Who Are Groomers
Most pet groomers enter the pet grooming industry following careers outside of the pet industry. At one time a significant number of groomers entered the industry following military duty. Today sources for career seekers are far more diverse because the marketplace for grooming services matured in the 1990’s. New developments changed where pet owners could find grooming services, such as retail superstores with grooming departments and the expansion of mobile grooming nationwide. The Internet also spread the word about career opportunities and educational opportunities for groomers.
Corporate stores have made a major impact. In the early 1980s we wrote articles predicting pet superstores would grow in number and add grooming services. That brought many laughs and jabs. We were confident and based our opinion on more than 20 years of field experience in grooming up to that time. Experience and participation in your industry bolsters your intuition, and along with some patience time proved us right.
At one time pet groomers could only go to pet retail trade shows. There were few or no grooming trade shows like today. Grooming competitions served as entertainment for non-groomers at the retail shows. They were exciting and we remember the excitement and flash bulbs going off adding to the glitz of these events.
Before entering the industry we suggest career seekers attend a grooming trade show. What better way to immerse yourself among the diversity of pet groomers? It’s like Disneyland for kids. Watch the grooming competitions and sample lectures. Stroll the exhibition area lined with booths. There’s so much to learn about tools, equipment and supplies. If the prospect of attending a trade show excites you that’s a good sign. Some decades ago pet grooming didn’t have its own trade shows. Through the hard work of production companies we have several trade shows each year, and thereby pet grooming has gained more respect.
Respect is important. Grooming didn’t have anywhere near the amount of respect it does today just a few decades ago. The retail sector of the pet industry overshadowed services. In the 1960’s Madeline Ogle reminded her retail contacts of the importance of pet grooming. She would ask, “How many pet owners would own dogs and cats if they had to groom their pets? Wouldn’t a reduction in pet ownership result in fewer retail sales?” She was right. Pet grooming continues to bolster retail sales growth. Today, pet superstores have grooming departments because it increases foot traffic through their retail displays and thereby boosts retail sales. Career seekers are fortunate that there is more respect for pet grooming today.
Diversity of the Industry
Pet superstores have actually been a boon to career seekers, and to the industry. Corporate stores introduced new grooming training alternatives. More American consumers assumed an expanded viewpoint towards pet grooming services. If a billion dollar corporation offers pet grooming services, there must be a sound reason. There are people that think that way.
It’s positive for the public to see a growing number of pet grooming signs in commercial strip centers or “box stores.” A few decades ago pet groomers were isolated in kennel departments. Now pet grooming is on Main St. and in major shopping malls promoting the public’s perception of grooming as an ordinary purchase they should consider. Pet grooming has become more convenient and frees pet owners from grooming concerns.
More important to you as a career seeker is the fact that pet superstores offer a new career path. Most of them offer grooming training options. Experienced grooming managers can earn some of the best wages and benefits in the grooming industry. The lack of benefits offered by many independents is a real detriment for career seekers accustomed to employee benefits. Pet superstores generally offer some of the best employee benefits in pet grooming.
The Internet has played the most important role in recruiting people from diverse backgrounds into grooming. The majority of career seekers surveyed by PetGroomer.com indicated the Internet was their primary source of grooming career information.
When career seekers find PetGroomer.com resources it’s like discovering treasure. We dedicate PetGroomer.com to career seekers as much to groomers. We know how frustrating it can be to find local grooming career information. Once career seekers have solid information they are more likely to make the transition into grooming. Time and again we have helped architects, bankers, insurance agents, real estate agents, data entry keypunchers, secretaries, word processors, nurses and salespersons leave traditional employment and become what they love being most, pet groomers. How is that for diverse?
There are interesting potentials resulting from this diversity. Surveys show that most career seekers favor some form of vocational licensing or an alternative. With backgrounds rich in various fields of experience, today’s groomers are infusing more business acumen into our industry.
Changes in grooming education are having an effect on career seekers. There are more vocational schools today than at any time in the past. Home study alternatives have made their mark too. Career seekers without access to local grooming schools are learning the basics of grooming with home study alternatives. Reputable vocational schools have added online home study courses followed by on-site internships. Reference books and DVDs by well-known pet groomers recently skyrocketed. Pet grooming educational opportunities are adapting to the new needs of today’s grooming career seekers and the advantages of new technology.
Mobile grooming has played an important part in the new diversity of pet grooming. Its unique appeal has been a key factor for many career seekers making the choice to become groomers. Typically they enjoy working alone in their vehicles and being their own boss. They love the mobility of being out and about and not at desk jobs. The prospect of working at the same workstation every day reminds them too much of previous desk jobs. Mobile grooming is one of the easiest ways to become self-employed. The startup costs for a mobile business are less than a commercial location if you don’t factor financing or buying a mobile vehicle. Add these factors to a passion to work with pets every day and the formula has resulted in the largest growing sector of the grooming industry. There are also groomers in urban areas such as New York City offering house call grooming without mobile conversion vehicles.
On the home front many pet groomers are opening businesses in their homes. No commutes! It’s more proof that pet grooming is truly a diverse industry.