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  1. #1

    Nerdy New groomer, needs your help!!

    Hello Everyone!

    I want to ask you all for any grooming/business tips or experiences you can share with me. Just to share a little bit about me...

    I am a new groomer (self-taught) and what I thought would be a hobby/part-time became more of a full time job. I am definitely not complaining, I love every single aspect of the job. Now, I always felt grooming a dog was easy and that I could just pick up any dog and start chopping his hair with just any scissors and it will just come out right hahaha oh was I wrong!!! GROOMING A DOG IS ART!!!

    I remember the first dog I did (Shih Tzu), well let's just say I tried to hide it in the closet before giving him back to his owner hehehe lucky me it was my brother's but I wasn't going to let myself down! I always wanted to do it and I was going to learn to do it the right way....hours and hours of surfing the internet learning about products I made my first order.... so exciting!! It was like Christmas in June for me! I got a 5-speed clipper, snap combs, blades, shears, blow dryer, shampoos and few combs here and there. You know, just the basics lol... So I started watching video after video and I kept practicing for the next couple of months or as soon as his hair grew back until I got what I thought an acceptable Shih Tzu cut

    So here I was, December 31, I was sitting in front of my computer and I was ready to tell the world I wanted to groom every dog in the planet!!! YES, I AM NUTS!!! I thought about it the whole day, at about 11:59 pm I said "you know what, let's just do it!!" I was starting the year telling everyone I wanted to groom their dogs big or small hahaha....I started by asking just for a small donation if they liked my job (I had to pay my credit card back too lol)...but people were really liking my job and were giving me very generous tips. I got referral after referral and now I have a pretty busy steady agenda even after asking regular prices. I have attached some pictures of dogs I have done and of course would love to hear any feedback!!

    Because of my clients, I am wanting to open my own salon So I wanted to ask you.....

    What are some of your experiences you had when you started?
    How much experience did you had as a groomer before you started?
    Did you started on your own? How was it like if you did, would you recommend it?
    How much capital did you had when you open your business? or what are some expenses you never thought you'll have?
    What are some of the challenges you faced as a business?
    What are some of the most common complaints people tend to have?

    Any tips, or just a plain YOU ARE CRAZY comment would help too lol.....


    Oh Boy 2017.jpg
    Yorkie too.JPG

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2011


    Welcome! You obviously are loving what you do and it shows. I started as a bather in a small shop and then learned to groom as an apprentice under the shop owner. I worked for her 4 years then bought her business and opened my own shop at my home. Being at home means very low overhead, tax deductions, convenience, and comfort for you. All that adds up to more money in your pocket! I love it! I work alone and love that too! Everyone is different and many groomers on here work in large and small salons or work mobile and they also love their situations so it depends on your personality how you like to work. My experience at time of start was bathing my own dogs and that was it. My biggest challenge was buying my business and moving to my home. I had very little notice that the owner wanted to close her business so I had to make a decision quickly which I don't recommend. It only took me 2 months, however, to pay her off, and 2 more months to pay for building my shop in my home. For a home groomer I would advise to NOT put your address on your business card, only put your phone number and have a separate number/phone for your business so you are not "on call" 24 hrs a day 7 days a week. You never know where you card will land and you don't want random people driving up to your home whenever they want at all hours of the day. I only have people coming to my home when they have an appointment! Best wishes! You can learn a ton on this site so stay tuned!

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2015


    Hi Krocha, and welcome! Sounds like you found your passion. Good for you!
    This forum is a great place to learn with experienced groomers sharing their wisdom and experiences. I did an online school that has a school for the hands on portions very near to me. That was three years ago. After decades of retail, I preferred opening my own shop, and was able to fund my venture without outside loans. Spent a lot of money to get top quality equipment that was kinder to my old body, like a tub designed to use a recirculating system and electric table -no way I could pump a hydraulic. My business has built very slowly, and I reinvested every cent I made into more equipment and education for two years. That means I didn't pay myself for two full years. But I am fortunate to be in a situation where I could manage with that.
    Opening my own shop, being my own boss, has been exciting, rewarding, and scary. I can tell you that this is the hard way. Working side by side with experienced groomers would have been incredibly helpful. The quality of the groom is the "easy" part. Working with difficult dogs, handling techniques, and recognizing what I didn't have enough experience to handle would have been easier if I had worked with others for a while first. You certainly don't have to, but would gain much confidence that way instead of on your own. Every groomer is a unique personality, has their own preferences and dislikes, and they don't universally agree on all techniques, but each has something to teach. I learned a ton of helpful things here on this board.
    You didn't mention a first aid/CPR course. That is crucial. Don't think that you are so careful that nothing bad will ever happen. There are incredibly compassionate, caring, and skilled groomers on here who have shared tales of horror at having injured a dog while grooming. You need to be prepared. My personal advice is never groom on a holiday (and I look askance at Saturdays and Sundays as well) so if anything does happen you do not have to send the pet to an emergency vet. Very expensive.
    There are also the not very exciting parts like getting a business license and insurance designed specifically for the unique situations that can arise in grooming. Don't want to dampen your enthusiasm-it really is exciting! But there are i's to dot and t's to cross to get your ducks in order and they are important if you want a legitimate business.

  4. #4


    Thank you so much for your response!!

    I know, I love being at home too! But I am concerned about my neighbors and city codes. Have you had any issues with this?

    Also, do you use a bathing system at home? That's something I haven't bought and I am not sure what would be best...any suggestions?

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2011


    Well there are many business issues. Even working out of your home you need business insurance. It may not be legal to be working through your home either. You need to check that with the county and sometimes city/town. You may need a local or state license as a business, again that is locally dependent on the laws there. Even if it is legal if you "disturb" neighbors they can ask the city/town to shut you down, sorry to say. Businesses in homes are not supposed to disturb neighbors or to create disturbing traffic. See? I am sure there are laws there you can ask about. Don't need to be a downer, but answering your concerns.

  6. #6


    Thank you! I'm loving it

    I totally agree, all the money I've got has been to pay my credit card and buy new stuff I never thought I needed.

    I'm curious, have you ever returned a dog half way done because of his aggression, specially cutting their nails? I feel terrible returning a dog when I know his nails are way too long but the dog is just too aggressive. I got bitten twice and I am trying to not get bit again of course! Nothing major but it forced me to research ways to avoid it. I still feel bad for the dog

    Wow, that is a good advice. I don't know much about CPR on animals definitely learning about it!!! I would die if something happened to a dog

  7. #7


    Thank you! It definitely helps. That has always been in my mind, I have a good relationship with all my neighbors but I am constantly thinking about it. That is also one of the reasons I want to get a place.

    I've always wonder if you have to go through health inspections while being in business?

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2011


    You can find out, at least most likely, what you need as a local business when you register your business name. That's what happened to me. I had to go down to the county record and file a business name. They had handouts telling me many other things to do. You cannot open a bank account in a business name without proof you filed a business name. Make sure you do that.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    New Mexico


    I think you got great answers. Just keep coming back with results and more questions. Don't over extend yourself with investing more than you must at first. You need that stead demand bringing in some cash. You should not get too many complaints but what could it be? Well not being open the hours you say you are. Like some get slow and close early and no one answers the phone or is there, bad bad. Do not groom a dog you don't feel capable of enough to give the customer what they want and dog deserves. Do NOT pressure yourself. Remember you might have a groom you know you can do in 1 hour. But what if the phone rings, what if someone comes in? Don't put yourself under time pressure. Give yourself an edge. Add about 1 hour extra to what you think you can do especially in the beginning.


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