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Working for a vet?

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  • Working for a vet?

    Hi... I'm fairly new to the boards but have been lurking mostly. I graduated from grooming school last summer and then was hired by the school almost immediately and worked their until Christmas last year. I learned so much and had the benefit of working for Marnie Mathison who competes regularly, is a member of Groom Team Canada and has been in the industry for a while now.

    Unfortunately I had to return to my corporate job in January after my mat leave ended. I have been utterly miserable ever since but have managed to keep myself busy with some part time home grooming.

    This past week we had to take our dogs in to the vet to get them tested as they had been on Natural Balance. Unfortunately we got our tests back and they have some kidney damage but we are working on a treatment and it wasn't too far along. He's working with us and gave us all of the paperwork we need to submit a claim to support the kidney damage from the food.

    So, as I was in there holding my dogs while they were getting blood done etc... my vet asked me if I was interested in coming to work at his clinic to do grooming. He has a space set aside and did have a groomer in previously. I didn't have a lot of time to get into details as I had to get my kids to the Dr. but I was wondering if this would be a good opportunity? What are the advantages/disadvantages? The last groomer brought in her own tools and was getting a 60/40 split but he may be up for a 70/30 as I would like to bring in more of my own supplies etc... How did you manage the billing? Did you let it all go through the Vet's computer and he cut you a cheque or did you manage all of that? What kind of questions should I be asking?

    He does get a lot of clients asking for grooming so I know I could quickly build up a good client base. Plus he's been a fabulous vet for us and won't recommend unnecessary services. My one MinPin has been literally saved from his skin allergy issues by this guy.

    I'm so nervous about quitting my full time corporate job with benefits and good salary, but I hate it... I went to Hershey and Las Vegas last year to attend the grooming and trade shows and it only made me more excited. I'm planning for Hershey again this year.

    My other option would be to expand my home business but I know that will take time.

    Any and all advice would be welcome as I am itching to submit my resignation and move on with my grooming career!! Maybe it's a midlife crisis or something.... I'm 40 in September ;-) YIKES!!!

  • #2
    working for a vet

    I have worked for a vet for about 10 yrs. It fits my personallity. Also, the doc understands how important my contribution to his bottom line is. He buys everything except my cutting tools. All the shampoo, combs, brushes, bows, bandanas, etc. He bought a Hydra Surge and is in the process of getting a clipper vac. And, if you have a boo boo, he can fix it, no chg.

    I did work for a vet who was so tight he squeaked, cheap, cheap, cheap. So, it really depends.

    I get 54%, and receive a paycheck from hiim. 3 weeks vacation, holidays, bonus every so often (the first vet I spoke of).

    In a vet office though, remember, we are lots of times the last resort for big, dirty nasty dogs. Remember the ones your shop turned away..... well we get them sent to us.



    • #3
      astrordog - thanks for you reply.. good point about being the last resort! They actually don't bother me all that much but I do know my limits!!
      Sounds like you have a great arrangement with your vet!!



      • #4
        vet grooming

        I've worked for the worst vets in the world and swore I would never do it again until over six years ago when I was offered a very decent job at yet another vet clinic. I took it because I needed the money. I was fairly happy there. I made 50 percent of everything the salon made. They bought all the supplies except my grooming tools. I made on average 60 thousand a year. In that time I had two kids and was burned out by the hours I had to put in to manage a salon that busy. Not to mention, employees that will drive you completely insane. I recently went mobile and in 6 weeks I'm covering my expenses and there is no stress. I have more time for my family and I'll probably make more money next year. I think you really have to evaluate the vet as an individual. If you think he can be fair and generous go for it. If your unsure, do your own thing. Good luck, with whatever you decide.


        • #5
          enjoy working for a vet

          I have been working in a large vet clinic for 7 years and most of the time I realy enjoy it. I am stricktly a groomer along with my daughter who is also a fulltime groomer. We have lots of benefits including 401k plus major discounts for vet care and products including dog food. We are all considered family. I have learned a lot of medical things working there. Everyday is different. Nothing grosses my out. You get to see a lot of gross stuff so you might want to be prepared for that. We have to buy almost everything which I dont like but they have paid for some of the cage dryers. They have to use them sometimes for drying animals that have had to be bathed because of bloody messes or other yucky things.
          WE are paid 40/60 percent if we gross over a certain percent then we get 30/70 which is every time. We don't get paid vacations. But I keep bugging them every year about it and Im hoping that they will get tired of me asking and finally give in. We are pretty much our own bosses and can take off whenever we want. They do expect it to be very clean since it is a vet clinic. We groom a lot of cats that have to be sedated. But those are so easy. Its awsome when they are sedated. Easy money. Most people like to have their dog groomed the same time they can get the shots or whatever medical. Its kinda a one stop shop thing.
          Good luck on your decision!


          • #6
            I worked for a vet many years ago and greatly enjoyed it. The only reason I left was because I married and moved away. IMO the benifits of working for a vet outweigh any cons (unless the vet is a huge jerk). Just think, you have a vet on premise if you have any emergencies and who will "have your back" if a client is screaming foul play. You will more than likely have a faster build-up of clientel than you would if you struck out on your own and you may get a discount on your vet care. There are also quite a few groomers who work for vets that DO (I didn't, but I was part time) receive employee benefits, so don't automatically discount that until you speak w/him. You will have to expect to get some of the nasties that other groomers won't or can't do but if you have a strong stomach it shouldn't be to big of a problem. Also, it is a great learning opportunity. I say talk to the vet and if it sounds promising then go for it. At the worst, if you hate it you can always quit and try something else.
            SheilaB from SC


            • #7
              I LOVE working at an animal hospital and guess what? I hardly have ANY nasty dogs at all, and if I do, they go night night while they get shaved down to their underpants!!! I only have FIVE of those.

              There is an instant clientele, and the more you build the business, the fewer once-a-years you get, and then sincse most vets require vaccinations, that gets rid of a lot of other undesirables.

              So while some may feel they're a "last resort," I haven't had that experience at all. I would not trade this place for any other grooming job I can think of, except maybe owning my own shop!

              DO IT!!!!! The clients are the good ones that take care of their dogs!

              Tammy in Utah
              Groomers Helper Affiliate


              • #8
                I work for a vet too, for 7 years, 4 as an assistant and 3 as a groomer. I get 50% up to $200.00 in a day then 60% of anything over that which is pretty much daily. I haven't worked a Saturday in 3 years, took over a month off last year and make my own schedule. I have greatstaff back up for making appointments, billing people out and helping me w/ snotty dogs. I have the option of sedation at any time, an entire staff talking me up to the hospital clients, and he pays for all my supplies and what ever new toys I want he gets me, as well as sending me to continuing education, seminars and trade shows. I love it!! If only I didn't have to drive 45 minutes to get to work I would never leave!!!