me, you’ll be glad you did it!

Volunteer getting kiss from dog at animal shelter

Bonus: Food for Thought

I still work part-time for the animal shelter, but its not because I have to. Rather, it’s because I want to. After all, even homeless dogs want to look and feel good. If you want to gain more experience and add to your portfolio, I highly suggest volunteering at a dog shelter. Offer your grooming services to the homeless dogs. No, there’s no money in it – but it’s very rewarding work!

The dogs you groom will be so grateful to you for spending quality time with them; doting on them, caring for them as individuals, and making them feel important. Many of them have not been loved for a long time, or have lost the ones that did love them. A lot of these dogs are heartbroken, scared, or just plain confused.

I know you are a compassionate person. You wouldn’t want to be a dog groomer if you weren’t! So, while you improve things for yourself, help a dog that needs you, too. You can make a world of difference for them!

Boost your dog groomer salary in as little as 9-12 months by getting trained and certified with QC Pet Studies!

Increasing Your Groomer Salary Post-COVID: Dog Training

Dog training article, June 25 2021, Feature Image

Earlier this month, we took a look at why NOW is the perfect time to become a professional dog groomer. But if you’re here, reading this article, it’s because you’re especially motivated to succeed. Yes, you want to offer top quality grooming services to your clients – but clearly, you’re looking for other ways you can be the best of the best, too! With that in mind, we have two very simple words for you: dog training.

What is Dog Training?

The definition is pretty much in the name. According to The Balance Careers, it’s a field that “combines knowledge of animal behavior with practical teaching skills”. As part of your regular responsibilities, you’ll often focus on the following:

  • Various voice commands
  • Clicker training
  • Using appropriate and effective hand signals
  • Developing and executing rewards systems
  • Implementing different dog learning theories
  • Educating your clients on these theories, as well as how to successfully enforce them themselves
  • Etc.
Dog trainer working with two dogs during session, working on lie down command

The beauty about professional dog training is that the sky is the limit! Once you become a trained subject-matter expert, you’ll be qualified not only to train dogs yourself – you’ll know how to instruct others on how to properly train their own dogs as well. Plus, you can offer one-on-one training sessions, group sessions, or both.

Moreover, the kind of dog training you provide can be entirely dependent on you! If you’d prefer to teach clients how to give basic commands (and see results), that’s totally fine. On the other hand, if you’d like to delve even deeper into the craft and be able to assist with more complicated dog training, that’s also an option, too.

For example, many of your clients will likely wish to learn how to teach their dogs the following basics commands:

  • Sit
  • Stay
  • Down
  • Come
  • Leave it

However, you can also learn how to teach clients a myriad of other commands for their dogs, such as:

  • Watch me
  • Wait
  • Off
  • Up
  • Drop it
  • No
  • Heel
  • Go pee/poo, handle your business, etc.
  • Take it
  • Bedtime
  • Speak
  • Play dead
  • Quiet, no barking, etc.
  • Shake
  • High five
  • Release
  • Etc.

5 Key Skills Needed to Be a Dog Trainer

1. Must Love Dogs

This one’s kind of explanatory… I mean, why pursue a career that revolves entirely around dogs if you’re not even a dog lover in the first place? Not only will your job bring you little joy; your clients and their pups will always be able to tell. It’s hard to imagine anyone capable of a long-term, thriving career if it’s in a field they aren’t passionate about.

So, this is probably the most important place to start. If you don’t love dogs, you probably shouldn’t become a dog trainer.

2. Patience

As the saying goes, “It’s never too late to teach an old dog new tricks.” However, whether your client has a puppy or a senior pooch, new tricks often won’t be learned overnight. For this reason, dog training requires a lot of repetition – and even more patience.

If you’re prone to getting irritable when something doesn’t go your way quickly enough, this job won’t be a good fit for you. Dogs are experts at detecting people’s emotions, so if you’re feeling impatient, they’re going to pick up on it. The more frustrated you get, the less likely the training is to be successful. Thus, keeping a calm, cool head at all times is key!

Dog training outdoors

3. A Friendly Demeanor

Personally, we’re of the mindset that the best dog training comes from positive reinforcement. So long as it isn’t accidentally used to reinforce unwanted behavior, this method of training is extremely beneficial (not to mention, better for the dog’s overall welfare). Plus, studies have proven that it produces desirable results, especially when compared to negative reinforcement.

To be a truly successful dog trainer, the way you handle your clients’ dogs will make all the difference. So, maintain a friendly, welcoming demeanor at all times, and stray away from any kind of training method that encourages negative reinforcement. The more love, understanding, and comfortability you give a dog, the more eager it’ll be to master your commands and please you!

4. Clear Communication Skills

When you work as a dog groomer, most of your job will only involve you and your client’s pet. In the field of dog training, however, you’ll be working with both the dog and their owner. Since the entire basis of this profession is to teach your client how to train their dog, you’re going to need to know how to teach them. This means, knowing how to communicate things clearly, in a way they can grasp and understand.

If you’re unsure whether you’re capable of verbalizing what it is you’re trying to teach, start by practicing on a friend or family member. (Preferably, one who has a dog, but little to no formal dog training experience.) There will be less pressure than there’d be with a paying client. Plus, this way you can get honest feedback about where you’re clear vs. where you need to be clearer.

As a result, by the time you book paying clients, you’ll have the verbiage down pact and will be able to run your training sessions with ease!

5. An Understanding of Dog Behavior

As we discussed earlier, dog training is all about understanding canine behavior. Only then can you adapt to it as needed, so you can adjust your methods in a way that will best jive with what each individual dog requires. If you can’t read a dog based off its body language, you’re going to have a hard time teaching it anything.

Luckily, you’re a certified groomer! So long as you’ve gotten your education through a reputable certification course – such as the one offered by QC Pet Studies – then you’ve already been trained and are well-versed in dog behavior!

Multiple dogs outside for group training session

Why Dog Training Services Will Increase Your Income

Last year, Canada alone reported that the dog population across the country rose to a jaw-dropping 7.7 million. This same trend has been seen in the United States,. Here, the number of people adopting dogs has steadily rose over practically every single year since 2000. Between 2019 and 2020, the U.S. reported a dog population of 90 million!

Basically, this means that a lot of people have been adopting dogs – and this number will likely only appear to go up with each passing year.

What does this mean for YOU? Well, as a certified dog groomer, every single new dog owner in your area is a potential future client. But on top of this, these are also all people who may be looking for guidance on how to train their new pet! If your business were to offer both of these services, imagine the amount of bookings you could rake in!

Additional Reasons Why Dog Training Will Better Your Bottom Line

In addition to being able to cater your business to a wider range of clientele (hello, more bookings!), there are other reasons why offering dog training services can help you boost your income. Here are just a handful of them:

  • Because your business will now be a one-stop-shop for dog owners’ needs, your clients will be even more inclined to refer you to the people they know!
  • If you’re adding a new service to your business, it’s because you’ve gotten properly trained in that new area first. As such, you can now afford to increase ALL of your business rates – including those for your grooming services. After all, you’ve put time, effort, and money into your continued education. It’s added to your skill-set and refined your expertise as a whole. You deserve to get compensated for it accordingly!
  • Dog training and dog grooming can be extremely complementary services! Grooming your client’s dog and notice some unwanted behaviors? Casually mention to them that you offer training services, too. In a training session and see that your client’s dog could use a nail clipping, a trim, etc.? Why not mention at the end of the session that you could also book Fluffy in for a groom! You never know – what was initially one service sought from your business could easily become two!
  • Competition WHO? The more you can stand out from your local competitors, the easier it’ll be for you to curb the market. By providing clients with more high-quality services to choose from, you’ll quickly become a memorable name in their minds. As a result, they’ll be likelier to choose you over the other dog experts in your area.
Woman holding dog, dog licking her face

Getting Started

Now that you’ve decided to add dog training services to your grooming business, it’s time to get professionally trained! So, start looking around at the various options offered to you both online and in-person. Shadow an experienced trainer, start off by training your own dogs (or your family’s and friend’s), etc. Pair this with a legitimate education and you’ll be unstoppable!

Oh, and did a little birdy just casually mention that QC Pet Studies may or may not be launching a Dog Training Course in the future? 😉 Make sure to keep your eyes open and stay tuned for more information in late 2021/early 2022!

Before you begin your dog training journey, you first need to lay down the foundation of your craft. So, get educated and certified in professional dog grooming! Enroll with QC Pet Studies today and graduate in less than one year!

How to Run a Thriving Dog Grooming Business After COVID!

It’s hard to think about “normal” after we’ve been in this abnormal COVID world for longer than anyone expected, isn’t it? We’ve all been playing lockdown-roulette, it seems, for the past year (and then some). While we’re all excited about a full reopening, business owners in particular are thinking about how they can make up for lost times during lockdown, and succeed in the post-COVID era. For dog grooming businesses in particular, this presents a particular challenge.

If YOU run a grooming business, you’re probably about to get flooded with bookings. So, how do you take full advantage of that short-term boost in business, and ensure it translates into long-term success?

Grooming business article, June 04 2021, in-post image, Corgi on grooming table at salon

Expect a Re-Opening Boom for Your Grooming Business

When your grooming business reopens, odds are that many clients will try to book appointments with you as quickly as possible. Between lockdown and fears of the virus (not to mention pandemic puppies), there are oodles of dogs out there that are way overdue for a groom. Make sure you get your fair share of that business!

How to Prepare:

  • Accept bookings ASAP. Advertise your re-opening date well in advance – a.k.a. as soon as you know it! Give your clients something to look forward to!
  • Be proactive. Contact your loyal customers yourself, either by phone or email. Moreover, offer to book their grooming appointments for them. Here are 5 additional ways to provide proactive customer services, courtesy of Forbes!
  • Book longer appointments than normal. Many dogs will be in need of more intense grooming services than usual. Don’t sacrifice the quality of your work in order to try and cram more dogs into your schedule!
  • Offer extended hours. If you can, try to be extra-flexible with your grooming schedule. Offer earlier/later hours, weekend appointments, etc. Clients will appreciate the flexibility!
  • Find Partnership Opportunities. If you’re just starting out and don’t yet have an established client base, or if you’re having trouble filling your calendar, consider partnering up with veterinarian offices, dog trainers, doggy daycares, and other likeminded businesses. They will also be inundated with pandemic puppies. Thus, they’ll likely be asked to recommend groomers.

Keep it Up After the Boom

So, you’re getting an influx of clients as restrictions ease and more people get vaccinated. That’s great! Now the question is: how can you make sure this increase in business lasts?

Dog groomers wearing masks and giving dogs haircuts in salon
  • Book future appointments NOW. When the client picks up their freshly-groomed pooch, offer to book their future appointment right there, on the spot. Most clients will do so without giving it a second thought. And with proper reminders from you, most will keep their appointments!
  • Ask for reviews. Your dog grooming business thrives when customers recommend your services to others. But most customers don’t bother leaving a review unless they’re specifically asked. So, ask! Positive reviews on Google or Facebook are worth their weight in gold!
  • Advertise. Take advantage of the boom in business by advertising your success. Talk about how busy you are and how long your wait times are. Furthermore, show ‘before’ and ‘after’ shots of pandemic dogs. Customers are attracted to businesses that are doing well. Why not use this to your advantage?

3 Tips for Running a Successful Grooming Business

There are additional steps you can take to ensure you stay ahead of the competition!

Tip #1: Keep Everyone Safe!

It’s important to remember that while COVID is winding down, it’s not over yet. Be sure to follow all local guidelines for mask requirements, social distancing, capacity limits, etc. If you live in an area that’s fully reopen, it’s still perfectly reasonable to require that all clients be fully vaccinated or masked in order to enter your salon.

Keep in mind that many customers (or staff) might still have residual anxiety from living in a pandemic for the past year. As such, enforcing social distancing measures, having hand sanitizer available, and continuing to offer curbside pickup/drop off upon request are great ways to show your clients that you continue to take their safety seriously.

Tip #2: You (and Your Grooming Business) Should Be Accommodating!

Everyone is in a weird transition phase right now. People are starting to go back to work, kids are going back to school, and our lives are getting busier. Most people won’t have “visit the dog groomer” at the top of their priority list. So, make it easy for them to book and follow through with their appointments!

Here are a few easy tricks to help you achieve this:

  • Offer easy, online booking.
  • Send reminders of upcoming appointments. Bonus points if you’re able to do this via text message!
  • Offer pickup/drop-off services as a premium service.
  • Have a clearly outlined cancellation policy.
  • Waive that cancellation policy in the event of illness, or other circumstances out of the client’s control.
Woman owner cutting Pomeranian dogs hair with scissors during coronavirus quarantine.

Tip #3: Watch Out for Those Pandemic Puppies!

The pandemic led to an unprecedented boom in the pet industry. People adopted more pets in the past year than ever before! But now that those puppies are growing up, they’re starting to show some behavioral issues that most owners weren’t prepared to deal with.

Frankly, many people adopted a pandemic puppy without really thinking about long-term socializing or training requirements. As a groomer, you need to be ready for these uneducated owners to seek out your services. When this happens, here are some things to keep in mind:

  • When onboarding new clients, ask when their dog was adopted. This will give you a clue as to whether or not you’re dealing with a pandemic puppy.
  • Similarly, ask if the dog has visited any groomer before. If they haven’t, be ready for a more challenging appointment.
  • Be gentle with these dogs. Book an extra-long appointment time – same as you would with anxious or otherwise difficult dogs. If needed, split the groom between several appointments.
  • Educate the owner on the dog’s ongoing grooming needs.

If you’re thinking of starting a dog grooming business, QC Pet Studies’ self-paced, online Dog Grooming Course is a great place to start! This certification program comes with full business training to get you up and running quickly.

The great news is, you’ve already jumped over the biggest hurdle you never thought you would encounter: your dog grooming business survived a global pandemic. Now it’s time to let your business shine. You’ve got this!

Start your dog grooming business in less than 1 year by enrolling with QC Pet Studies today!

5 Ways to Market Your Dog Grooming Portfolio

Dog grooming portfolio blog article, May 28 2021, Feature Image

Your dog grooming portfolio can be the best in the world… But if no one actually looks at it, how useful is it truly? A big part of running your own grooming business is to market yourself. This means, by extension, marketing your portfolio, too.

After all, don’t you want people to see the amazing work you’ve done? A stunning portfolio that demonstrates a wide variety of skills can often be the very thing that turns a prospective client into a paying one!

If you’re brand-new to the world of dog grooming and just starting to get your business off the ground, don’t worry. We got you! Join us as we discuss 5 solid ways to successfully market your portfolio and attract a ton of customers!

Dog grooming portfolio blog in-post image

Developing Your Dog Grooming Portfolio

First thing’s first: you can’t market your dog grooming portfolio until you actually have a portfolio. So, logically, make sure you start with this step first. Look back on any and all photos that have been taken of your past work. From there, you can select the best ones and get the foundation of your portfolio started.

Don’t have any photos of past work you’ve done? Or maybe the ones you do have aren’t exactly the best quality?

Then take the time to focus on this. Groom your own pooches, see if any of your friends and family would like their dogs pampered, or post around online to check if anyone in your area would be interested in a complimentary grooming service. After every dog you groom, take some flattering photos that best shot off your skills!

(Just remember to get written permission from friends, family, and/or the people you’ve connected with online to use photos of their dog(s) in your portfolio.)

Here are a couple handy resources we recommend checking out, to guide you in the right direction when first developing your dog grooming portfolio:

Shiba Inu at desk with laptop

5 Ways to Market Your Dog Grooming Portfolio

1. Add your dog grooming portfolio to your business website!

If you truly want your dog grooming business to succeed, you’ll need to create a professional website. There’s a lot of valuable info you should include on your site, such as your contact info, available services, information about who you are, service rates, reviews, etc. Moreover, your website is the PERFECT place to showcase and market your portfolio!

Most often, prospective clients will use online search engines to search for dog groomers, especially if they’ve never booked with one before. Once they find your website, they’re going to expect to see examples of past work you’ve done. How else will they get a feel for your skill-set and know if you’re the right groomer for them?

Dog grooming is one of those careers where showing is arguably more important than telling. People need peace of mind that their dog will be in the right hands – and they won’t get this peace of mind through your promises alone. They want – even need – to see it for themselves first.

2. SEO is your best friend!

Search engine optimization (a.k.a. SEO) is critical for marketing both your dog grooming business and portfolio! If you’re unfamiliar with SEO, Google Analytics offers comprehensive – and free – online courses that can teach you a lot on the subject. MOZ also has this incredible 7-part Guide to SEO for Beginners, too.

In terms of SEO, your goal is to make sure that your dog grooming portfolio is searchable. Furthermore, you want your portfolio to rank HIGH on search platforms. This way, when people type in a high-ranking keyword on, let’s say, Google, your portfolio images will be the first to pop up in the results!

So, always ensure to use the right meta descriptions for your photos. And if you’re incorporating a portfolio image onto one of your website’s pages, within a blog article, or even on social media, remember to target the right keyword(s)!

Person's hands typing on laptop

3. Start a dog grooming blog and incorporate your portfolio images within it!

Speaking of blogs, another excellent way to market your dog grooming portfolio is to showcase your work within blog articles. So, why not start your very own blog and include it as part of your business website?

Creating regular, unique content is always a solid way to boost SEO. Every time you publish a new article, you’ll basically be attracting Google and crawler bots back to your site. Moreover, when you add your portfolio images in the articles and give them proper meta descriptions, you’re only increasing your chances of your content being seen.

Another option available to you is to guest write for other people’s dog grooming blogs. As part of your guest posts, you can potentially use your own portfolio images as the photos included within the article. Becoming a guest writer means that your business will be promoted by other websites and companies other than your own. Remember all that talk about SEO? This is another thing that’ll help boost it!

4. Share your dog grooming portfolio on social media!

Unique content shouldn’t only be shared on your blog and website, though. Social media is also a key tool at your disposal! And what better unique content to share than photos of dog grooming work you’ve done?

Do some research and pinpoint which platforms you’d like to maximize. I actually recommend securing your social media handles as soon as you’ve registered your business name, so that no one else can take it. From there, build your pages in a way that aligns with your brand and vision.

When it comes to social media, posting regularly is key! Apps such as Later and Hootsuite can help you schedule your posts in advance. Plus, platforms like Instagram can show you metrics that’ll help you better determine the optimal days/times you should be posting.

Here are few other tips to keep in mind when marketing your dog grooming portfolio on social media:

  • Engage with everyone who takes the time to leave a comment on your posts and/or message you privately.
  • Give credit wherever credit is due. E.g. if someone else took the photo, give them credit in your post as the image’s photographer. They’ll appreciate that!
  • It’s better to be safe than sorry. Always get your client’s permission (preferably in writing) before share a photo of their pet on your social media account(s).
  • If you have the budget for it, invest in marketing ads for your website and/or blog articles.
  • Don’t over post. If you spam your followers’ feeds with too many posts in a given day, it could put them off and potentially make them unfollow you.
  • A harmonious balance between evergreen content and topical content is the key for success.
  • Furthermore, all posts should accurately reflect your business’s brand.
  • As much as possible, always post 100% original content.
Happy golden retriever portrait

5. Make your dog grooming work shareable.

Public relations is all about maintaining a strong, favorable reputation for your business. Most of your business’s PR will be done through your groomer-client experiences, social media presence, and professional business website. But there are plenty of ways you can use public relations to market your dog grooming portfolio, too!

For example, you can make your work easily shareable. This way, others can easily share and promote your business (with your permission, of course) after they’ve discovered you. Here are a couple ways you can do this on your website:

  • Write up an engaging bio for yourself on the ‘About’ section of your site. This will help others know who you are and what you do. Moreover, they’ll be able to pull the right info from your bio when promoting you on their own platform.
  • Make sure the portfolio images included on your website are large (but not too large) in size. This way, people can download and share your photos without sacrificing their high quality. If you’re worried about people taking your photos without your knowledge or consent, include a blurb on your portfolio webpage that clearly states that proper credit and a link back to your website are required for anyone who wishes to share your work.

Do YOU have any additional tips to add to this list? Drop them in the comments below and tell us how you’ve successfully marketed your professional dog grooming portfolio!

Start your dog grooming career in less than one year by enrolling in QC Pet Studies’ online certification training today!

5 Career Mistakes That’ll Hurt Your Dog Groomer Salary

dog groomer salary blog article mar 12 2021 feature image

If you want to be a truly successful groomer, you’re going to need to know more than just how to groom a dog. Your technical skills could be the best in the world. But if your business skills are lacking, your dog groomer salary (and career in general) is guaranteed to suffer!

Here are 5 career mistakes that will – definitely, without a doubt – hurt your reputation and your income. Heed them carefully. This way, you can avoid making these mistakes in 2021!

5 Mistakes That’ll Hurt Your Dog Groomer Salary (and Career as a Whole)

1 – You think you don’t need professional training.

In a lot of places, professional training, certification, or licensing isn’t actually required to work as a dog groomer. To us, this is ludicrous. If you’re going to be working with a living, breathing creature, you absolutely need to know exactly what you’re doing!

Just because you can skip professional training doesn’t mean you should. Not by a long shot. In fact, by choosing the former, your career probably won’t be very successful. Not only do you risk making countless technical errors in your work – it’s going to be harder for you to gain clients’ trust.

Think of it this way: would YOU bring your dog to someone who’s never taken the time to learn the craft? Or would you only want to bring them to someone who you can be certain knows what they’re doing?

Opting out of proper training will severely limit the number of clients who’ll want to hire you. This won’t just hurt your dog groomer salary… it’ll hurt your reputation in general!

Because we know you WANT to succeed in this industry, we can’t stress this enough: get professional groomer training.

2 – You’ve limited your skill-set.

This could be due to a lack of training or an unwillingness to continue learning. Some groomers master the basics and then think they don’t need to further their education or learn anything more. The moment you adopt this mindset, you’re dooming yourself.

Yes, it’s great if you know how to brush and bathe a dog. It’s also awesome if you’re really good at clipping nails or performing a certain haircut. But what about other services? Ask yourself:

  • How many dog haircuts have you mastered?
  • Can you work with a wide variety of dog breeds – or just a select few?
  • Can you recognize and work with skin issues?
  • Do you know how to assist a severely matted dog?
  • Do you have any canine First Aid training?
  • What other advanced or specialty services do you currently offer?

The more versatile your skill-set, the better your career will be.

Remember: the best dog groomers out there are able to offer their clients a multitude of different services. More services mean more options for clients to choose from. As a result, this will mean more bookings, more return customers, and a better dog groomer salary.

aggressive dog

3 – You know nothing about dog behavior.

In a perfect world, every client’s dog would be happy to see you. They’d jump up effortlessly onto your grooming table and stand perfectly still throughout the whole appointment.

But we do not live in a perfect world.

Understanding dog behavior is a MAJOR component of being a groomer. After all, no two dogs will ever be exactly the same. While some will be sweet and well-behaved, others will be anxious and stressed out. Some might try at every turn to run away from you. Others might even show aggression.

As the professional, it’ll be up to you to recognize each dog’s behavior. Only then can you adjust your strategy accordingly in order to work with them.

If you only know how to work on a calm, picture-perfect dog, you’re going to be in for a very rude awakening. You could wind up panicking in the face of any other kind of dog. Panicking can lead to potential injuries. At the very least, it’ll turn a salvageable situation into a disaster waiting to happen.

One thing will be for certain, though: if you don’t know how to work with a client’s dog, they’re not going to book with you again. They won’t recommend you to others (in fact, they might do the opposite). As a result, your career will suffer… and your dog groomer salary will definitely suffer, too.

4 – Your people skills are terrible.

Most of the time, you’ll be working only with dogs. But that doesn’t mean you’ll never need to talk to their owners.

Your clients care about their dogs and see them as part of their family. For many people, it can be nerve-wracking to leave their dog in the care of a complete stranger – especially if this is their first time booking with you. The kind of impression you make on them can be the make-it-or-break-it factor. It can determine whether they choose to book with you again, refer you to others, or leave a scathing review.

So, keep this in mind whenever interacting with your clients! Even if you’re not the biggest people person, put on a smile. Be kind, friendly, and professional. Even when your interaction is limited, it can still have a huge impact. If you have a bad attitude, it’ll probably leave a bad taste in their mouth. They could easily think that the way you’ve treated them is an extension of the way you’ll treat their pet… and you do NOT want them to think that!

The better your customer service is, the more clients you’ll book. You’ll get more repeat customers and more raving reviews. Not only will this strengthen your reputation as an industry expert – it’ll better your bottom line and do wonders for your dog groomer salary.

In the long run, how you treat the dog is the most important thing. But how you treat the dog’s owner is a close second.

first aid, injured dog having paw wrapped up by dog groomer

5 – You don’t have First Aid training.

In our opinion, First Aid training should be mandatory for all dog groomers. Your job requires you to work with sharp, potentially dangerous tools. Moreover, you’re using all these tools on another living being.

If you don’t have any training, your chances are a lot higher for things to go wrong. That being said, you could be the most prepared groomer there ever was – and still have accidents happen.

This is exactly why First Aid training is essential! If you accidentally hurt your client’s dog, or they hurt themselves, knowing how to quickly and effectively assess and respond to the situation will make all the difference. Not knowing what to do spells danger. In extreme cases, it can even have fatal consequences.

If your client’s dog gets hurt on your watch and you have no training or understanding of what to do, that’s going to look bad on your part. Furthermore, if there was something you could have done but didn’t (due to lack of training), and the dog’s well-being is put into greater jeopardy as a direct result of this, your career will probably be over.

We’re going beyond the discussion of your dog groomer salary with this one. For the sake of everyone’s safety, the best thing you can do for your professional career is get First Aid training. Period.

Did you know that when you enroll in QC Pet Studies’ online Dog Grooming Course, we give you our First Aid for Groomers Course absolutely FREE? Learn more here!

Increase your dog groomer salary in 2021 by getting professionally trained and certified with QC Pet Studies. Enroll today!

4 Awesome Dog Grooming Package Ideas

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Trying to come up with competitive dog grooming package ideas for your business? QC Pet Studies graduate, Casey Bechard, is here with 4 great ideas to get you started! Casey works as a full-time dog groomer and shop manager at Off The Leash Pet Grooming in Regina, Canada. She is an alumnus of QC’s Dog Grooming and First Aid for Groomers courses.

One important part of being a professional dog groomer is knowing how to appropriately charge a client for certain services. The thing is, when it comes to pricing, there’s no real ‘one size fits all’ answer. There are so many ways that you – as the groomer – can choose to charge customers for your services. You can offer a la carte services, package certain services together, etc.

That being said, I do have a few cool dog grooming package ideas that I’m going to share with you today. I’ll first share how my own salon sets and groups grooming rates. Then I’ll let you in on a few ideas that I think would be exciting to use (and haven’t seen others do yet).

Let’s jump into it!

dog having ear hair trimmed

4 Dog Grooming Package Ideas to Get You Inspired

Idea #1 – Charge by Breed

In the salon I’m working at now, we charge by the breed. This means that if someone were to bring in a Shih Tzu, the prices we’d quote them would be based on that specific breed. A client who brings in, say, a Border Collie would be presented with different rates.

When we charge by breed, the main dog grooming package we offer includes a:

  • Bath;
  • Blow out;
  • Brush out;
  • Haircut or trim (if need be);
  • Nail trim
  • And an ear cleaning.

However, on top of this package, we also offer what we call “add-ons”. For example, let’s say a client wants their dog to have everything mentioned above. But they ALSO want their dog to have a teeth brushing, blueberry facial, ear plucking, nail painting, etc. All of these additional services would be an extra cost added on top of the original price.

Here’s the thing about charging by breed: while we do have a certain price range for certain breeds, that doesn’t mean that every dog of that particular breed will fall under the same price. For instance, two German Shepherds could come to us in completely different shape. The German Shepherd in need of a lot more work won’t cost the same as the German Shepherd who comes to us in next-to-pristine condition.

We also take into consideration the fur type, size, and temperament of the dog. If a Border Collie were to come in, the starting price would be, say, $72.00. That’d be the standard, base fee we’d be starting from for that particular breed. But what if that Border Collie is bigger than a normal Border Collie? What if its fur is thick and has some matting?

Then we would factor in all of these things, as well as how much time it would take to groom this particular pup. In this case, I’d say that the price is now between $85.00 to $95.00.

This is just one idea of a dog grooming package that I personally know works and flows great for my team and me!

Idea #2 – Create Dog Grooming Packages that Catch a Client’s Attention

There are plenty of dog grooming package ideas that will be successful due to their ability to grab your clients’ attention. For example, you can bundle certain services together and give each bundle a fun, catchy name. I’ve always thought this would be a great idea!

For example, say you want one of your packages to be a full-service, luxurious experience. It would include whitening shampoo, conditioner, a blow out, a hair trim, a nail trim, ear cleaning, smell good spritz, and a bandana/bow. You could call this package “The Spa Treatment”!

You could offer this package for an all-inclusive, set rate. If a client wanted to omit a particular service from this package, you would eliminate it – but the price would stay the same. As far as what you would charge for a package like this, I believe it would all depend on your skills and qualifications at the time. Your location should also be considered, such as whether you work in a salon, from home, or at your client’s home.

Idea #3 – Create Issue-Specific Dog Grooming Packages

In terms of dog grooming package ideas, another option is to develop certain packages that deal with very specific things. For example, you have a package catered specifically towards dogs with sensitive skin. This package could be available for both small and big dogs, with a different price range per size.

In this sensitive skin package, you could provide:

  • Hypo shampoo;
  • A CO2 tablet to soothe the skin;
  • A blow out
  • A gentle brush out;
  • A trim or de-shed (if needed);
  • A nail trim;
  • Ear cleaning;
  • A Bow or bandana at the end.

Pro Tip: If a client were to choose this package, always remember to reassure them that you will be cautious and mindful when dealing with their pup’s sensitive skin. They will definitely appreciate this!

dog grooming package ideas shiba inu being brushed

Idea #4 – Offer Mini Dog Grooming Packages

Not all dog grooming package ideas need to be grand-scale. Some of the best bundles out there are the smaller, mini ones. These will serve you well when a client wants just a couple things done – without having to pay for the more traditional grooming services, too.

For instance, you could have ‘Walk-In Service’ mini packages, as well as mini packages reserved only for clients who book ahead. Here are some examples of services you can easily bundle together into a mini service package:

  • Nail trim, shave pads, and trim Grinch feet;
  • Teeth brushing, ear cleaning, and wrinkle clean (or just eye clean);
  • Sanitary butt, face, and feet clean up (you could call this one ‘The Full Maintenance Clean’!).

All these ideas exclude the actual full groom. As such, you could charge less than half of the regular grooming price. You can also tailor the prices accordingly, based on a variety of factors. If you tell your regular clients about these smaller, bundled services, they might be interested in coming in for them between full grooms!

From a business standpoint, these mini bundles give your client a wider variety of options to choose from. They will help get clients through your doors, create more opportunities for prospective customers to try out your services, and ultimately better your bottom line.

When it comes to dog grooming package ideas, the sky’s the limit! There are lots of fun ideas you could explore and try out. Just make it your own and use products that you believe in. With a bit of thought and creativity, your dog grooming business can offer something truly special and unique.

Happy grooming!

Did you know that QC Pet Studies’ Dog Grooming Course also offers a full unit of business training? Learn more about this exciting certification course here!

Mobile Dog Grooming Career: Pros and Cons

woman's dog grooming career - driving in van with black lab in passenger seat

Congratulations! You’ve worked hard to complete your dog grooming training and earn your professional certification. Now you’re ready to break into the industry, start your dog grooming career, and launch your very own business. At this point, the most important question becomes: what type of business do you want to run?

Mobile grooming has gained more and more popularity over the years, and with good reason. This growing sector of the industry could be the right path for you! Of course, you’ll need to do your research before making any decisions.

Let’s break down what a mobile groomer does, and then delve into some of the common pros and cons related to this profession.

What is Mobile Dog Grooming?

In a nutshell, mobile dog grooming is when you – the groomer – physically travel to the clients’ homes for their appointments. You might invest in a van or truck big enough to house and transport your mini salon. Another popular option is to bring your grooming equipment into the client’s home, where you can groom the dog in its own environment.

The Pros and Cons of a Mobile Dog Grooming Career

In order to decide if a career in mobile dog grooming is right for you, you’ll need to carefully consider all of the factors that influence this profession. Here are some of the most common pros and cons that you’ll come across as a mobile groomer…

Pro: It’s the most convenient option for your clients!

For starters, mobile services present a major perk for clients! They won’t even need to leave their homes in order to reap the benefits of your services. This is definitely something that can set you apart from other competitors in your area.

Mobile grooming can be convenient for you, too! Not to mention, the fact that you’ll need to work with less equipment will teach you to become craftier in your approach to grooming.

Con: You’ll need to work long hours.

As a mobile groomer, you’ll usually be flying solo. You only have two hands (we assume), and that means you can only work on one dog at a time. If you want your dog grooming career and business to make a serious profit, you’ll need to work extended hours on a regular basis. This way, you can fit more appointments into your daily schedule.

If this isn’t an appealing or realistic option for you, mobile dog grooming might not be the best career choice.

Pro: It’s remarkably cost-effective!

When you work in a salon, part of your paycheck will go towards covering the overhead costs associated with running that establishment. Similarly, when you operate your own business out of a physical location, you’ll encounter all sorts of additional expenses that you’ll need to budget for and pay out of your profits. But a mobile dog grooming career doesn’t work the same way!

Yes, the initial start-up cost will likely be high for a mobile business. After all, you’ll need to have a reliable vehicle, set up your mobile grooming station and invest in your tools and products. But once those costs are out of the way, maintaining your mobile grooming business will be a LOT less expensive than operating a physical salon.

You’ll have a smaller workplace to manage and you’ll need less equipment, so your business overheads will be much more cost-friendly.

Con: You may need to turn down certain clients.

Money can quickly become tight for a mobile groomer if you continuously take on jobs that don’t actually turn a profit for you. At times, you may be required to pick and choose the appointments you book. This could mean turning down potential clients to accommodate others who are willing to pay more.

For example, full-service grooms have higher rates than individual services because they require more work on your part.  As such, these kinds of appointments would be more favorable for your business than substantially cheaper, a la carte requests.

Pro: You’ll have a much LARGER clientele in general!

Think about it. You’ll increase your chances of booking more clients by offering to come directly to them and your mobile flexibility allows you to travel to clients in other towns and cities. This is a unique perk that you simply can’t offer if you work in a physical salon!

Whether you live in a small town, or simply want to give yourself that extra edge in a larger, competitive city, mobile dog grooming is definitely going to allow you to reach out to more clients.

Con: Travel, maintenance, and expansion considerations

Although a career in mobile dog grooming is cost-effective compared to running a brick-and-mortar salon, you’ll still need to take several expenses into consideration. For instance, you’ll need to budget for expenses related to traveling, such as vehicle maintenance, gas, meals, etc.

relaxed border collie lying next to owner in van

Similarly, you would need to spend more money if you ever decided to grow your business. After all, you can only fit so many people in your vehicle. If you want to expand and eventually hire a team, you’ll need to buy more vehicles. Then you’ll also need to factor in the travel and maintenance costs associated with those vehicles.

Pro: You’ll get to work with happier, less-stressed dogs!

Some dogs are perfectly happy to visit the salon, but others can get extremely anxious and stressed. By grooming them in (or near) their own homes, they’ll likely be much more relaxed and receptive to your efforts. Working with a happy dog will make your job much more enjoyable in general, and it will also help the groom to go by with far fewer hiccups. This is always a major plus!

So… IS a Mobile Dog Grooming Career Right for You?

As the saying goes, “The grass is always greener where you water it”. Whether you are a mobile groomer, operate out of your own salon, or are employed within a salon, you’ll run into ups and downs in any job. That’s just life!

jack russel terrier puppy looking up at camera from outside of van

Ultimately, a big part of your success will depend on how you choose to approach your dog grooming career. While mobile grooming may come with its own unique set of challenges, it also offers extremely rewarding benefits.

So long as you go into this career path with as much preparation and training as possible, and you maintain a focused work ethic, you’re going to do just fine!

Haven’t gotten professional training yet? QC Pet Studies can help you earn your certification and launch your dog grooming career in as little as 9-12 months! Click here to learn more!

How to Build Your Pet Grooming Business Website

One of the single easiest ways to doom your career is to not have a website up and running for your pet grooming business. You need a strong online presence in order to be seen!

Never put together your own site before? No worries! With the following Do’s and Don’ts list, you’ll have all the info you need to get started!

Do: Secure Your Domain Name

When first starting your pet grooming business, you came up with a name. Then you would have legally registered it, so that no one else has the right to use it. The same now needs to be done for your website domain!

Research into various website hosts platforms. This is basically the platform where your website will live and be put together. Once you’ve decided which host you wish to use, make sure that no other website already has your desired domain name registered.

If you’re good to go, lock down your domain name ASAP! If the name is already taken, go back to the drawing board and see what other variations you can play with that still use your pet grooming business’s name.

Don’t: Ignore Design Trends

There’s nothing endearing about clicking on a website, only to find that it looks archaic and outdated. Online design trends are forever changing. So, it’s important that you research into the common, popular trends and industry changes within the pet grooming world!

Pro tip: Many website building platforms will have templates that you can use to build your site. Most of these templates are free and follow current design trends. Templates are your friend!

Do: Know Your Brand

Your brand will be a major part of your business’s identity. If you don’t know what your brand is, how can you know what sort of impression your business will give off to clients?

The best way to start figuring out your professional brand is to ask yourself:

  • When my clients think of me and my business, what are some descriptors I want to come to mind?
  • If my client was to describe my business to someone else, what would I want them to say?
  • What is the overall mission/goal of my pet grooming business?
  • What feelings do I want my business to evoke in others?

Once you determine your brand, you’ll be able to start building SO much of your business around it. You’ll be stunned at how much starts falling into place once you have a solid brand as your foundation!

Don’t: Plagiarize Other Websites

Let’s be super clear here: there’s absolutely nothing wrong with referring to other websites as a source of inspiration. But there’s definitely a problem with ripping them off and stealing material for your own use.

Growing up, school drilled into our heads how bad plagiarism is. When it comes to building your pet grooming website, this is of no exception. Simply put, don’t do it.

“But what if I change a few of the words?”

No, don’t do it.

“But how about if I–?”

It’s best to just assume that no matter what, you should never do it.

The consequences can get pretty severe sometimes, especially if the other business were to find out. To give you an idea, there’s always the chance it can result in a lawsuit. At the very least, it could spell danger for your reputation in the industry. No matter how you slice it, it’s just not worth the risk.

By all means, get all the inspiration you need! Keep a journal and jot down notes of any ideas that come to mind when looking through other people’s websites. Just make sure to transform these ideas into something that’s completely your own.

In general, this is the safest way to approach ANY content you put onto the internet.

Do: Learn About SEO

Having a nice-looking website is a good start, but without a proper understanding of SEO (Search Engine Optimization), it can do little to actually get you any real visibility. Your website can only do so much if it isn’t ranking very high on platforms such as Google.

It’s worth it to do some research online and read up on SEO. Learn what it is, how it works, and what you can do to maximize it to your benefit. No, you don’t need to become some sort of SEO expert – but a general understanding can do wonders, and take your business website to a whole other level!

Don’t: Make Things Complicated

Remember what websites looked like back in the early 2000s? Everything was an overabundance of visual graphics, neon colors, barely legible text, and automatic music blasting from every page. We get it; the internet (on a global scale) was still feeling relatively fresh, so we all got a little too excited for our own good.

In this day and age, however, none of these things are a good look. They certainly don’t give the impression of a respectable, professional business. In fact, if you look at the most popular websites out there today, you’ll likely find that most have quite a lot in common! For example, they’ll probably have:

  • Black text on a white background
  • No more than 3-4 fonts
  • Consistency in font use, font size, and color schemes
  • A simple, one or two-column layout
  • A navigation bar at the top of the page, and a footer at the bottom
  • Limited use of scrolling banners
  • A clear use of headers, sub-headers, and body text
  • Images aligned with the text, in a way that makes sense
  • No automatic music (seriously, this is more likely to startle the viewer than impress them)

Do: Add Your Professional Portfolio

Your business website should contain very specific information that will be useful to any potential clients interested in your dog grooming services. This includes details like your contact information, grooming services, qualifications, prices, and more. Just as importantly, you should also include some of your professional portfolio.

By adding images of your past work to your website, you’re giving potential customers a way to physically see the high quality of your previous work. It’s one thing to simply tell them about your prior experience in the field. It’s a whole other ball game to show them visual proof of how awesome you are, and why they should hire you!

Having your portfolio available directly on your website is a guaranteed to way to book more clients for your pet grooming business!

Don’t: Showcase Just ANY Photo

With that being said, there is a standard for the types of photos you should include in your online portfolio. It can be all too easy to turn a good website bad by adding in the wrong types of images.

To avoid this rookie mistake, never use photos you don’t have the legal rights to. Don’t jam pack your website with any images that aren’t relevant to the goal of your business. Similarly, don’t use stock photos either. While they may depict an idea of the services you offer, they can also be very misleading to potential customers.

Try to only use images that broadcast YOUR work. Make sure that these pictures are in high definition, and look to be of professional quality. A high-quality portfolio will mean a high-quality pet grooming business in the eyes of your audience!

Want to learn how to properly market your pet grooming business services online? Read on for 4 helpful marketing tips!

3 Dog Grooming Realities that Classes Won’t Teach You

Dog grooming classes are wonderful at teaching you the theoretical knowledge and practical skills you need to be a successful dog groomer.  A good dog grooming course (whether it’s online or classroom-based) will teach you all about canine anatomy, grooming tools, safety concerns, standard cuts, first aid, and more.  Graduating from a course should allow you to start your dog grooming career with the confidence to groom dogs safely and effectively.

But a grooming class can’t teach you everything.  Here are a few realities to dog grooming that most courses just won’t prepare you for.

QC Pet Studies Dog Grooming Realities - Grooming Poodle

1: You can’t satisfy every client

A good dog grooming course will teach you how to interact with your (human) clients.

That said, no matter how well you’re prepared, every business owner is bound to encounter a few “Choosing Beggars” or “Karens” in their careers.  These customers just can NOT be pleased no matter what you do.  Though these clients are rare, you can usually tell by these typical behaviors:

  • They ask for discounts or for free services because “you charge too much” / “Suzy down the street offers the same services for cheaper” / “they’re doing you a favor by allowing you to practice on their dog” / “other reasons”.
  • They have unrealistic expectations and don’t take kindly to being told that what they want Just. Isn’t. Possible.
  • They expect you to fall over yourself and do everything humanely impossible to please them because “you work for them” (whether they intend on paying you for your work or not).
  • They lose their mind if you dare to ask for a deposit.
  • They resort to insulting you personally or leaving horrible (and exaggerated/untrue) reviews of your business if they’re displeased in any way.

A lot of professionals will go way above and beyond for this type of client because they can’t bear the thought of displeasing a paying client or seeing a bad review of their business. But the truth of the matter is, you’ll never be able to please this type of client and doing so can hurt your business more than their bad review ever will.  Instead, focus on setting healthy boundaries with terrible clients and learn how to respond to bad reviews in a professional manner.

The good news is, people are becoming savvier at identifying and calling out these impossible clients. If your business reputation is solid and your reviews are otherwise positive, most potential clients won’t be put off by one or two bad experiences with a nightmare client.

QC Pet Studies Dog Grooming Realities - Dog on Grooming Table

2: Dogs are really unpredictable (but like, really)

Your dog grooming course should teach you all about dog behavior and how to work with different types of dogs including difficult-to-groom ones.  But reading about working with dogs and actually doing it is a very different experience.

Most groomers are surprised the first time they work on a “difficult” dog. It’s more challenging than you think it’ll be! Some scenarios you’re likely to encounter:

  • The terrified dog who wants to bite your face when you get within 3 feet of her
  • The overly-friendly dog who wants to tackle you to the ground and lick your face when you get within 3 feet of him (i.e. my puppy)
  • The dog who hates all other dogs and becomes Cujo when another dog is in her field of vision
  • The dog who loves all other dogs and screams until he’s allowed to play with them (i.e. my puppy)
  • The water-lover who refuses to get out of the tub
  • The water-hater who refuses to get into the tub
  • The dog who’s perfectly fine until you dare to touch her feet
  • The pup who’s perfectly fine until you dare to touch his ears
  • The explosive diarrhea

You get the idea.

Dogs have so many personalities and quirks. And fact is, for a groomer, an overly-friendly Labrador can be just as much of a pain to groom as a reactive Golden Retriever.

The good news is, when you’re just starting out, you can usually find enough clients who have well-behaved dogs that are used to being groomed.  Don’t be afraid of being selective with your first few clients and screening out the difficult cases! Starting out on “easier” dogs can allow you to master your craft before you start working on more challenging pooches.

And when you do find yourself working with a difficult canine, remember this: Dogs are living beings with feelings. You’re not doing a dog (or yourself) any favor by “powering through it”. If they’re scared, nervous, overwhelmed or otherwise being difficult, your best option is to stay completely calm and slow down or take a break. If that means you can’t fully groom a dog during a scheduled appointment, so be it.  Most dog owners (except for the ones in point #1 above) will be thankful that you have their best friend’s interest at heart.

QC Pet Studies Dog Grooming Realities - Difficult Dogs

3: Business “best practices” won’t always work for your business

Your dog grooming course should teach you how to launch a grooming business. This training is based on business best practices that have been tried and tested.  But once you run your own business, you start to learn that some “best practices” might just not work for your own business.

Now I have yet to see a business who doesn’t benefit from, say, having a website. But when it comes to setting your prices, for example, or actually marketing your business, it’s very likely that not every strategy that’s recommended in your course will be a hit with your particular business.

Maybe your business is located in a very conservative area and you have to be extremely careful about your social media use.  Maybe your target audience skews much older and you actually do benefit from advertising in newspapers even though we’d never advise it as a viable marketing strategy in QC’s online dog grooming course. Who knows?

So while you definitely should pay very close attention to your dog groomer business training and adopt most, if not all, of the advice presented within the course, you also shouldn’t blindly follow business advice if you start to see evidence that it doesn’t work for your business.  Use your intuition and common sense, and go with what works!

QC Pet Studies Dog Grooming Realities - Dog Holding Business Newspaper

Dog grooming classes are great. A comprehensive dog grooming course will help you succeed in your future career as a dog groomer.  But just as with every profession, taking a grooming class won’t teach you everything about being a dog groomer. Sometimes you just have to get into the weeds and experience the profession for yourself!

Ready to start your dog grooming career? Check out QC’s online training program here!