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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

dog grooming package ideas article feature image

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!

5 Little Known Factors That Can Help Your Dog Grooming Business

female groomer hugging scared collie

Dog grooming businesses are booming just about everywhere, but ensuring that your business prospers for the long run is a lengthy and challenging process. You’ll always need to be on the lookout for more dog grooming clients and ways to expand your business, and the reality is, not all of these things can be learned in dog grooming school. Some things will require a bit of “real world” experience.

Luckily, we’ve got 5 easy ways for you to up your game and book more clients. Great news: most of these take little to no effort and WILL have lasting results!

female dog groomer grooming a small, curly breed

1: A Website

Okay, so this one might not exactly be a secret, but it’s seriously surprising how many dog groomers don’t bother to have a website. Frankly, a Facebook Business Page is not a substitute for a professional, independent website!

We’re living in a world where every person has the Internet in their pocket. 1 in 4 homes have at least one smart speaker! Our point is, like it or not, your online presence matters. Your website, your branding, your portfolio, and your social media channels – they all matter.  If you don’t have these, there’s a huge market out there that you’re just not reaching.

But if you don’t at least have a website, you’re making this entrepreneurial thing WAY harder on yourself than is necessary…and being a business owner is tough enough!

Most people assume that setting up a website is complicated, but it actually doesn’t have to be hard at all! You can create a simple site using tools like Squarespace or Wix in just a day or two – no graphic designers or web developers needed! These services are very inexpensive, too, which is a nice bonus!

2: Online Scheduling

So you have a website. Now what?

Well, people are going to use your website to see your services and prices, as well as find your contact information. But ask yourself this: What if clients didn’t have to call you to book a grooming appointment in the first place? What if appointments could be made directly from your website?

Just think about how many people you know who absolutely loathe making phone calls. These people are more likely to opt for text or email instead, if available to them. Plus, online booking can often be done much faster than over the phone.

Think about it: what if your grooming business were to be the only local business that spares people the anxiety of making that dreaded phone call?

On your website, you could have a simple “appointment request” form, where people can request appointment slots with your company. You can then follow-up with the client directly to confirm the appointment. This takes very little effort to set up with most website builders, and can add immense value to your business.

female groomer bathing dog

Just be sure that you stay on top of the requests and keep yourself organized. The last thing you want to do is forget about them! Also, make sure to set realistic expectations with the client as to what will happen when they click “submit” on that online form. How long will it typically take for you to read and respond to their form? You can let them know an approximate wait time for a reply, either on the form itself, or as a disclaimer once it’s been submitted.

Pro tip: If you want to get REALLY fancy, you can set up online scheduling software and integrate it with your website. This way, clients can actually see your schedule and book specific appointment slots that are most convenient for them. There are tons of apps and different software out there that do this, though keep in mind the good ones aren’t free.

3: Listing Your Specialties

Think about the types of dog owners who might be skeptical about going to a dog groomer. It could be a good idea to dedicate a few pages on your website addressing their concerns before they even mention them!

REMEMBER: A lot of clients won’t bother calling your business to ask about their concerns. The more questions you can preemptively answer on your website itself, the more impressive you and your business will be. Therefore, the more clients you’ll secure!

Here are a few examples that come to mind:

  • First-time dog owners might be worried about booking their first appointment. Explain exactly what they can expect when they book a grooming appointment (and what their pooch can expect, too).
  • Puppy visits are often scary for dog owners! This is especially the case with experienced dog owners who understand how crucial it is to make every experience a positive one! A page on your website explaining how you introduce puppies to the grooming experience can lead to more bookings and life-long customers!
  • Owners of reactive dogs are always worried about environments such as grooming salons. A web-page dedicated to reactive dog owners will do loads to assuage their concerns. You can explain how you care specifically for reactive dogs, what special techniques/tools you use, and more.
  • Something bad might happen to their dog while in your care. While First Aid Training for groomers isn’t mandatory, we feel it should be. It’s incredibly useful, and is one of the top things that will make your clients feel at ease when trusting you with the safety of a member of their family!

Animal Shelters and Foster groups also need groomers. This is often an under-served, but important section of the dog community. Think about offering special prices or unique services for shelter dogs and foster dogs. Display it proudly on your website! Not only will this give your business some serious karma points, but rescues and shelters are extremely likely to recommend services they use themselves.

skiddish young dog next to owner

4: Register your Business with Google

Have you ever used Google to search for a business or service near you? If you haven’t, you’re in the minority (and frankly, you should try it – it’s a great tool!). When you want to compete and make your business stand out, you can’t ignore Google’s importance in terms of reaching customers.

Creating a Google Business Profile is free and helps customers find you. Using your address, business hours, etc., Google can quickly serve up your business information if potential customers search for things like, “Dog grooming near me”, or “how much does dog grooming cost?”, etc.

You can also customize your Google business listing to allow customers to call you directly from your listing, visit your website, and even book appointments (see point #2 above)!

To get started, just go to Google and search for: “Google My Business”.

5: Show customers you care!

People are suckers for heartfelt stories about animals. Just think about the last Internet video that made you cry. Odds are it had something to do with a neglected dog finding a new home, or a cat being reunited with its owner. Maybe a dog happily tippy-tapping with his new favorite toy!

You work with animals every day, which gives you amazing opportunities to have a seriously WICKED Social Media strategy. Most groomers don’t bother to use this to their advantage. But the fact is, it’s the perfect place for you to excel and get your name out there!

Share ‘before and after’ photos of all your furry clients on social media. Make a ‘photo release’ part of your client onboarding process. Most customers will be happy for you to post photos of their babies! (But of course, some customers will ask you not to, so make sure you always respect those requests for privacy purposes.)

female groomer giving dog teddy bear cut

If you offer special services to shelter animals or rescue dogs, for example, take some time to make a little video montage of that dog’s journey. Think about how you’d react to seeing a video of a scared shelter dog going into a salon so it can get pampered up. Imagine how touching and absolutely heart-warming it would be to see the dog feeling so much better afterward.

Not only will your business benefit from the publicity, odds are your video will help that dog get adopted, too. Win-Win!

There are lots of creative ways you can boost your business. Don’t be afraid to try out new things and see what works!

Interested in launching a dog grooming business, but not sure where to start? QC’s Online Dog Grooming Course comes with full business training that will set you up for success!

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!

My 4 New Year Resolutions for My Dog Grooming Career

dogs in party hats, celebrating New Year's

QC Pet Studies graduate, Casey Bechard, works as a full-time dog groomer and shop manager at Off The Leash Pet Grooming in Regina, Canada. Today, she talks all about her dog grooming career resolutions for 2020.

Now that the New Year has arrived, there’s always that, ‘what are my resolutions going to possibly be!?’ crisis. It happens to the best of us! Whether it’s with regards to your personal life or work life, it’s always at the back of your mind. For me, my New Year resolutions will focus on my business.

My dog grooming career this past year was challenging, but very rewarding at the same time. Looking back on the resolutions I made in 2019, I can admit that some weren’t seen through. So I think I’ll make a point to carry that unfinished business into this coming year (with new goals, too, of course)!

4. Take on New Challenges

I always love a new challenge! But this year, I believe I can take on more. It will be a good test of all that patience I first had at the start of my grooming career. Having good patience when you’re grooming a dog is honestly so important! Dogs know when your patience is running thin, I swear. Trust me, they won’t waste a second before they’re trying to test you for everything you’ve got.

Personally, I don’t mind working with a dog that doesn’t like to be groomed. The end result is either going to be successful, or you’ll see areas where you know you can do better next time. But no matter what, whenever I finish working with a dog, regardless of how it went, I see that as a win in my books.

Taking on dogs that are a bit of a challenge and working with them, however the job may turn out, is one of my goals this coming year.

3. Taking on New Tasks as a Manager

Being the manager at Off the Leash Pet Grooming has been so rewarding; I’m so thankful for the opportunity to be in this position! That being said, I also feel like I could be doing more with this title at the shop.

brown and white pomchi getting teeth brushed with finger brush

I want to start being more involved in the managerial side of things, and I don’t mean just being in charge when the boss is away. For example, I’d love to make monthly newsletters to feature new items and new perks around the shop. I would also love to start introducing our store’s employees, because I believe that our customers would love to know who’s taking care of their dogs all day. I have ideas and I’m ready to use them!

I also think it would be important to focus on up-scaling our social media presence, since it’s a huge way to not only keep contact with past clients, but create contact with potentially new ones. If people are tagging your business account and posting about you, it catches other people’s eyes.

Social media provides opportunity for growth. This even goes for my own Instagram account, which I use to promote the dog grooming work I do independently. I tag my friends or people that I know in my post, and they sometimes share it or make their own posts. This is a big deal because it can lead to new followers, or even just bring in traffic to your page.

2. Move the Salon to a New Location

I put this one on my resolutions last year, but it just wasn’t in the cards at the time. This year, however, it’ll be happening. I am so excited! Finding a new building for our business that’s both located in the right area and set up for what we need is hard to find, but we’re working on it.

Hopefully in the next couple of months, we’ll find something we love, so we can move on in! Our space right now is just too small for what we do on a regular basis. Our number of staff increased quite a bit in 2019, so it’s time!

groomer petting old golden retriever

1. Always Keep Learning

I love this resolution because it will never get old. You can literally never stop learning, no matter what your occupation is. Learning is everything, especially when you’re first working towards becoming a certified dog groomer!

I love learning new things, especially when you’ve been doing something for so long and it’s your passion. Going to conferences, watching videos on YouTube, getting new books, talking to other groomers – there are always new ways to learn. You just have to find them!

With grooming, people’s grooming techniques can vary drastically. Just by watching someone or talking to them about their process, you can learn so much but about their grooming approach, their preferred tools, how they deal with difficult dogs, etc. I can’t wait to further my learning in this very challenging, but rewarding, career.

Now that I have put some of my New Year’s resolutions out there, I challenge you all do to the same! Always keep them in the back of your mind when working. They can be anything you desire. Don’t limit yourself, either! I didn’t just focus on grooming; I also want to aim to be a better manager, and explore how my whole team can benefit from trying new things! Just go for it!

Happy New Year, and happy grooming!

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