Dog Grooming?

Discussion in 'General Distance Learning Discussions' started by JenniferLPN, Oct 22, 2005.

  1. JenniferLPN

    JenniferLPN New Member

    I wonder what kind of market there is for dog grooming? Education Direct has a program that is like $800.

    I'm a nurse but sometimes would like to be able to do something fun. Something that isn't as stressful as what I'm doing now.

    Am I crazy??

  2. decimon

    decimon Well-Known Member

  3. tschneider

    tschneider New Member

    When I was doing my undergraduate degree which was totally B&M at Wayland Baptist U. I was a dog groomer to help support myself while attending school full time. I didn't go to school for it, I had a friend that owned her own shop and she trained me.

    It is a VERY physical job and dirty too as many of the dogs are filthy or full of fleas and ticks, but you can make good money. It requires of course a love of animals, but tons of patience as you get little pooches in who don't want to be groomed, so sometimes you may get snapped at. I groomed for three years and was about to get out of it as I was graduating, and was bragging to someone that I had NEVER been bit. That very week I got bit in my face by a little "fear biter." It was painful, but hurt my feelings more that the little sh*t bit me! :(

    Dog grooming is stressful, but in a different way then what you're use to as being a nurse. I would suggest if you're really interested in it, call your local Petsmart grooming department, they use to have a training program where they had on-the-job training and you were paid a set amount while in training. The only thing you have to buy is your clippers and scissors and other supplies.
  4. Ted Heiks

    Ted Heiks Moderator and Distinguished Senior Member

    Jenn: I don't necessarily think you're crazy. But there are a few things to consider. For starters, compare what you are currently making as a nurse with what you could be making with a dog grooming business. If the dog grooming business is a step down economically, have you kept your personal expenses low enough to be able to afford the reduction in income? Even if the dog grooming business has greater economic potential, realize, of course, that, as with any business, the dog grooming business may take awhile to build up to that potential. In that case, you may wish to keep your job as a nurse and work the dog grooming business around that schedule until that one fine day finally arrives when you ultimately make more money as a dog groomer than you do as a nurse and then you can quit your nursing job and do dog grooming full-time. Just my $0.02.
  5. Ted Heiks

    Ted Heiks Moderator and Distinguished Senior Member


    1. How many dogs are there in your community? (If you can't find that info, then how many people are there in your community, and what percentage of the people own dogs?)

    2. How many dog groomers (or pet groomers) do you see in your friendly neighborhood local phone book?

    3. How much does one charge for grooming a dog? (Hint: The dog groomers in your local phone book would know.)

    You might get a book on how to start your own pet grooming business. You might also look up Robert Morse Associates and find the SIC (standard industry classification) code for dog grooming businesses and find in RMA the industry averages for the financials on a dog grooming business.

    Just my $0.02.
  6. tschneider

    tschneider New Member

    There will always be a market for dog grooming as there are always dog owners. :)

    I forgot to mention pay. When I groomed, it is basically the same principle as hairdressers in that you "rent" the booth. So just starting out as a new groomer, it may be a 30/70 split with you getting 30% of the grooming price. As you get more experienced, it normally goes to a 50/50 or 60/40 split. So if the average dog costs $35.00 to groom (some will be much more as charges are based on size, breed, what needs to be done, etc.) you would get whatever percentage you and the shop owner agreed upon. It takes several years of practice to really be good enough to say open your own shop, people are more picky about their dogs then their children (seriously!). Also in grooming shops there are "bathers" these are the people that bath and dry the dogs for the groomers, they also get a percentage of the grooming price. Some groomers just bathe their own clients in order to save the expense of paying a bather.

    As a college student, just working part-time I made $300 - $400 per week, and this was in the early 90's...grooming prices are increase!
  7. spmoran

    spmoran Member

    Rokay, Raggie!

    You know, before I bought my two little maniacs (one Lhasa Apso and one Shi Tzu) I would have thought there wasn't a big call for this. Then I started having them groomed monthly. Our groomer is less expensive than others in the area ($60/mo for both), but since we keep them in puppy cuts all year any shortage of skills she may or may not have is not noticeable. Anyhow, sixty bucks times twelve, and she is always booked.

    There are (4) pet grooming outfits right on the same main drag as ours, plus Petco and Petsmart have grooming operations (oh, look honey, we can watch the puppies shiver and yelp through the window. How adorable!). And mind you, this is not Seattle where people have more money than brains, this is south of Tacoma.

    My big concern would be paying something like $800 for (in essence) a book, since this is (I am assuming) distance learning. Why not just buy the book from and get an internship with a groomer? You'll need that anyway. I don't think our groomer needed a degree in doggie-dooing to rent her double-wide puppy palace.

    And as for money, this is timeless advice: Do what you love and money will follow. Take it from someone who has been at both ends of the financial spectrum twice. I've worked for $100/hr and been miserable because the work sucked (to me). Do what you love. Then we die...
  8. uncle janko

    uncle janko member

    ...See? There's always a catch.
  9. Guest

    Guest Guest

    Doctorate in Dog Grooming

    Don't spend the $800!

    Ironically, only a few hours ago I bought an Oster Home Grooming Kit at PetSmart for $39 (plus tax). Included was a DVD by Chris Pawlosky CMG (certified master groomer), instructing the buyer "how easy it is to give your dog a haircut." Chris is winner of the NDGAA Groomer of the Decade Award, and also a professional handler, breeder and grooming show judge. No degree mill dog groomer here.

    After I watch the DVD and apply the lessons learned to my six year old brown English Cocker Spaniel, I plan to make application for the DDG (Doctorate in Dog Grooming) at Rushmore University.
  10. Kit

    Kit New Member

    decimon: funny point on stress as well as cute pic of the Rottweiler, but Rotties don't require a groomer unless their owners are too lazy to give their own dogs a bath.

    Jennifer: Like others have said, don't spend money on any training program for grooming especially since Petsmart has free training programs. You would have to serve an apprenticeship anyway, so why not try it out while getting paid training instead of paying for training? If you work per diem as a nurse then maybe you would be able to try the Petsmart program on a part-time basis.

    Like others have said though, pet services isn't going to be stress-free or even necessarily "fun". Due to fear, most animals hate the groomer, the vet, the vet assistant, and the veterinary technologist.

  11. DesElms

    DesElms New Member


    You're absolutely not crazy. I know lots of nurses who sometimes think it would be more interesting to tend to animals than to people. But I caution you: Don't judge the entire profession based on your LPN experience. LPNs get all the grunt work that the RNs don't want to do (as I'm sure you know). Before you abandon your profession, consider getting your BSN and upgrading to RN status... then see how you like it.

    But let's assume, for a moment, that you don't need that kind of advice and just want to know about the dog grooming thing. Fine. You've gotten all the right advice in this thread about being cautious, how to make your decision, etc. It's all good. Consider all of it.

    However, if you decide you'd like to do it, by all means start by taking the program. That someone can buy a grooming kit in a pet store makes no difference. You can buy a lawnmower at Home Depot, too... but landscapers/gardeners/mowing services still make money. I know a guy who does nothing but wash windows on upscale homes in rich neighborhoods. He has a law degree and I'm sure could pass the bar... but he's makin' money hand-over-fist.

    But listen... lemmee tell you an angle on the dog grooming thing that will make it more interesting for you and might make the difference between being successful or not: Mobile dog grooming. I kid you not.

    There's a company in Northcentral Indiana that sells franchises (including the vehicle, all customized for the task)... and apparently the numbers look pretty good. The problem is, one should never franchise when one can just do it themselves. The biggest thing that company supplies is the vehicle. I looked at the "know how" kinds of things that one gets for his/her franchise dollars, and it's not anything special. Mostly this company is selling trucks.

    Well, heck... you can buy a used bus or something and get it customized so it's just like the inside of one of those franchise vehicles for a fraction of the cost! I don't know what kind of connections you have, but I can pick-up used buses of virtually any size, age and condition for peanuts. Oh, sure, once bought, they may need $2,000 worth of work... but that $2,000 plus what you paid for the vehicle is but a fraction of what said vehicle would cost new. Then, thereafter, all you'd need to do is trick-out the inside so it's just like what the franchise people sell (which is easy... you can see pictures of it and an equipment list right on their web site); then get the outside painted-up real nice with your logo and marketing slogan, phone number, etc.; then get your business license, insurance... all that kinda' stuff. Get in the yellow pages. Get into the penny shopper publications. Hand out cards/brochures... and put stacks of them at veterinarian's offices, animal shelters, pet stores, etc. In fact, pay people for referrals. Just use all the standard marketing techniques that you can just naturally intuit. Heck, that's all those franchise dudes tell you in the "know how" part of what they provide for your franchise fee.

    According to their numbers, you'll be making a full-time living in less than a year... and will have all your equipment paid-off in less than three... and remember, they're talking about their new equipment! Yours would be paid-off much, much sooner.

    You just set the appointments and go to people's houses and groom in your truck right out front, at the curb. Apparently what happens is their neighbors see your truck and while you're grooming one guy's dog, three other neighbors walk up -- some with their dogs on leash right then and there -- and ask if you'll take their dog, too. This, apparently, happens even more frequently in well-to-do neighborhoods. After all while you start having regular days in various neighborhoods and it just keeps growing. Setting-up days at local community centers where you're set up in the parking lot and people know you're coming because you had a poster or two in the community center for a few weeks in advance apparently also works well, they say.

    And you can hook-up with pet stores or shelters and have a "grooming day" where you set-up in a parking lot and people know you're coming in advance, etc.

    Then there are dog shows. Apparently these mobile groomers who happen to be in towns where there are dog shows make a freakin' killing during the several days that the show's in town.

    I have a relative who was starting to get real serious about this for a while about three years ago; and she asked me to help her check it out... that's how I know so much about it. Her husband threatened to divorce her if she did, though... so she didn't follow-up in the end. But, while her momentum was still going, we sent-off for the franchise information and looked at all the photos and numbers and everything. The truth is, if you did it in the right area and worked really hard on the marketing part of it at first, the experience of that franchisor's clients seems to be that it can be quite a lucrative thing. We called about a half dozen of them all over the country and they all had varying stories, of course... but a couple of them were makin' some serious money... and, because they were dog lovers to start with, they were havin' the time of their lives.

    The kind of vehicle that's best is one of those smaller buses that they use at airports to transport people from the airport to their hotels; or from the airport to the rental car area. Not the ones that are just Ford 350 utility vans with a fiberglass riser on the roof so people can stand-up in them... but the next size up from that... the ones that... well... lemmee stop describing and see if I can find and post or link-to a photo...

    [time passes]

    Okay... something like one of the buses on this web page... only they make them even taller and wider than that if you know where to look. That's what you need. You can pick 'em up, used, for anywhere from $3,500 to $25,000 all day long. Then you'd just need to spend maybe $2,000 on mechanical work to bring it to ship shape; then you'd just outfit the inside with the tables/counters, wash tubs, etc. Then have a real pro do the artwork on the outside so it looks like a high-end, professional operation, and away you'd go!

    So take the course and see if you'd like doing that kinda' thing. Then, if you need help putting everything else together, let me know and I'll steer you in the right directions.

    Or not, if you're not interested. Just offering a little helpful info. Do with it what you will.
  12. Ted Heiks

    Ted Heiks Moderator and Distinguished Senior Member

    Re: Rokay, Raggie!

    And here I thought it was just Bellevue where people had more money than common sense.
  13. miguelstefan

    miguelstefan New Member

    You are not crazy. Check out PCDI's Animal Care Specialist Program

    Decimon that is one beutiful and perfect rottweiler. Is it yours? Mine, Spike (RIP, 1989-2005) died recently of old age. I still miss him. Anyway, now I got a female puppy labrador to take of until she grows up.

    All Dogs go to Heaven and get Honorary PhDs. All Cats go to Hell and get PLA MBAs.:D
  14. decimon

    decimon Well-Known Member


    Not mine. If you'd like to practice your portugués... Pelosepatas
  15. spmoran

    spmoran Member

    No, Ted, it is pretty much all of King County nowadays. My wife and I toodled up to the Pike Place Market today and she joked about moving up to Belltown where I work. When she saw how much it costs to live in Seattle proper these days she was quite shocked. That's not to say that Pierce or Snohomish counties are any bargains, but Seattle is moving into (or is already in?) L.A. and San Diego prices. Too bad it's not a great city like Vancouver, B.C. or even Portland, OR. It has truly terrible government, abominal public schooling, sucky sports teams that are partly funded by unwilling taxpayers and a giant football school that is something of a government unto itself (complete with the arrogant attitudes usually posessed by elite public officials). At least the UW passes out top quality steroids to it's athletes. Oh, well, didn't mean to get off on a rant on Skiddadle, but...I did anyway.

    Bellevue is actually growing into a quite a large city. It is next to a smaller city called Issaquah, the name of which is Indian for "can't afford to live in Bellevue". :D
  16. Kirkland

    Kirkland Member

    Hi Jenn,

    Stress can come about from different sources. With grooming, the way to make any money is sustained volume (anywhere from 10-15 dogs per day). This causes a treadmill which can be very stressful after awhile. I know a groomer who has been doing this for many years and works harder than most people I know. Might be a candidate for "Dirty Jobs"... not to mention another fun part which is the constant barking from wet, scared, lonely, hungry pooches. To give you an idea of what I mean... remember the scene where Morgan Earp gets shot in the movie Tombstone?

    Wyatt: "...would somebody shut up that goddam dog!!!"
  17. Ted Heiks

    Ted Heiks Moderator and Distinguished Senior Member

    Yes, indeed, I knew about Issaquah being that little town just east of Bellevue. But I should have included Redmond and Woodinville as places where people have more money than common sense.
  18. JenniferLPN

    JenniferLPN New Member

    Wow... ya'll have really given me a lot to think about. As to the one post about getting my RN. That is what I am currently working on through Excelsior. I still plan on completing that and probably still working part time as a nurse. I've always wanted to work with animals though and sometimes think that I missed my calling. I think I should have become a vet rather than a nurse... but becoming a nurse is much simpler.

    There is no distance ed programs for becoming a vet is there? I somehow doubt it very much.


    Thanks for all the info.
  19. sentinel

    sentinel New Member

    Jennifer, I once came across a pre-vet degree offered via distance education. Although now I cannot recall the web site containing the information. Veterinarians typically earn less than a nurse (RN) but that does not seem to be a concern for you. :)
  20. TCord1964

    TCord1964 New Member

    I'm not sure about four-year programs, but there are a number of two-year Veterinary Technology programs. They don't train you to be a veterinarian, but a veterinary assistant. I believe you can eventually transfer the AS degree into a four-year Veterinary Science or Veterinary Technology degree. Here is one distance program I found, at a great school, too.

    Becoming a veterinarian is no easy feat. It requires several years of study, and I have heard from a few people it is every bit as difficult as becoming a medical doctor I'm not trying to discourage you, just let you know what is involved.

    As for dog grooming, consider trying it on a part-time basis with someone who will train you to see if you even enjoy the work. It would be a shame to spend a few hundred dollars on a training program just to learn that you can't stand the work.

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