With the number of people owning pets dramatically increasing, so has the need for reliable pet related services, such as grooming. Becoming a groomer is a very interesting, versatile job role. It can be very physically challenging and you must have a great understanding of animal behaviour, anatomy, and coat types in order to perform the job well.
Training and Qualifications
Whilst there are no legal qualifications you need in order to become a groomer, ensuring you have the correct skillset prior to performing grooming services is essential for your business and reputation. If you want to stay safe, we strongly recommend taking a full face-to-face (NOT online) course that will prepare you in depth for the career.
Remember, you will need to learn about different breeds of dog, their different coats and how best to handle them. Most importantly, you must be aware of your own limitations. Do not take on a breed of dog, client or request that you do not feel comfortable or capable of doing.
Probably the most widely accepted dog-grooming courses in the UK are the City and Guilds Dog Grooming Certificates.
These are available at Level 2 (for people just starting without any experience, qualifying as a Dog Grooming Assistant)). Level 3 (for people who have their Level 2 and want to go independent). There is also a Level 3 Diploma for Professional Dog Stylists for those who want to make a fully fledged career in the sector.
Many Colleges and Further Education training establishments run these qualifications, and in many cases no previous qualifications are needed.
There is also a course, the iPET Network Level 3 Diploma in Dog Grooming and Salon Management, and a Level 4 Higher Professional Diploma, which are offered primarily in grooming salons and in work.
Key things you’ll need to learn…
Different pets have different coat lengths
Some dogs will even have varying types of coat and may carry two fur coats at once. You need to be aware of different coat lengths, their natural moults and how best to trim these coats in accordance with the weather to allow optimum thermoregulation.
There are many different shampoos on offer
Many shampoos will have different qualities that will benefit different breeds of dogs and types of coat. Relevant research and understanding of how best to apply products will benefit you in the grooming world!
Health and safety
There are lots of potential hazards to you and to the dog’s you’ll be working with. So it is essential to be able to minimise those risks for everyone’s sake!
Running a business
There are legal, financial and professional requirements when running a small business. So you’ll need to learn how to go about it if you don’t already have experience.
Communication is key. You must set expectations for the clients and receive the pet’s relevant clinical history in order for you to provide a good service. For example, learning about any allergies, the length of cut, any additional services they would like, home time, best number to contact the owner on etc. Being able to communicate with your client is vital and helps to develop trust that you will do the best job you can.
Understanding animal behaviour
As groomers, you will not be able to provide sedation; so you need to be able to groom, shower, trim and dry a dog who is completely aware of their surroundings. You will need to be able to restrain animals well and safely. But also understand when your animal is too scared and their limitations have been met.
You must learn how to use multiple different types of equipment in order to create new styles and cuts. The grooming world is ever developing, so there will always be new skills for you to learn and offer to clients. Discuss with local kennels and veterinary practices about creating business links so you can share clients. This a quick way to build up a client base.
Some final tips…
Before you start grooming, ensure you have the correct insurance policies in place
This is vital when working with any animal because they can be unpredictable. You need to ensure you are covered for any damage to yourself, the pet, plus your own equipment. Be sure to get relevant documents signed in advance of providing services for clients.
Advertisement is important for any business
You need to know how to sell your services. Advertisement can be in the form of posters, social media reach or even representing yourself at local shows. Becoming a groomer is something you can do as a self-employed venture. This means you can create a job that works around your lifestyle, choosing your own prices, working hours and holidays. You can even choose between working in a shop location or as a mobile service, in a van kitted out with the necessary equipment.
Becoming a groomer requires time and dedication but with the correct mindset, you can create a successful business model. It is important to speak to other groomers and learn about the profession before embarking on a career in this area to ensure you feel it is definitely the career path for you.