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  • New groomer needing advice!

    So I've been grooming for a big total of 5 months now. Currently working at a big box. I am able to complete 3 grooms easily in my 7 hr shift. Course that doesn't always work out like that. I've had to complete a total of nine dogs. which were a combination of baths, desheds, and grooms. I've had my fair share of co workers deciding they are going home for whatever reason, walk out and leaving me to pick up the pieces. Along with that I've been called in on my days off, and then told to wash dogs in cold water because someone wanted to not pay the gas bill. I of course told my boss that I am not washing dogs in cold water and called my customers and told them the situation.

    Long story short I am now left feeling like I don't want to groom. I look at my grooms with disgust, I don't feel like I'm improving anymore even though I go work one day a week with another groomer trying to better my skills. A lot of the customers make me angry with wanting to shave down bulldogs, shepards, huskies and the such. Even after I explain that shaving will not solve the shedding problem. I have Husky owners arguing with me that they want the cheapest bath we offer and only come in every six months to a year, where I again explain that its not going to solve the shedding problem. If anything make matters somewhat worse. I want to throw the ringing phone in hopes it will shatter and tell the walk in nail trim/grinding people to go away I'm busy. I basically don't want to go to work anymore. It sounds horrid but that's just how I feel. It wasn't like this till just recently either.

    Is this because I am just not meant to be a groomer or do you think its just the place I am at. Thank you all for your thoughts and opinions.

  • #2
    I started in a big box store just like you. And after 3 years left with almost the same feeling as you are feeling now. Something about corporate does that to you. I have had my own mobile business up and running since December and it's amazing how quickly I went back to loving grooming. My advice... Continue working with the other groomer to increase your skills and build confidence. Wig corporate do not take on more than you're comfortable with. Thats not fair. If you're always there to bail out the other groomers you're the one getting hurt.


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    • #3
      I think it's just where you're at. I finished grooming school this past December and like you, ive only been doing this for 6 months... I was fortunate to get a job a couple weeks after graduating at a small store. I personally don't like big chain stores, but you learn as you go. If you aren't liking the way things are being taken care of at the place you're at now, it's not a complete bust. if you want to own your own business someday, now you know what not to do. You're always going to be learning and whether it's good or bad you can make the most of any situation.
      Maybe try looking for a new place to work?
      Good luck!

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      • #4
        Are you frustrated by the people at the interruptions at your work? Or are you frustrated by what you perceive to be and in ability to improve your manual skills?
        We all get frustrated with the phone, clients weird requests, and the strange things they want us to do to their dogs. Educating clients is one of the hardest things we do all day long. Unfortunately, you sound very young and they are going to perceive you as someone they can push around. You are also in a corporate situation and you probably don't have the authority/flexibility to do with those of us running our own shows can manage to do.
        Meanwhile, if you do not want to shave down Shepherd. Labs, bullies whatever because owners are too lazy to brush then you may borrow the line I use. ( disclaimer/warning; this is going to aggravate and possibly insult a few people – it is not intended to do that. ) "Sorry. but I will not shave your -insert breed- since that will only ruin the coat / not stop shedding/not make the dog cooler in the Florida sun/not stop the dog from pending in the house / whatever. I ethically cannot do what I know to be possibly detrimental to the dog, but you are more than welcome to go someplace else where I'm certain you will find someone who has no such objections. "
        This phrase in several variations has only last me three or four people in the last six years. Using it though I have managed to save the coats on numerous labs ,shepherds, goldens, Bulldogs , pugs, etc. I have even managed to save numerous Poms from the horrors of 'looking like Boo'.

        If you could contact clients Sbout not bathing in cold water then you have the stuff that allows you to stand up for your canine clients. One step at a time she one day at a time

        To really restore your enthusiasm stay on this Forum, get to a conference/ show , and network with your peers.
        Don't let others keep you from your passion.

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        • #5
          My chain store experience was ok but that was quite awhile ago. But on my own I took extra workshops and courses, and then I bought LOTS of dvds mid career like Jodi Murphy and Melissa Verplank when they came out several years ago even as shop owner then and it keeps me happy.

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          • #6
            You sound very much like my daughter who after a few weeks at her first job bussing tables knew everything. I will tell you what I tell her. You can be like those employees who choose to melt down or get angry every time the dinner rush happens which they know is going to happen everyday and still choose to be miserable or you can step it up like other employees who see it as an opportunity to make more money, can deal with pressure, be favored by bosses in schedules and time off and moving up in rank and future job recommendations, etc.

            Don't answer the phone to come to work if you don't want to come in and make more money. It's not your problem when your business is short staffed. Nobody can make you groom 9 dogs. Do the best you can honestly and safely do.

            Lighten up about the shave downs, it's not your business, you shouldn't be arguing with customers. You are not going to change this common nationwide practice. As for the gas bill, I doubt that a big box neglected to pay the gas bill. More likely the hot water tank ran out. Make sure your doing your part, if possible, to use water wisely especially when your there by yourself and can control things.

            If you can't handle a walk in nails or a phone ringing as part of your job then maybe you have burned out. Good luck to you.

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            • #7
              I wanted to add when 9 dogs are in front of you, get out of the mind set to argue with your boss and yourself that you can only do 3. Do what you can do without complaining and getting angry. If it's only 3 fine if its more that's fine too. No need to melt down when the business is short staffed.

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              • #8
                Personally it sounds to me like this may not be the right job for you. As a groomer, we have to be able to keep it together and we deal with customers like this everyday, It's part of our job and what we do as groomers.. If the location of where you are working is causing this problem let me reassure you that NOT ALL CHAIN STORES are this way. The store I'm currently working in is absolutely fantastically, Great co workers, managers and I'm with groomers who have as much of a passion for grooming as I do. You could end up in a private salon that's just as bad..
                Were you bathing prior to becoming a groomer? How long?
                I've been bathing for 2 years and it's helped me a lot learn how to cope with different situations and handle the dogs with compassion and patience. Now that I'm going to school soon, I'm much more confident in myself.. Best of luck to you, I love being a groomer the job can be very rewarding but you need A LOT of patience.


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                • #9
                  I think a lot of groomers have tried different places before they fit in. I worked in some indies that were horrible, no benefits, late paychecks but what appeared to be a great popular salon. I needed a job and got experience, and learned a lot even with the problems. I worked corp too and agree with Moogle. Not all are created equal. I had a great manager and it ran well. You have to get used to working different schedules sometimes compared to indies. Yes after my manager left, we had just an OK manager. So corp doesn't always mean bad. Working indies without benefits usually sucks too. So once I had enough experience about 4 years then I started my own place. I knew what worked, and didn't, and I knew I had the patience to work with all kinds of people and pets and situations, and again, had the patience.

                  I agree that you should subscribe to learn2groomdogs.com and invest in dvds and keep your learning going. Jodi has the best buy collection hands down, and sometimes takes payments. That will make you feel better to keep learning and get to shows. You will find your way to where you belong.

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                  • #10
                    The chain store near us does subpar grooming for less money than the private salons in our area. Therefore, they have a reputation. But I'm willing to bet the groomers there are understaffed, mismanaged and stressed out too.

                    Don't destroy your reputation! If you're disgusted with your grooms, then you're not growing as a groomer. You need to find a decent groomer to work for and get more experience. You're not learning at the corp you're at now. If anything, you're learning bad habits.

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                    • #11
                      True blue *like that* but if she doesn't go on her own I got screwed at local shop who made promises and never delivered, same empty feeling....until I went on my own. Lots more on my shoulders but once I adjusted you are right, you make your own bed and can enjoy great career.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Lions and Tigers View Post
                        True blue *like that* but if she doesn't go on her own I got screwed at local shop who made promises and never delivered, same empty feeling....until I went on my own. Lots more on my shoulders but once I adjusted you are right, you make your own bed and can enjoy great career.
                        Sure, any new situation would be a **** shoot. I just think 5 months is extremely green for going out your own. Especially in this case, where she needs to have more positive management experiences. She will be faced with a myriad of stressful situations in this field and could use a little more guidance. IMO. [emoji5]

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                        • #13
                          Don't give up! If you are an animal lover! I also get frustrated also, after almost 28 years. If you are dedicated, that's all that matters. Good luck! Stick with it. I feel that you will go far!

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                          • #14
                            Thank you all for the great advice! I am subscribed to learn2groomdogs and have been for a while.

                            I don't know everything which is why I've went seeking advice on this forum. Some days I think it's that like honeychew said it's how I'm perceiving my inability to improve my skills. When in reality I am improving just not as quickly as I'd like. My patience for myself is very minimal. I expect alot.

                            I've come to terms with the fact that I can only move so quickly. When alone, I can only answer so many calls, check in dogs, groom and trim nails all at the same time. All I can do is keep going.

                            Shave downs on the bullies, huskies etc. I try and educate the customer and if all else fails and they still insist then they get shaved. I tried so that's all I can do.

                            As for my background with grooming. I went to grooming school. Before that I was kennel help, farm laborer on a dairy as well as our family dairy farm. And after graduating from College of the Ozarks, I was an eligibility specialist for department of social services. I understand what hard work is, what dealing with rude clients is and what multi tasking is all about.
                            Thanks again for all the advice!

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