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New Groomer

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  • New Groomer

    Hi Everyone!
    I have been reading your posts for the past few months and love all of the information you are all providing.
    I have been an apprentice for approx 1 year and I am in the process of purchasing a van.
    I am a bit nervous because while I dont have any problem working with big dogs that need minor clipps, I am still not very comfortable working with highly complex breeds that require lots of skills.
    I am suprised when most groomers say that they prefer having a small dog clientele because I find bigger dogs to be easier to groom.
    Did any of you started out with some weaknesses such as myself or where most of you quite comfortable with all breeds by the time you created your own business.
    Thank you for your time!

  • #2
    I always liked the bigger dogs, too! I did so much when I was a tech treating dogs with skin conditions, that I just loooove to take a dirty dog and properly brush and clean them up! I like trimming them to look tidy, too. I do a lot of functional grooming and make it look good. I like poodles and bichons, but not as much as taking a dog with yucky skin and making them feel so much better. I love to see the owners fall in love with them all over again, and suddenly want them groomed regularly. Not a lot of mobiles will do the big guys, so there is a niche to fill! Not only that, but I just don't have clients that want the breed styles. They will want their terriers to have the typical face, but then want the body short and easy to bathe after they go to the dog park. Or, they say my dog has this problem or that problem, and together we create something that keeps the dog comfortable...that's what really matters to me. I suppose if I lived in an area where they cared more about proper trims, I would do more of them. It depends on what kind of clientele you have, or want to have.


    • #3
      YAY another MDer! I like big dogs too, but I don't know if that will change once I'm alone working mobile in a trailer. We'll see. I know a lot of mobiles don't do large because it's harder on the body, especially if they give you a hard time. Good luck! I'm picking mine up next weekend!


      • #4
        Pick up Notes from the Grooming Table and keep it in your van. It gives very detailed instructions for almost any breed you're likely to encounter and it's very comforting to know it's there for you if you blank on a breed's clip while you are alone in the van.

        Personally, I think I am weak at Poodle topknots and while I did lose one client during my first few months who did not like how I did his Poodle's topknot, I have quite a few other Poodle clients who are very happy with how I groom their dogs.

        I have a lot of Bichon Frises and with the exception of one owner, they all want their Bichons to have a Teddy Bear (aka Puppy) clip with a short face and head instead of the round Bichon head. A popular clip for the Bichons I groom is a #1 comb for the body with a 0 or A comb for the head and face. They like the neck to be short around where the collar goes.

        I use the ClipperVac for just about everything and do very little scissoring. When I graduated from school I was very competent with my shears, and I still am. At least once a week I try to schedule a dog that has a nice coat to scissor for the end of the day so I can take my time with it and get some practice in.

        But basically, I find my mobile clients are happy if I a) show up when I say I will; b) give them a clean, happy dog with c) no tufts or odd lengths sticking out. That's about it ... they aren't looking for a show groomer, they are looking for someone who is convenient and that their dog won't have to spend the whole day in a cage at a salon. I am very quick, which my clients seem to like -- a lot of the dogs that come my way have a history of not liking to be groomed so the quicker I can get them back to their routine the better.

        You'll be fine!



        • #5
          Hi I'm sure you will be fine.I known of other mobilers starting out straight from shcool and have been quite successful.Keep the grooming book on hand like suggested.With time you will be more confident with your skills and lots of practice.I remember when I first started working in a shop I would send dogs out hoping the owner did not come back complaining.We all go thru it some of us are better doing one breed than another.Good luck you are in for a treat of a proffesion.


          • #6
            While I have generally found big dogs easier, as well, once you become skilled at the small dogs, you'll realize these tend to be your loyal clientele base and that's why most people are willing to dismiss the goldens and such that you never know how often the owners will want groomed. The foo-foo dogs are your bread and butter!

            Good luck... I am buying a van as well!


            • #7
              Kellic, I do know how often the Goldens, Huskies and the like are going to be groomed if they are my clients: 8 weeks max. I don't groom any dog on a longer than 8 wk schedule, and once I get them hooked on Furminator those double coated dogs are in my van at least every 6 wks. Having these relatively quick bath dogs to sprinkle in my schedule lets me finish an eight dog day by 2:00 p.m. (I start around 7:30 a.m.).

              And if they weigh more than 60 lbs they have to be cooperative (get on the lowered table with minimal assistance, walk from the table to the tub over the plank, etc.). I don't fight with any "sitters" or other passive/aggressive behaviors. I'm not getting any younger so if I want to keep at this for another 20-odd years I have to be careful not to strain myself ;-)



              • #8
                I like the bigger dogs. If they are dummies and give me a hard time getting on the table, I make the owner help.
                If your dog is fat, you are not getting enough exercise!


                • #9
                  I agree with Meesh. You should have a good grooming reference guide with you. If you are unfamiliar with the breeds read up on how to groom it properly. You are a pet groomer ... customers like prompt appts. and clean "cute" dogs. My customers also appreciate it when I advise them on diet, brushing techniques and refer them to good vets, etc.

                  Yesterday, I groomed a matted havanese that the owner wanted the full havanese head. I hated the stripped (#7) body (w/Clydesdale boots) and the full head. I ended up banding a shih tzu top knot on the dog (which should not get a top knot) with a cute bow. Dog looked adorable and you could see her eyes. It still looked out of proportion, but at least she didn't look like a dog with a mop on top of her head. Customer was very happy.

                  Always remember, if the customer is happy you've done good job. I have a couple of customers who like [IMO] rediculous looking cuts on their dogs, but they always think their dog looks cute. {I just hope they don't tell their neighbors who groomed their dog.}