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Career As A Pet Grommer



Who is a Pet Groomer?

A professional pet groomer does much more than just keep our pets looking and smelling nice. A pet groomer can be an important member of a pet's healthcare team by discovering potential problems early, such as ear infections, skin abnormalities or tooth decay. It is common for pet groomers to also be small business owners, owning and managing their own grooming salon; however, there are many opportunities to work as a pet groomer even if you're not interested in running a small business. Large pet-themed specialty stores, veterinarians, animal hospitals, kennels, shelters and upscale hotels and resorts are just some of the places a skilled pet groomer may find work.

What does a Pet Groomer do?

bathe, cut, trim, and style pets for their owners

take specific requests from pet owners

work with uncooperative animals

be willing to muzzle animals if need be

take a passionate but firm approach with pets

brush teeth and clip nails

understand the standard grooming requirements for specific dog breeds

be up-to-date on the latest animal trends and crazes that owners might want their animals to replicate

Workplace and Environment of a Pet Groomer

Dog groomers work in a variety of environments, either as a solo practitioner or as part of a group salon. Large pet stores also offer grooming services and, many grooming salons collaborate with a vet clinic or doggie day care for the convenience of pet owners.

There may even be opportunities to travel while working as a dog groomer. Some individuals provide a mobile grooming service fashioned out of a customized van and travel to their client’s homes. Other groomers travel the dog show circuit, providing services for competitors at major events and trade shows across the country.

Knowledge Areas to be Acquired

Grooming

Among the most important skills a pet groomer must have are basic grooming skills. This includes the ability to safely trim and file the nails and clean around the ears and eyes without injuring the pet. Pet groomers must also understand the techniques necessary to cut a variety of hair types ranging from short and coarse to long and fine. Though not required, it's also helpful for groomers to know about trends in pet grooming techniques. Just as with humans, pet haircuts come into and go out of vogue, and good pet groomers are aware of current trends.

Pet Behaviour Knowledge

Some pets hate being groomed and most pets require some coaxing to remain still and calm during grooming. Pet groomers should have basic knowledge about pet behaviour, including the ability to detect a pet’s risk for biting. Positive techniques such as petting and giving treats are typically most effective with pets when they're being groomed. It's also important to understand pet body language so that the groomer can recognize if the pet is in pain, afraid or about to become aggressive.

People Skills

Many people treat their pets like their children and need to be reassured that their pets will be okay when being groomed. It's important to be able to soothe an anxious pet parent during the pet's first trip to the groomer. Equally important are basic customer service skills, including negotiating rates, dealing with unsatisfied customers and encouraging repeat business.

Dog Health Knowledge

Groomers have the opportunity to closely inspect pets' bodies, and should use this as an opportunity to notice potential problems. Good groomers recognize the symptoms of common illnesses and tell pet owners about swollen lymph nodes, fleas, allergies and other symptoms. Groomers should also be aware of the ways in which certain products can affect pet health. They should have hypoallergenic shampoos available and must be able to recognize the symptoms of an allergic reaction.

Skills

This profession requires the following skills:

  • Grooming skills: The ability to groom different breeds of pets according to their hair types

  • Interpersonal skills: The ability to work well with others such as pet owners, pet store personnel, and grooming assistants

  • Analytical skills: The ability to assess the behaviour and condition of each pet

  • Physical and mental stamina: The ability to groom large, overly excited, or frightened pets without getting hurt or injuring the animals

  • Familiarity with animal behaviour: The ability to determine an animal's behaviour and use techniques, such as a treat, to keep them calm and safe

  • Health knowledge: The ability to recognize common illnesses, such as skin disorders, watery eyes and nose possibly due to allergies, or a sprain.

A Typical Workday

In a typical day, the work of pet groomers entails more than just the actual grooming process. They greet customers as soon as they come in and ask them what they want done with their pets. In centres where there are no secretaries, groomers also have to answer the phones and schedule client appointments. After performing the grooming service, they see to it that the procedures done with the pet are recorded in the animal’s file so that the groomer will have a reference the next time the owner brings in his pet. Groomers working in pet supply stores are also tasked with selling pet products and supplies to customers.

Groomers must see to it that the work area is cleaned before working on the next pet. This is to prevent the spread of infection or disease from one animal to the other. They also sanitize their tools and implements before proceeding to work on their next client. Groomers are also trained to spot any illnesses in pets that may require a veterinarian to have a look-see. They make the appropriate referral in these occasions.

The groomer must see to it that the work station is safe for the pets so they make certain that there are no protruding edges or sharp tools lying around that could injure the animals. They should also take care to protect themselves from accidental bites and injury from bewildered animals by handling them securely and properly. For aggressive pets, pet groomers may have to use a muzzle to restrain the animal. In some cases, groomers may have to work together in one dog to prevent accidents.

Groomers may be employed in veterinary clinics, pet supply stores, pet spas and kennels. A lot of pet groomers are self-employed and do house calls, bringing their own mobile grooming station with them. Mobile groomers are preferred by some clients because they don’t have to bring their pets to a grooming salon and can schedule grooming times to their own convenience. Groomers who are self-employed typically have more flexibility in their schedules but may have to work longer hours to accommodate the request of clients.

Personality Traits

Passion

It’s the foundation for every successful entrepreneur. You need to have it for the full experience of being a pet groomer. It will get you out of bed in the morning even if you’ve only had a few hours of sleep because you were up late taking inventory. Passion gets you through bad days and makes good days much more meaningful.

Organization

As a small business owner, you are required to juggle personal life, clients, employees, finances, and more. Being organized helps you focus on the task at hand and still have time for some fun. Find a system to keep you and your staff in order and stick with it.

Motivation

Drive, being a self-starter – whatever you call it, it’s a must for the successful pet groomer. The important thing to remember is it’s not a finite thing. Increase it through simple everyday things like completing your to-do lists. By completing smaller tasks, you start to build momentum to conquer bigger tasks and challenges throughout the day.

Independence

Telling your family and friends you’re opening a grooming salon is a big step in your entrepreneurial journey. Whether the advice they’ll inevitably give is positive or negative, have a clear vision of what you want from your business and how to get there. Be open while remaining true to yourself and vision.

Thirst for Knowledge

Ask any small business owner how they spend their day, their answer would most likely sound exhausting. As owner, you’re responsible for every aspect of the business. HR, finance, guest services, marketing, management, and sales are just a few of the areas you will need to be knowledgeable. Being a lifelong learner prepares you to wear all of these hats, and not always at the same time. Understanding the interconnected nature of your business is what will make yours a lasting success.

Confidence

Confidence will help you to “bring it all together.” Being confident is more than just being sure of yourself. Confidence comes from knowing you’re prepared, you’ve done the best you can, and you are prepared to take on any challenge you might face.

Selfishness

You probably didn’t expect to see selfishness on this list, but as a small business owner, you need to be selfish with your time and resources. There are only so many hours in a day, and you need to be mindful of how you use them. Don’t be afraid to say no. Your time is valuable, treat it so.

Delegation

You can’t be everywhere. The ability to effectively delegate tasks and manage your team provides you the most valuable resource of all: time. Remember to let go. Your team members might not complete tasks the same as you, so if you want something done a certain way, coach (don’t command!) on what to do instead.

Self-Promotion

Talking to others about yourself can be one of the most difficult parts of building your business. We’re taught from a young age talking about yourself too much is rude. Instead of thinking of self-promotion as a sales pitch, think of it as your way to share your passion with those around you. Grooming is a big part of your life, be proud of it!

Resilience

The life of pet groomer can be a roller coaster ride. Some days you’ll feel like you’ve made the biggest mistake of your life, but it’s important to remember bad days will pass and tomorrow holds the potential for greatness.

Education

No formal training or certification is required to become a pet groomer. One can learn the profession by undertaking training for a month or so, under the guidance of an experienced groomer. Depending on the country you belong, you can attend pet grooming schools. In countries like United States, Europe etc. there are pet grooming schools. If you live in a country where these schools are not available, consider taking a course online. Certification is not a necessity, but if available it will certainly add to your reputation and credibility and also help you learn the correct way of grooming, keeping close to the standards as possible for pet shows and competitions.

Beginners in the field, often start by taking up the basics, such as bathing and drying the dog. They eventually assume responsibility for the entire grooming process, from the initial brush-out to the final clipping. Once they have gained experience, groomers move into supervisory or managerial positions. Experienced groomers often choose to open their own shops.

Experienced pet groomers often host seminars or classes in metro cities, and attending these events can be a valuable first step for any prospective pet groomer. Working for a local groomer, joining a groomers association are options for prospective dog groomers or pet care professionals. It can provide training and education for a variety of disciplines and help build up the skill set needed for a successful career in the industry.

Those in the field can also go for online pet grooming and training courses which will enhance an existing training program, or provide comprehensive training for certification or a diploma. Even if you are experienced in grooming your own dog, you will still need to learn the grooming styles of other breeds for which online course or training under an experienced groomer is a must.

Job Outlook

Pet Grooming is gaining popularity the world over. Even though pet grooming is totally a new concept in India, with the pet industry growing in India each year, pet grooming will definitely make its place in our country too. Pet lovers here are now ready to spend money for keeping their pets groomed and clean for pet shows. As more and more pet owners treat their pets as their family members and want them to have the best care, the demand for professional pet groomers have increased. Moreover, increased preference for exotic and foreign breeds with specific grooming requirements has led to a boost in the demand for pet grooming services. Hence job prospects in this field are likely to boom than earlier.

Salary

Earnings depend on their reputation for good work, their business and customer service skills, and the number of pets they can groom in a day. Self-employed dog groomers usually charge set or negotiated fees per hour or appointment. The charge may vary according to the size/breed of the animal being groomed and the work that is involved. It should be noted that most groomers are hired based on grooming experience rather than formal education. Anyhow one can expect minimum starting salary of Rs 10,000 per month up to Rs 25,000 if you gather a strong client base. You can make more earnings owning your own business, or if you are working abroad.

Frequently Asked Questions:

What hours do pet groomers work?

In a pet grooming salon, you would usually work around 35 hours a week, Monday to Saturday, with one day off during the week.

Who employs pet groomers?

Pet groomers can work in kennels, veterinary clinics, animal shelters, or pet supply stores. They can also operate their own grooming business by starting a salon or parlor. Those starting their own business, should make sure that their spa is well equipped and must keep in close contact with local vets and pet shop owners, as they can refer their customers to pet grooming salons. Another option is to start boarding services for pets, as pet owners often look for a safe and hygienic environment to leave their pets, when they go out of town. Quite a few of them are coming up in urban cities, especially the metros where there is a demand for such boarding facilities.

Pet groomers can work independent or with others as employee of a grooming salon. Grooming pets for shows and competitions is an area where professionals can explore. Groomers after gaining experience can take up supervisory or managerial positions in large retail establishments or kennels. There is also the option to start a mobile pet spa business by attending home calls or providing door to door pet grooming service. Some could move into lecturing or training in animal grooming, or start their own pet grooming school.

What personal Attributes should a pet groomer possess?

To become a successful pet groomer besides getting trained for the job one must have

Inherent and genuine liking and love for animals

Be able to handle nervous, aggressive, or fidgety animals

Good communication skills

Self-motivation

Persistence and patience

A good eye for detail

An artistic eye to visualize and create a look for the pets, keeping close to the standards of pet shows.


What are the required supplies to start a career in pet grooming?

Look into sourcing the following materials and their associated costs:

At least one grooming table with a grooming arm

Tub with shower attachment

Manual scissors and shears

Electric hair clippers

Nail clippers

Dryers

Cages

Pet shampoos and conditioners

Brushes and combs

De-matting tools

Harnesses

Muzzles

Pet steps or ramp

Grooming cart

Shelves for storage

Clipper vacuum

Ribbons and bows

Other retail-enhancing supplies such as the Furminator.

What are the Perks of Being a Pet Groomer?

You get to spend time with dogs and cats and horses and many other animals – every day!

You have a flexible schedule.

You don’t need to invest vast amounts of time and money to enter the business and get the necessary education.

You can set up your own business relatively easily.

You get to interact with other people.

You are able to specialize – love getting show dogs ready for the big day? – you can do just that all day long!

You can keep learning and perfecting your techniques.

Last but not least, you get paid for all that! Isn’t that amazing?

What Are the Cons of Being a Pet Groomer?

Indeed, every job has its positives and negatives. To help you discover if being a professional pet groomer is the right role for you, here are some of the main cons.

Active work — A certain level of fitness is required to be a dog groomer. Certainly, anyone who has issues with their feet, legs or back might find it too demanding to be standing, lifting and bending the majority of the day. Of course, that’s not to say you won’t have adequate breaks and get a chance to sit down, but much of the work is on your feet.

Managing difficult behaviours — There’s the saying, ‘never work with kids or animals’; animals can be unpredictable, particularly if they’re feeling stressed or anxious. A professional groomer needs the skills and confidence to read animals’ body language and recognize how to deal with difficult animal behaviour.

Bites and injuries — Injuries from scratches and bites are fairly common when working with animals. You’ll need to know first aid for pets and humans. Additionally, make sure you have appropriate insurance to cover you for personal injury as well as to protect yourself should an animal become injured while in your care.

Long days — Despite the fact that if you work for yourself, you can set your own hours; as your business grows and your client base expands, you’ll need to work more and more hours. Yes, this is a good thing, because it means you’ll be earning More income — but it can also be hard to fit clients in. You may end up working long days and even weekends to accommodate your clients’ needs.

For the love of people — Dog grooming is a social career. So, if you’re not the biggest fan of people (even if you like their pets), being a pet groomer might not be the best career for you. Of course, if you love chatting to people and meeting new people, then this isn’t a con. Instead it’s a big fat pro!

What are the related career options for a Pet Groomer?

Similar careers in the field of animal care include veterinary assistants, technologists and technicians, as well as laboratory animal caretakers. Vet assistants and lab animal caretakers need to have a high school diploma or equivalent, while vet technologists and technicians need an associate's degree. These individuals care for animals in animal hospitals, laboratories or clinics, and may work with sick or injured animals. Vet technologists and technicians also perform medical examinations and tests.


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