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Dog groomer Archives - QC Pet Studies

3 Dog Grooming Complaints and How to Handle Them

Dog grooming complaints article, Aug 13 2021, Feature Image

As a professional groomer, you’ll sometimes hear dog grooming complaints from unhappy customers. That’s just a reality in this line of work! What’s important is how you choose to handle these complaints.

Luckily, QC Pet Studies graduate and industry expert, Casey Bechard, is here to help.

Today, Casey breaks down 3 common client complaints. Moreover, she’ll reveal the RIGHT way to respond to them. This way, you can properly mitigate the situation – and hopefully turn an unsatisfied client back into a happy one!

A Reality of The Job: Dog Grooming Complaints

I would be completely lying if I said I never, ever got one complaint from a client. And you know what? There’s absolutely no shame in getting one, because it will happen at some point or another throughout your career.

After all, we are human. We’re not perfect! Sometimes, I think clients forget that we make mistakes, same as everyone else. But one thing they don’t always know is that complaints can actually help us in the long run.

They really do, trust me. Personally speaking, I have grown SO much as a groomer because of what clients have said to me. If ever a dog grooming client voices a complaint, the key is not to simply shrug them off.

(Well, I mean, sometimes you will. It’ll depend on the nature of the complaint, of course.)

But for the most part, you need to embrace complaints and see them as constructive feedback. Only then can you use them as a way to better yourself.

Today, I’m going to discuss a few experiences I’ve personally had in my dog grooming career so far. Hopefully these experiences – and how I handled them – will help YOU if (or when) you run into a similar dilemma.

3 Dog Grooming Complaints and How to Handle Them Properly

Complaint #1: “You sent my dog home injured!”

This is a complaint that probably won’t be all that common for you, but you’ll more than likely hear it at least once. In this situation, the owner thinks that you’ve injured their dog during the grooming appointment.

For example, one time I groomed a Shih-Tzu pup, same as I’ve done many times before. There were absolutely no issues during the groom, nor where there any issues after it. In fact, the dog was happily running around while waiting for the owner to come back.

However, a few days later, the shop got an email from the owner. In it, they stated that I’d cut her dog by her private parts. Moreover, she was disappointed that no one had told her that her dog had this cut.

She also stated that she was going to be bringing her dog to the vet because she was in pain. I remember her asking in the email, “How did we not tell her, because clearly her dog was in pain?”

How I Handle This Complaint

So, when I had a minute, I simply started writing her back. I told her that I was sorry to hear about her dog and how uncomfortable she was. However, I stressed that if I had accidentally cut her dog during the groom (which I know I didn’t), I definitely would have let her know.

After all, that’s not something we try and keep from owners. On the contrary, we ensure to inform them of anything like that immediately. Afterwards, I went on to say that she was fine after the groom as well, as well as the fact that there were no issues present at that time whatsoever.

PRO TIP: Notice that I wrote in a very professional manner that I didn’t injure her dog. Furthermore, I made it clear that if ever I were to make such a mistake, I’d have admitted it and let her know. If you know you didn’t do anything wrong in a situation like this, stand up for yourself. Trust that you did the right thing.

The Aftermath

Not long after, I received another email back from my client. In it, she apologized and admitted that she figured out that it was all just razor burn. Her dog had been licking it raw and that’s why it looked worse than it was.

It actually worked out for the best, because I wasn’t aware that this dog got bad razor burn sometimes. As a result, I was able to add it into her file so I could be mindful of that next time.

So you see, if I had admitted to something I hadn’t done, this whole situation would have had a very different outcome. My client’s pup could’ve continued getting bad razor burn because I wouldn’t have known it was a potential issue.

My point is, there are ways to stand your ground and be nice about it! I get that she was upset in the first email. But as you see, all I had to do was explain my side of the story, along with what I’d seen, and it all turned out fine in the end.

Want to ensure you’re fully equipped to handle all possible injuries and/or emergencies on the job? Take your dog grooming skill-set to the next level by enrolling in QC Pet Studies’ First Aid for Groomers Course!

Dog grooming complaints article, Aug 13 2021, in-post image 2

Complaint #2: “You didn’t groom my dog perfectly!”

Sometimes, you’ll have brand-new clients coming in for their very first dog grooming appointment with you. Now and then, some people may start going off about how the last groomer did this and that, and how unhappy they were.

As you can imagine, this can be quit intimidating. Some clients are looking for a PERFECT groom – and honestly, there isn’t one because it doesn’t exist. There are some people that you just can’t make happy. Such is life.

But as always, it’s still your job to try your best! So, listen to everything they’re saying. From there, approach the groom based on your understanding of what it is they want. If you have any questions or are unclear about something, don’t hesitate to ask!

Based on my personal experience, when these types of clients come to pick up their dog afterwards, they’ll gush about how cute it looks and how they like it. However, within a couple of days, our salon might get a call about how they actually hate the groom.

Despite their initial, positive reaction, it’s not, in fact, what they wanted.

(Sigh.)

How I Handle This Complaint

From here, I’d simply ask if there’s anything I can do to fix what they don’t like. Similarly, I’ll ask if there’s any additional info I should know this time around. This way, I can avoid doing it again the next time.

Believe it or not, a lot of time, that client will just wind up saying something along the lines of, “No, I just wanted to let you know.”

This is the point when I’ll say, “Okay, thanks for calling. If that’s everything, I must get back to my client (a.k.a. the dog I am grooming).” Then I’ll leave it at that.

Most the time, you won’t hear back again from a person that doesn’t like your cut. They’ll simply not return for future business. In this industry, get the odd person who seems to have something negative to say something about everything sometimes comes with the territory.

This is fine – but these are the types of customers I recommend shrugging off and not letting ruin your day. After all, there’s not much you can do about it after the fact. You did the best job you could, and you tried everything in your power to remedy the situation.

Ultimately, THAT’S what matters!

Tibetan terrier dog getting washed at dog wash in stainless steel bathtub, selective focus

Complaint #3: “You didn’t stop my dog’s shedding!”

With dog grooming, you not only give dogs haircut. You also groom bigger dogs that just need a good brushing. At my shop, we call this a de-shedding treatment.

We use special shampoo, brush the dog in the tub, blow-dry them, and then brush them even more once they’re all dry. Essentially, we’re getting all that extra dead undercoat off the pup.

But the thing is, they’ll most likely still be shedding a bit. After all, dogs shed. That never completely stops, and it’s just part of having a dog.

Plus, if it’s the dog’s first time getting the treatment done, it’ll most likely shed a bit more because their hair follicles aren’t used to the treatment. So, that’s definitely something to keep in mind, too.

How I Handle This Complaint

A surprising amount of clients will wind up complaining a few days later, after their dog has seen us. Why? Because they’re unhappy that their dog is still shedding.

Well, yes… They will continue to shed. Because they’re dogs.

The goal is to reduce the amount of shedding, so that it’s less than it was before the grooming appointment. However, it won’t stop it entirely. In the face of this kind of dog grooming complaint, I’ll simply tell the customer this.

Some of the time, they want us to re- brush their dog because they think it shouldn’t be shedding hair at all. Of course, I can do that – and I will, if that’s what they want. However, it’s still very important to try and instill in their minds the fact that their dog will continue shedding.

Simply put: that’s what their dog does when they have an undercoat. Clients will typically be a lot happier with grooming results once they have a realistic understanding of what to expect.

I hope this article can help you in the future, as you navigate your way around dog grooming client complaints. Just stick to your gut and believe in yourself. Tell the truth always, and above all else, just have fun grooming!

Become a professionally trained and certified dog grooming expert in less than 1 year by enrolling with QC Pet Studies today!

A Day in the Life of a Dog Groomer

Day in the life of a dog groomer article, Aug 06 2021, Feature Image

Dream of a career in professional grooming? QC Pet Studies graduate, April Costigan, is here to show you what a day in the life of a dog groomer looks like! This way, you’ll know exactly what to expect!

Day in the life of a dog groomer article, Aug 06 2021, April Costigan headshot

Breaking Down a Day in the Life of a Dog Groomer

The life of a dog groomer is very glamorous. It involves non-stop hobnobbing with famous people and money just falling out of our sequined bags. Also, the flash of the “puparazzi” cameras going off in our face is constant.

No, I’m just kidding! 😝

While it may not be that exciting, a day in the life of a dog groomer is still pretty adventurous – and definitely rewarding! I own my own business and have my own studio. As a result, I get to manage my own time. There’s a lot of work involved, though.

So, if you’re interested in knowing what it’s truly like to be a professional dog groomer, then let me tell you how a typical day goes for me!

The Start of My Day as a Dog Groomer

First Thing’s First…

Each morning, I check my schedule so I can prepare myself for what I’ll be doing that day. On an average day, I groom 5 dogs and work a 10-hour day. Some days, I’ll only groom 3 really big, hairy dogs, since those take longer. Other days, I can groom 6 really small dogs, so long as they don’t have complicated coats or requested cuts.

In the life of a dog groomer, it’s important to always prepare yourself for what’s to come. My grooming day begins at 7:00 a.m. Since I own my own studio, I arrange my schedule so that when one dog is arriving, the last one is departing. My day usually ends at 5:00 p.m. – and no, I do not take a lunch break. (Although that’s mostly just due to personal preference.)

Getting My Grooming Space Ready

Once I know what’s on my schedule for the day, I’ll prepare my grooming space. First, I lay out all the tools I’ll be needing; making sure I have plenty of shampoo prepared. I buy the big, concentrated gallon jugs and dilute the shampoo with water for the proper mixture.

Next, I get fresh water bowls ready and put my own dogs in a separate pen that’s just for them. They always like to be in the same area that I’m in, which keeps them happy and quiet.

Finally, I turn on some nice music. I tend to pick something that entertains me, but does not aggravate the dogs. Music adds a level of relaxation for me, which transfers to the dogs I work on. It’s really very pleasant!

Relaxed, sleeping dog listening to music through headphones

My First Client of the Day

I greet my first client at 7:00 a.m. If they are a new client, I have them sign a grooming contract. This grants me permission to groom their dog. Next, they fill out an additional form which gives me their name, address, and phone number. Moreover, this same form provides me with information about their dog, such as the contact details for their veterinarian (in case of an emergency).

Afterwards, we have a brief conversation about how they would like their dog groomed. Then the client departs and their dog stays with me. I always begin with a nice “before” picture of the dog and text it to my client. This is because I like for them to have a visual of their dog before he/she is groomed.

Day in the life of a dog groomer article, Aug 06 2021, April portfolio 1

Starting with The Prep Work

We then get started with all the prep work first. For example. some of this work will include:

  • Trimming the dog’s toenails
  • Cleaning their ears
  • Trimming the hair out of the footpads
  • Completing a sanitary trim
  • Thoroughly brushing the dog out in order to remove any mats or debris stuck in the coat

After this, we head for the tub. I like to send a second photo to my client of their dog before or after the bath. Personally, I think it’s helpful to keep the client updated on where we’re currently at in the grooming process.

I like to make it extra cute, too. So, I sometimes wrap the dog in a towel and make her look extra snuggly. My clients love these types of photos. After all, who can resist those great, big eyes and soggy little face?!

April portfolio image 2

Once bath-time is over, it’s time to blow dry the dog by hand. Personally, I NEVER cage dry a dog. Instead, I take the time to ensure that all the curl is blown out of curly coats. Plus, I ensure all the extra hair is blown out of shedding coats.

Admittedly, this process can be quite messy! So, while I do this, I have my vacuum cleaner nearby. This way, I can quickly suck up extra hair that just keeps circulating around in the air during the blow drying process.

I like a clean shop, so I sometimes need to vacuum 8 times per day! While this may sound a bit tedious, it’s still critical. Maintaining a clean space is essential to staying healthy and being more efficient in my work.

The Styling Stage

Once dry, I start working on styling the dog’s coat. Importantly, I make sure to keep a close eye on the time. Each of my grooming packages have a set amount of time assigned to them. Thus, I must complete all my tasks in a timely manner. In my experience, I’ve found that most grooms take approximately 2 hours to complete.

After I’ve finished, I take a couple more photos. The first one is an “after” photo of the dog on the grooming table, in a similar position as the original “before” shot. This is so my client can see the drastic difference in how their dog looks after grooming, compared to how they looked at the start.

April portfolio image 5, after groom shot

The second photo I take is a “glamor shot”. I do this for a couple of reasons.  Firstly, many of my clients post their dog’s grooming experience on Facebook or other social media sites. I feel that if I provide them with a really cute photo, they’re more likely to use the one I took, instead of one that may not be as cute. Having my clients share my photos online, and reference my business and me, is free advertising!

Secondly, I like to have photos that I can use on my own website. I find that if I ask my clients if I can use their dog’s photo in an advertising campaign, many of them are so excited that they readily agree. It’s just good marketing. I mean, look at Hazel in the shot below. Can you believe how stinkin’ cute she is?!

Day in the life of a dog groomer article, Aug 06 2021, in-post image 6

I text these last two photos together, with a quick note that tells my client that their dog is ready. Rarely do I have a client that picks up a dog late. So, as one dog is departing, my next dog arrives.

Once the first client has paid their bill and picked up their dog, the next client has dropped their dog off. As soon as that client has filled out any necessary paperwork and has also departed, I’m ready to work on my next dog.

Moving Onto the Next Dog Groom

Before I actually start, I do take my own dogs out for a quick potty break. Of course, my client’s dog is welcome to come, too. Once everyone is back inside, I make sure to quickly clean my equipment. This way, my scissors, clipper blades, combs, and table are all sanitized and ready for the next groom. This only takes about 3-5 minutes, so be sure to take that time to clean your equipment between appointments!

I go through the above process about 5 times throughout my day, in order to accommodate my 5 dogs. As I mentioned earlier, I don’t take a lunch break. That said, when I let my dogs out for potty breaks, I do have a quick snack. After all, it’s important that I don’t get too hungry during the day!

At the End of My Day as a Dog Groomer…

…it’s time to do my administrative work. I’m running a legitimate, licensed business. As such, it’s critical that I always keep accurate books. I go to my office and enter new clients into my bookkeeping software. I’ll also create invoices for the clients of the day and record how they paid for their service (i.e. credit card, e-transfer, cash, check, etc.).

Next, I prepare any cash for deposit via an ATM machine. I make a bulk deposit once a week. All other forms of payment can be completed electronically. Moreover, once a month, I reconcile my checking account with the statement from the bank.

Near the end of my day, I’ll also make supply purchases online and record those purchases in my books as well. I pay my quarterly taxes for both State and Federal income taxes, and I try to stay on top of supply inventory needs for my studio.

Close up cropped image young woman calculating monthly expenses, managing budget, entering data in computer application, sitting at table full of papers, loan documents, invoices, utility bills.

And There You Have It: A Typical Day in the Life of a Dog Groomer!

That’s it – this is what a day in the life of a dog groomer looks like for me! 🙂

I won’t lie, i’s a lot of hard work. Sometimes, my back is aching by the end of my shift. My knees hurt from kneeling on the floor, in order to get the best angle for trimming little doggie necks. Usually, I have hair in my eyes.

However, I love EVERY minute of it! It’s my dream job, and I’m very happy that I get to have a career doing something I’m so passionate about. I love my doggy clients (and their humans are pretty awesome, too).

I hope YOU enjoy dog grooming as much as I do. After all, if you don’t, you’re not doing it right! 😉

Ready to start your journey? Become a professional dog groomer in less than 1 year by enrolling with QC Pet Studies today!