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Career Advice

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!

There are plenty of negative myths about online dog grooming school that are just plain FALSE. Let’s do the world a favor and debunk 5 of them

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

happy girl cuddling Pomeranian in grass

Happy New Year, everyone!

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

girl high-fiving golden lab puppy

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

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

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

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

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

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

pomeranian with teddy bear hair cut

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

I guess licenses are just on your minds a lot!

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

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

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

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

happy golden retriever in bath with bath products

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

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

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

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

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

happy dog portrait with yellow background

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

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

QC Pet Studies’ Top 10 Dog Grooming Articles of 2019

corgi puppy in owner's arms

Wow, 2019 felt like it went by in the blink of an eye! Let’s welcome 2020 by first taking a look back at your top 10 favorite articles over this past year.

It’s pretty impressive that this article made this year’s list, given that it was only published a couple weeks ago! But when you look at what it’s about, it’s easy to see why. Though entertainingly filled with satire, this article succeeds in driving home a very important message: it can be all too easy to destroy a good reputation. Avoid the 7 prime examples listed here, and you’ll ensure that your clients will only ever have the best things to say about you and your business!

female groomer trimming dog's hair

QC graduate and professional dog groomer, Casey Bechard, was on fire this year! Despite the fact that she only just received her grooming certification at the beginning of 2019, her career has quickly taken off and only gotten better ever since. Here, she lists some really fantastic goals that would – and did – strengthen her grooming career. Check them out, and don’t be shy to use some of those goals for yourself in 2020!

Let’s face it: big doggos are precious, but they can also be a little intimidating. Add to that the fact that a lot of your work as a groomer will be with small to medium-size breeds, and you might wind up feeling a little out of your element when a Saint Bernard or Rottweiler comes in for an appointment.

But it doesn’t need to be overwhelming! Just like with smaller dogs, grooming larger breeds can become second-nature – you just need to know what to do! This article will equip you with 3 of the best tips to get you started!

No dog groomer can hope to be successful without sturdy and reliable equipment under their belt. However, even the best grooming kits can eventually become useless if not properly taken care of. If you’re guilty of committing any of these 6 mistakes, your grooming tools may be at risk! Keep your equipment pristine – and your reputation, solid – by avoiding these bad habits!

dog getting hair trimmed

QC Pet Studies loves to show off our talented students and graduates! After all, what’s more inspiring than to see someone who was in your very shoes go on to become successful in the field? Located all the way in New Zealand, Katie was first a graduate of QC Makeup Academy, having started her very own hair and makeup business.

Since then, she’s found a passion for grooming and turned to online dog grooming school. She’s taken both QC’s Dog Grooming Course and the First Aid for Groomers class. Driven by her love of animals, Katie’s dog grooming business now takes up the majority of her time – even being regularly booked up to 3 weeks in advance! Learn more about Katie’s journey, and remember: it can happen for you, too!

Casey’s back, with even more professional knowledge to share! This time, it’s her insight on what it’s really like to work in a dog grooming salon. While there are many pros, there are also challenges that you’ll have to adjust to and overcome. Here, Casey shares 3 of these obstacles. This article is definitely a helpful and insightful read, especially for anyone interested in working professionally within a salon setting!

Any person with basic canine education and a pair of trimmers can call themselves a dog groomer, but it takes a lot more than that to truly be a great one. From knowing your breeds, to proper handling and sanitation of equipment, this article provides you with 7 key tips to make yourself truly stand out from the competition in the dog grooming world.

golden lab getting bath

Let’s be real: dog odors are a nuisance. But aside from making sure that your pooch gets a regular bath, what can be done about the smells already living in your home? You’ll find the answer to that very question – and so much more – here in this article. Save your nose, and start reading!

Dogs are adorable. But dog hair? Not so much – especially when it seems permanently glued to all of your furniture and clothes! Sure, you can make sure to brush your pup regularly, but that isn’t enough! If you really want to get rid of all that pesky dog hair, your best bet is to check out (and then follow) these 6 invaluable tips.

On top of being a fountain of knowledge, we’ve already covered that Casey Bechard manages her very own grooming salon. Needless to say, she knows what she’s talking about! She also knows better than anyone how tricky it can be when first starting out as a groomer; particularly, the most common mistakes that can happen while you’re still learning the ropes.

Luckily, she’s compiled this list of the top 6 errors you may find yourself likely to make, so you’ll be able to avoid them! Definitely worth the read, and no surprise at all that this is 2019’s most popular Sniffin’ Around article!

groomer holding puppy

Who knows what articles will become most popular next year, but we’re excited to find out! Are there any topics you’d like to read in 2020? Let us know in the comments!

Ready to become a professional groomer in 2020? Enroll in QC’s leading Dog Grooming course and start your journey today!

7 Easy Ways to Tank your Dog Grooming Business Reputation

happy dog surrounded by paper mess

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

1. Triple your prices overnight

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

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

dog dressed as robber sitting in a suitcase full of money

2. Overbook, then rush through appointments

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

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

3. Start using the wrong tools

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

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

(Probably. Fingers crossed.)

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

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

(…Maybe.)

woman shrugging

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

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

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

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

5. Store personal client information in an unsecured forum

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

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

small dog dressed up as a mind reader

6. All aboard the gossip train!

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

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

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

7. Start fights with online reviewers

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

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

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

beautiful groomer holding dog in salon

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

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