If you are a dog lover, the career of a dog groomer can be a good fit for you.
You need to get trained for this profession, but the training includes several steps before you can reach the point where you are comfortable enough to call yourself a professional dog groomer.
First, you have to complete training and gain practical experience, then you need to decide the direction of your business and get everything going.
This process sounds like a long one, but the hard work will pay off soon, and you can have a rewarding career.
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Professional Training: Learn How to Be a Dog Groomer
Most jurisdictions don’t require dog groomers to have formal education.
In theory, if you wake up one morning and decide you want to be a dog groomer, it’s quite possible and legal.
But would you know how to bathe, brush, and trim different breeds of dogs?
Do you know how to clean ears without harming the dog?
There are two common ways to get training and experience as a dog groomer.
One is a dog grooming course, another one, is an apprenticeship with an experienced groomer.
Dog Grooming Course
The dog grooming course lasts for one year.
In the dog grooming course, you will learn the basics of grooming, techniques to identify potential issues or problems.
You will develop the ability to pinpoint the type of required grooming by examining bodies and knowing the standards of breeds.
It’s extremely important to take the program that focuses on sanitation, safety, and health.
These are real animals and making a small mistake with scissors can lead to major consequences.
Even if you decide not to take a dog grooming course, you still need to pass a first aid course.
You don’t want to be helpless if something happens to a dog in your care.
Find the course that provides internship opportunities or has a practicum part.
You can’t provide and charge for services if you only read about how it’s done instead of doing it.
Theoretical knowledge shouldn’t be underrated, but the ability to maneuver your hands and physically calm the dog during procedures is something that requires practice.
A dog grooming certification can enhance your resume and give peace of mind to your clients who may have a hard time leaving dogs for grooming with a stranger.
Especially, if you are a new groomer, it’s best to have physical proof that you know what you are doing, even if you don’t have years of experience in the field yet.
Apprenticeships last for one year as well.
Out of the two types of training, apprenticeship is more common.
You will work under an experienced groomer who can patiently explain everything to you step-by-step.
You will receive invaluable insights, information about the best business practices in your area, and clients as well as get real-time help.
The downside to this is that you can’t pick it whenever you want.
You can pass some grooming courses, especially online ones, at your own pace.
With apprenticeships, on the other hand, you have to take action and find a place that would take you as an apprentice.
If grooming salons in your area have too many apprentices already or too much on their plate, you may have to wait until the opportunity appears or the spot frees up.
Apprenticeships come with one major benefit, though.
The grooming salon that has seen your progress may hire you after you finish your training.
They have already seen what you can and can’t do first-hand, and they know you.
Practice and Volunteering
This option takes from 5 months to a year.
Take your time and every opportunity you can.
The jobs in dog grooming you’re hoping to get in the future depend on how much work you put into practice now.
If you’re looking for a full-fledged career in dog grooming, you need to know what you are doing.
If you have a dog grooming certification and practice, you will make your services more valuable when you start to work.
You may have a head start if you complete an apprenticeship or practicum.
But it’s best to have as much practice with different breeds as possible.
For instance, companies like PetSmart hire groomers with 800 hours of practical experience with more than 200 dogs of all sizes and breeds.
They want to ensure to accommodate all dogs of different breeds, skin and health conditions, and coat types.
Be sure that you always use the safest methods and treat all dogs that come to you with respect and compassion.
Safety is extremely important.
Even if you have much experience, it doesn’t mean you can cut corners to speed up the process.
Having a grooming manual handy even if you mastered all techniques means there’s no excuse for you to guess best-practices.
The correct information is always right there.
Starting Your Dog Grooming Business
This process can take from one to five months.
Similar to training, you don’t need a license to work as a dog groomer in most jurisdictions.
However, you will likely need to obtain a business license whether working from home or opening a salon.
With the license, you are allowed to operate a business.
The approval can take from a couple of weeks to a few months.
To run your business efficiently, you need the accounting and administrative skills as well as some legal knowledge, additionally to your grooming skills.
If you take a grooming course with business units, it will be highly helpful.
You can also take voluntary certification courses from a major grooming association to stay on top of your skills and have the proof of your knowledge.
Depending on the association, you may receive some resources and perks, such as grooming insurance.
Reflect and Evaluate
You should always evaluate yourself, your prices, and your services.
What is the moment when you become a professional groomer rather than a hobbyist?
You don’t have to attend lavish grooming conventions or become a renowned columnist in the pet-related magazine to know you succeeded.
You can only ask yourself the following questions to evaluate your success:
- Are your clients happy with you?
- Do you enjoy what you do?
- Have you noticed that dogs that come in for their first appointments are generally more relaxed with you?
- Do you have a stable client list of regulars who keep coming back?
- Is your dog groomer salary high enough so you can work as a groomer full-time?
If the answer is “yes” to all or any of these questions, you can consider yourself a successful groomer.
Remember that the career can’t be built in a day.
It demands a life-long passion for learning, so you can always develop your skills and stay patient.