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Help! New Groomer and Lots of Business

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  • Help! New Groomer and Lots of Business

    Hello All,

    My mom and I opened a new shop at home. It's in our garage; about 250 Sq. Ft.
    I just started grooming school in January, and I'm about 3 dogs shy of graduating from Groom A Dog (Correspondence/Online) with Kathy Sanders - she's GREAT!

    Anyway - I mostly did Craigslist ads to get Practice Dogs, did about 100 flyers in my neighborhood and recently put up signs.

    I've been getting so much work, I'm getting overwhelmed by it all.

    I've limited myself to 4 dogs a day - 4 appointments at 9am, 1pm, 4pm, and 7pm if needed.

    It's still taking me about 2.5 hours for a full-groom; I'm taking my time.

    I had a Chow Mix yesterday that scared me, it wasn't a bad dog, it was just big. It took over 4 hours.

    I would like advice about how to manage being a new groomer. I'm 20 years old (on the 24th) and I know I have lots to learn about business and stuff.

    I'm thinking of just doing dogs under 30lbs and no agressive dogs.
    I don't take biters or dogs with lots of mats. I have had to muzzle one cocker and it tore up my nerves.

    Help!! Any tips and advice is greatly appreciated.

    Thanks,
    Brittney
    The Pristine Pet
    www.thePristinePet.com

  • #2
    only advice - time!

    you just need to give yourself time! as far as small dogs only... I wouldnt. if you are phsically able to do larger breeds they are worth doing. goldens, labs, shepards can be fairly easy money. brush and bath dogs are the best. dont mistake agression as only in large dogs either. my worst offenders were lhasas, westies, and a toy poodle. as for chows, I had 4 regulars ( 1 passed) and only one of those is a little scary. other 2 are big mooshes. I do a lot of pit bulls, and I love em. big and easy, and sweet as pie. I think your on track with limiting yourself to whatever number of dogs is comfortable, I would warn on the length of your day though. if you need that much time for each dog, fine, you will get faster with time, but long days can burn you out fast. I was very slow in the beginning as most are. tried to get each dog perfect. even the best dog may get cranky if they are being worked on for several hours. I'm going to leave you with that. If you ever want to talk, you can look me up and call. leave a message and I can call you back.
    brenda

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    • #3
      Big Dogs, Big Dollars. If you want to limit how many of the big dogs you do just charge more for them. I personally love big dogs and grooming them. Some people think I'm nuts for doing big dogs in a mobile because they take longer when I could be grooming more small dogs. I charge a high price for the big guys. Most of them are just big teddy bears. I have little dogs that are worse about biting (mostly Fear Biting, there is a difference between that and aggression).

      Some cockers are just plain bad bad bad. I had one when I was in school that took me and the teacher to groom, had to muzzle the whole time and the teach had to hold him in place.

      Never look a Rotty in the eyes, just do the groom and watch them out of the corner of yours at all time. So far that has been the only dog that I have been bitten by and it wasn't during the groom it was getting him out of his home kennel to take him to the trailer.

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      • #4
        Is your mom grooming, too? It'll be easier when you get to know your client better. I hate days when I have more than one new client. I like to spend time finding out what the clients like, how the dog is with grooming...that kind of stuff. It's hard to judge how much time to spend with the new ones, but once you've gotten used to them and more grooming experience, you'll be comfortable with more. If you've got mom's help, you can do more as well.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Briarpatch View Post
          Is your mom grooming, too? It'll be easier when you get to know your client better. I hate days when I have more than one new client. I like to spend time finding out what the clients like, how the dog is with grooming...that kind of stuff. It's hard to judge how much time to spend with the new ones, but once you've gotten used to them and more grooming experience, you'll be comfortable with more. If you've got mom's help, you can do more as well.
          LOL - No, my mom isn't grooming. She's a computer techie and has been working from home. She can watch/help me and work at the same time.

          It's still taking about 2.5 hours per dog. :< I know I'll get faster with time. And, thanks for the tips.

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          • #6
            I tell all new groomers this. Dogs can sense when you are new, when you are not fully confident in your abilites, and they will take advantage and push and test you. It never failed, when we had a young groomer (and when I was one) they (and I) felt like we got all the hard to do dogs dumped on us. But then if we needed help a seasoned groomer would walk over and 99% of the time the dog would immediatly behave. Of course there are going to be dogs that won't behave well for anyone! I am now one of those groomers that could go over to help and the dog would immediately stop acting up LOL. Well, when I was in a salon and helping to train the apprentice groomers. I could see how frustrated they would get that I could do something with a dog that they couldn't and I would tell them my theory. It will take time to build your confidence. Be patient with yourself. There are plenty of groomers who limit the size of the dogs the do, but there are also plenty of great dogs in a bigger range as well and you can always go on a case by case basis.
            What a caterpillar considers the end of his world, we call a butterfly.

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            • #7
              Don't rush

              The biggest mistake you can make when you first start out is take on more than you can handle. It sounds like your setting good limits for yourself. I do hope that if your giving a discount to your clients because your learning that they understand that the price will change when you get up and running full time. Glad thing are going well for you.
              "I've seen a look in dogs' eyes, a quickly vanishing look of amazed contempt,
              and I am convinced that basically dogs think humans are nuts." - John Steinbeck
              www.wagmoresalon.com

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              • #8
                At our shop my younger groomer will have a dog that will nip, scream and bounce all over the table and all I have to do is give the dog the 'eye' and they behave...I groom them they do nothing but wag their tail.

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                • #9
                  Slow and Steady

                  This is the most amazing support system here - thank you x100!

                  Yes, prices are already going up. When I first started we advertised at Certification Rates, but now that I'm getting a feel for the work, I'm sooo undercharging :>

                  I have a GREAT woman who is a poodle breeder that's mentoring me and allowing me to work on her poodles in exchange for a forced air dryer :> She's awesome and has spoken to me about burn-out. She's been looking for and praying for a groomer to come to her house where her poodles are in kennels, she's much older and needs help. It's a match made in Heaven!

                  I'm 20 (on the 24th) and I'm getting lots of advice from my mom about work / life balance.

                  I understand I can't save the community from PetSmart; I can only do what I can do :>

                  For the spring and summer seasons I'm going to focus on 4 dogs a day - that's it. It's firm and it will allow me to grow slowly. Living (and working) from home has it's perks!!

                  Again, I want to thank you all for your continued support and awesome advice!!

                  Brittney

                  PS - Website revamp coming soon. Mom's working on that daily!

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                  • #10
                    If possible you might want to see about getting a P/T job w/another groomer so you can pick up what you didn't learn at school. School is great, don't get me wrong. But I really really really think that most "newbie" groomers need to work at an established business and w/other experienced groomers in order to round out their grooming education.

                    If that's not possible then you can continue your education with DVD's, books, seminars and Pet Fairs, etc.... Also come on here as much as you can.....lol....you will learn TONS!!!! You can also see about volunteering to groom dogs at your local shelter. They won't necessarily be creative grooms, but any actual work time you have will help to get you confident and experienced. It's confidence and experience that will help you to naturally speed up. Don't push your speed too soon. You have to get good before you get fast!

                    Good luck to you in your new career! Sounds like you have made a really great start!
                    SheilaB from SC

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