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Discussion Starter #1
Did you attend a grooming academy?
Did you do an internship?
Was it word of mouth?
How did you get your first grooming job?

What is the average pay for a groomer that groom at home OR have their own store location? Let's say 5 to 6 dogs a day fro home loca. Clearly there are expenses in any business factored but just an overall number of profit yearly. (Not what you make but on a average) In my profession the average may be $45,000 and the range $40,000 to $65,000.

For those that are busier then others - do you have a bather or other staff?

Just curious:)
 

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I paid $2500 to be taught at a small grooming salon in a nearby city. This price included my supplies and training. For probably the first two or three weeks I was bathing mainly and doing nail trims, pretty much getting comfortable around dogs. I did A LOT of watching and paying really close attention to whatever the groomers and my instructor was doing.

I then started helping with shave downs, mainly the bodies, and they would help me with the legs and do the faces. Near the end when I was doing legs on my own I started doing faces and bringing in friends dogs to practive on. I graduated the week before the management changed, failed, and the place went out of business.

The day after I graduated I applied for Petco, and two days after I applied I got a call, went in, groomed a dog, got the job the next day. I get paid 50% commission for full grooms and 40% commission for baths. My salon manager at Petco and another coworker for the last year and a half are leaving to their own salon where they'll be getting 100% commission.. I'm trying to get them to take me with them, rofl.

So say a groom at Petco for a shihtzu is 36, I get half, so 18 per dog. If I go work with my other two coworkers at the salon they're starting up, a shihtzu will be 28, and I'll get full commission for that dog, $10 more than my current. So your salary really depends on how many dogs you do and the commission you're getting for it.

One of the girls that's going to the salon is going to hire her mother to help bathe dogs, and they're going to give her 15% commission for bathing.
 

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I started out being a member of a household surrounded by Spoos.

Out of neccessity, my Mother learned to groom, and over the years began to teach me. By thirteen years old, every school holiday I worked in a salon. I bathed only for a long time, then was allowed to rough out dogs. Then I was given a chance to prove myself on legs. Then finally I got to finish a head. Then I no longer bathed and they hired someone else for that part of it. By sixteen I was working in a salon full time, and by nineteen I opened my own salon in Toronto. I did it all except at Christmass and some rushed days in the summer, when my Mom's girlfriend would come in and be my bath girl.

My personal feeling is, the best way to learn in by living it. Because we had so many Spoos, learning to groom was not really a choice, and I can do a lovely groom on a Poodle. I am finding that a lot of the younger, school taught groomers don't see a lot of purebred Poos because of all of the hybrids out there, so when you take a Poo to them you can be a bit shocked at what you pick up. I think at the very least a groomer needs to live with Poodles. grooming their own before they can do an awesome job on some elses. Please... I mean no offence to the school taught groomers on here, but if 90% of the dogs you groom are not purebred Poodles, and if you live wth a German shepherd, why would I expect you to be able to groom my Poo to look like a Poo? Nearly every dog that walks out of the salons in my neck of the woods look the same. Every Shih Tzu looks like every Bichon, who looks like every Havanese, who looks like every Poodle. If I were going to spend $80 getting my Spoo clipped, I want it to look like a Spoo.

I really do not mean to hurt anyone's feelings, so forgive me ahead of time if I have, but I like old school groomers who learned at home, then worked their way through the stages in salons.

If I were to begin doing this for a living again, and I am thinking about it because of the amount of equipment I have since my Mom passed away, I would have next to no overhead because I would be doing it in my home. I would charge no less than $70 for a Standard, and not less than $45 for a mini. We have a lot of farmers in our area who get their Border Collies shaved down and bathed for the summer- $60 because of the wear and tear on the blades. I could likely make a nice living at it because of the lack of overhead.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
I respect both comments and appreciate them equally:) These are very informative and helpful in why I was asking.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
If i were to begin doing this for a living again, I would have next to no overhead because I would be doing it in my home. I would charge no less than $70 for a Standard, a and not less than $45 for a mini. We have a lot of farmers in our area who get their Border Collies shaved down and bathed for the summer- $60 because of the wear and tear on the blades. I could likely make a nice living at it because of the lack of overhead.
See - this would be the key, for me - hypothetically speaking ;) I am really wanting a back up plan for the future near or far, and it wouldn't hurt to do something you kind of like! BUT I have to pay the bills, and be at least comfy:)
 

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Discussion Starter #6
If you have a shop in your home - does it have to be DHEC/Department of health certified?
 

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I started grooming my own first standard poodle almost 20 years ago. I couldn't afford to have his groomer trim him every 3 weeks like I wanted, so I hired his groomer to teach me how to groom my own dog . I think it cost me a few hundred dollars plus equipment. I was hooked.

I then studied where to learn to groom all breeds and I decided that I either had to go to New York City - I forget what the school was at the time - or have a "master" groomer teach me. I couldn't afford to leave my 3 kids/husband to travel to NYC, and one of the top 6 groomers in Canada was working in my city. She was a master groomer in all 4 categories - poodles, long legged/short legged and non-sporting - she was one of only 6 in Canada with those titles.

She agreed to teach me one-on-one for a year (for a price that I dare not even think about) and then I had to apprentice with her for another year in her shop while she taught me the finer points that only a master groomer can teach. It was a phenomenal experience. Fortunately, I had a husband to support me, as I was not making a penny all that time.

I now work from my home and have never advertised - my business comes from word of mouth from my existing clients. Overhead is fairly low, profit is good. I gross approximately $50,000 working 9 months a year. The other 3 months I winter in Florida. It's a rough life. LOL I lose 1 or 2 clients over the winter, as they are impatient for me to return, but I have a waiting list of clients now. I work alone except in December, when my husband bathes/dries for me. Christmas is chaos, as you can imagine - everybody wants a beautiful dog for Christmas, plus they know I'm gone for 3 months right after Christmas.

I do have to say that in my neck of the woods (I'm in a major Canadian city with a population of one million), there is a dire shortage of GOOD groomers. If you are good, then clients hear about you very quickly.

Would I do it again? YES without a doubt.
 

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I started at petsmart, and got out 6 months after they sent me to school.
Awful company I would never again work for the corporates. The teaching sucked, I had to learn everything on my own ANYWAYS, even though they try to stick you with a contract for shoddy teaching, I can only imagine the quality of the other groomers seeing as they didn't seem to care about the work they were putting out.

Really if you want to be good, you can be, you constantly learn, and you have to set out to learn and become better all the time.

I am a great groomer, the best in my salon and can compete with any good groomer in my area.
I've only been grooming 2 years though and started in a crap place, with crap groomers, and a crap teacher who I can outgroom anyday now.

SO it is what you make it. You have to be willing to learn and do a good job.

Sorry I sound so conceited. I am. But I've worked and tried super hard to get as good as I am today.
Thats all you need to do really.

I would see if you can work under someone who really knows what they are doing!

Don't go to petsmart/petco their training sucks and you are expected to stay with them for 2 years. once they get you in a contract they treat you like dirt. I got out of my contract due to harassment, so watch your back!
 

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I happened to be in the right place at the right time!!! I managed to arrange 4 weeks of work experience at a groomers here, but right from teh start it was never going to lead to a job, it was just that I was a teenager and I could play with dogs for 4 weeks and see how a groomers was run! It just so happened that 2 days after I started my work experience there, the full time employee walked out of the job, never to be seen again.... !!!

So basically my boss was left high and dry, but she had a keen hardworking teenager right there who dug in and helped over the long days to pull her through until someone could be found to help her etc etc. I finished the 4 weeks of 'work experience', signed the contract, and started full time being paid. I was trained on the job by my boss and the temp lady who came to help over those few months. We got through the Christmas rush, and at the start of the following year I started working alone more and more. When my boss got her knee replaced she found she rather liked being at home and not worrying about the business, so she's never come back unless I needed her. I now run the shop alone, I make my own hours and do the dogs how I want.

I do agree with Arreau though, I truely didn't know how crappy I was at poodles until I had Paris to play with and started to get my grooms on her critiqued online. I hadn't had the chance previously to have a decent dog to really work on until her, and it has been Paris that's responsible for me and my grooming to have improved so much in the past year or so!

I have shares in the business, my 63 year old boss doesn't work at all now unless I ask her to some in and help hold a cat (I don't do cats anymore though, so that's irrelevant!) and yes I will be buying the business for myself in the next year or so. I can't remember the figures though, and being NZ I'm not sure they'd be relevant to over there anyway...?!




Some of the corporate training can be fine, but it does depend on who it is that's training you!!! Don't write them off totally though, cos getting hands on training to groom and handle dogs is still better than nothing... The internet is an amazing resource to improve yourself; I work alone but I have improved my grooming by leaps and bounds PURELY through the internet. I'm a better groomer than my boss who taught me and has been grooming for decades!
 

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Discussion Starter #11
I am so GLAD I asked this question/questions and appreciate the shared and different experiences.

I am guessing poodles are one of the hardest to groom, not hard if you are good, but also hard to please clients. (I am one of those clients right now)

I would be more than willing to spend time on the weekends to learn. I know I am capable, I am a very driven person.:)

Who knows what the future holds but it has sure been on my mind a lot lately. And when I groom the spoos myself I see all my faults and seem to go over and over until it's good enough lol! Which is why I have probably killed some blades (because I touch up on feet and face sometimes w/out washing. Lesson learned.

I joined a grooming forum so I can read and watch and found one with a wealth of information to grooming schools.....which I could do IF I didn't have a FT plus job :( I have a blackberry connected to me 24/7 :) But it's been a great job and I am grateful for it. But there is something about grooming my dogs that I love. I have also been looking at different breeds and AKC cuts....I have everything priced that I may need:) Which is not a lot. AND I came up with an idea down the road IF in fact I do this, would be to pass out flyers in my neighborhood for FREE GROOMING that I might do for a while on the weekends to get experience and expossure.

All kinds of thoughts.............lol Thanks ALL>
 

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Oh, and I have always thought you have to have an artistic eye overall in order to be a good groomer. I've been an artist for as long as I could remember, from paintings with watercolors, pen and ink, pencils, to digital art. My grooming manager is really good with interior design, and the other two groomers I work with aren't that great.. and they're not very artistic, rofl.

A pointillism (purely dots) portrait of some nameless girl I did in highschool three years ago.
http://fc05.deviantart.net/fs9/i/2006/061/9/4/Thousands_by_FluffyChic.png

And a cartoony, digital picture I did with my tablet and the program Open Canvas I did around Christmas as a secret santa project
http://fc03.deviantart.net/fs71/i/2010/006/5/6/Starstruck_by_FluffyChic.png
 

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I had a back-of-the-mind- idea that I wanted to groom so I bought a standard poodle right offf the bat. As I continued learning, both at Petco, on my own and thru seminars at Groom Expo and Intergroom, I talked to groomers who mostly didn't look like groomers. I thought they were so pretty and were so professional, they didn't look like they dealt with dog hair and anal gland juice all day. That's the kind of groomer I wanted to be. I wanted to attract a nice clientele with clients willing to pay for my expertise with dogs. I found a building, and I just knew what I DID NOT WANT in it. So the dogs are visable to clients, no mystery back rooms, and every time a clients comes in "I teach" them something. That's what they all say they love about coming here...."I learn something new everytime I come here!" I do breed specific grooming, then modify it to a clients request. But I make schnauzers look like schnauzers, not cockers and cockers don't look like Brittanies.
 

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" I do breed specific grooming, then modify it to a clients request. But I make schnauzers look like schnauzers, not cockers and cockers don't look like Brittanies.

Amen to that comment! This is how the clients come to me - they see one of my grooms and want THEIR dog to look like that. Some of my clients have NEVER had a "real" breed cut, but they know that what they were getting done to their dogs was not quite right.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Oh, and I have always thought you have to have an artistic eye overall in order to be a good groomer. I've been an artist for as long as I could remember, from paintings with watercolors, pen and ink, pencils, to digital art. My grooming manager is really good with interior design, and the other two groomers I work with aren't that great.. and they're not very artistic, rofl.

A pointillism (purely dots) portrait of some nameless girl I did in highschool three years ago.
http://fc05.deviantart.net/fs9/i/2006/061/9/4/Thousands_by_FluffyChic.png

And a cartoony, digital picture I did with my tablet and the program Open Canvas I did around Christmas as a secret santa project
http://fc03.deviantart.net/fs71/i/2010/006/5/6/Starstruck_by_FluffyChic.png
Very talented!
 

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I completely agree with Fluffyspoos. If you don't have it, you don't have it. My Mother knit, cvrotcheted, and did the most incredible ceramics I have ever seen. I am great at decorating a home and I sing. So, there is artistry in one form or another in there. So learning how to groom correctly and well may not have been so easy if we did not have artisitic blood.

I liken teaching someone who just does not have it to trying to teach someone to sing harmony. You either have an ear for it or you don't.

BTW...Fluffyspoos...right on!! Beautiful stuff!!!
 

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I learned from the in-home groomer down the road from me when I was a teenager, over 30 years now. I've been grooming my poodles and family and friends poodles ever since. However I just learned the correct show Continental and Saddle cut just last year. Alot easier then I thought. It's just a matter of balance on a paticular dog and what works best for them. It is a form of artwork. I am also an artist as well as crafts person (flower arranging, quilting, trapunto, pottery, as well as cutting topiaries.) It balances my mathematical, logical computer side which is my job.
 

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I went to a grooming school and was taught by a professional show handler. I worked at PetsMart, a couple of small shops, then I opened my own shop. I have improved a lot from the internet and learning from other groomers I've worked with. You can always learn something from somebody else.
 

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When I was 15, I gave my own dog a home haircut. I was hooked :D I called around and found a groomery owner who was willing to train me. I would go to the shop after school and on Saturday and she would teach me what she knew.
Six years later, I transferred to a veterinary clinic. The head vet wanted all his groomers to be well educated, so he would send us to breed seminars and clinics. I study online and go to clinics and seminars when I can. I follow some grooming boards and network with other groomers whenever they are willing.
Now, I am 43 and I work for a groomery by my house. I mostly do my own clients with an occasional shop dog. I do quite a few standard poodles and bichons. I make 60% and I have access to a bather, a blower, and a receptionist.
 

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I started grooming my own first standard poodle almost 20 years ago. I couldn't afford to have his groomer trim him every 3 weeks like I wanted, so I hired his groomer to teach me how to groom my own dog . I think it cost me a few hundred dollars plus equipment. I was hooked.

I then studied where to learn to groom all breeds and I decided that I either had to go to New York City - I forget what the school was at the time - or have a "master" groomer teach me. I couldn't afford to leave my 3 kids/husband to travel to NYC, and one of the top 6 groomers in Canada was working in my city. She was a master groomer in all 4 categories - poodles, long legged/short legged and non-sporting - she was one of only 6 in Canada with those titles.

She agreed to teach me one-on-one for a year (for a price that I dare not even think about) and then I had to apprentice with her for another year in her shop while she taught me the finer points that only a master groomer can teach. It was a phenomenal experience. Fortunately, I had a husband to support me, as I was not making a penny all that time.

I now work from my home and have never advertised - my business comes from word of mouth from my existing clients. Overhead is fairly low, profit is good. I gross approximately $50,000 working 9 months a year. The other 3 months I winter in Florida. It's a rough life. LOL I lose 1 or 2 clients over the winter, as they are impatient for me to return, but I have a waiting list of clients now. I work alone except in December, when my husband bathes/dries for me. Christmas is chaos, as you can imagine - everybody wants a beautiful dog for Christmas, plus they know I'm gone for 3 months right after Christmas.

I do have to say that in my neck of the woods (I'm in a major Canadian city with a population of one million), there is a dire shortage of GOOD groomers. If you are good, then clients hear about you very quickly.

Would I do it again? YES without a doubt.
Aren't husbands great!!! Mine dries for me too. He's on a weekend shift right now so he is my bather thru the week. I love it.
 
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