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  • Grooming-A Reputable Career!

    I was reading the post from luvkitties about her family not being supportive. I would have posted to that except the thread is now closed. I wanted to comment though because lately I have noticed that a few different tv shows I like to watch have made derogatory comments about pet groomers. Referred to it as a joke job basically. It never even crossed my mind that it would be perceived in that light.

    Even when I was younger and taking my dogs to groomers before I decided to become one, I never looked at my groomers as less than me. I always admired what they did and respected them. Honestly! My family and friends never batted an eyelash when I decided to groom and open my own business.

    So to those who think differently, maybe they are not animal lovers or truly do not understand what is involved in this profession? It really doesn't matter I suppose. It is just interesting how different people perceive the same subject.

  • #2
    When I was giving regular seminars to career seekers I would pose the question to a room full, "How many of you have seen shocked faces when you said you were going to be a groomer, and by shocked I mean dismayed?"

    About 50% and sometimes more raised their hands.

    Well you can raise issues like, "What if we were vocationally licensed, would you get more respect?" To a degree that has to be true to an honest skeptic.

    Money. A lot of the public would also change their tune if they understand that there are very successful grooming business owners, moneywise. This is a beginners area so let me breakdown the money issue from someone who has more groomer consultation clients than anyone else in history of this field, several thousand actually.

    Employed Groomers: Annual gross wages from high teens to $100,000 + (yes, some of the latter in corporate stores).

    Self-Employed Groomers: Annual gross wages from their business after expenses range from low $20,000's to $300,000.

    I have groomers selling their businesses successfully over $1,000,000 in 2006.

    It's very easy following The Madson Management System in From Problems to Profits to grow a business even in semi rural areas that can make $50,000 a year for the owner within 3 years of opening. LOTS of case scenarios are coming up in the next book release in the Grooming Business in a Box series of books and CDROMs.

    So in some areas the public has a different view of grooming because there are a very few thousand outstanding businesses that everyone in town seems to know about. Most of my best performing clients are SPOKEPERSONS for the industry in THEIR area. They get out and speak to high school and college students...they have a continuous flow of applicants to work in their businesses, no shortages, no placing ads here and their large client bases send them potential employees too. Really is from problems to profits.

    In our area when my parents had their salon going full steam we had friends with salons that also built big grooming businesses and so the profession was simply far more respected, because of the path that others had laid before them.

    Then again, I travel and see cities and towns with small shops that are not going to portray success to the overall public...and that is their choice, no right or wrong in that. However, you will understand the public perception in that area that grooming cannot be very prosperous...remember, the public doesn't often have their perceptions in reality. I think many mobile groomers with fine clean vans and graphics are also adding the successful image of grooming too.

    Just do what you love and do it well and be a professional though we are not vocationally licensed and you uplift the image in your area and people who have odd perceptions of grooming as a career will change. It's up to any industry to change its image...and I must say as an industry, not the individuals...we have done a terrible job...we are fragmented...we do not even join in a large majority one association or truly support trade shows and continuing education like veterinarian associations...the blame still falls on the competitive spirit among too many groomers in the same town or city...it's getting better but we have a long way to go...we still have people that hang out on this board to negate other groomers....yes a long way to go but never give up, never surrender, we are marching forward every year.

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    • #3
      i think some people view groomers the way i view 'personal stylists' or 'personal consultants' i find it hard to believe that anyone would pay someone to tell them how to dress or decorate thier home. but then again i'm sure long ago interior decorators were viewed the same way.

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      • #4
        Amen! I have actually had numerous people burst out with laughter after telling them what I'm going to school for. That's at the Unemployment offices no less, where their supposed to remain professional. Then I explain my plan and then they seem to realize it's not a joke, and support my decision. People really think that grooming is like a little hobby, not a real career. I hope perceptions change in the future. I think they will.

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        • #5
          I love when people say that being a grromer must be so much fun getting to play with the animals all day. If they only knew how often during the day that we dodge teeth, have to pick up the messes their dogs make and it always seem to be after the bath. One time when going out my husband asked me if I could wear something with long sleeves because of all the scratches from nails on my arms. Then how many of us have tried to chase that flea that jumped in our hair. But I have never regretted becoming a grromer. Their is something about taking in a dog that is a mess and and bringing out to the owner after the groom and the owner saying "that can't be my dog, it looks too good."

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          • #6
            I agree totally Faux Paw (I love your name that is the name of my salons). When I tell people that I am Pet Groomer, they always look stunned and the general comment is "You don't look like most groomers", I am sorry...we have a look? The latest thing I have decided is that we ARE our OWN worse enemies.

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            • #7
              I think Nuk has it right. It all depends on who you are talking to and what they value. For people who view pets as property, entertainment value and transient diversions...they are the ones most likely to not consider this as a career. Just as I, who does not value let's say...bicycling...would look at someone who works at a bike shop as someone who is basically goofing around and not holding a real job. They get to play with bikes all day, how hard could that be? But to other bike enthusiasts, he has a totally legit job and is so knowledgeable! And i bet he feels like he works really hard and no one understands his job. I am sure each of you can think of job categories that are like that for you. So, for our clients who value their dogs as much as children...we have very legit jobs. So really, it is the persons perspective and how they feel about pets and what they value. There isn't any right or wrong to it, it is just what we value.

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              • #8
                Edited.
                Last edited by pamperedpups; 02-25-07, 03:51 PM.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by FauxPaw
                  I think a lot of the responsibility lies on us. We get grooming for a few years and become used to all of the hair, the sweat, the grime, and we sometimes forget that the customers are not used to this. Sometimes we feel like rolling out of bed in the morning and heading into work without spending time on our appearance because we figure by the end of the day we will be sweaty and dirty anyways.

                  Keeping a neat appearance, wearing makeup, spending time on your hair, etc, is very important to your professional image. Replace those old smocks when they get torn up and stained. Keep your shop neat, dusted, and clean with a fresh coat of paint. Do things look clean and modern when the customer walks in? Pretend you are a new customer, walk in your front door, and think about their first impressions.
                  LOL, I DO my hair, but after 2 dogs, it looks like I didn't! I don't wear mascara because it makes dog hair stick to my eyes. But I have a "wholesome" appearance, as my mom puts it, so that helps.

                  Tammy in Utah
                  Groomers Helper Affiliate

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                  • #10
                    oh yes...having a nice clean open shop that DOESNT smell like a dog...(yes we have had one lady come in complaining about another shop) comment...oh your place dosnt smell like wet dogs! my boss goes...no and it never will! although the floor will get trashed...we try our best to keep it clean. the bathing room has hair sticking to the walls...and i cant reach those spots! so i clean off what i can reach, the tub is always clean, everything is put away in its proper place and its always vacuumed up at the end of the day. im sure some people go into a groomers and the place is filthy, the owner a slob and lazy on top of it and the shop stinks of wet dog, cologne and blown anal gland smells!
                    and speaking of dogs making mess's right after the bath...i had to rewash a pbgv yesterday because her feet still smelled like fritos (my fault i guess i didnt scrub good enough), then i was fighting with a lab...who kept turning to look at me so it made it even harder to wash him and he didnt want to stand...then he pee's on the table...steps in it...so back in the tub he goes to wash those feet...then pee's on the table AGAIN! (dosnt step in it this time TG!), so i pull him off and put him on the floor...then he poops on the floor! well i sent him out to my boss...who goes...come out here and lift his tail..oh man he stunk out the shop! no poop stuck on there...it just smelled horribly bad! well i guess the owner was complaining about him smelling. found the problem LOL! rewashed his butt...then the pbgv blows her anals! oh man...i washed each of those dogs 3 times each! boy i was beat at the end of that mess....but yes...the shop has been open for 6 months so far...and it DOES NOT SMELL LIKE DOG! whenever we have flea animals in here...we bomb. (if its over a weekend). when i have my own shop its going to be clean,bright and airy and colorful. i have walked into some shops where there is almost no personality to the shop. no color, no little cutesy knicknacks anywhere no cute pictures....its just a shop that a person grooms in. period.
                    JMO
                    Hound

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                    • #11
                      How people perceive groomers has more to do with their own socio-economic status and upbringing than ours. In my experience, old money (real old money, 'Back Bay' money) looks at groomers as skilled tradesmen, understand full well we make good money and respect what we do. New money social climbers think of us as disposable servants if they think of us at all, a dime a dozen. Middle and upper income 'professionals' view us as faceless servants and move on to the next great fad when the Country Club dictates. Lower and lower middle income folks usually think of groomers as regular people just doing a job.

                      If the people around you don't respect your job...look closely at 'their' value system.

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                      • #12
                        My extended family thinks I am a joke.
                        There are a bunch of us cousins that are all about the same age,
                        one cousin is a professor, one is in marketing, one is a paramedic working through med school, one is in the Navy, one is reseptionist for a medical company...and me the dog groomer.

                        So people at our last fmaily reunion thought it was okay to make fun of me and put down my career. They mentioned that did I not know it was a hobby?

                        So let's look at the family stats again; my cousin who is professor is still working on his PH'D, not a full prof but is honest that he couldn't get a job with his science degree (he studies tiny plants in the ocean) and just kept going to school, lives in dorms and cannot see how he will ever pay off his student loans.

                        Marketing cousin recently lost her job, and now works on a cruise boat, when she is done she lives with her parents.
                        The cousin who is a paramedic, loves his job, still takes one course and tells his parents he is working on med school, truth? He never got in, so takes the courses that could be applied to med school, and he has done this for 10 years and still lives at home, but just bought a used car!

                        My cousin in the Navy signed for another 10 years, he is doing well, loves it but prays there will be no more cutbacks or he could get laid off. He has no interest in settling down, loves the life, his fiance has a really hard time with it. They have not set a date for their wedding, and have now been engaged, 7 years.

                        The receptionist is my sister, and she is actually a cashier that answers phones at a company that sells wheelchairs and such, she has no education and cannot find another job.

                        The funny thing, most of them were unhappy with their lives, but felt the need to poke fun of me.
                        And me?
                        I own my own shop (opening in two weeks), I LOVE my job, I am the only one who is; married (happily too for over 5 years), has kids, owns their own home, business owner, new car, nice happy life!

                        I am not ashamed at what I do, I LOVE my job, I love my skills, I love dogs.

                        There are too many groomers that do not treat this like a business. I firmly believe they should add some business courses to the curriculum of grooming school. Majority of us are self employed. And too many get cut off from the industry. They go to school and open their own shop never to connect with other groomers, training seminars, shows...their skills go as far as they can take them. But as in ANY induestry of trade or skill you can always get better. We should always be striving.
                        I will be the first non-based home shop in my county. I also want to portray a professional image, a clean shop, a shop that people would be proud to associate.

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                        • #13
                          Perception

                          There is a prominent groomer in our vicinity and she is awesome!! But, her general thought is "why clean, it will only get dirty tommorrow". When I purchased my second location the SMELL of wet dog was so strong that it has taken this ENTIRE first year to alleviate that smell.

                          Maybe I am a control freak (Ok, I am). But, everyone who works in my shop is an EMPLOYEE not Independent, I have a dress code. I do encourage Mascara (reason being... It will catch the majority of hair before it gets in your eyes), hair must be neat and tidy. My thought is this: A Well Groomed Person gives A Well Groomed Pet (I know this isn't always true but people perceive us this way).

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                          • #14
                            well my boss dosnt require a uniform for us to wear..it is only the two of us BUT i dont show up to work with ripped holey jeans and a torn stained tshirt...yes my tshirts are big on me but i am COMFORTABLE..and my jeans are ripped on the bottom...but i dont go to work without my hair up and a clean shirt and jeans on. i do wear a grooming smock over my shirts so if something innappropriate is on it the customer isnt shocked about it. my boss also has tattoo's...now she wouldnt have hired me if i still had my mohawk but if i had a couple of tattoo's and some peircings she wouldnt make me take them out. but i feel as long as your employee's wear clean, respectable clothing and their hair is done nicely and they dont look sloppy then there is no need for a uniform. as for the mascara...i for one am not much of a makeup wearer. i personally wouldnt like working somewhere where i am required to wear makeup to work there. as far as uniforms go...i would just provide universal smocks that can fit anyone...yes looks are important...but i dont feel that they are EVERYTHING in this business. yes some groomers do treat this as a hobby...because maybe its a hobby for them to do..maybe they dont want to make a career out of it...just like mechanics...some do it full time some do it just to make a little extra money. for those of us that do groom as a career choice its up to us to make sure our shops/mobile units/home based shops are clean,respectable looking, well lighted, and that we arent dressed like we just rolled out of bed in the morning. yes we might smell a little doggy at the end of the day...but most people who own and live with dogs dont even notice the smell. the only reason my fiance' does is because he dosnt have and has never had dogs. now when we get dogs he will smell doggy too and wont even notice the odor after awhile.
                            personally i feel a clean shop is a happy shop which projects the image that the shop owner is a clean and happy shop owner...i certainantly wouldnt want to bring my dog to a dark,dingy,stinky shop to be groomed...and i wouldnt want the person grooming my dog to be a person who looks like they just rolled out of bed in the morning...id expect them to be wearing decent clothing and have their hair looking nice...but when i worked at a petsomething the grooming manager had the nerve to tell me that she had thought i had an operation on my head (i had a mohawk and had it down at the time and was growing it out) because of the baldish spots in my hair and that maybe i would look better if i put on makeup. i was actually offended to be told that i would look better if i put on makeup....i mean i wore the uniform...the smock and the waterproof pants...and my hair was done and was never dirty or messy. but to be told i would look better if i put on makeup? highly offensive.
                            JMHO
                            Hound

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                            • #15
                              This is interesting because my friend is a hairdresser and just bought a well established shop and is making some changes. She is pushing their look to "upscale" and started requiring all the girls to be dressy, and look the part. Some were really offended and ticked off, but here is the kicker...she gives them a clothing allowance for tops to wear (they get ruined from dyes and bleach). SO it wasn't out of theor pocket. But she had some of the girls who were good hairdressers come to work with their hair in ponytails.

                              She said she felt very awkward and it was not easy to tell them the new dress code.

                              I am lucky i will have no employees but how do you tactfully suggest to someone to dress it up??

                              I wear makeup but to me that is personal, and there are times I cannot wear makeup, I have severe eczema that flares up on my face (right now it is attacking my hands) and I cannot wear makeup.
                              I have curly hair that looks good wet, and I wear a uniform.
                              I like looking neat and tidy and I am trying to convey an upscale image of a grooming shop.

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