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  • What to do?!

    Hello all, I am new here and absolutely love this forum already. I have been reading and reading and doing some more reading of all new and old threads these past couple days because everything seems to interest me so much! I never thought I'd find such a helpful sight like this!
    Anywho.. Sorry if this has been bought up already.. I have been working at a vet clinic for about a year now. I am the only groomer there, and at first everything seemed ok.. But as time has gone by, things just seem to get worse and worse. Has anyone else who grooms at a clinic, or had in the past, share/d these problems?

    1. My first issue is.. The table at the clinic is not electric, and it doesn't go up or down. My arms are pretty pueny and I have been getting stronger but not strong enough for some dogs yet. The tub is also higher than the table. So seeing as I am the only groomer, when I have a huge horse-like dog to groom or bathe or both, I am left to fend for myself. I ask the vet assistants for help, but I can tell they seem to detest doing it. One girl told another girl who works there that she doesn't like doing it because she doesn't get paid to help ME. But of course she is, half of what I charge goes straight to the clinic and the vet! Who do they work for? The vet! There have been days where I have waited an hour for some one to help me! I also have a lot of dogs that come in who are very bad for their nails, there are some who actually need two people to hold them down for it! Once again.. I am left waiting for help.

    2. My second issue is that I was told during my interview if there was something that I needed that the vet would buy it or help pay for it. Well I have needed a stand/fluff dryer the entire time I have worked there and asked a few times if he could help me buy one and got a no every time. I can not afford such a thing. Especially with how slow it is there. There is also only two cage dryers there.. and one is really, really noisey, and just plain cheap. But for some reason there are like five force air dryers. So when I have a dog or a cat is too crazy or frigid for being forced aired my only resort is sticking it in a cage and waiting forever for it to dry after towel drying. I bought like a human blow dryer I saw in PetEdge but it really doesn't do the trick. I used a fliuff dryer in school pretty much daily and not working with one really, really sucks.

    3. Onto the next issue, lol.. When I am not working, some dogs may get a surgery or dental bath, so the assistants do them. I was told a few times when I started that I need to keep the room clean and when they use it, they will also keep it clean. Well a few months into working, I found that not happening. I'd come in some mornings to find the tub full of hair and a dirty towel just laying there. It takes only a minute or less to rinse out a tub.. There is no excuse for them not to clean it out!! It's gross how the hair just sits there until whenever I come in. I work as an assistant there one or two days a week for extra money, and one day when I came in there I had a note saying I needed to clean the grooming room and that it needed to be done on MY time from now on and not the clinic's time. So I go in there, and the tub is all dirty from one of the assistants!!! I was so, so pissed that day, it was so hard to hold it in. I put up a note that day on the wall next to the tub saying to please clean up after yourselves. Well next week rolls around and I come in and my signs completely gone, not even in the trash can, and of course, its messy in the tub... I was so fustrated.. I went and told the vet tech about it and she tried telling me that a few days they found hair in the tub from me so they must feel they might not have to clean.. Yeah right.. I am always so thurough with my cleaning! She said she'd try and find out who did it and talk to them. So I made another sign which of course was thrown away once again, despite all the tape I used to make sure that didn't happen. But it really didn't happen again after that. Thank God!

    4. In order to be groomed at the clinic, the pet needs to be up to date on it's Rabies and Bordetella. No matter what.. I didn't make the rules. Well originally, the clients were just getting charged for the vaccine and a waste disposal fee. As the time went on, now the vet charges them the vaccine, disposal fee, tech time, and soemtimes even an exam fee! Some clients were paying almost $100 or more just to get their pet groomed!! And believe me.. they were not happy about it...! They know it only takes a few seconds to give a dog a shot. I had people telling me they were not coming back because of it since they can go down the street without needing bordetella. I had more than one person walk out on me while they were dropping their pet off to be groomed when they found out they needed to get the bordetella... Since the assistants forget to tell them on the phone.

    Now the last thing (there are some more little things that happen like assistants scheduling appointments without writing down the time or the client's phone number, me getting accused of telling a client they couldn't come in for grooming, which was totally untrue, etc.) is that it is so damn slow. For a while I was doing dogs everyday.. not a lot of dogs, but was grooming daily. Now, I'm only doing one or two a week. Maybe three. It's horrible and they made me cut down on working for the clinic time so I'd be more available for grooming. So my income is pretty low and pathetic if you ask me. I have advertised that place more than you could imagine and am still working on new ways to do so.

    I have tried finding new jobs plenty of times but unfortunatly I seem to suck at job interviews.. And everytime I think one goes good, I never get hired. Only one place had me groom a dog for an interview and it was a dog I had just groomed not even two weeks prior. I check everyday for groomer job openings in my area online on multiple sights and there hasn't been anything for a long time.. So I am pretty much stuck at the clinic if I want to keep grooming for a living...

    I am sorry for this beign so long.. I tend to say too many details I guess..

  • #2
    What state are you in?

    what city?

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    • #3
      Just venting can help you. It sounds like you work at a clinic I used to work at, as a tech, only they didn't have all those blow dryers. Unfortunately, some vets just don't value their groomers, or see them as part of the team. As I see it, you can either stand your ground and speak up for yourself, or keep looking. You should see yourself as a professional and act so, then they will respect you more. Don't let people walk all over you. Good luck and keep your chin up!

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      • #4
        Thanks, it does feel better letting it all out.. I do tell my boyfriend stuff daily after work but who knows how much he actually understands..
        And I'm in southern WI.

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        • #5
          I feel for you. It's hard to be stuck in a bad job situation.

          As far as looking for another job, are you able to build a portfolio of pictures of your grooms? For your interview skills, try an employment center. They might have some handouts regarding interviews. Make a list of questions that an interviewer may ask you. Get prepared. Have you ever thought of working at home?

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          • #6
            You'd Probably Be Better Off....

            working at a Petsomething. You may get to groom alot more dogs and get better pay. If you don't mind my asking, how old are you? (just curious) I started working for a local vet the minute I turned 17 and had such a hard time standing up to others in higher positions, so I know where you're comming from. You need to have a sit down with the vet and explain to him/her what you'd like to see as a part of his/her team. Don't whine. Just tell him what you expect and be professional about it. Also, don't assume that you're "stuck working at a clinic." When you go for an interview, send a thank you to the person that interviewed you. Thank them for their time and write, "I look forward to working within your wonderful company." Write about what impressed you about their company and what you can bring to the table to enhance it. If you haven't heard back, call 'em. "hello. This is crazykitties and I'm checking on the status on my application I turned in last week" How are you dressed going into the interview? What's your body language? Do you show up 10 minutes early to show you can be on time? Don't ever give up and you'll land a job that you love.
            Last edited by Mamabearwith2; 12-05-09, 08:03 PM.

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            • #7
              Instead of waiting for someone to put an ad in (most shops here don't advertise hiring here is Las Vegas). Call or go around and introduce yourself. Wear nice clean clothes, but something you can groom in. When you go to introduce yourself don't talk about where you are working. If they ask, just say you are looking for an oportunity to do more dogs. Have confidence, and pictures of your grooms if you have them.

              I got 2 jobs this way.
              1 place didn't have enough dogs after I came back from maternity leave (I ended up filling in there again later for the owner was on maternity leave LOL)
              1 place I left decided to close grooming to use the room and sell puppies (glad they got rid of grooming)
              Anyway I never talked badly about either of these places when I went to other shops, just told them I was looking to work in a new place.

              Good luck, and GET OUT OF THERE
              If you sweat the small stuff, all you have is small soggy stuff.....

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              • #8
                Originally posted by crazykitties View Post
                Thanks, it does feel better letting it all out.. I do tell my boyfriend stuff daily after work but who knows how much he actually understands..
                I know how that goes! At the other shop I worked at, the groomer who "trained me" would constantly be doing stuff that made me mad. I'd get home and call my boyfriend to vent, and he just wouldn't get it. Can blame em though that why I like this site!

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                • #9
                  Memorize Stewiedog's post and make it your mantra.

                  Maybe Windywaycavs will see this and be able to give you a tip or two as well.

                  You need to get out of there last week. How's that for feedback?

                  Oh...and WELCOME! Now...go back to getting out of there........
                  Often it's not what you say, but how you say it.

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                  • #10
                    Same old, same old...

                    Yes, the things you are experiencing are quite common unless you check out the vet and ensure you are both on the same page, and insist on the "follow-through".

                    Basically, most vet clinics do not truly value their groomers, only the rare ones do.

                    So you will have to look for a better "fit" for you.

                    Good luck.

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                    • #11
                      I have worked at a vet clinic the past 8 years. As far as getting help, they should be happy to help you lift a dog into the tub. I have the same set up as you, except I do have a hydralic (manual) table. As far as techs go, they can be catty, esp. the women. I'm not bashing vet techs, but, a group of women working together sometimes leads to trouble. It is true that groomers are the last in line at vet clinics. Their main business is the practice. I too have the problem with vaccines. I have lost quite a few clients over it. Could you possibly drive a little further and work at a big box store? You could gain alot of experience and make some good money. GOOD LUCK!!

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                      • #12
                        Have you checked WSPPG to for job listings? They cover a large area. The slow economy has finally hit here, so even the busiest shops are feeling it.

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                        • #13
                          Thank goodness for the "back" button! I typed this huge post and then clicked "reply" only to be told I wasn't logged in? So this MIGHT be posted twice. I copied and pasted here:

                          I CAN HELP YOU.

                          I currently work at an animal hospital that started out sort of like your situation. And I want to add, had it stayed that way, I would have hated it. BUT, now that I've fixed the issues, it is the BEST place to work. I love having vets right there to help me, and to ask questions from. I get so many bennies from working there, I will miss it if I ever leave the place (which I may do this summer, I'm feeling a little burned out after almost 4 years).

                          The animal hospital is state-of-the-art, recently rebuilt in beautiful brick, beautiful landscaping, you name it. Then there was grooming.

                          First, the groom room was unfinished. Yes, there was dry wall up, but no actual "walls" with paint on one half. The other half was this cheap stuff you might find in the bathroom of a trailer house, I've also seen it in fast food place bathroom walls! The tub was surrounded by out-of-date white tile, and the area above the tub was rotting, and filthy. The cage bank was nasty, it was all wire all the way around, it was old, the cage doors wouldn't stay shut, the springs were broke on them, the dogs got their nails caught frequently. The grooming table was a regular $50 table that doesn't move up or down, I had to lift all dogs into the tub, and sometimes finding a receptionist or tech to help was a 15 min. wait, which sucked. Sometimes, the dog was so big and hefty, I had to get one of the VETS to help (men with muscles lol). The dogs were not told they needed vaccines at all, (opposite problem as you), not only did I have NO stand dryer, I had NO HV dryer---except one of those 1/2 powered orange "Commander" dryers! To say it as they would nowadays it was sooooooooo "GHETTO!"

                          So, here is how I solved MY problems. First, I had to prove myself. The animal hospital I work for had so many bad groomers, "ghetto" groomers as one might say, unreliable, drug issues, lack of talent, BAD attitudes, so full of self-importance that they thought they were "owed" something. The vets had no interest in working with people like this, they just gave them what they "deserved" I suppose.

                          Do you have a practice manager where you work? If not, WHO is your direct boss? The lead tech? One of the vets? That is the person you need to sit down with. That is the person you need to show, "HERE ARE MY GOALS, and IDEAS."

                          Problem 1: No hydraulic table. Is your boyfriend or dad, granddad, handy? Are YOU handy? You can BUILD a hydraulic table fairly easily with a cart from Harbor Freight or Northern Tools. It cost me $200 and it has been the BEST table for big dogs. The table is his/hers to keep when you quit. IF your tub is in the same room as grooming, just wheel the dog over on the table. If not, then have someone build you some stairs, they're cheap and easy to build. My father in law built me both the stairs and a bigger table top for the hydraulic table, but I am thinking that this table top might actually be big enough for most dogs. In fact, my new table top he built me was too big, so I had to get an extra small little one built with a barber chair base. That wont work for jumbo dogs though, FYI.

                          See it here: http://search.harborfreight.com/cpis...d=scissor+cart

                          Mine was the 1000 lb orange one, but the 500 lb. one will also lift those fat cockers we get, LOL.

                          Problem 2: Kitties. Once again, same problem as you, I do NOT have the stand dryer either. I take kitty, towel dry her, wrap her in a thick towel clasped with something that LOOKS like these, but are not magnets and have a tighter spring: http://www.harborfreight.com/cpi/cta...emnumber=98188

                          Then after kitty has sat there, I might change towels again. Keep kitty warm. Work on another animal while kitty is wrapped snuggly in a towel. Then turn on the dryer, let it warm up and let kitty get used to the sound. Put a happy hoodie on Kitty. These are available for $9 from either pet edge or Ryans: http://www.happyhoodie.com/ Some cats simply can't be dried with that HV dryer, so we just keep switching towels. It's not so bad.

                          Problem 3: I generally don't have this problem, because everybody knows I am clean, that I clean everything at the END of my day, and if it is dirty when I come in again, THEY did it, not me. SO have a sign in sheet. Sign on the day YOU last used it: "LAST cleaned on 12/05/09 by Sally Smith." OR, "Last used by Sally Smith on 12/05/09." Of course, they will know that you last groomed on 12/05/09 and that you cleaned it, so if it is dirty on 12/08/09, SOMEBODY else did it. You can just use a laminated sheet and a dry erase marker or something like that.

                          Problem 4: Vaccines. Believe it or not, I was the one who told the vets that the receptionists were not telling clients anything about vaccines, and if it was required for boarding, would it not be required for grooming too? The vets said the receptionists were supposed to be checking on this. NOW---however you feel personally about vaccines is your issue, but the vets have their requirements. Let me tell you, requiring vaccines where I worked solved a HUGE problem for me: Once A Year dogs. The owners of OAY dogs usually just get rabies, IF THAT, and call it good. But regularly groomed dogs where I work are often kept up on their vaccines. It was really a godsend in many ways. Anyway, keep your personal views out of it and just remember: IT'S POLICY. Now, that being said, your vaccine protocol confuses me. We require Rabies, Distemper/Parvo, and Bordetella. KNOW what is required and when. Our clients get an exam, and the shot is free, PERIOD. If the dog has not been examined in a year, it WILL have to be examined by a vet. Free shot comes with that once-a-year exam. Now I do reminder calls the night before. "This is Tammy with ___ ___ Animal Hospital, it looks like Fluffy is on the schedule for grooming tomorrow at 8 am. It also looks like he is due for his Rabies vaccine as of 11/17/09, we'd be happy to do that while he is here if you'd like." DO you have receptionists? THEY should be telling the clients at the time they make the appointment about vaccines. If they are not, they are failing in their jobs. If YOU make the appointments, do NOT falter when you tell them what is due. If your personal views are against vaccines, that is fine, but if you show that even remotely, they will argue with you. Weakness is smelled! You are not the vet, so if you don't like vaccines, that is fine, but the clients are THEIRS, not YOURS, so it is not your problem. But letting them know at the time of appointment is important. It will solve a lot of issues for you.

                          Problem 5: BUY an appointment book (sounds like you guys don't use computers, are you KIDDIN' ME? "Assistants?" No receptionists? Maybe you should leave this place! Kinda sounds outdated and old to me) So if you are "writing" down appointments, take your book up front and have them do it there, officially. I like this book: https://www.stazko.com/A-ApptBk.html

                          Ok, there you have it, one of the longest posts I've ever written! I hope it helped some. You really have to help yourself before you can do much. You have to schmooze clients and let them see your work if possible. I do a "runway walk" when a dog is done (well, I used to). I'd walk the freshly groomed dog through the lobby like I was going somewhere, and they'd see this cute dog with bows or bandanna and what not, it worked like a charm.

                          Tammy in Utah
                          Groomers Helper Affiliate

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            flyingfur - I have been trying to take pictures but my camera's pretty much broken right now so all I have to rely on is my phone, which I have been remembering I have lately. I just need a memory card for it. As far as grooming out of my home, I live in an apartment, that only allows cats. I have been working on my interview skills and such.

                            Mamabear - I have applied to both PetSmart and PetCo, and check the status of those applications occasionally. I am 22, just turned it in Oct. I usually dress pretty nice if I am not grooming for an interview. I really like your thank you not idea, I will defintely keep that in mind!! And I am always 10-15 minutes early for everything. Except for my last interview.. Where I got extremely lost..

                            Stewie - I will make sure to do that, that's what I did when I was still in grooming school and got a lot of feedback. I turned a couple people down thinking how nice it would be working by myself in the clinic. Oh how wrong I was. I guess I was pretty naive back then and not really thinking about things. I should have came on here from the start!

                            Schnlove - I totally agree on the whole working with a group of women thing.. My previous job before I was ever grooming I worked with mostly men and always had a blast and no issues.. Here at the clinic, after a meeting we had, everyone walked off when I went to go warm up some coffee.. And they were all whispering.. About me!!!

                            Spikey - I will definitely ask my boyfriend if he would be interested in building the table.
                            And I had heard of a happy hoodie before, just never knew what it was before now. I will for sure get one! Those sound awesome!!
                            I'm not necessarily against vaccines.. I just hate how people are getting overcharged for them. Like whether or not they have been seen that year, they still get charged a "pre-vaccine exam."
                            We do use computers also. And I do have that appointment book already. Not that people understand how to use it, when I've even written more instructions on the front page. There is one receptionist there, otherwise the assistants do the receptionist work.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Kitties, sounds like you're covering all your bases. Good Girl. Now just keep putting in apps at any grooming salon or other clinic you can. Sounds like you need to get outta that clinic. Keep us posted!

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