Pet Groomer Wages
Because there are many career paths in pet grooming, there are broad differences in earnings. It is a matter of choice. Some employed pet groomers earn less than $20,000 a year while others make $30,000 to $70,000 a year (prior taxes). Self-employment incomes are just as diverse, but may go higher when owners choose to grow large businesses.
PetGroomer.com Magazine published the industry most extensive wage and income earnings survey ever conducted. You can read the results in the January/March 2017 PetGroomer.com Magazine download.
Some groomers establish burgeoning businesses and add new departments such as retail, training, boarding, daycare and other services. We call these “pet centers” and they are among our most motivated clientele following The Madson Management System™ in From Problems to Profits. They derive personal incomes from their businesses ranging from $100,000 to $250,000 a year. Highly-motivated, hardworking employees of pet superstore chains have reported gross wages of $80,000 to more than $100,000 a year in our GroomerTALK Community℠.
What’s important is that the pet grooming industry offers you the possibility to earn as much as you want if you willing to work diligently and grow your business or the department you manage. This is good news for the many career seekers wondering if grooming can replace their existing incomes from occupations outside of grooming. In this section we are going to help you understand what is required to earn the various ranges of incomes other than education and experience.
We want to share a strange quirk in pet care occupations when money is the topic. We have been shamed, as others have, for being concerned about how much one can earn. In the minds of those shaming us we are here to be servants unto pets that need us and money shouldn’t be involved even though they finally admit it does have its place. We don’t ascribe to that mindset.
Profitability is good for our industry in many ways. Don’t be ashamed to expect a comfortable living from grooming, and share your wisdom to help others. The intent to earn a good living from pet care is not based in greed.
Of course the joy of grooming isn’t “all about the money” but how can we be there for pet owners and their pets if we cannot cover our cost of living, and maintain modern businesses?
Our clients wanted us to be prosperous because they depended upon us, and we maintained a first-class operation with the best equipment for the comfort of people and pets. We could also make more donations. The mendicant mindset holds pet grooming back from more professional recognition.
We know pet groomers with incomes adequate to buy new homes, raise large families and send their children to college. Yes, it can be done if that is what you are wondering. The higher the income the more important it is for you to possess productivity skills and business acumen derived from industry experience. On the other end we know groomers satisfied with modest incomes and simple lifestyles.
It’s not right or wrong, better or worse, it’s simply choice. We’re proud that pet grooming offers so many career paths you can make your choice. Isn’t this an interesting industry? Everyone is different and so are their choices. The common glue we share as a body of professionals is “the care of pets.” Now let’s see what choices are available to meet your financial goals.
Next we will show you how compensation systems work for groomers.
How groomer wages are calculated is nothing less than one of the most remarkable and puzzling topics you will ever discuss. It’s wild even. Compensation systems truly lack standardization in this industry. Some of the systems are so abstract it’s a new form of modern art. Fasten your seat belt it’s going to be a bumpy ride indeed.
You are probably used to job offers stating a simple formula for an hourly wage or salary. How sensible. How boring! You are now entering the grooming compensation zone, and nothing is simple and little is as it seems.
Pay close attention to the basics of compensation we describe here. We will give you the basic ingredients, but a lot of strange cakes are baked out there using these ingredients.
Employed groomers are commonly compensated in one or more of four established methods. They are:
Hourly wages (with or without a minimum guarantee of hours in any one pay period).
Salary wages (guaranteed).
Combinations of the above.
Every business owner has the right to develop a legal compensation plan of their own making. As a result you will find many systems that reflect #4 above. Most of these apply to full-charge groomers, and to a lesser degree pet bathers and assistant pet groomers.
Many employers are very passionate about their formulas and quickly lose sight of the value of simple compensation systems for both employers and employees. Only pet grooming is this way. When you inquire about the wages you can earn be prepared for diverse opinions and null answers. What do we mean by “null answers?” Job candidates want to know wages, in currency. Instead some employers provide information about their compensation formula, and no dollars and cents.
Some employers emphasize tips overtly. Does that mean they have a problem with their wages? How do these employers expect job candidates to have the confidence and peace-of-mind to know they will earn enough to meet their household budgets? It doesn’t make much sense and it goes on every day in thousands of grooming businesses.
Abstract formulas are accepted as normal, have we made that clear? Most of them are derived from commission wages in whole or part. Many defend these elusive systems too. Don’t be surprised if you hear, “You will lose money if you don’t pay employees this way” or “You cannot get employees if you don’t use this compensation system.”
Our open-minded response is, “Interesting. I do believe it is true in your experience. Now can you show us the numbers that back your point of view?” After nearly two decades as consultants we are still waiting for a financial analysis in writing that backs the benefits of overly complex systems involving mixed methods of compensation.
We’re not going to spend a lot of time on them here because at the heart of them are the basics of hourly, salary and commission wages. The latter you need to understand now.
Next we are going to take a detailed look at the four abovementioned compensation systems for pet groomers.