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Looking at getting into Dog Grooming - Any advice would be amazing :)

Discussion in 'Dog Grooming' started by meleekate, May 20, 2013.


  1. meleekate

    meleekate PetForums Newbie

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    Hello!
    I am new to the forums and I am really keen and passionate about getting into the dog grooming business and really I am just looking for any advice possible.

    A brief overview of my story - ever since I was a little girl I had adored animals but dogs in particular have always been my passion. Despite this I decided to take a different route and I ended up going to University and even though I graduated with a top grade I realized the course/direction I had undertaken was not what I wanted to do. So for the past two years I have been working at a Subway store and hating every second of it.

    So that brings us to now, for the past few months I have been researching and looking into getting into the dog grooming industry and the more I have learnt the more I honestly feel I have found my perfect job.The time has now come where I am in a position to get the ball rolling and would appriciate any advice avalible from you lovely people :)

    I live in the North West and straight away I ruled out doing an online/distance learning course as I felt I wanted praticale and hands on experience. A few course I am looking into are:

    Anrich Vets and Grooming school - Courses and Prices | Dog Grooming at Anrich

    Firtree Grooming Academy -
    Dog Grooming Training Courses - Become a professional dog groomer

    St Helen College -
    Level 2 Preliminary Dog Grooming


    Does anybody have any experience with any of these courses (good or bad!) and does anybody have any advice about which may be the best one?

    I am currently in the process of asking around my local groomers for any sort of work experience/apprentiships available so I can start getting pratical experience.

    I also live very near a Pets at Home and was wondering if anybody has worked on the training programme with them? I know I need some experience first before being took on by them but I'm thinking of a bit of a long term plan?

    Sorry if this is a bit long but any advice or help would be very much appriciated :)

    Thanks in advance
    Katie :)
     
  2. MeganLouise95

    MeganLouise95 PetForums Newbie

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    If your near st helens have a look into Lite Ltd they do animal care apprenticeships and can do your placement in a dog grooming salon. I'm starting my 2 week trial tomorrow at a dog grooming salon. Hope you find what your looking for. Good luck x
     
  3. Hayley22

    Hayley22 PetForums Member

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    Definitely try to get on to a grooming course, they are usually only a few weeks long. Try to get as much experience as possible, stay away from pets at home, they are only interested in money and not the dogs. They also don't have the slightest idea how to groom, have heard so many horror stories.
     
  4. ChantelleLouise

    ChantelleLouise PetForums Newbie

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    Hello katie,
    I have my own dog grooming buisness, I payed to train at a grooming academy (which was a lot of money) so it may be better to train at a salon and get your experience there also but ask if they provide City&Guilds qualifications as they're what you want. If you are planning on opening up your own dog groomers consider if you will be working alone or with someone, I personally find it a lot better and helpful to work with someone (I work with my partner) setting up yourself is a LOT of money! And you may have to start up with a promotional offer to attract people.
    You have to be 100% dedicated and have a lot of patience! It's very hard work and long hours. But if you love dogs (even the newty ones) lol it'll soon get better. Some dogs you cannot physically do (as you probably have guessed) my partner got bitten by a large chow chow the other week randomly which left a nasty bite on his stomach so you have to be prepared for things like this maybe happening also (not saying this will happen to you) but id definitely recommend buying muzzles (of all sizes) the small dogs are the worst lol! Also be prepared for rude people as they're are plenty of them! We send all customers reminders the night before and people still don't turn up or get into contact which take your earnings right down! But we just don't take them people back. Also if people are 15 mins late we tell them they have missed they're appt and ask if they would like to rebook as you have to work on a tight schedule really if you want to work reasonable hours! I hope I haven't made it sound horrible because it really is a rewarding job and it's lovely when you get regulars and happy customers (aswell as happy dogs) I hope this helps, if you have any questions don't hesitate to ask me :)
    Chantelle x
     
  5. Westy

    Westy PetForums Senior

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    I read your post with great interest Chantelle as my experience is completely different. :)

    When I started on my own I used a large travel crate as a table and kept the next dog inside while I worked. I bought dryer, clippers, a couple of pairs of scissors and brushes - not a lot of capital expense. I put a piece of carpet in my bath and bathed the dogs in there.

    After just 3 months I'd earned enough money to buy a 10x8 shed (grooming parlour!) which was insulated, stable door fitted, water and power fitted. I got a bath from a skip and had a stand made to fit on top so that I didn't have to bend. I built 2 work stations, one for large dogs (lower and deeper) and one for small dogs (narrower and higher) made from kitchen worktop with wardrobe hanging rails for legs.
    I had a very smart, purpose build grooming parlour built for not a lot of money at all.
    As I earned more I bought a steraliser, blaster etc. and other extras as I discovered them. :)

    I only worked for nice owners who were prepared to groom their dogs and bring them in for regular 6-8 week appointments so that I was fully booked all the year round. I trimmed to the breed standard and refused any once a year clip offs. If any new enquiries asked for their dog to be clipped off I would say that wasn't my type of work and give them the number of other local groomers who were happy to do that and could fit them in tomorrow. I was always fully booked (I would keep 2 appointments each week free in case I needed to change one) and had a waiting list of owners waiting for a regular space that would only occur when someone moved out of the area or a dog died. I found it the most enjoyable job I've ever had.
    I worked 8am to 3pm 4 days a week and that earned me enough to pay the mortgage, pay the bills, change the car every 3 years and keep my daughter and me.
    But the key is good training. If you are trained to clip everything off and do what the owners asks, then you'll be the same as all the other groomers around you. My grooming school taught that this is one profession where the customer isn't always right. :) I would pay the money to go to the best Grooming Training that you can get, even if that means travellng because the cost will easily be earned back very quickly if you do the right sort of work. :)
     
    #5 Westy, Jul 10, 2013
    Last edited: Oct 18, 2013
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  6. ChantelleLouise

    ChantelleLouise PetForums Newbie

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    Hello westy,
    That's great! We just went into dog grooming with a lot if expense as we had our garage converted into a proper room fitted with a bath and all the little extras so for us it was quite expensive.
    But what you done sounds very good for a starter and like you say low cost.
    I would definitely recommend training at a grooming academy as I did to anyone, like I say it is a lot of money though..
    We have to work at least 9-5 to earn money to keep us going but maybe were just too cheap! I'm not sure! It's frustrating though.
    And exactly the customer isn't always right in this job I 100% agree! We have a LOT of groomers around here that just clip off everything. So eventually people come to us where we can do a proper job! The only thing is some people don't seem to be able to brush they're dog but have proper cuts but then get funny when you charge dematting fees! You can't win lol.
     
  7. Westy

    Westy PetForums Senior

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    Oh yes you can win. ;)
    When a new owner came to collect I'd invite them in and show them on their own dog how and where to brush and comb! A comb will often get back to the skin better. I would invite them in before they left the dog next time and try a comb though it. I'd point out anything more than the odd knot. If it came in knotty again, I'd suggest a shorter appointment or offer them the phone number of another groomer! I always had a waiting list and so didn't need difficult dogs or owners! :yikes:

    I retired 10 years ago and didn't know if I had this left on the computer but here is the letter that I'd give to all new clients on their first visit.

    THANK YOU for bringing your dog to me. I would like to draw your attention to the following points:-

    PLEASE groom your dog thoroughly. Removing matts causes pain and damages the coat. Matts in sensitive areas will be clipped out.

    PLEASE remember that I am prepared to get any dog out of a mess ONCE! We can all lapse under pressure. The amount of dematting possible depends both on my skill and your dog’s tolerance. Extra charges will be made for handling a matted coat. A regularly matted dog will be asked to attend more frequently or use another groomer.

    PLEASE ask if you have any queries regarding the trim, coat condition or grooming techniques. I will be glad to discuss them with you and advise, where possible, on any other matters regarding your dog.

    PLEASE either carry or put your dog on a lead from your car to the parlour and do not allow your dog to foul the surrounding area.

    PLEASE ensure that all dogs are collected by 3pm.

    PLEASE give me at least 24 hours notice if you need to cancel an appointment. Less than that will result in a charge of half the price of the trim.


    It was printed on my letterhead and I would hand write on the bottom "Little Fifi has been dematted, groomed, trimmed, bathed and dried. Her teeth have been descaled and cleaned and her nails cut. An appointment every 8 weeks, with regular grooming at home, should keep Fifi in good condition"

    It sets out the terms that I was prepared to work. I had 9 other groomers within a 10 mile radius including one who was Groomer of the Year twice and could do wonderful work but in her own parlour would shave everything off! I once had a dog on my doorstep who had been to her. The owner had met one of my clients who had told her to show me the dog. She asked me to guess the breed. I thought it was a Jack Russell and it was beautiful clipped all over - it was actually a Sealyham! I groomed it for the next 10 years and it always looked like a Sealyham from then on!
     
    #7 Westy, Jul 10, 2013
    Last edited: Jul 10, 2013
    Hannah2018 likes this.
  8. ChantelleLouise

    ChantelleLouise PetForums Newbie

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    That's a great idea!! :) I have thought about doing something like that we do charge dematting fees from £5-£10 depending on severity. I don't know if this is a little cheap as I don't speak to groomers around the area. Also a lot of people don't seem to come back if you charge extra! But you have to sometimes.
    But people around here would get very funny about a form I think as they get funny about the smallest thing..so I'm not sure if that would deter people from coming to us? If you don't mind asking how were people with you about the form? Also do you think my dematting fee is too cheap?:sad:
    Sorry for al the questions! It's nice to talk to a fellow groomer though. :)
     
  9. Westy

    Westy PetForums Senior

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    If a dog came in matted first time then I'd charge +50% the normal price of the trim - hence the 'I'm prepared to get any dog out of a mess ONCE' and tell them it was only fair to the owners who did groom their dogs - they shouldn't pay the same!

    After the first trim I would deliberately ask the owner not to book the next appointment but to go home, see what I've done, read my terms and ring me if they wanted to come back regularly. In almost 20 years I can count on one hand the ones who didn't come back. And if they didn't want to groom their dogs and didn't want them to look like their breed, then I didn't want them as clients! I had enough that did. It's a vicious circle. If you clip off, then that's your advertising walking around the street and you'll get more of those. If you trim to the breed standard, they'll attract the attention of owners who want their dogs to look like that and you'll get more of those. ;)

    If you trim to the breed standard then charge at least 10% more than the other groomers in your area because your trim is worth more than a no-skill clip off!

    If you look at groomers websites, most clip all the bodies regardless of breed, remove all furnishings from Cockers, Westies, Lhasa, Shih Tzu and leave them all looking like sausages with 4 matchsticks for legs! That takes no skill at all and the excuse will be "That's what the owner asked for!" I couldn't sleep at night if I'd done that! :thumbdown:
     
    Hannah2018 likes this.
  10. JR Toby

    JR Toby PetForums Junior

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    Some great information here and learnt a lot, thanks :thumbsup:
     
  11. aurora cano

    aurora cano PetForums Newbie

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  12. AdorableAnimals

    AdorableAnimals PetForums Newbie

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    Read through the posts with interest - some great questions and very useful advice. I would be interested in finding out how myleekate got on?
     
  13. Jess Coleman

    Jess Coleman PetForums Junior

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    Good luck with your journey!
     
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