Editor's Note: This is the second part of our interview with Illinois groomer Jolie McGrath. In part one, Jolie told us how she always knew she wanted to be a pet groomer and talked about the six rescue dogs she has at home.
In part two, Jolie will talk about what she's learned from running her own grooming business, plus detail some of the improvements she's made to her shop to make animals more comfortable.
Happy Pet Parlor
Elk Grove Village, IL
"The best part of owning my own business is being able to help out others. At my old job, I wasn't allowed to groom rescue dogs for free, to help out friends and family members who needed jobs or couldn't afford grooming, or give seniors a discount.
"I also love feeling at home while working, I am so happy and comfortable here and the dogs can feel that.
"My biggest challenge has been properly educating clients on what is best for their dog, especially if it is not what they had in mind coming in.
"Some customers don't realize that their dogs are matted, or are too pushy about asking us to complete a service when their pet is aggressive, or insist that we shave or trim a double coated-breed and then get mad when the fur doesn't grow back.
"We now have a release form along with photographs that customers have to sign when they want a double-coated breed trimmed.
"We also have some issues with customers refusing to follow our policies, but luckily most people are really understanding."
5. Do you have any grooming tips to share?
- We had had problems with dogs getting their toes stuck in cage grates, so we use cabinet/drawer liners to cover the grates. It is really cheap for a roll and can be cut to fit
- Lavender oil really calms everyone down, so I burn it and make a spray out of the oil
- We use a hanging plastic shoe holder (above) to organize customer collars, leads and client sheets
- At check-in, we let the pet watch the pet parent leave, instead of taking the pet away first. This helps the pet to calm down
- We never ever yell at the dogs because it makes them think we are unstable
- Our cage-free cubbies (above) cost about $300 total to build and can house four big or small dogs. Our big dog clients love them, and people come from all over the area because we are the only shop that has them
- We ask pet parents not to return to the shop before we call them so the dog does not get too excited before it is done being groomed
- Our client sign-in sheet (above) helps to promote upgrades and eliminate misunderstandings
- We use Elizabethan collars instead of muzzles to protect against bites while grooming
- I bought fake fur (above) from a fabric store and shaved it different lengths so customers can see the lengths and we can agree beforehand on what version of "shaved" they had in mind
More from Jolie: "I have been so excited to do this interview and be involved with PetEdge. I bought my first grooming tools from you over 10 years ago. I have watched your company grow, add a new shipment location, and get so many awesome new products. Your Master Grooming tools scissors are my favorites."