Career Start Report – Page 16

Annual Wage Projections for Commission Basis Groomers

Here is the formula to project annual wages if you work on commission. First, you must determine the projected gross daily wage.

For each grooming assignment, the formula is:

Service Fee X Commission Rate = Gross Wage

Next, total the projected number of daily grooming assignments:

Add Daily Grooming Fees = Gross Daily Wage

To estimate projected daily earnings, you must know the average number of grooming assignments you can complete in one working day. Therefore, productivity is important to determining your potential income. If you can only groom three pets in an eight-hour workday, you will earn half as much as the groomer who can groom six pets in eight hours. Clearly, increasing productivity, yet retaining quality, is one of the most important goals of every groomer.

To determine wage estimates in dollars, you must know the average service fee of your employer’s business. Some grooming businesses are well-managed, and their owners can provide you with accurate average service fees. Others simply guess. You may also get this classic response, “What are you asking about?” The importance of accuracy when working with averages is not to be taken lightly. You can easily overestimate projected wages when applying inaccurate numbers.

Assuming we have a good figure, we can estimate the income you may earn on an average day, week, or month, and even over a year (the biggest factor for year projections is the stability of pet owner demand over the year).
The formula to calculate your projected annual compensation (gross wages prior to employment taxes) is as follows:

Est. Annual Gross Wage=
Avg. Service Fee X Commission Rate X Avg. # of Pets Groomed Daily X # Days Worked Annually

Let’s assume the average service fee is $35 per grooming, and you earn 50% commission. When you work five days a week year-round, the total is 260 days a year. If you are not offered paid vacation, deduct vacation days. For example, the adjusted work days are 250 after deducting ten work days for a two-week vacation without pay. Finally, you must know the average number of grooming assignments you will groom over the year. We will assume six per workday. Productivity may vary based on your grooming experience and the workload made available by the owner. We have enough for our formula:

$35 X 50% X 6 X 250 = $26,250 a year (gross wages prior to employment taxes)

Many employed groomers with years or more experience will find this a reasonable estimate of their projected wages and work performance. Can you earn a higher income as an employed groomer? Yes. In general, you will need to work full-time for a business that can provide you with plenty of work year-round. You must be productive, and your area’s average service fee should be above-average. There are employed groomers with experience earning $40,000 to $50,000 a year (gross wages). You will occasionally see wage offers in this range in the Help Wanted Classified Ads.

Employee Benefits

For many people, employee benefits are very important, even a requirement. The majority of independently owned grooming businesses offer little in the way of employee benefits. Unfortunately, many businesses don’t generate enough profitability and volume to offer employee benefits such as health and life insurance. Paid time off is more common, but again lean. Veterinarian clinics with grooming departments are the most likely independents to offer employee benefits. Larger chain pet stores such as PETCO commonly offer complete employee benefits packages in the grooming industry for qualified employees.

Productivity Factors

Previously we warned you groomer compensation was complex. We reserve most of that advanced knowledge for compensation workbooks from Grooming Business in a Box®. Wait; there is another aspect to cover here!

You are in control of the next most important factor, productivity. It is affected by your grooming training, fitness, and personal working lifestyle choices. To make the best income, you need to optimize your productivity in the years following your initial grooming training.

Graduates fresh out of grooming school can typically complete three to five start-to-finish pets in eight hours, depending upon the complexity of grooming assignments. Most experienced, productive stylists working alone average seven to eight start-to-finish pets in an eight-hour workday, and their grooming is of a high caliber. Of course, others may do several more days, and their work is good or decent. Who is to say?

If you are a new graduate of training, what will hold you back from earning the income you desire is productivity. It takes time and more training. We strongly recommend you consider continuing education in productivity. You should be able to recoup the cost of travel and training when it results in your boosting productivity.

Thousands of groomers don’t secure productivity training. In fact, thousands of groomers don’t get any continuing education. That’s a very sad fact; never forget it. Everyone benefits from continuing education in any field; find a way! It will pay off not only financially but in self-esteem derived from your performance. Invest in quality grooming books and DVDs if you cannot travel to training sites.

We’ve presented commonly accepted levels of production. Some will advise you they could do more, but they limit themselves to six or seven by choice. Keep in mind mobile groomers often do a little less because they must account for travel time.

Never confuse productivity with rushing your work and cutting corners. Productivity is not synonymous with lowering quality unless you allow it. Productivity means working smart, being efficient, and thereby generating more potential income. Productivity results from learning how to use your body and tools and buying the best tools and work attire that supports your health. Many experienced groomers that have invested in high-end tools will tell you that cheap tools can work against you.

You may actually learn that low-quality tools slow you down. Grooming is time. You are selling your labor in timely amounts. Impressive groomers produce stunning styles with 1,000 scissors snips, whereas those without advanced productivity training take 2,500 snips. The extra 1,500 snips added 15 minutes and didn’t improve the style.

Productivity training is a must for professionals looking to improve their earnings beyond raising prices or asking for raises. Learn how to work smarter and save time while producing top quality. Fortunately, there are a growing number of resources for this training. Be sure to review the books and DVDs we suggest at and on the GroomerTALK Message Board. Supplement your initial training with productivity training as your career matures.

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