Recently a new grooming salon opened up very near my spa. Before opening, the new business owner paid my spa a visit on three occasions, picking up my brochure and price list...and even brought along a "friend" to take a tour, whom was considering having his dog groomed at my establishment. Yeah, right. I was well aware of what was happening and I have to admit that this brazen behavior really bothered me. At any rate, the new place opened and the undercutting began. Basic grooms were cheap...really cheap...$30 cheap. We are higher in price than many of the grooming salons around the area. But, we are a premium services salon. Our pricing includes coat conditioning, expressing of anal glands and dremeling of nails, to mention a few procedures included in our grooming sessions. We don't "nickle and dime you to death" as one client referred to her experience there. When the new place opened we lost a few price shoppers. That's OK, the deal seekers are not typically loyal clients to begin with. We had some try the new place and then come back. So after giving the situation a great deal of thought, I concluded that pet owners take many things for granted, when trying to find a dog groomer. After all, the first question we typically get is "how much do you charge to groom a ..." Most dog owners have no idea that there are no training or licensing requirements to do this work. Many have no idea what grooming entails or how directly grooming impacts the comfort, health and wellbeing of their beloved pet.
I believe an educated pet owner is the best pet owner...so I wrote the article below for our well-read, local community magazine, and the response was quite good. Feel free to use it yourself if you feel as strongly about the points made as I do, just be sure you give credit to the writer.
A great resource for dog owners is: www.findagroomer.com I found it very helpful when researching for this short piece.
Finding a Dog Groomer
by Karla Addington-Smith NCMG
There are no training requirements to become a professional dog groomer. Unlike the human hairstylist industry, grooming is not a field that requires vocational licensing or even professional certification. Though voluntary certification through a few professional grooming organizations is available, it is estimated that only 15% of those working as groomers have achieved the title of Certified Master Groomer. Keep in mind that one may be a member of the organization without being certified. Even the big-box pet stores have minimal training and experience requirements for their groomers. As a pet owner, National Certified Master Groomer, and advocate for mandatory training and licensing, I find this frightening!
For your pet’s comfort and health, he or she should be groomed professionally on a regular basis. For your peace of mind and pet’s safety, it’s important that you feel confident that your pet is cared for by an experienced and compassionate individual.
There are a few important questions you should ask the prospective groomer before scheduling your pet’s first appointment.
What To Ask
1. Does the establishment require proof of vaccinations? Be aware if the answer is no. The transferring of some canine diseases from pet to pet does not require direct contact. Some pets can be vaccinated and still be carriers. The answer to this one question speaks volumes about how the salon is managed.
2. What type of training does the groomer have? Does salon staff attend continuing education programs? Is the groomer experienced in your breed? Admittedly, it is impossible to surmise a fair opinion about the establishment from a single phone conversation, so it is a good idea to visit the salon before making the appointment.
What To Look For
1. Is the salon clean? Grooming is a messy job, but working with pets is no excuse for filth and foul odors.
2. Where will your pet be housed when it is not being groomed? Do the cages appear to be clean and in good condition? Is the area ventilated and temperature controlled? Are there barriers to prevent your pet from escaping?
3. Does the salon use professionally formulated products? There are salons that actually use dishwashing detergent to bathe your pet. This practice can create a painful ulceration if gotten into the eyes, and will cause severe drying and irritation to its skin, resulting in excessive scratching.
4. How are salon towels handled? Groomers see pets with skin disorders on a daily basis. Reusing towels without washing and disinfecting is unsanitary and can spread disease and parasites.
5. How are pets with external parasites handled? Are these pets isolated and treated immediately? The transferring of parasites and disease from pet to pet are two reasons why pets should not be allowed to roam around the salon. Roaming pets are a distraction creating a potential hazard when working on a moving object with sharp instruments.
Finding the right groomer for your beloved best friend is important for your pet’s comfort, and health. Visit the salon and trust your instincts. Your pet will enjoy the grooming session more if you are comfortable with leaving him. Pets pick up on the parent’s anxiety and apprehension creating a sense of discomfort and fear, while parents that feel calm and confident set the tone for a positive and enjoyable grooming experience.
Well...speaking of finding a dog groomer...
A Fortunate Dog Spa, Maineville, Ohio, has an opening for a professional stylist. We offer an unmatched atmosphere where emphasis is placed on the comfort and wellbeing of the pets we groom. We strive to provide an enjoyable and rewarding work experience for stylists including manageable ratio of stylist to pets, and experienced bathers. We are a quality driven, premium services salon.
Applicants must possess a high work ethic, genuine love and compassion for animals, a heart for learning and a strong sense of teamwork, with a minimum of two years of experience in the artistry of grooming.
Applicant must possess good scissor and clipper skills and a desire to grow and learn. If you are working in a high stress salon and have a desire to enjoy grooming again, this is a great opportunity for someone who is interested in building a rewarding career. We encourage and support continuing education through trade shows and grooming competition. Commission based compensation, and flexible scheduling. Contact Karla Addington-Smith at [email protected] or 513-583-5800