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  • time vs. knowledge

    Got a call.
    "How long have you been grooming?"

    (I don't even know the exact answer- Do I count my bather time? How 'bout my apprenticeship??!)

    Anyhow! About 3 years.

    (Not happy sounding) "Oh"

    Soooo, I haven't been grooming 20 years but I am gentle with the pets, come here & read, & buy videos/dvds for knowledge, have the latest equipment etc.....

    Why is it people think if you've been grooming a long time you ARE better than someone with less time in the business. Not saying that one or the other is fact.

    I know of groomers who probably got their equipment at a 3rd world country yard sale & treat it as such. Who haven't been to any seminars in years etc.. but they are still better in potential customers' eyes.

    What do ya'll think?

    Erica

  • #2
    It's just another example of the general public not really understanding our job. They are assuming that experience = quality and, as you said, that's often not true. In an attempt to find the 'best' groomer they try to ask the 'right' questions.

    I quickly realized when I first started grooming at age 40, that people assumed I had been at it for years, lol. But every once in a while someone would ask the 'how long' question. I knew that they wanted reassurance, so I roughly estimated how often I had groomed my own pets and gave them a vague answer and changed the subject to other aspects of my expertise.

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    • #3
      I had a client dropped off by the husband, a cocker spaniel which I had groomed before. About 10 min later one of the receptionists anwsered a call, the wife was bawling because I was to young to groom her dog. I have been grooming for 8 years, yes I am only 24 but I have been grooming longer than alot of people, its the only work I have ever done. The receptionist was able to calm her and I went ahead and groomed the dog and the husband was happy when he left with the dog.

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      • #4
        I totally agree with you Erica. Next time someone asks you how long you have been grooming just smile and jokingly say "I enjoy my work so much it feels like I started yesterday"!

        There is a woman in my county who has been grooming over 40 years. She is elderly and says she is going to retire each year but does not. She wears glasses so thick and has her nose literally against her clippers. The grooms are sub-standard, to say the least, and I have received many of her clients. But her yellow page ad says over 40 years experience. She also has 5 other groomers working for her that she rarely supervises because she is frequently ill and they run the salon roughshod over her. They take in 55 - 65 dogs perday and close around 7 each evening. It's a warehouse and there is only one good groomer there.

        I dont think years of experience matter, I have seen recent grads who put circles around me and everyone else around here. If you've ever attended Hershey or another trade show you would be in awe at some of these young kids just starting out, they are amazing.

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        • #5
          It is in our nature to think older person have more knowledge even though they may be new to that field. If you go to a mechanic or a doctor do you naturally think the older one should be the most knowledgeable? This is how we were brought up. but now with people changing careers later in life, the younger ones may have the most experience.

          Don't take it personally, we all have been there.

          Tim
          Tim Love............... Love's Sharpening
          123 A Hwy 80 E., #3

          Clinton, MS 39056....phone: 601-529-1973

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          • #6
            Do some groomers list the first time they washed the family pet..ok lets see...I was 10. Ive been grooming for....ah, heck..35 yrs..I know what you mean though.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by lovessharpening View Post
              It is in our nature to think older person have more knowledge even though they may be new to that field. If you go to a mechanic or a doctor do you naturally think the older one should be the most knowledgeable? This is how we were brought up. but now with people changing careers later in life, the younger ones may have the most experience.

              Don't take it personally, we all have been there.

              Tim
              I actually see doctors and such in the oppostie light. I see the old codgers as being outdated and refusing to change their thinking and old fashioned ways. I guess I am one of the odd few in this thinking.

              I have also seen this same problem in the grooming world where groomers and salon owners are using equipment and books etc from 20 years ago cause "thats how they learned" and they don't want to hear it any other way.

              With all of the negative media, I'm sure their trying to make the right decisions for their pet.

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              • #8
                Daper

                It is good you see things that way and I agree with you, but our society has taught us to think age equals knowledge. It is very common in the medical field. I also work on medical equipment so I get to see the old vs new mentality with anything using a computer or camera type system to do surgery. The young ones have been around this type of stuff all their life and to them it is second nature to watch what is going on the screen as they do surgery on you after playing all of those video games growing up, where as the older ones are more prone to still open you up because they are the "hands" generation and it feels more natural to have what they are working on in front of them. One come back I have to the How long have you question is "Since 7 this morning" and have a big smile when you say it.
                Tim Love............... Love's Sharpening
                123 A Hwy 80 E., #3

                Clinton, MS 39056....phone: 601-529-1973

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                • #9
                  That's hilarious Tim!

                  I will definitely remember that one!

                  Thanks to all who helped me see other perspectives~
                  Erica

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by lovessharpening View Post
                    One come back I have to the How long have you question is "Since 7 this morning" and have a big smile when you say it.
                    ROFL!!!! I'll have to remember that one.
                    "There is no psychiatrist in the world like a puppy licking your face."
                    Diane

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                    • #11
                      I like to answer, "Somedays too long..."

                      I know what you mean, I find those people are just looking for an excuse to not go to you or a backup/reson to complain.
                      I only graduated in Jan.
                      I do get a good amount of compliments. But i can also see where I could improve. I think it is a good sign that I can see where it needs to be improved.

                      I was taught by someone who refused to even glance at any new information in regards to grooming. It was distained and thought ridicuous.

                      But not to me!! My clients like the fact that my equipment is new (they all comment on that), they love the fact I can answer any and all grooming questons and if not I can find out and call them back.

                      I also like reminding them that grooming like every other industry is always changing, and I like to stay on top the very best I can!

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                      • #12
                        I've seen some of the sub-standard grooms around here from more experienced and less experienced groomers. I have been grooming for less time than most of them, but I feel that my skills are no worse off than theirs.

                        Tammy in Utah
                        Groomers Helper Affiliate

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                        • #13
                          Sometimes I'm embarrassed to say because I don't want people to think I have "groomer burn-out" because I don't !! I STILL love my job after 26 years!

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                          • #14
                            <<I actually see doctors and such in the oppostie light. I see the old codgers as being outdated and refusing to change their thinking and old fashioned ways. I guess I am one of the odd few in this thinking.>>

                            I'm with you on this line of thinking. I prefer younger, fresher minds that are typically (but not always) more open minded. I work with a groomer who has been grooming 35 years. She still grooms like it is 1972. She has no interest learning knew techniques, updated styles, etc. But, she has a huge following. She treats her clients and their pets great. We still also see a lot of people who like their pets trimmed in the older styles.

                            To each his own. :-)

                            Linda

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                            • #15
                              Well, my answer to that is. Well, being the daughter of a poodle breeder, I started at age 11, started working professionally at age 19 or 20, so.........I have been grooming professionally for over 20 years.

                              It does work in my favor that I have been grooming as long as I have when that question comes up. But I usually also mention that time doesn't matter as I know a groomer that after only 3 years of grooming managed to make it to the #2 groomer on Groom Team USA and although I am a darn good groomer, she could groom circles around me. They than usually change their mental note that time = better grooming. I have photos of my work up so there is examples in plain sight. I will admit that the question can be frustrating in itself. I know groomers with 25 + years experience that I would turn away, yet others that I would hire fresh out of school. It depends on the individual and their skills much more than the time in the business.

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