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  • Too young to groom and be taken seriously

    Greetings everyone. I own (2) mobile units...The Pooch Parlor. I am a State Certified groomer myself and hand trained my other groomer; who I love and trust with my 4-legged clients. Unfortunately, after a little over a year; she is moving away. Luckily she is truly faithful to me and as promised if I taught her...is giving me a 3 months notice to find or train another groomer. Unfortunately finding a groomer in my area seems to be almost impossible. But....there are a lot of bathers out there who will jump at the opportunity of free training. I have a young lady, a bather; that I am trying out. She is quite personable and seems to catch on. However she is only 20 years old, lives at home and "acts and looks" like she is 16 years old. I have no doubt that I can train her; to what degree that remains to be found. But....my biggest concern is of my clients taking her seriously; or being massively concerned over her youthful appearance. Believe it or not...this is my biggest concern. Am I wrong to be so concerned if she shows up every day; willing to learn?

    Poochlady

  • #2
    I'm 23, but look like I'm about 16/17 (since it gets so hot in mobile, I can't/don't wear makeup). I've gotten really good feedback from my clients so far. Some of them are a little nervous with me being so young at first, but once I interact with them and their puppy, and their dog comes back looking great, they're totally fine. They're amazed at how long I've been doing this. I'm not shy about knowing I look young- I know I'll be carded until I'm 40!
    A few of the older clients have seriously asked me how old I was, one actually asked to look at my drivers license.

    The plus side if you do hire this girl on, and she really wants to learn is the drive and the passion. I've been grooming this for going on 5 years now, and I am starting to lose that a little bit. I remember waking up every day ready to go to school (which was 30-45 min away) and groom, because it was one step closer to my goal!

    good luck!

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    • #3
      I do think very young people are not taken seriously by older established people, but if you instill some professionalism in her, they will see she is to be trusted. Sorry you gal is moving away

      PS: how do you become state certified????

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      • #4
        A lot will depend on how she carries herself. I started grooming in my early 20's ....I'm still in my 20's but no one ever really questioned it since I tend to carry myself in a much more mature and confident manner. I mean I have 2 kids and a man child (hubby) , so I don't really live like a lot of my age-group. As long as she is professional and holds hereself in a similar manner she should be fine. Try to put her in grooming smocks/uniform and try to stay away from showing body piercings/tattoos if possible (I have tattoos, but I don't try to draw attention to my visible one). Also, once they see she has the grooming goods to back it up that only reinforces it.

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        • #5
          I think a very important part of her training should be "how to be professional when interacting with clients". A very legitimate subject since she will be representing you, which should be made clear to her. A good life lesson for her; and "how to keep a job".....lol.
          A Light exists in Spring, Not present on the Year, At any other period -- When March is scarcely here...~~ Emily Dickensen~~

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          • #6
            If she can learn and do a good job I wouldn't worry about it. My daughter is only 18 and started grooming 1 1/2 years ago after spending several years as a bather. I still keep an eye on her grooms and double check the ones she hasn't mastered 100%. None of my clients have a problem with her grooming their dogs, but she is professional and takes her responsibilities very seriously. She graduates high school this month and on June 1st we are putting her on commission. Of course I will continue to work with and help her until she no longer needs it.

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            • #7
              Truly think its all how you approach things. I have a young lady who is also 20 who acts like she 14 she is goofy but in a good way. Everyone thinks she is my daughter and I’m only 30 so its kinda of an insulate but that is a whole other issue. Anyway she comes out with me and meets my customers. She engages in conversations with them and everyone seems to like her. If you treat her as an equal and tell your customers how great she is and how good of a job she is doing they will learn to trust her and even like her. Your customers will miss their old groomer so maybe if you can get your old groomer to take your new groomer out to meet the customers and explain she is moving and that this new lady is so great and will take good care of their babies they will love her too.

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              • #8
                I was only 17 when I opened my grooming business , that was 30 yrs ago . It can be hard when you are that young not only because people view you as a kid but because you view yourself that way too , but you have to start somewhere , I say give her a chance .

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                • #9
                  I'd give her a chance.

                  The very successful dog show handlers began even younger than that. They learned to groom, care for and show dogs. later in life they ended up as very respected show handlers such as my breeder and the ones you see at Westminster today who nearly always win BIS. This gal is very lucky to have found you. She can learn a lot and have a good profession if she takes it seriously. You should know in a week or two how serious she is. As for clients, if she delivers it should not matter. When will she be 21? Then she is truly considered an adult. This also applies to ball room dancers, and many professions, concert pianist etc. Young is a good thing. Oh, and she probably has no bad grooming ideas or habits....you can mold her.

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                  • #10
                    My concern would be if some of the customers may try to intimidate her because of her young age. I wouldn't have been able to handle it at that age.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by neanea View Post
                      PS: how do you become state certified????
                      I was wondering that too.

                      I was managing pet stores when I was 24. I look about a decade younger than I am (still do). Every so often I would get people who would be shocked and didn't trust me. But once you show that you are knowledgeable and know what you are doing, they don't care.

                      So just give her a chance, some people might have a problem but most people won't care.
                      "The most affectionate creature in the world is a wet dog." -Ambrose Bierce

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                      • #12
                        Young is not necessarily bad! I'm in my early 20s and started grooming last year. I happen to look quite young, but with enough professionalism, most clients won't mind. A few of the older ones give me funny looks at first, but I'm professional and friendly and they come around. I find that a lot of them seem to like my enthusiasm and energy. I say sit down with this person and discuss with her what her future plans are. After that, decide if she would be a good fit with your company.

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                        • #13
                          I have been working as a bather since i was 13 i started grooming when i was 15 (mostly just little stuff), but i'm now 17 (almost 18!), I act and look alot older than i actually am. I have only had one person question my age, but i tell them all of the things i have accomplished with my dogs and i tell them how i handle them ect, they are happy to let me be with their dog. I feel i'm very mature (and always have people tell me i am!) so maybe it's different?
                          I think like others mention it's how you present yourself, teach her to act professional and no one will question it!

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                          • #14
                            IMO If she looks young that is not her fault (Dont we all wish we did) Even if she was 30 and looked early 20's some older people may be concerned. However, age does not reflect maturity and how well she will or will not handle these situations. I personally say give her a chance the clients that question her, she can then prove herself to them and if they do not give her that chance then its their loss not hers nor yours.

                            The other question is you have obviously chosen her because she has the potential, can you live with your decision that you did not give this chance based on her young appearance only? That you may have lost this chance to have a very skilled loyal employee at your side for many years to come. Good luck.

                            Diane

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                            • #15
                              I say give her a chance, too. Only worry I have is will your insurance cover her in a mobile (or what extra cost) since she is under 21.
                              Old groomers never die, they just go at a slower clip.

                              Groom on!!!

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