True or false: to be a successful Groomer, all you really need to do is love dogs?
Answer: contrary to popular belief, the answer is false!
Ask yourself these questions: How do you feel after being on your feet all day? Do you have a strong back? Do you have the patience of Job? Are you squeamish about fleas and ticks? Do you dry-heave at the thought of cleaning up dog poop, diarrhea, or maybe 5 year’s worth of ear build up? Do you think you can safely handle sharp scissors while your client is happily jumping and bouncing on your table? Are you prepared to treat a dog with love… even if they are trying to bite you?
One group that deserves more than their fair share of accolades are our hard-working dog groomers at Holiday Barn, as well as dog groomers everywhere. There is a lot more to dog grooming that meets the eye. You most certainly need to love dogs, but please understand that being a groomer is hard work. The work is physical, it’s dirty, and your patience is tested time after time. But is it worth it?
The benefits of being a dog groomer totally outweigh the negatives. There is nothing more gratifying than seeing a dog look and feel 100 times better when he leaves your salon than when he darkened your door. And that little “kiss” and snuggle when you are finished with a client is worth everything.
Here are a few things to keep in mind when considering a career in dog grooming:
Start up Costs
First of all, it can be an expensive start-up. Unless you find an existing business that supplies all of the equipment you need as well as shampoos, conditioners, treatments, etc., all of that will come out of your pocket. Your most expensive purchases will be your table, dryer and clippers, followed by a great pair of scissors. You don’t want to skimp on the necessities. Cheap equipment will only lead to frustration and perhaps even accidents.
Secondly, you do not necessarily have to attend a school or obtain a certification. Although the lack of certification is the cause of much debate. As a beginner, it is in your favor to be able to take your time mastering all of the in’s and out of dog grooming. Many people learn to groom through an apprenticeship. It is advisable to seek employment as a bather/brusher prior to making the leap to Groomer/stylist. Good bathing and brushing skills are an essential step in the grooming process. In addition, learning at this level will help you know if it is something you are interested in investing time into.
Knowledge of Dog Breeds
Thirdly, familiarize yourself with all of the different dog breeds. There are currently 190 AKC recognized breeds and some subcategories within each breed. You should be able to recognize the most popular breeds and have somewhat of an idea of the characteristics of their coat and grooming needs. Learning general canine health is most important because, next to their vet, your customers will consider you the “expert” in the health and welfare of their dog.
Customer Service Skills
Lastly, believe it or not, it’s not all about the dog. Your goal will be not only to make your 4-legged client happy but the 2-legged one as well. Good customer service skills are a must. Likewise, if you plan on going into your own business, there is much to learn about operating a small business. Some basic college courses covering customer service and business basics would prove to be a great benefit in pursuing dog grooming as a career.
Best of luck!