How I Became A Dog Groomer
How to Become a Pet Groomer
Pet grooming is a growing industry as people are spending more than ever on their pets. Whether you are considering starting your own small business as a pet groomer, or adding pet grooming services to your existing shop, you need to be aware of pet grooming’s unique business needs.
Entering the Profession
Gain experience.If you have never groomed a dog before, you will need to learn the basics and practice.
- Consider an apprenticeship. The best way to get hands-on-training, if you are not enrolled in a school program, is to apprentice with an established groomer.
- If you are in the United States, consider taking the National Dog Groomer’s Association of America exam. This certification program will allow you to be recognized as a “National Certified Master Groomer”. This is very attractive to see when employers look at your experience.
Enroll in a dog grooming school.A variety of grooming schools exist that offer certification and hands-on training.
- There are dedicated dog grooming programs that are offered through larger organizations, like through the Animal Behavior College.
- You can also enroll in pet grooming programs that are offered through organizations that are dedicated to pet cosmetology, like the International Society of Canine Cosmetologists.
- Your local community college may offer pet grooming courses.
- Some salons and groomers will offer on the job training for entry-level groomers and new hires.
Practice with different breeds.Different dog breeds have very different coat types and grooming needs. Getting experience with a large variety of breeds is an important learning experience as you become a dog groomer.
- Some breeds, especially those with longer hair, like Maltese, Spaniels, and Malamutes, require more intensive grooming.
- The majority of pets that will come in to be groomed will be dogs, but you may have to groom cats and small pets like chinchillas or guinea pigs.
Get licensed.You may or may not need to receive specific pet grooming certification or licensing to operate in your area. This is going to be unique to your location.
- Some states require you to receive a license to administer flea and tick medications. Check with your state to see if this is the case.
- Your area may require you to receive official dog grooming licensing through a certification program. If your area does not require you to this, it may still be a good idea to go through this program as a way to build your credibility with clients.
- There is no standard education requirement or formal certification requirement to be a dog groomer. Most groomers have a high school degree and have completed some sort of training, whether that is through an apprenticeship, an online program, or an in-person program.
Decide where you want to practice.After you’ve trained to become a pet groomer, you now have options as to where you want your career to begin.
- Decide whether you will operate the business as the sole groomer or if you want to run a salon with other groomers.
- You could also work for a large pet store that offers grooming.
- You can work at a vet clinic or a doggie day care as a grooming specialist.
- You could offer mobile pet grooming.
Joining with Other Groomers
Apply to work with other groomers.If there is a reputable and standout grooming service in your area, you could apply to work there.
- Research different pet grooming services in your area and identify any businesses that you think you’d like to work at.
- Make a list of places you’d like to apply and reach out to see if they have any openings for a dog groomer.
- During the job application process, the employer will probably want to see your skills in action and ask you to groom a pet.
Join a salon or pet grooming business.Once you’ve successfully applied for a position with a pet grooming business, you are now ready to continue your career as a groomer.
- Consider taking additional certification courses to continue your education.
- If the salon offers special services for pets like massages, manicures, or hair dying, you can ask to be trained to complete these new services.
Grow your client base and make relationships with your customers.Groomers typically make money off of commission if they’re working for a salon.
- Growing your relationships with clients encourages them to continue returning to your salon and to you for their grooming needs.
- If your salon offers incentives for clients to make referrals, encourage your clients to refer their friends to you if they are happy with your services.
Starting and Growing Your Own Pet Grooming Salon
Individualize your idea.If you have decided to begin your own pet grooming business, you will need to determine what can you do to make your salon or mobile grooming center stand out from the other pet groomers in your area.
- Brainstorm with creative friends and those who have started their own businesses. Having the insight of someone who has gone through the process of starting their own business can be a really helpful way to plan.
- You could purchase or rent a retail space that you can begin your small business in.
- You could groom from your home or you could offer a home visit service for your clients.
- You could also start a mobile pet grooming service that would drive to different clients or clinics to perform grooming.
Prepare your finances.Starting a business can be an expensive endeavor. You need to be able to cover your overhead costs and your startup costs when you open your business.
- You should expect that you will not start making a profit for several months. Because of this, if you do not have enough money or investors in your business, you may not be able to open your business right now.
- If you find investors that are willing to loan you money to begin your business, you will need to establish a repayment plan with them.
Decide on your business’ name.A name should be memorable, simple, and easy for people to pronounce.
- Check to see if anyone else is using the same name as yours in your area. You can either search the Internet or check a phone directory to see a list of businesses.
Rent a business space.If you decide that you’d prefer to rent a space to begin a pet grooming salon rather than operating out of a mobile vehicle or your home, you will need to secure a space.
- Enlist the help of a real estate agent to help you identify good retail spaces for your type of business.
- You will need to budget for rent and for any upfront payments, like a down payment or security deposit.
Set your list of services and pricing.Now that you have the basics for your business laid out, you will need to determine what sort of services you will do.
- Research your competitors and look at their pricing. You want your pricing to be competitive, but you also want to be able to turn a profit.
Determine your business structure.Owning and operating a business involves careful attention to your area's regulations, laws, and rules. As you launch your business, you will need to make sure that you have your legal and financial bases covered.
- Consider hiring an attorney or legal advisor to help you navigate the intricacies of business tax law and the legality of operating a business in your area.
- If you are not well versed in tax law, you should consider hiring an accountant or tax professional to help you manage your finances.
- You will most likely need to register your business with your local business board. If you are operating an at-home business, you may or may not have to register your business. This depends on your area.
- If you do need to register your business, you have several structures to choose from. A sole proprietorship is the most basic business type, and creates a business where you are the sole owner and operator. If you have a business partner, there are several different types of partnerships that you can choose from.
Advertise your business.In order to have a successful business, you will need to advertise yourself and your services.
Get sponsorships.Sponsorships can help you to grow your business as you become associated with other brands and organizations.
- Ask veterinarians, pet clinics and hospitals, dog walkers, pet shops, essentially anyone else in the pet industry, if they would recommend your business to their clients. Offer to do the same for them.
- The manufacturers of products like dog shampoo may offer you a contract to exclusively sell and use their products.
- Consider expanding your health insurance. Dog grooming is a physically demanding job, and you are at a higher risk of injury since you are dealing with animals on a consistent basis. If you expand your health insurance, you can help to protect yourself in the case of an accident.
Video: I Learned How To Be A Professional Dog Groomer | Lucie For Hire | Refinery29
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