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Hello - Need some direction please!

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  • Hello - Need some direction please!

    I have been grooming for 5 years now & I am feeling like it is a hopeless case. I want to appologize in advance for the leangth of this venting, but I would really appreciate some advice from some experienced groomers who have some wisdom they could share. Here's my story:
    I absolutely love grooming have a client base of about 700 of which most have followed me everywhere I go. I started out @ a corporation, but not as a bather & I had no schooling. They were in need of a groomer & the grooming manager said she thought I could just jump right in since I had the experience of shearing sheep & worked 1 summer helping my grandmother out in her shop. They actually hired me & told me I had 2 weeks to prove myself. So, the manager taught me in 2 weeks the bare basics & I ordered some videos, asked my grandmother for guidance who was by the way in a different state, & gave it my all! I took to grooming like a fish to water! I Lived, breathed, & loved grooming! Well all until about 1 year later when my grooming manager started blowing our plan out of the water (which means she was making us groom at least 12 dogs/day all of which were full groom dogs) & I was working 70+ hr/wk & got down to 90lbs, I'm 5'3 & usually weigh 135, I actually passed out @ my grooming table w/ a dog on it! The next day I put in my 2 wks notice, I was 19 @ the time. I fortunately came across a trainer who had a connection w/ a vet who needed a groomer. I was so excited, I thought to myself thank you God you never close a door w/out opening a window! I started that job right when my 2 wks was up. And since it was a corporation I couldn't tell my clients where I was going. But to my amazement, I had 150 people who "found me!" They seriously called every groomer in the phonebook to find me, did I mention I moved to a different city! I was so touched by the loyalty of these clients to call everyone to find me then drive further just so I could groom their babies. I wish my happy ending ended there. When I arrived I was so excited & all rearin' to go, until I met the lady I would soon have nightmares about. This woman was so amazingly "old school", it was ridiculous! She had the oldest clippers I had ever seen, actual kitchen scissors for shears, she used this "concoction" of a shampoo that seirously consisted of: Dawn, Downy, Flea & Tick Shampoo, & Somethinf else in an unmarked bottle - she put all this into a 5 gl bucket filled it w/ water & then poured 1 cup into each bath that had a pump, not a hydrosurge, a pump that we were supposed to bathe the dogs in (recirrculating dirty water - nothing worse!), she had glasses so thick I couldn't brake them if I ran over them w/ a car! This woman had been grooming for this same vet for 30 yrs. ! I tried to see to up side to this as, "at least there's job security!" Later on I would find out I was wrong about that.
    Ok I am sorry about this whole long speil, this is the main reason why I have waited so long to register b/c I basically write a novel anytime I type. Well if anyone is still reading this I really have way too much to say & if you are at all interested in knowing the rest of my story &/or helping me my problems, I would be much apprecitive! Please help me figure out if this grooming stuff is for me, I am still young & really have a lot of drive & passion for grooming but I feel burnt out - not w/ grooming but, w/ the working enviorment & I am too young & not confident enough to open my own business, which is what everyone is telling me to do! Long, long, long, story short I have worked for a corporation for 1 year, a vet 1 year, was a boarding & grooming manager for 2 years at a vet that I took the monthly gross from $800 to $16,000 in 1 year, implementing new release forms, report cards, a sign off system for the kennel techs who were high school kids who have no work ethics, my mother instlled wonderful work ethics in me by showing me the meaning of volunteer work & helping others. Gosh there I go again!!!, SORRY! Ok so a corporation comes in & buys out the vet I had built up in the grooming & boarding dept. & brought in an "office manager" & said we don't need a grooming & boarding manager, but you can stay as a groomer. HA! I don't think so! I took my stuff & left the next day. There were 2 vets that left that same day corp. took over & they partnered up & opened their own clinic & asked me to come w/ them, boy was corp. every sorry they cut me as manager, they had no business after I left I had clients follow me like you wouldn't believe. The 2 young vet weren't dumb, they knew with me & the other groomer I asked to follow would bring them all the business they needed to get them started onto something huge! So here I am new job & new promises. These vet promised me 70% (which I know is unheard of, But they really wanted me) & they said I would own the business in a year. Of course I got none of this in writting being young & nieve!!!! & 2 months later they cut my commission to 60% due to not being able to afford the overhead costs at 30% - did I mention that the 1st year of opening their business they bought $80,000 cars & so many luxuries you wouldn't beleive me. & then 1 year later no business offered to me just a "that a boy, keep up the good work!" Can you believe the nerve, I only get 60% to manage the place, actually put in 70+ hrs/wk & only groom 30 hrs/wk & oh yeah, did I mention the mold problem! OSHA shut them down fro 2 weeks after I called them b/c of the fact there was no drain in the bathing room floor for the first 4 months we were open & the walls were standard sheetrock! There was much more wong with the place that the vets were cited for & all b/c they wouldn't listen to me in the first place b/c they opened it too fast w/ not enough preperation & skimmped on the money & materials whereever they could, so they could afford those car payments if you ask me! So anyway my bather came down w/ bacterial animonia & a collapsed lung, I was having horrible migrains & allergies & asthma, now I have a corporation who just moved into this town recently, the same corporation I started working at when I was 19, & they are begging me to come work there again, of course so I'll bring my clients! & now I'm w/out a job & need to get one soon, but not sure what to do!?! There are so many options: Mobile grooming, own shop, corporation, private small business owner, I actually have 4 job offers on the table - none of wich I aplied for, they are all trying to recruit me & I know I could say highest bidder wins, but it's not that simple. I am getting married in Sept 07 & have no kids, but want them someday, & I want a stable job where I can grow in my careeer & work around the idea that one day I want a family & I just want to be happy. I just sometimes find myself doing something completly different like the zoo or something, but I have so many clients that I run into everyday & ask me where I'm at (grooming) & I tell them I'm thinking of quiting grooming & these people cry, I mean real trears. & know what, I applied @ a corporation for a pet care manager position & they called me in for an inerview & told me I had the job, grooming job that is - I replied I didn't apply for the grooming job, & they said yeah but that is where your experience is, & we have heard you're the best groomer in town. What do I do? I feel I bening forced to groom, but I can't quite say forced b/c I still love grooming, it's just ALL THE POLOTICS!!!!!! I just want something that will make me happy, my customers happy, pay the bills, & still have some energy & love left for my soon to be husband. Thank you so much for listening to my problems, if you're even still reading this long bunch of **** I call my life. I just don't feel like anyone knows what I'm going through & if it will ever get better. This is so hard for me to be depressed b/c I am ussually always optimistic & Bubbly Happy all the time.
    Thanks Again
    God Bless

  • #2
    I'm not sure why you don't think you are ready to open your own business. It sounds like you have the grooming skills and the business knowledge to succeed. I just bought a grooming van (completely financed of course) and I'm venturing out after a history somewhat like yours.

    I started out in corp. at 18 and they sent me to school which I am still grateful for but as I gained experience, I realized what a mess it was there. I left after a year to be the only employee for a little shop of a lady I knew. It was ok there and I stayed for a year and a half, but I was getting ripped off as an independent contractor making 50%. I knew this from the day I started, but it seemed like the best option I had to improve my skills. She chose which dogs she didn't want to do everyday and I finally snapped and came in after close, leaving a note to say I was going to look for another job in another city. I took my stuff and left the key.

    I took the first job offered in Omaha... it was an hour and a half from my house but seemed to have much better options that where I lived. The job was for a vet, making 62% as a contractor. I lasted 6 months in tiny, filthy conditions and then took a job not far from there for a huge upscale salon. As far as my goals were concerned, it seemed like the best possible place for me. I moved to be there. Long story short, I was there two years and finally got sick and tired of being manipulated and lied to. It took her over a year to actually pay me the commission she promised when she hired me and there were constant threats of pay decreases, etc. She constantly told us how she couldn't afford the overhead... meanwhile she bought a very expensive new car, etc.

    I am now working for a vet who recruited me while my van is being converted. I had a very good clientele established at the shop but the vet is far away- in a suburb- and only a few of my clients have followed me. I hope by targeting the area by the old shop I will regain some of the clients but am confident I will be successful regardless because there is an extreme shortage of groomers for this city and especialy a shortage of good ones.

    Don't go back to corp... twice now they've offered me management positions but when I get there I discover they've promised it to several people. I've applied for pet care jobs and kennel positions in pet stores and vets only to have the same problem as you... they offer me a position grooming and when I refuse, they throw away my application.

    I have concluded that there are a shortage of decent managers in the grooming industry. If you want to build a career around your family, mobile grooming is the best option I've found and it will allow you to keep your clients.

    I have learned from every place I've worked, every idiot I've worked for and now I am going to make my own success.


    • #3
      Are you insane? Listen to yourself!

      Girl, OPEN YOUR OWN BUSINESS. You are not "too young" and inexperienced, you CAN do this!

      I think for you Mobile would be great, or your own shop. If you start mobile, though, you'll not need to deal with any other employees except yourself...UNLESS you want to have a fleet of mobile vans.

      You have the skills and experience to set up your own business, I would do that. I am not joking here, you need to make money for yourself. You clearly have a sense for this, at least from what I read above (and yes I read the WHOLE thing, you're right that was long, lol).

      PM me if you want, I'm not blowing sunshine up your bum, you need to get out there and do this! You'll be so much happier.

      Tammy in Utah
      Groomers Helper Affiliate


      • #4
        Are you sure?

        I have done my research on mobile grooming & it seems great, but I am worrierd w/ gas prices rising & I have been to Hershey 3 times & unfortunately now am regreting not ever looking into moblie grooming & getting feed back on how it all works as far as scheduling apts & pricing & .... oh so many questions & not enough confidence. I know it would take at least 6 months I think to get it all together, if I were to do it, so what do I do, I mean what job do I do until it I can get it all together. & I'm so worried about my fiance, he absolutley supports me in everything I do & he sort of understands my proffesion seeing as how he is a golf pro. I just have so much on my plate right now w/ the wedding in sept. & we are building a house, in which I have to do most of the work, as far as contractors, bills, ect. Our finances are ok for the moment w/out me having a job but I know I would have to have a job to try to get a business loan, right? Well, it sounds like a dream come true to own my own shop/ mobile grooming but I don't have a business plan & I really feel like I need some education in business first. I went to Oklahoma State University for 1 year studying Animal Science & got 34 credits, but my mother fell ill, very ill, & I had to move back home & get a full time job which is how I got into grooming. Now I love it & want to grow in it & I have been trying to save up the money to be a master groomer through ISCC. I have so much I want to acheive but I feel so all alone out here in oklahoma, it seems as though I am in the wrong state for having such a passion for grooming & want to help the industry as I have seen so many great people have. I don't want to move though b/c I love it here & I want to raise a family here & I feel there is real potetial to grow here, it seems as though the posibilities are endless if you have the money & cofidence. Please just a little more direction & encouragement. You both are so wonderful to reply so fast & it did give me a little bit of hope that maybe if I could have the support of a few people who don't have any alterier motives, Maybe, just maybe I can get through this low point in my career & get on top. I hope that one day I can have a true happy ending sucess story, as I have read some here that are so amazing!
        Thanks again!!!


        • #5
          Just keep on keepin on.

          Hi, new to the forrum and to mobile grooming, just starting. I am getting business advise from some great retired business men, its FREE! , I am sure there are resources in your area, also.

          Do not let yourself stand in the way of your obvious passion. Go for it!


          • #6
            Look around at some animal hospitals/vet clinics, boarding kennels again, see what they have available. You only need to be there for a short time, so maybe you can do them some good until the time has come. You need to get out of this "beginners" section and get into the "general talk" or Mobile Groomer Talk. You are not a "beginner" so to speak. How long have you been grooming ? 4-5 years? I've been grooming 3. I am a "newbie," but I don't consider myself a "beginner."

            Slow down and take a deep breath, you're acting like you have to decide today, lol.

            Tammy in Utah
            Groomers Helper Affiliate


            • #7
              You definetaly aren't a beginner and I would look into starting your own shop or mobile.

              Sounds like you lack confidence in yourself (no pun intended) and can understand it can be scary to venture into a new business.

              There are some very inexpensive courses you can take via University/College for new enterpreneur. They offer courses on how to start a new business, how to make a business plan, ect...some are gear towards women.

              If you need income right now, find something temporary like others have said until you can get everything in order.

              You have a lot on your mind right now with building a new house and a wedding. Take your time and think everything over.

              Again, I would really recommend taking a few business courses if they are available in your area. They are so inexpensive and will really help you understand what a 'business' is all about. It's not as scary at you think being a business owner; it's actually VERY rewarding

              Good luck to you!


              • #8
                Getting the confidence.........

                is the hardest part. I used to dread the thought of opening my own shop thinking I wasn't good enough or didn't have the business brain to do it. But I'm finding out through my clients and the people I'm talking to trying to get this business off the ground that I do have what it takes. It's really not as scary or as hard as you think. Give it a shot I bet you'll be pleasantly surprised at yourself!!