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In the beginning....

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  • In the beginning....

    Alright everyone. Tell me what is was like for you when you very first started grooming. Where did you start grooming, at home or for someone else? Did you work alone or with someone else? How many dogs a day were you doing? HOw long did it take per dog? What were your challenges in the beginning? I want to know all, and I will read all posts. So come on, even if you don't post often or ever, give me story to read. Knowing others have been in the same place will be beneficial I'm told,

  • #2
    Will try and make this short because it has been a long journey. Started as a bather, went to grooming school, worked at 2 shops, both having 3 other people. Opened a shop at my house, worked alone, except for my 3 young children. Started doing 3-5 dogs a week, after 4 yrs I was very busy about 20/wk which was enough. Took about 2hrs for little dogs and up to 4-5 for the show Pyrs. I did. Divorced-then only groomed family and friends dogs for about 2yrs. Got pt at kennel 3 yrs> during that time opened a home shop. After 2 yrs moved to shop, alone for about 7 yrs. Now have 3 employees can do little ones 1-1.5hrs big up to2-2.5hrs. When I started HV's and clippervacs didn't exist. The biggest challenge in the beginning was raising 3 kids and being home to do all the housework and try to groom too. Spending the money to get the best most efficient equipment is worth it. It makes life so much easier.

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    • #3
      wyattsmom, that's a great story and what a journey. Thank you for your post.

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      • #4
        I bought an existing grooming business with no training. The old owner stayed on for 6 weeks to teach me. At that time it was just me and a bather (either my sister or my mom) it took Aprox 2hrs for little dogs and not sure on big ones because bathers did everything but feet & nails but they were here for about 3hrs. I hired a bather after my sister went to collage. I worked 8-? And did 6-8 dogs a day depending on size. I hired another groomer who ended up not working out because I ended up doing all her work. Bather was let go because she either wouldn't show up to work or was super late. I have groomed alone now for 14yrs. The shop was out of my home until 3yrs ago when I went mobile. It is still just me. It takes me about an hr for anal dogs, 1- 2-3 hrs for larger dogs. My kids are little 3&5yrs old so I work around my husband's schedule (he does lawn care) my long day I try to do 6 dogs/cats. I love the quiet of working alone. Being mobile is a plus because I'm not stuck inside all day and get to travel and see places I probably normally would.

        Sent from my SM-G900V using Tapatalk

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        • #5
          littleark, I've noticed many start off with a store front or home based, and then go on to mobile. That is something to look into in the future. Wow, you were really thrown to the wolves so to speak lol, 6 weeks of training and on your own. Thank you for the great post.

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          • #6
            At age 49(after my son went in the Navy and left home)worked as bather for 6 months then began on the job training as a groomer. While doing OJTraining I went to school.......continued to work for the shop 4 years then bought the business and hubby built me a beautiful shop at my home.....LOVE being self-employed and having freedom to make my own decisions about my business. This is a short version because there were some bumps along the way but rehashing it all is not productive and gets my blood pressure up

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            • #7
              As a teenager I was an art major and excelled at my art work and took advanced classes in high school and college. I always loved animals and wanted to be a Vet thinking that would be a more sound career than a "starvin" artist". I always followed dog shows and had a way with all my friends and families pets. At thirteen I use to give my friends cat Rookie a bath in their sink periodically as he was an outdoor cat and always came in smelling funky.
              At around the age of 19 I got a job as a cashier at the local Petsomthing. After a few months of working I was offered a postion as A brusher bather and jumped at the opportunity. This was when they still sent grooming canidastes to Nash acadamy before they astarted doing in house training. I was the next in line to go to grooming school but my salon manager had other plans. HSe favored another girl over me imo and all of a sudden it seemed like I was getting write ups left and right for stupid stuff like not taking out the garbage. Yet other girls that did the same as me never got written up. Being a naive teen I just signed the write ups until I was eventually fired for to many. I bawled like a baby i was so upset. Oddly enough though, for months after that he salon manager would let me use her employee discount when i went shopping and i wa welcome to continue grooming my dog there myself at no charge. Hmmm, caqn we say seet up?
              I ended up goin gto work at a competing pet store for a coupl eyears till i moved back home about an hour away i found work at the local SPCA. I loved it there bu tbeing non-profit it came to a point the director had to let go of all her emoployeess and go strictly voleenteer. A gfewe years after this she eventuall yclosed the place down due to shelters bickering amoungst themselves who should have grants and not and her getiign tired fighting with bureaucrats in hording cases.
              I ended up working as a machinist in a golf ball factory for a few years till a collegue said I was in the wrong place and that this wasn't the job for me. Taking her advice I started looking for a brusher bather job. One shop I called said she wasn't hiring but i caould leave a resume if I liked. An hour later she called me backed and asked when i could come in for an interview. I once again jumped at the opportunity and was hired, I found out a few months later that she fired a bather the same day i called that had been giving her problems. After working a few montyhs I proved my worth to her and she started apprenticeing me to groom. I apprenticed under her for 2 years til lshe said there was nothin gmore she could teach mer and I just had to start doing it. I was lucky enough to be working with some faboulus groomers at the time. I also learned from a Min. Schnauzer breeder somwe intersting shrt cuts and tips who had been grooming or over 20 years. From a very patient Hingarian viszla breeder who had been grooming for over 30 years. And from a groomer we all know and love, My Lady, who introduced me to the world of competitive grooming.
              I ended up leaving the shop to move closer to home and other reasons i won't get into. I started grooming for a dog Trainer who had been a trainer for 30 some odd years and offered grooming. I went to college at this time for Busness administration with the aspects of owning my own salon someday. My new employer was in her 60's and looking to retire in a few years and offered me to purchase her salon from her at that time. Her shop was very small and i was the only groomer. We would book out for weeks and I insisted we hire another groomer. I knew the girl that petsomething sent to grooming acadamy was looking for work. I held no personal vendetta against her as it was corp I feltr the reason why I lost my job. The day befoer she was scheduled to interview i broke my leg hiking and could not work. She was hired straight away outr of sheer neccity at that point. Upon my return from disability leave things did not go so well for me. My boss seemed to favor this girl over me once again and I lost my job and she sold the salon to her instead of me. At this point I began to think that it wasn't just corp being the reason I lost my job in the firast place, but I digress.
              I then began working for the other petsomething and absolutely loved it there. If it wasn't for the hour and a half drive and the low pay due to lack of dogs and toll fees, I'd probably still be there. I tried working at another salon that was owned by a women that was in marketing for over 25 years and one day decided she wanted to buy a groom shop. I lasted a mionth working for her and begged ro my job back at corp.
              After working at corp for a few months i found out I was expecting! Upon my announcement the other groomer followed with the fact that was was also expecting and was just waiting for the right time to say saomthing! A month after we announced ou rpregnancies one of the cashiers found out she was expecting! It soon became an ongoing joke not tto drink the water or yo umight wind up pregnant. LOL
              I still remained in touch with grooers hat ihave worked witrh over the years and my mentor who apprenticed offered me a management postion at her salon making more thatn i was at corp. Being 6 months pregnant I again jumped at the opportunity and accepted the position. After having my son I decided to stay home and take care of him and reliquished my management position to work part time nights and weekends. I worked there for over 4 years. In the last year there I decided it was time I better myself and signed up for the certified professional pet stylist programm with ISCC and hope to take my technicals at Intergroom 2016. Spetember last year my boss decided to go strictly mobile and close her brick and motor. Lucky fro me I had been moon lighting at a local boarding/daycare faacility that is 2 miles from my house. I informed them of the closure and asked if I could work nights which they agreed.
              It's been a long road from my start as a teen and it's made alot of unexpected twist and turns. In the end though I think I am right where I am suppose to be whether or not it was wher eI thought i was going to be. The journey ahead is still along one with a lot of uncertanty, but it's an advenuture I can't wait to have!
              It's not what you look at that matters; it's what you see.
              Henry David Thoreau

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              • #8
                This is all great to hear. To know how everyone persevered and didn't give up makes me feel like the challenges I"ve overcome and challenges I'm still having will be worth it. Some days I don't feel good at all about my groom and other days (like today) I feel victory, Thank you for sharing and keep the stories coming.

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                • #9
                  I started showing beagles at 10 and cleaned kennels for a show kennel that bred cocker spaniels. She only groomed cocker spaniels, English setters, and chows. When I was 14, I started drying dogs for her. I got an English Setter that year to show and learned how to groom him. When I was 19, I started working at grooming salon/self wash as a bather, and one of the groomers really liked me and started teaching me how to do grooms. I did bath and tidies, feet, and sanitaries for the next 1.5 years and then left to work at a vet clinic as a vet assistant, thinking I wanted to train as a tech. I ended up taking extra bathing shifts to help the groomer, took Paragon online courses, and started grooming on Sundays when the other groomers were off. I eventually would end up bathing for the groomers and then grooming a few dogs myself. When I finished the Paragon classes, I got part time grooming jobs at a few boutiques. Fast forward to now, I was at a vet clinic for the last year and a half and then opened my own salon in February of this year.

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                  • #10
                    Congratulations SetterGirl on your own salon!

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                    • #11
                      That is my dream too Setter to get my own place, but getting more experience.

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                      • #12
                        I was dragged into this lifestyle kicking and screaming. I worked at a PetSomething as a cashier, bather, PetCare, and stocker. I needed hours and was one of the only people who worked there who didn't go to school so I had VERY open availability. Well I was doing great in all the departments I was working at and I had been accepted by the groomers as one of their own. I enjoyed it. I think I enjoyed doing something different everyday. Well a bunch of groomers kept getting fired then the other groomers panicked and walked out after being faced with being short staffed. So the girls were talking to me about becoming a groomer. yea yea yea, sounds nice. Meanwhile I had all these plans I wanted to climb the ladder which was another reason I wanted to work in all the departments. I felt like I couldn't truly be an effective manager if I didn't have experience working in the other departments. it seemed the best way to be able to have realistic expectations of my employees. Well I was signed up for academy and I was like no no no. I don't want to go. But I went. Also quit. My teacher was horrible. Teaching wasn't her calling. I was in tears after class everyday. I would call up my home salon and just have them talk me down from the ledge a few times a week. Just get through it. You can come back when you are done and we will show you everything. I was very lucky in that the girls that I worked with were all wonderful and long time groomers. They helped me so much. So now I am at a Vet Clinic making my own rules for the most part. I am forever thankful for my time with PetSomething as I learned so much about time management, irate customers, and business sense.

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