If you love animals, then having a career as a pet groomer is extremely rewarding. Maintaining the appearance of pets is what groomers specialize in. Becoming a pet groomer allows you to either start your own pet grooming business, including a mobile unit, but many pet groomers are also employed in the pet supply businesses, at kennels, or veterinary clinics.
Mobile grooming businesses are booming because of the convenience they offer, especially to the owners of larger dog breeds and cats, which are both more difficult to transport. Additionally, home pet grooming allows pets to stay in an environment familiar to them.
Tasks performed by groomers include trimming and styling pet fur, nail clipping, bathing, and cleaning pet ears. Pet groomers must also know how to book appointments, and recommend and sell products. They offer an invaluable service because they often identify health problems in pets that require attention from a vet.
Pet Grooming Market Insights
In the latest U.S. Industry Outlook and Forecast report for the period 2021-2026, the size of the pet grooming services market is expected to reach $6 billion in 2026. This means it will grow at a compound annual growth rate of 5% during this period.
The total revenue of the whole pet industry stood at $99 billion in 2020, despite the pandemic. The pet grooming services sector makes up 42% of the pet industry, and this sector is expected to grow by 38% during the period forecast in the report.
Meanwhile, growing awareness about pet health is driving the use of organic, non-toxic shampoos and conditioners for the grooming industry. Pet safety and health are increasingly becoming a point of concern for groomers and pet owners. Therefore, increasingly technological innovations are driving the growth of the market by accelerating the demand for better and more efficient pet grooming products, appliances, and services.
Pet Groomer Duties & Responsibilities
There are several duties that a pet groomer is called to perform:
- Bathing pets and cutting their fur
- Detangling long or matted hair
- Drying and styling their coats
- Checking for skin conditions and parasites
- Trimming pet nails
- Cleaning the ears of cats and dogs
- Clearing blocked anal sacs
- Teeth brushing
- Beautifying pets by adding bows, nail polish, etc.
- Ensure all equipment and areas are sanitized
- Appointment scheduling
- Recommending the right products for home use
Additionally, as a groomer, you must be prepared to accommodate any special grooming requests from the owner and inform them of any health issues you discover during the grooming process.
There is a chance that you may get a few bites and scratches as you work, but pet grooming is not a dangerous job. However, since you will be working hands-on with pets, it is good to take safety precautions.
In the U.S., pet owners are required to provide proof of vaccinations to their groomers as a prerequisite for booking an appointment.
Education Steps Required for a Career as a Pet Groomer
Step 1: High School Diploma
As a prospective dog groomer, you must have a high school diploma, or its equivalent, when seeking work, seeking an apprenticeship, or applying for a formal training course.
Step 2: Understand Job Requirements
Pet grooming is challenging work that requires you to get dirty, and it is also physically tiring. You won’t just care for happy and healthy pets but will have to deal with some difficult cases that have very matted fur or irritating skin conditions. Read up about what to expect in the job requirements because you need to have genuine caring for animals and a passion for the job. Also, try and groom a few dogs to see what the task entails.
Step 3: Get some experience
Two places where you can get some pet grooming experiences are to either volunteer at a shelter or assist another groomer. In either of these jobs, you will gain experience working on different breeds of cats and dogs, some more aggressive than others. By working with pets, you will get a better idea about what to expect, and decide if you are suited for this type of work.
Understanding the official cuts and styles preferred by the owners of some cat and dog breeds is important. Many of these pet owners are involved in dog or cat shows, and it is important to follow the official standards as laid out by organizations like the American Kennel Club or the Cat Fanciers’ Association.
Step 4: Getting formal training
It is possible to learn pet grooming entirely on the job by working as a grooming assistant or apprentice. However, attending a professional grooming school or certification program, of which there are several in all the states of the U.S., can offer you a wealth of knowledge, hands-on experience, and certification.
You can also take an exam at the National Dog Groomers Association of America (NDGAA). Once you have completed and passed the written and practical exams you receive a National Certified Master Groomer certificate.
Length of time to getting certification
Depending on the course (there are a few online ones too), training takes anything from 150 hours to 600 hours. An apprenticeship can take from 6 – 10 weeks. Programs at any of the 50 state-approved grooming courses last from two to eighteen weeks.
Formal training is not a requirement for starting your own pet grooming business.
What are the qualities of a good pet groomer?
Besides your love for animals, if you want a successful career as a pet groomer, certain qualities are essential:
- A good understanding of animal behavior so that you can keep them calm and safe while in your care.
- You require excellent customer service skills that allow you to listen to requests and understand each client’s needs.
- Superb grooming skills with knowledge of different pet breeds and their grooming requirements.
- Managing pets of all shapes, sizes, and temperaments can be both physical and mentally exhausting, so you require stamina.
- Teamwork and collaboration skills are a must since you won’t only have to interact with clients but also with your co-workers.
- Recognizing common pet ailments is essential so that you can inform pet owners of some of the most common illnesses, including parasite infections, skin irritations, and allergies.
- Being able to use analytical skills to assess the condition and behavior of each pet you are grooming.
What salary can you expect from a Career as a Pet Groomer?
There are several salary combinations pet groomers work on, this varies according to where they work. Whether you work on a salary or a combination of salary and commission, you can also expect your salary to be based on how many pets you groom during the day.
According to Salary.com, the average animal groomer and bather salary in October 2021 in the U.S. is $35,472, with a range of between $28,973 and $44,269. These ranges include several factors like skills, certifications, experience, and even the state you live in.
Benefits of becoming a pet groomer
Whether you start your own business or work for others, one of the most important benefits of becoming a pet groomer is that you can have flexible working hours. This often includes having time off over weekends and major holidays.
What to expect from your work environment?
As a dog groomer, you have a choice of several types of work environments, depending on where you like to work. Whether you like to work alone or as part of a team, you can either set up your own business or join an existing grooming salon. You may prefer to join the team at a veterinary clinic, at a kennel, or in a large pet store.
If you prefer to be out and about during the day, you may prefer to join the team at a mobile grooming service or to start your own mobile unit. There is also the possibility of joining the circuit of pet owners who take part in pet shows, offering them grooming services.
Getting your first pet groomer job?
Whether you have pet grooming certification, experience, or want to learn next to someone else, there are several options available for you to find volunteer work, an apprenticeship, or your first job.
Several online resources have postings for pet groomer positions. These positions are either at pet grooming businesses, animal hospitals, veterinary clinics, kennels, or pet stores.
If you want to volunteer your services, contact the animal care shelters, breeders, and veterinary clinics in your area.
Additionally, if you want professional guidance as you start your career, you can look for apprenticeships with experienced pet groomers in your area.
Connecting with pet groomers
The best pet groomers are never short of work. Whether you decide to use your qualifications to open your own pet grooming business or plan to work in any of the other establishments requiring your services, you can be sure you have chosen a fulfilling career path.
Once you get your Pet Grooming Business off the ground, you’ll need Pet Grooming Software to manage your business. Start a free trial at www.groomsoft.com and find out why other Groomers Love Groomsoft. In addition to being user friendly, you can talk to customer support without jumping through hoops. Another great benefit of Groomsoft is that you can connect with many Groomers in our private Facebook Group.