So, what do dog groomers really do all day? A lot of would-be groomers that I talk to seem to think that being a groomer means spending the day playing with dogs. I wish it was that easy!
But even though we don't get to sit around playing fetch, and grooming dogs can be a lot of work, it’s still a very enjoyable career. In fact, I wouldn’t want to do anything else in my life.
My salon is open from 7 in the morning to 6 in the evening, but sometimes I will open earlier and/or close later depending on the number of pets that are being bathed and groomed for the day.
Even though my salon is usually open 11-12 hours each day, I only work there 8 to 9 hours, and I only work 5 days each week. I’m able to do this because of my employees, who are there when I am not.
Having good, dependable employees is great because they allow my salon to be open at any time, even when I’m on vacation!
Even if I take three or even four weeks off at a time, the money continues to flow right in!
Although my salon isn’t the biggest in the world, there’s plenty of space for the 20 or more dogs my staff and I groom each day. Actually, the number of dogs usually sits closer to 25 than 20, and that means all of us are really busy!
Some salons are not nearly as busy as mine and don’t groom nearly as many dogs.
If you open your own grooming business you will be able to choose how many dogs you want to groom. Some groomers who work by themselves only groom around 8-10 dogs a day.
The average price I charge for a groom at my salon is $45 for a small dog, and $75 for a large dog
Since my salon is so busy, we don’t have a lot of time throughout the day to do anything other than bathe, dry, and groom pets. It’s very, very important that we keep the schedule on track, and if even one person has to stop bathing or grooming because something that should’ve been done in the morning wasn’t done, it can put everything behind.
The first thing that happens is my employees check the whole salon for any uncleanliness, especially in the front where clients wait for their pets and pay for the baths and grooms.
They will then begin preparing the bathing stations where the pets are bathed, the drying stations where the pets are dried after their baths, the grooming stations where the actual grooming work is performed, and the kennels where the pets are held throughout the day.
It’s important to make sure each bathing station has all of the necessary shampoos and conditioners that will be used.
They also look at all of the grooming tools and and make sure everything is organized for the groomers.
After they’ve made sure the salon is clean and all of the workstations and tools are ready to go, the next step is to look over the list of pets that will be coming in.
The last step is to wait for the clients to begin showing up, but that doesn’t take long. In fact, there are usually already clients waiting for the doors to open before my employees even gets to the salon!
Keeping clients happy is the most important aspect of running a business. In my salon I tell my employees to always be nice to a client, even if the client isn’t in a good mood. You never know what’s going on in someone’s life, and giving them a genuine smile and talking to them clearly and openly is very important.
We also smile and talk to the pets. When a client comes to my salon, they are not just customers in a store, and their pets are not just items that we are going to service, like cars at a carwash. A pet is a member of a family, and when they’re in my salon they are like guests in my home.
I make sure that my staff talks to each client thoroughly, and that they listen closely to the client, answer the client’s questions, and give suggestions. It’s very important that we do exactly what the client wants us to do to the dog (or cat!), and that the client knows exactly what we are going to do. It’s very important that we give the pet the exact type of haircut the client wants.
Each dog or cat is checked over thoroughly in front of the client before the bathing and grooming begins. We look for any kind of skin irritations, matted hair (matted hair is hair that is tangled and has become knotted), signs of any infections, parasites (fleas, ticks, etc.), and the overall health of the pet.
Luckily, 99% of my clients are regular, full-time customers, so we don’t see a lot of these problems, but sometimes they do pop up. Matted hair is the number one issue, and we charge extra money if we have to work with matted hair.
Once the client has been seen and the pet has been checked in, the bathing and grooming can begin.
Sometimes a pet is bathed and then the hair is trimmed, and sometimes we have to trim the hair before the bath. If a dog’s hair has a lot of matted hair we will deal with that before the pet is bathed, because water will make the knots become even tighter and harder to deal with.
In my salon I have bathers, grooming assistants, groomers, and a receptionist.
The bathers take care of bathing and drying only. They are responsible for making sure the correct type of shampoos and conditioners are used for each pet, making sure that each pet is thoroughly cleaned and that all parasites (like fleas and ticks) are removed, and making sure that each pet is thoroughly dried using the correct drying methods.
They also take care of expressing the anal glands. They are also responsible for keeping the bathing and drying areas clean throughout the day.
The grooming assistants are responsible for cleaning the eyes, the ears, and the face, and trimming, filing, and taking care of the nails (such as applying nail polish).
They also do any pre-trimming work, as well as sanitary trimming (trimming the hair around the pet’s privates).
Once the groomer has finished the final trimming and styling, the grooming assistants will add a bow or bandana, and give the pet a spray of perfume.
The groomers are strictly responsible for the final hair trimming and styling. They also will add color to the hair if the client makes that request.
Although it might look like the groomers have the easiest job out of the different positions I’ve went over, it’s actually the opposite. The groomers have the most difficult job, and the job that requires the most skill: correctly trimming and styling the hair.
This also takes the longest amount of time compared to most of the other tasks, other than drying.
Even though everyone has a specific role, sometimes a person will jump in and help in another area if it’s needed. For example, if there are a lot of dogs that show up early everyone might help bathe for a while until the schedule is evened out.
Everyone helps clean throughout the day. If a dog uses the bathroom in a kennel, on the floor, or on a table, whoever can get to it first will clean it up.
Everyone also makes sure the kennels are regularly cleaned throughout the day, and that dogs are regularly walked so they don’t use the bathroom in the salon (although this does happen).
Another thing we all do is make sure that every dog always has plenty of fresh water, because a grooming salon can get hot quickly, especially when a lot of dryers are in use.
As the day winds down, one of the most important steps is to make sure the salon is clean. Everyone helps clean up before they go home, no matter what time of the day or evening someone’s shift ends.
All of the floors are swept, vacuumed, and mopped, and every single area and item in the salon is wiped down and cleaned.
My receptionist will make sure the front area is clean, the files on the computer are organized and edited, and that the schedule for the following day is already laid out so everyone has an idea of what will need to be done.
Depending on the size of the salon, how many dogs are bathed and groomed each day, and how many employees there are, a grooming salon can require a lot of work.
The bigger the salon, the more work there will be. However, if the salon is small and only 10-14 dogs are groomed each day, the workload won’t be near as much as it is in my salon.
Whether you work as an employed groomer in a salon or as the owner in your own salon, you can make good money as a dog groomer.
I don't mind a little hard work when I'm making over $2,000 every week!
- Crystal M.
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