Demands of Pet Grooming
Skilled pet groomers have innate artistic traits. Much like a sculptor transforming a rough hewn slab of marble fresh from the quarry into a finished polished statue, groomers style masterpieces from hairy dogs and even cats. Some purebred and mixed breed dogs require only bathing, drying and touchups. Others best illustrate the art of grooming requiring substantially more “finish work” such as Poodles, Bichon Frises, to name just two purebreds. There are many more including mixed breeds such as the “Goldendoodle.”
If you have a keen eye and enjoy color, design, modeling and using your hands you have some of the basic requirements to learn the art of grooming. There is another very important reality that comes with grooming pets. Your animal clients are not inanimate canvas or marble. Groomers are temporary caretakers of beloved animals. There are substantial responsibilities to respect the faith and trust placed in you by pet owners. Not only do they trust you to make their pets beautiful, but also to protect and maintain the well-being of their pets while separated from them. Professionals understand these responsibilities are not occasional and instead rest on their shoulders daily.
Pet grooming is never right for anyone without a sincere, humane appreciation of animals. You must consistently express that character in your work performance. It requires infinite patience to successfully work with pets. Even passionate dog lovers can fail as groomers. It takes more than passion to secure the cooperation of pets. Your patience will be tried.
Abusive tendencies for heated reactions toward pets and people won’t do. Animals will react to your emotions even when you are in control of your physical reactions. You must temper your reactions at all times without yelling, scolding or physical admonishment. You must handle stress well and be willing to work smarter. Is that you?
Do you fear household pets? It may sound incredible but we have interviewed a surprising number of grooming job applicants fearful of dogs and cats. Perhaps they have a romantic, unrealistic concept of the position. Some don’t realize that it can years of experience to master pet grooming and handling. Practical experience in pet care services is great way to understand the demanding requirements of properly handling animals. We encourage career seekers to do volunteer work with shelters and trainers. Some grooming business owners have positions such as reception where you can observe pet care in action by professionals.
You must humanely handle behavioral pets with infinite patience. Groomers serve some behavioral pets that require muzzles and other restraint systems. Some pets bite. There are methods which safely protect both you and pets. If this worries you, training and experience may reverse your fears. Be honest. We want you to understand there is more to the art of grooming than the “art.”
Are you allergic to pet dirt, dander and other contaminants? If so, you may them aggravated working as a pet groomer. Wise employers will ask about your allergies. Hair coats collect weeds, pollens, pests and dust then released by grooming. If you have these allergies but decide to persist in pet grooming, ask your physician to provide written medical clearance for prospective employers. A medical release may encourage an employer to hire you.
You may require inoculations, usually a tetanus booster. Employers may require drug tests too.
Although you may work in an air-conditioned environment, bathing and drying areas can become humid and warm. Without adequate air conditioning it can be very hot. Can you endure the heat?
Noise is a big factor is grooming workplaces. Blow dryers and interior vacuum systems make plenty of noise, and don’t forget barking dogs. Design and floor plan workbooks available from Grooming Business in a Box™ can significantly lower sound levels.
Pet groomers clean up after pets. You should expect to clean up pet waste every workday. Job applicants new to pet care have even halted job interviews when they discovered we required everyone to help clean up pet waste! Did they think we hired someone dedicated to cleaning pet wastes? In fact, it’s very important to clean up pet waste immediately. Pet owners don’t want to see, smell or step-in pet waste. It’s part of professional client services to maintain a fresh, sanitary environment at all times.
One more grooming routine causes some career seekers to shudder. How do you feel about blood? Not yours, the pets. There are blood vessels in pet nails. When cutting nails groomers avoid opening the “quick of the blood vessel,” but it does happen. Groomers stock agents specially made to quickly stop nail bleeding. Does this bother you badly? Can you overcome it? If not, you won’t make a successful pet groomer until you do.
We have shared important and not so glamorous aspects of pet grooming. It would be unfair not to share these responsibilities with career seekers. Groomers deserve greater respect. Their work is not as simple as bathing animals, and having fun with clippers and scissors. Grooming pets is just as complicated as hairstyling for people, if not more so.
Pet grooming is physically demanding. It requires strength and stamina. You should not have serious physical conditions worsened by lifting, carrying and otherwise handling pets. Consider that you may groom large dogs weighing 70 to 200 pounds. Some self-employed groomers limit their clientele by setting weight limitations for pets. Their restriction usually caps the weight of dogs groomed to a low of 25 pounds. The typical cap is around 50 to 70 pounds.
If your goal is to build a large grooming business serving 30 or more pets per day you may find weight restricted grooming works against your growth. However, employees can lend a hand lifting large pets. Pet weight is more pertinent when you work alone.
If you suffer from repetitive motion conditions in your joints, such as carpal tunnel, grooming pets could aggravate your ailments. Carefully consider the repercussions of working several hours daily holding brushes, combs, clippers and other tools. You must use your body to control and position pets. You may stand for long hours although some groomers adapt to grooming while sitting down part-time.
Consult your physician if you have any questions about your physical abilities to work with pets in a grooming environment. Physicians may not realize the physical challenges. Let them read a copy of this page.
Quality pet grooming training should include practices to soften the impact of repetitive pet grooming duties. Everyone should make an effort to get this knowledge even if they have no symptoms now. You may find seminars and demonstrations on this topic at trade shows.
If you care for your body and maintain self-awareness for your handling of pets and tools, the toils of pet grooming will create less wear and tear. We know groomers who have worked for 10, 20 or more years without serious health problems, or unusual physical wear and tear by working wisely.
Now is the time to remind you that we love our profession. Our advice, even warnings, were honest and necessary. We don’t want to discourage you, only those that cannot adapt to the demands of professional grooming. Thousands of groomers feel this way too. Pet grooming really is a dream profession.
Every day we look forward to the joy we bring pet owners by miraculously making pets look their best. Adults smile and children giggle with every reunion when picking up their freshly groomed pets. The joy and appreciation of most clients is addictive. Most pet owners give immense appreciation for jobs well done including tips on top of service fees. Not many other trades can provide you with so much overt positive response on a daily basis, and while getting paid.
In our experience many clients honored us as being part of their extended families. They knew we sincerely cared for them as clients, not customers. Our client services clearly displayed a respect for their patronage. We enjoyed serving people, not just pets. You may be surprised at how many groomers focus on pet services and not customer services, and that can be a big mistake if you plan to own a grooming business. It’s the pet owners that pay you. If you take what has been said in this one paragraph very seriously and design a client relations like the Madson Client Relations Program™ in our book From Problems to Profits, you will understand why some grooming businesses are always busy.
They face ever growing demand from pet owners and with the popularity comes enough profitability to better maintain and equip their businesses. Look around, you may see rundown grooming businesses that haven’t been improved since they first opened. It’s the client services that drive that extra profitability for the most financially successful grooming businesses. It’s that simple. Is that you?
Attending pet industry and grooming trade shows and competitions is an excellent way to help determine if you are fit for the demands of grooming. Trade shows and competitions are held regularly across the United States. You can meet groomers and talk shop. Watch exciting grooming competitions and pick-up new styling tips. Try to spend more than 1 day, and look for package deals that include educational seminars as well as general admission. Meander through rows of exhibitors discovering the latest products and equipment. If this excites you grooming may be right for you. Refer to the PetGroomer.com Calendar of Events here at this website.
Does it bother you that you are likely to be working mostly with women? We’ve heard many female groomers complain about the lack of some masculine team members. You must decide for yourself. Overall female groomers outnumber male groomers by 10 to 1. There are more male pet bathers than male full-charge groomers. You may find males in management positions.
Grooming Business Owners Age Study 2016
Under 25: 7%
Over 55 6%
Source: PetGroomer.com Surveys
As consultants we’ve helped dozens of men proud to join growing grooming businesses established by their wives. There are even stories of men jealous of their wives huge success in grooming! Go for it! Together couples take their business to an even higher performance level. We encourage men to enter the field. Careers in grooming are right for either sex as long as the individuals have the important qualities of professional groomers reviewed here.
Get Your Feet Wet First
We have a final suggestion for those of you seriously considering pet grooming as your next career, and have no previous grooming experience. Consider a part-time position as an entry-level pet bather. Medium to large pet salons may have temporary or weekend only positions available.
In our business we not only groomed weekdays, but also evenings midweek and weekends. Qualified beginners often took advantage of our on-the-job training in the pet bather position under the supervision of our Madson Bathing Department Supervisor™. You may have businesses doing the same in your area.
Be honest with business owners and explain why you would like the position. There’s nothing like getting your feet wet (more than your feet might get wet when bathing pets) by learning hands-on how to prep, bathe and dry and respect animals. You will make a far more accurate decision if grooming is right for you, and probably get even more passionate. If not, you made a wise decision to try it out first.
We’re happy you’ve made it this far and you are sticking to your interest. It’s time to learn how to setup a career path for you to follow into the grooming industry.