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Do you charge for grooming practice?

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  • Do you charge for grooming practice?

    I'm doing on-line education now and need to start practicing on dogs soon.
    (as soon as I have all the equipments that I need)

    I think that there will be enough model dogs available in my small town if it's FREE.

    I was planning to do this for free while practicing and then when I feel comfortable enough to open my own shop at my home, start charging regular price.
    Even for practice, I will be using high quality shampoo.

    I live in a small community (country side) and there is no competition.
    Lots of people live here for a long long time so the community is pretty close and friendly.
    I feel that lots of dog owners will be happy to have a groomer nearby and the word of the mouth will spread pretty fast over here.(if I'm good)

    Do you think this is the right way to go or should I charge small fee (10 - 15?)even during my practice? That way, maybe I can attract more potential clients and not just freebees?
    Or just do practice for free because it is my practice and no guarantee of the good result?

    Thank you for your time!

  • #2
    however you decide to do it, make sure you have them sign waivers and have insurance.
    as far as charging, i'm on the fence. can't help with that.
    Certified Master Pet Tech Pet CPR, First Aid and Care Instructor
    "Compassion will cure more sins than condemnation." Henry Ward Beecher US Congregational Minister 1813-1887

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    • #3
      I'm curious to know what your online grooming course recommends. You are opening Pandora's Box if you let people know you will groom their dog for free. I can't imagine (actually I can) the clients you will draw. If you do charge, you will be a business and making an income that has to be reported, so don't get jammed up with the IRS or your local towns rules on zoning and business ownership. They both sound like not to good of ideas. I would start looking now for a grooming shop that will hire you and go from there. That is the only way you will get enough dogs to work on, make any money and learn something...all at the same time.

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      • #4
        Working Chihuahua,
        What kind of wavers do I need them to sign?

        I live in a very rural area. (very relaxed, agricultural area)
        There is no grooming salon that I can work and get experience.
        The nearest shop is 60 miles away and it's Petsomething which is very new to this county.
        There are two home-based groomers but they are also 40 miles away from my little town.
        That's why I have to open my own shop right after the school.

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        • #5
          When I started out grooming I wanted practice dogs to scissor and style in the way I chose, so I approached a few key clients based on the type of dog they had and offered them this deal: If they would bring their dogs in weekly for a bath/brush to maintain the coat and once a month to do a full groom, AND let me choose whatever style I wanted, then I let them have the baths on the house and only charged the full haircut price when they were groomed. That way it was a win-win. They had a beautifully maintained dog and free upkeep while I got nonmatted dogs to practice what I wanted and still got compensated for my work. It worked well for us, and I still have all those clients eleven years later. Actually, they are some of my best clients and friends, too. The experience of making their dogs look fancy really brought us together, I guess. :0)

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          • #6
            When I was in school, we had "clients" who knew we were students and the grooming fees were $5-$20, depending on the breeds. The school kept the $$ and it was used for supplies. We also had a donation jar on the front desk, again the money went to the school. This was a state certified school, so I don't know how it would work for an individual to accept "donations" tax wise, but we did't offer "free" grooms.

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            • #7
              You will need them to sign a waiver stating that if the dog has medical issues during grooming that are not your fault that you can seek vet attention for the animal at their expense, and you need to have liability insurance. I would say accepting "donations" for your future shop would be the easiest way to possibly gain some money and not have to deal with declaring the income. I had a friend that ran her business that way (she was being naughty) but had insurance and the whole shabang. Good luck and have fun learning!
              My Blog: <a href="http://groomwise.typepad.com/in_the_dogs_house/">In the Dogs' House Groomwise Blog</a>

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              • #8
                Local Shelter?

                What about grooming dogs for a local shelter, or rescue group? I know that there are plenty of places who would love for you to groom them, and even let you do what ever you wanted to do. Just an idea! Wish you the best! :-)

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                • #9
                  barkleigh.com has a whole bunch of waivers to buy. you can check them out. An article on my blog called Just Checkin' In has a bunch of different waivers to download. www.groomwise.typepad.com/pet_first_aid_care/ you will have to look for it. i would not groom any dog whether it's free or not without insurance. governor-gibson, who is a sponsor on this site is a good resource for that. i think the idea of finding a shop to "apprentice" at is a better idea.
                  Certified Master Pet Tech Pet CPR, First Aid and Care Instructor
                  "Compassion will cure more sins than condemnation." Henry Ward Beecher US Congregational Minister 1813-1887

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                  • #10
                    Oh, I did alot of free dogs when I first started, after all the grooming prices were only $8.00 for a whole grooming in 1970 anyway!!! LOL LOL

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                    • #11
                      Insurance

                      Do you need insurance to groom shelter dogs for practice?

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                      • #12
                        That is something you'd need to talk to your local shelter about.
                        My Blog: <a href="http://groomwise.typepad.com/in_the_dogs_house/">In the Dogs' House Groomwise Blog</a>

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                        • #13
                          I dont charge my freinds and freinds of freinds just so I can use their dogs to practice on.I could but I just dont.the dogs I do at work are full price.but our other groomer is there to help .

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                          • #14
                            Why not?

                            That's what I'm doing, I'm just not charging high rates. Keep them low but let them know you're a student groomer. Don't be shy to let people know what your services would regularly cost should they take their dog elsewhere and keep in mind, there are alot of people in the business with no training whatsoever. Don't feel bad about taking their money, it's just a way of offsetting your own expenses and giving you a little bonus for all the help you're giving them. If you have any questions feel free to message me.

                            And good luck!!

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                            • #15
                              I did the same thing as you & instead of free, I charged $25. Believe me, you will get the super nasty, once a year, living in the back yard dogs. One that I had was a biter too.

                              Even if you are just learning, you should get something for your efforts. Most of what you will get is going to be what seasoned groomers would charge big bucks for.

                              I definitely think you should charge something.

                              Good Luck!!

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