As a groomer, this is the question I’m asked the most. It seems I talk to at least 20 people each week who want to know how to become a dog groomer. Most of them want to become groomers because they love animals, especially dogs!
How you become a groomer is VERY, VERY important. If you make the right choice, you can become a well-trained groomer and have a great career.
If you make the wrong choice, you could end up wasting tons of time and thousands of dollars for nothing. If you follow my plan, I promise that you won’t make these mistakes!
There are several different ways you can become a groomer. I’m going to discuss some of these different options below. I also discuss how you can become a groomer in this post.
If you train properly, it doesn’t take a long time to become a groomer!
Whenever someone is asking me about becoming a groomer, they almost always mention dog grooming school. There are some good grooming schools out there, but there are also plenty of bad ones.
The simple truth is that you can’t just randomly choose a school, and you also can’t choose a school based on the cost.
You MUST know exactly what you should look for before choosing and paying for a dog grooming school. If you aren't careful, I guarantee there is a big chance that you will not only waste your time, but also thousands of dollars of your money.
I discuss grooming schools more thoroughly in this post.
Paying for a grooming school is NOT the first option you should consider!
Again, you should only go to a pet grooming school if that is the best option available to you. I can’t say that enough!
Once you know that grooming school is your best bet, you have to remember that you have to know exactly how to choose the best school.
You might not have a good school in your area, and you might have to travel to find one that will give you the proper training you need.
But it’s rare that your best option will be to pay thousands of dollars to go to dog grooming school.
One of the best things about this career is that you don’t have to be certified to do it. However, some groomers do choose to become Certified Master Groomers. I discuss becoming a Master Groomer more thoroughly in this post.
Many people think that you need some kind of certification, but the fact is you don’t.
If you want to become certified as a Master Groomer (which you don’t need to be a dog groomer), the first thing you need to do is train to become a groomer. After you have some basic training, the next step is to practice grooming as much as possible. It can take a long time before you have the skills to become a Master Groomer.
But the most important thing is this: You DON’T need a license to be a groomer and make money!
I have been a professional groomer for nearly two decades, and from my experience online pet grooming courses are a complete waste of money. There is just way too much hands-on training you need, and these online courses have no way of offering this crucial training.
Even if an online course somehow offers you hands-on training, you can’t be sure that the training will be any good.
You can read about my thoughts on dog grooming courses here.
My advice is to stay away from these online programs.
The key to making good money is not working 12 hours a day, but knowing what you’re worth.
This is the most important step to being successful in this career, and I have to teach this to groomers all the time because they don’t understand this.
Once you have the proper training and understand what you’re worth, you won’t have to work tons of hours every week to have a good salary.
If a groomer doesn’t make good money, there are only two possible reasons why:
• The groomer didn’t receive the proper training and isn’t a good groomer...
• The groomer doesn’t know what he or she is worth...
If you aren’t trained properly, you most likely won’t be a good groomer and you won’t make good money because your skills won’t be any good. If you paid $100 to have your car washed and detailed, and the person didn’t do a good job, would you tell your friends to take their cars to him?
If you are trained properly, are a good groomer, and take a grooming job that doesn’t give you fair pay for your skills, you don’t know what you’re worth and won’t be able to make the most money.
Some groomers who own their own grooming salons also don’t know what they’re worth, and don’t charge enough for their services. In turn, they don’t make as much money as they would if they knew their worth.
The salary websites can only give a dollar amount based on various averages. Some groomers that don’t have good skills make low pay. Some groomers that have amazing skills also make low pay, because they don’t know what they’re worth.
Here are the real facts:
There are many salons that don’t pay a lot of money to the groomers who work there. Most of the salons who don’t pay good money are the big corporate chain store salons.
There are so many of these corporate salons, that many groomers eventually work at one at some point in their career. These salons will never pay premium wages because they are run by greedy corporations.
If you look at these salary websites, I guarantee that most of their averages are based on the salaries paid by these huge corporations.
If you are a well-trained and good groomer, you can make much more than $20,000 a year.
Groomers use a wide variety of tools to keep pets clean and happy. The most common tools are: steel combs, slicker brushes, shedding combs, nail clippers, nail grinders, electric clippers, ear hair pullers, and shears.
Those are the most common, but there are many different other tools you will also use if you become a groomer.
I have made a list of some of the basic tools you will use on this page.
The answer to this question is probably different for every groomer, and I can’t give you a solid answer. For example, different groomers prefer different types of shears. Shears made by one brand might be perfect for me, but might not feel comfortable to you.
As you gain more and more experience grooming, you will go through many different tools made by different manufacturers. Eventually you’ll find the tools that are just right for you.
When you’re first starting out, you don’t have to go crazy buying fancy, expensive equipment. However, you also don’t want to always buy the cheapest equipment either.
Some new groomers make the mistake of spending way too much money on equipment, while others make the mistake of wasting their money on cheap, unreliable equipment and tools.
I always tell new groomers to read plenty of reviews before buying any piece of equipment, and to only buy the really cheap stuff if they don’t have any other choice.
This is also one of the BEST aspects of this career! A grooming business is one of the easiest and cheapest businesses you can open.
If you’re planning on becoming a groomer and opening your own salon, you can open a grooming business as soon as you are properly trained and have enough grooming experience.
Again, the key to becoming a successful groomer and making great money is being properly trained right from the start. Once you are properly trained, you will need to practice your grooming skills as much as possible.
On average, I would say you can open your own business within two to three years depending on how much experience you’re able to gain by grooming many different dog breeds.
When I opened my first grooming business it cost me around $3,000. If you think that’s a lot of money, let me ask you this: How many other businesses do you think you could start with $3,000?
Heck, from what I’ve seen, even with $10,000 you’d struggle to open most other types of businesses.
How much it will cost you depends on a lot of factors, but like I said before a grooming business can be one of the least expensive types of businesses to open.
I spent $3,000, but I made over $40,000 in the first year alone!
I discuss opening your own dog grooming business in more detail in this post.
Sometimes people get confused and think these are different terms for different types of groomers. A pet groomer is a dog groomer, and a dog groomer is a pet groomer.
No matter how you become a groomer, you will most likely learn the basics of bathing and drying first. Working as a bather for a while can help you see if you would like to take the next step and become a groomer. But you don’t have to work as a full-time bather before training to become a groomer.
For me personally, there really isn't one “best” thing. I love getting up in the morning and knowing I’m going to be spending my day helping keep pets clean, healthy, and happy!
I also love working with my staff, and we really try to have as much fun as possible each and every day. And of course there’s the money!
To find out why pet grooming is such a great career, read my post "The positives of dog grooming".
Basically I get to do a job that I love to do, be around people I like, and get paid while I'm doing it.
Most groomers work in the daytime, anywhere from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. Some groomers start their day earlier, and some work a lot later than 6 p.m.
If you become a groomer, you will most likely work sometime between 6-8 a.m. and 7-9 p.m.
For more info about working as a groomer, check out my post "A day in the life of a dog groomer".
I’ve never met a groomer who hasn’t been bitten and scratched by not only a cat or dog, but by many cats and dogs! Luckily most of these bites and scratches are not that serious, but you certainly have to be very careful.
Animals have different personalities and temperaments, just like people. As you gain more experience working with all of these different types of personalities, it will become much easier to know when you need to use a muzzle or turn away a pet.
In my salon, I won’t bathe or groom dogs or cats if they are very aggressive. If we begin a bath or groom and see that the animal is too aggressive, I will stop, call the owner, and tell him or her that we can’t finish the bath or groom.
It’s very rare that I, or any of my staff, are seriously bitten or scratched.
Not at all! Most pets are more nervous (and react because they are unsure of what’s going on) than “mean.” As I said, I won’t bathe or groom animals who are very aggressive.
Some groomers choose to groom cats and some choose not to. Grooming cats can be much more challenging than grooming dogs, and in my experience it can take a lot longer for a cat to become familiar and comfortable with the grooming process.
I will only groom cats that are not overly aggressive. Usually these cats are introduced to grooming at a very young age, so they accept it instead of fighting.
In my opinion, I think all groomers should at least learn the basics when it comes to grooming cats. However, it will be up to you whether or not you want to perform complete grooms on cats.
For more information, be sure to check out my blog!
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