The other day I was joyfully posting on Facebook, feeling very positive about my business and career. I’d just had a conversation with a client. She had worked for a large well-known company for 33 years and had just been laid off with one month’s severance. Now she was scrambling to find a job.
All I could think was --- Thank you pet grooming!
I believe you can have job security in pet grooming. Our job can never be outsourced overseas or computerized. Pets will always need grooming.
We can take our business and our skills anywhere we go. We can be our own boss and build loyal, caring clientele whether we are shop, home, house call or mobile.
Even the economy agrees. The pet industry is booming and grows bigger every year. It has seen steady growth from $20 billion in total U.S. sales in 1995 to over $60 billion in 2015. It is estimated that 70-80 million dogs and 74-96 million cats are owned in the United States.
Approximately 42% of all households in the United States have a dog, and 33% have a cat. Many require grooming. As the economy improves and people have extra money in their pockets, more people will own pets. This translates into more business for groomers.
In terms of success, Michele Peterson feels mobile pet groomers have defied statistics. She read an article in the Washington Post that stated many small businesses struggle and a majority fail within the first five years. However the mobile pet grooming industry continues to grow and flourish.
Mobile pet groomers turn business away. There is that much opportunity and demand. They expand; purchase another vehicle or trailer and hire employees. Often, when a mobile client moves to a new area, they cannot find a new mobile stylist to take their place. On social media I see many mobile stylists, men and women, every age and locale, including rural that have thriving, successful mobile grooming businesses.
Why have pet stylists become so successful? They are passionate. They love what they do! They are smarter, more skilled, business savvy, and more creative than ever before. Groomers I know have a calling and have lifelong careers in the grooming industry. I know when I started grooming; my “switch” went on everyday. I know the joy and enthusiasm that I felt about grooming was as clear to the clients and pets, as it was to me.
Pet salons are in the same situation. Many are expanding by moving to a larger facility, hiring more groomers, more bathers, adding creative services, Asian styling, and adding mobile services. “Cat’s only” brick and mortar salons are on the rise. You see more and more mobile grooming units on the road that cater strictly to felines. The sky’s the limit when talking cat grooming.
Groomers are even creating their own niche in the pet industry. Randi Sands specializes in Coat Carving and teaches it to others. Sheryl Woods is a holistic cat groomer. She recommends, “Specialize in a niche market and strive to be the best in it.”
What are the secrets to job security in the grooming industry?
- Let the passion you feel about your business shine through. Your clients and pets will feel the dedication. Be 100% committed to what you do everyday. When I wasn’t grooming, I was still thinking about it. I know other pet stylists who are just like me.
- Take a sincere interest in each client and pet, with a focus on customer service. Tina Marie Degati talks to every customer about their pet’s personality and grooming experience. “It’s the little things that become big for the client.” Eve Gestl states, “Take the time it takes to build relationships with your clients that establish trust.” I let my customers know they are special and appreciated.
- Customize your business to fit YOU. Teri DiMarino sold her salon sixteen years ago and now has a private salon in her home with grooming “by invitation only.” She has less than forty clients and loves it. Groomers work part time, full time, Saturdays, evenings, for themselves, or others. This wide variety of business models contribute to a longer lifespan in the grooming industry. Rhonda Landolfi works six half days a week, so she can ride her horse every afternoon
- Network! Build relationships with fellow groomers. Many will send overflow clients your way and help you build your business. Groomers have reciprocal relationships with others and are happy to refer. Groomers may specialize in big dogs, hand scissoring, elderly pets, or cats. It is always a good feeling to see a match between groomer, client, and pet.
- Use social media to its greatest advantage. Being online gives Tanya Diekman the ability to share ideas and communicate with thousands of pet stylists throughout world. This contributes to an easy accessible learning environment where groomers share information on every topic under the sun.
- Let continuing education be your mantra. Don’t stop learning. Be involved in one grooming convention a year, take seminars, visit social media grooming groups, get certified, watch videos, webinars, you tubes, ask questions, read books, listen to podcasts. Interact with other groomers on Instagram and Twitter. Stay on top of breakaway new talent in the industry and latest trends, including holistic dog and cat grooming. Find out what is happening in your state, in respect to licensing.
Take advantage of all that is available in our industry. Use it to be a pet stylist that is so good that your services are always in demand. These groomers look at the big picture of their business and see the sun shine. This is how you plant the seeds for job security in the pet industry. Devote the time, energy, and love it takes to do it right. Your appointment book will be full and your phone will always be ringing.
Ellen Ehrlich is a mobile pet stylist who loves to think, talk, read, and write about pet grooming. Next to grooming, Ellen loves to empower, motivate, and inspire other groomers. Ellen is the author of The Successful Pet Groomer, Go Mobile And Succeed, and 49 Essays On Pet Grooming. For more information go to: www.gomobileandsucceed.com