Outfit a Grooming Business or Career
Pet groomers have many tools to master. In fact, the average pet groomer uses a larger variety of tools than hairstylists for people. Unlike them, pet groomers bathe and style a larger variety of clients, clip and file nails, “clean” ears, and de-matt. Dryers for hairstylists are pretty mundane and mostly handheld. That’s where pet groomers start! Groomers use fans, cage dryers, stand dryers, and high-velocity dryers. Pet groomers use a broader selection of clippers, snap-on combs, and blades. Wait a minute! How many people understand that the tools of the trade are far more complex for pet groomers than hairstylists? Very few people have that understanding without a background in pet care.
Career seekers learn about the tools of the trade through home study, grooming school, and apprenticeship. Study programs require a “basic toolbox” to complete hands-on grooming assignments. Be sure to check for toolbox requirements when you review programs. Some require basic units, while others offer deluxe kits. The cost is extra, but you own the tools you need as a pet groomer. Prices start around $500 and quickly rise. While you can get by with a basic set of tools and clippers, a professional groomer will easily invest more than $2,500 for grooming tools, equipment, and organizers. Remember you need backup tools, such as clippers and blades. Scissors and shears are adversely affected by dropping them on hard floors; keep backups.
Never regret your investment in tools. Buy the best you can afford. Take care of your tools. According to repair persons, the number one reason for tool repairs lies with groomers not maintaining their tools or using improper procedures. The GroomerTALK™ Message Board is a great place to find contacts for expert repairs, and our favorite sharpening and repair people often have very helpful websites. Use the “Resources” button after you follow that link. Based on our experience, you will learn more about the maintenance from sharpening and repair websites we recommend than manufacturer websites. Be sure to look for a dedicated Sharpening and Repair Forum on the GroomerTALK™ message board. There are many existing discussions to review, or you can post new questions.
Perhaps your personal housekeeping habits are not so impressive or downright messy. Well, that’s fine with us. But don’t be that way with your tools of the trade. You cannot properly style pets without well-maintained tools. The more disorganized and ill-maintained your tools are, the slower you will groom. Remember, time is money in pet grooming.
One day you may come to understand that $250 scissors do perform better than a $50 pair most of the time. They should last longer, feel more comfortable, perform more accurately, and, most importantly, improve productivity. That’s right. You groom faster through efficiency. If a groomer’s time is money, you earn more income when you can groom more productively. For example, we counted how many snips a skilled groomer took to groom one side of a Bichon Frise using $300 scissors. Then we counted the snips it took to groom the remaining side using a pair of $50 scissors.
It took the groomer 200% fewer snips when grooming with the more expensive but better quality scissors. The time saved was an amazing 8 minutes. Could tools, albeit more expensive up front, actually earn more income for you? Never forget that you are selling your time; a groomer’s time is money. If you can save 10 minutes per pet with the best quality tools, that’s as much as one hour saved a day for a full-time groomer.
Besides learning to use tools properly, realize they either work or are against you. The ball is in your court because you make the decision about what to buy. Then it is your responsibility to maintain their proper performance with regular maintenance. Treat your tools like precious jewels. Without them, you risk delivering professional services and maintaining your productivity.
Because this report is an introductory document, we are not going to spend time explaining the many tools of the trade. However, we have some wonderful documentation available only from PetGroomer.com to help organize your investment in tools by listing them tool by tool. It’s a great way to learn about grooming tools. We suggest you use our Daily Shopping List Planner. You can make a detailed shopping list for tools, equipment, and supplies with it. Learn more about our planners in the next section.
Download Free Professional “Planners”
The creators of PetGroomer.com also created a series of workbooks and CDs called Grooming Business in a Box®. They are pleased to offer you complimentary planners, too! Make sure you download free Outfit a Grooming Business™ Planners. You can find them on this website on the page Downloads. Nothing compares to them. Think of them as shopping lists organizing everything you need to purchase for your workstation and toolkit or building a major mobile grooming or pet salon business. They are that complete. Talk about making a complex task easy!
It gets better. We have placed the planners here on this website! Look in the PRODUCTS section of this website to download them. They organize your vendor references for every item, including vendor contact information! Using your planner, you easily organize the number and cost of every item and then tally your shopping list. You know the exact costs required for your career or business. That’s right, your career too. You can chart the cost of your home study, grooming school education, and continuing education like seminars and workshops.
The available planners are:
- Mobile Grooming Business – New or Expanding Business
- Home or Commercial Location Grooming Business
- Daily Shopping Planner for Groomers & Grooming Businesses
Everything is entirely free, with no catches.
It couldn’t be easier to find suppliers for nearly everything you need by using the resources included with Outfit a Grooming Business online. Use this link to access planners and hundreds of resources. In each category, contact information for vendors is taken from the PetGroomer.com Resources Directory.
Career seekers need to know that the grooming industry has very few grooming supply stores where you can shop onsite. The large majority of purchases are done through mail order and online catalogs. Otherwise, you may be visited by door-to-door distributors in your area.
Some manufacturers sell only through distributors, while others sell their products directly to groomers. Large suppliers carry an impressive array of product lines, including goods you can sell to pet owners’ clients, such as treats and toys. Most groomers use the major suppliers but still buy some specialty products from manufacturers and distributors. As you identify your favorite brands and products, you will probably refine your shopping to a few suppliers regularly.
We set up a convenient list of distributors, manufacturers, and suppliers in the PetGroomer.com Resources Directory. Of course, many of our favorites have links to their websites on the PetGroomer.com Home Page.
Some Internet-friendly groomers find new and used products on auction websites. We encourage you to check the New & Used Grooming Products section in the PetGroomer.com Classified Ads. Our used products and equipment ads are free. This special offer makes it a popular place to shop.
Many of the online suppliers also have mail-order catalogs. Groomers love to sit down with a beverage and a catalog and shop! That’s why we developed the Daily Shopping Planner for you to download and use regularly for all shopping. Print out a free copy, get comfy, open your catalogs (print or online), and organize a real shopping list with our planner. You simply enter the source of each item, the number of each item, and its cost, and then total your shopping spree! If you are comfortable with spreadsheets, our Excel® version will add up your shopping automatically! When your planner is completed, use it to make all purchases at the sources you indicated. Check them off as you order. What a great tool!
Sharpening & Repair Resources
Finding the right sharpener for blades, scissors, and shears and a repairperson is critical. We have often heard about blades and scissors sent out for sharpening and coming back worse. Sound unlikely? Read the stories on the GroomerTALK™ Message Board. Like grooming, sharpening is an art. There are poor, average, and great sharpeners. Sometimes tools come back from poor sharpeners working worse. Use a sharpener familiar with pet grooming tools.
Almost every issue of PetGroomer.com eMagazine has an article on sharpening and repair. Download current and back issues at PetGroomer.com Magazine website.
Our PetGroomer.com Resources Directory lists sharpeners that accept service orders from all US states and some beyond. Ship your tools to them by insured mail. Groomers do this every day. It’s worth it to have the work done right. We also have sharpeners with great reputations that advertise on the GroomerTALK™ Message Board, and some answer your questions!
We caution you to stop and consider what you are doing if you decide to sharpen your tools. There are sharpening machines sold to groomers; you may be tempted. However, many groomers have ruined scissors, shears, and blades when they had no formal sharpening training. Have you noticed that pets groomed by their owners usually look just like that? Their owners are not trained stylists. The same thing happens when untrained and ill-equipped groomers try their hand at the art of sharpening. Do what you do best. Groom to earn your living and let sharpeners do the same, working on your precious tools. The time you spend sharpening is better spent grooming pets and boosting your income. You can afford it!
If you must sharpen your own tools and blades, get formal training and plenty of experience. Keep in mind sharpeners must understand the differences in sharpening scissors and blades by different manufacturers. It’s not all the same and far more complex than many groomers assume.
Mobile Grooming Resources
PetGroomer.com knows that mobile grooming is important to today’s and tomorrow’s groomers. Once again, we suggest you visit Outfit a Grooming Business because we have prepared a Mobile Grooming Business Planner. This planner specializes in mobile grooming resources; finding so many resources couldn’t be easier in one place! Get your mobile planner today at Downloads.
Have you ever seen a 100% real mobile grooming business plan? Very few groomers have. You can get a copy along with written instructions to create your own at Grooming Business in a Box® easily. Look for Pet Grooming Business Helper & Sampler.
MobileGroomerTALK™ is a part of our GroomerTALK™ Community. Hundreds of mobile groomers get together on our message board and share. Don’t be shy. They help career seekers every week. Come on down. It only takes an email address to signup. Then meet others excited about grooming on the road.
Floor Plans & Design Resources
Floor plans are another popular request by groomers, but there are few resources now. We recommend our Floor Plan Concepts for Pet Groomers product, available now. It’s a new Grooming Business in a Box® workbook with CD-ROM.
If you need something immediately, there is a basic floor plan for grooming shops and salons in the range of 400 to 1,200 sq. ft. in the book, From Problems to Profits: The Madson Management System for Pet Grooming Businesses. Safety features are also described for all floor plans, such as safety gates that help prevent loose pets from escaping your premises.
Until our floor plan workbook is released, we have a free offer to assist you. Draw a copy of your floor plan and fax or mail it to the creators of Grooming Business in a Box®. You will receive a free evaluation of your floor plan. Visit the website for more information.
Check grooming equipment manufacturer websites for installation and design tips. You may not find much information, but we have seen some associated with tub and bathing system installations. It never hurts to call suppliers, manufacturers, and distributors too. You will find most of them to be very helpful.
If you are serious about self-employment or just thinking about the future, be sure to click the Next Bone now.