The Next Generation of Grooming Students

by Grooming Business in a Box®

Before the Eighties educational opportunities for career seekers, groomers and business owners were relatively limited. Pioneers such as reputable schools, organizations and some industry members, contributed great effort to set the stage for today’s vastly expanded grooming educational opportunities.

Finding your way as a grooming career seeker prior to the Eighties was far more difficult due to a lack of centralized industry information. Schools were fewer and home study was minimally available. Business education was even more scarce. Owning a business involved trial and error with no books on the business side, and management consultants were almost unheard of.

Industry information builds the self-confidence necessary for career seekers to commit to a new industry. Perhaps thousands of grooming career seekers did not readily enter our industry due to its lack of a centralized source of industry information including proven career paths.

Finally in the Nineties information technology sparked the industry into record expansion following the work of the pioneer educators of the Eighties. New inventions modernized grooming tools and equipment, and entirely new equipment and pet care products introduced new ways to groom pets. All natural products became the norm. Using the word “dip” became passé. Mobile grooming vans became more populous and far more advanced technologically. Perhaps the most unique change was the new availability of a vast amount of grooming industry information. The “computer chip” marked the advent of an information age, and pet grooming was not left out.

In the early and mid-Nineties opened along with websites like bringing groomers together to share information. The sites compiled industry information and spread the word, along with new books for groomers such as From Problems to Profits: The Madson Management System for Pet Grooming Businesses and The Art and Business of Grooming by Dorothy Walin.

Trade shows expanded with bigger speaking and educational programs, and the topic of vocational licensing broadly resurfaced. More and more information was being disseminated. The Internet presence of the grooming industry sent a message to tens of thousands of new career seekers, “Information is now available to give you more confidence in a career as a groomer and business owner!” has welcomed a million visitors, and distributed more than 17,500 free PetGroomerCD™ disks to career seekers showing them various ways to enter the industry as employees or self-employed owners. We continue to talk to thousands of career seekers by way of our Internet presence. They are thrilled at finding career counselors to assist them.

Since the Nineties, and other grooming websites encouraged thousands of new groomers to enter the industry. The number of U.S. grooming businesses in the U.S. alone increased by approximately 7,500 in the 1990’s. Is knowledge power? Is information power? You bet it is!

Tens of thousands of career seekers continue to take the world’s largest surveys of groomers and students, and read the results going back as far as 1998. Their participation in surveys gave us a keen idea of their needs and for which we created solutions.

Today they can start their education steps ahead of the students of past decades. The abundance of information leads to more decision-making which may overwhelm career seekers. began one-on-one career training at schools in the Nineties. While students knew they wanted to be groomers they knew little about their overall career plan, or even what a career plan was.

With assistance they made career plans, some favoring a long view from education to experience and finally self-employment. For others, it was education and immediate employment. We went much deeper teaching the intricate variances of mobile, salon, home-based, in-home and departmental grooming. For those seeking employment we explained wage systems and working environments from small to large employers. We taught them to be realistic with their skills levels and income expectations. They learned how to communicate what they offer, and the pratfalls of being a non-compliant independent contractor?

If their goal was self-employment they learned of its many responsibilities beyond being professional groomers?  For example, do they understand grooming finances and how to communicate them? How would they compensate for personnel issues specific to grooming? What are the various pet groomer wage systems?

We were (and still are) inspired by the response of thousands of motivated students. Their confidence is proof that grooming career counseling works. We have come to call them, “The Next Generation of Grooming Students.”

Here we will share the results of working with career counselors. They are proof of what can be done to advance grooming educational opportunities and to create mature, realistic graduates. Where do we start with them?

The first question we ask grooming career seekers is, “What is your career plan for the next five years?” Generally there is a long pause! They are indeed taken aback to answer this simple question. That’s good; they must think.  The most common answers are:

“I don’t know. That’s why I’m here.” (Good answer)

“I’m going mobile.”

“I’m going to work for someone else. Someday I would like to have my own business.”

“I want to own a grooming salon (or shop).”

“I would like to groom pets in my home.”

There is nothing wrong with these answers. They communicate basic intent, but that is all. They say little about plans and abilities to fulfill their visions, and quantification such as the  methods or measures they will employ to achieve their goals. They are rightfully the voice of beginners.

Their answers should not leave listeners questioning how much they know about the grooming industry, and their place in it. Do they have road maps of where they are going? Is nothing going to be different in the 3rd year versus the 5th year? Are those intent on self-employment ready for business. Can they project finances or demonstrate any business skills? Will they earn enough net operating income to meet their household budgets?

In a nutshell, these typical answers leave a lot of room for doubt. It blocks visions from coming true, and confidence. It invites expensive trial and error and potholes on their paths ahead.

Career presentations can create awestruck listeners. Sometimes the need to impress listeners is profoundly important. Listeners may be asked for financial assistance and other critical career support. Positive impressions deliver results in the face of necessity.

We next ask career seekers, “What do your friends, spouse or family members think about your becoming a groomer?” Answers range from funny to serious hurt. More than half received poor responses including:

“My friends said, ‘You’re going to do WHAT?'”

“My family said, ‘But we’ve been saving for years for you to become a veterinarian!'”

“Everyone became totally silent when I told them I was going to groom pets for a living.”

“They smiled and said nothing.”

“You’re kidding.”

“You cannot make a decent living as a groomer.”

This is where the fun begins! With their enabled participation we show career seekers how to gain rapt attention when talking about their well-planned grooming careers (employed or self-employed).

In a few days they learn to never answer questions without receiving positive responses by answering with “One Minute Presentations.”

Put to use in the “real world” these one minute presentations have helped to create extraordinary new groomers and future business owners. They have more motivation, and less stress than most groomers today.

Anyone can achieve their level. It is just a matter of whether the new or veteran groomer acquired the career and business management knowledge, and then learned how to express it.

We want you to experience the proof of our career counseling. Here are actual One Minute Presentations by student groomers that experienced the Becoming a Businessperson That Grooms Workshops based on Madeline Ogle’s book, From Problems to Profits: The Madson Management System for Pet Grooming Businesses (1989, 1997) and now Grooming Business in a Box®.

All of these presentations were given in front of an audience at grooming schools. We put them “on the spot.” It was meant to help them conquer any fears of not being able to communicate their career goals to anyone, from their family and friends to industry professionals. These are remarkable new groomers that have worked intensely with our intellectual properties and services. Let’s move on to our first One Minute Presentation. Any prices mentioned may be low because some presentations are a few years old.


My overall objective is to become self-employed after graduating from school and I plan to own a grooming salon in California (city omitted for reasons privacy while K’s establishes her business). My first business objective is to gain 200 regular clients and groom them assisted by a full-time pet bather. Thereafter, my next objective is to expand to 400 clients, and thereafter continually grow a larger grooming business setting new client base goals.

My present situation is that I am attending grooming school will graduate in October. I intend to work as an employed groomer saving money for my future business.

When I eventually start my business I will covering all seven job positions of The Madson Management System including, Manager, Master Pet Trimmer, Assistant Pet Trimmer, Bathing Dept. Supervisor, Pet Bather, Receptionist and Scheduler. As the business grows I will first hire a pet bather. This will help increase business, and then I will hire another pet bather and receptionist, and then an assistant pet trimmer. Once I have substantial client base of several hundred clients, meaning more business than I can groom as a master pet trimmer teamed with an assistant pet trimmer, I will hire another master pet trimmer.

My business will offer full-service grooming for all breeds of dogs and cats. I will welcome all sizes and mixed breeds, as well as other small pets. I will also develop good customer relations by using The Madson Management System’s customer service forms (Ed. note: see Chapter 11 of From Problems to Profits). My goal is to turn every new customer into a client.

I plan to use the Madson People and Pet Marketing Program (Ed. note: see Chapter 12 of From Problems to Profits) to achieve my marketing goals. I will be placing an ad for my shop in the Resources Directory, and I will also place advertising the local movie theater and newspaper. When I first open my business I will issue a press release in order to let people know where I am, who I am and how to find me.

For the first two years after I graduate I will be working for a paycheck, gaining more knowledge, speed and perfecting my skills. From this work I will save enough money for my business. I figure the first year I will only make enough to pay my bills and by my second year I will begin to make a profit to save. Thank you.


Commentary: What an impressive presentation when you consider that K.D.K. is a very young person. In just 60 seconds we know much more than those typical one-liners like, “I want to own a grooming business.” Let me point out the particular strengths of her dissertation. In the first paragraph, she quantified her goals numerically. Her first client base goal is 200. As a management consultant I can then estimate (as well as grooming business owners we train) that in the U.S. today a pet grooming business with 200 clients is likely to earn an average annual service fee income of US $36,000 to $48,000. Kristina like others at our Workshop are taught how to easily make income calculations. Another strong point, she identified the personnel she would eventually hire. Too many grooming business owners today fear employees or dread the red tape, and that attitude will certainly manifests the fear and dreaded problems. Her attitude is that she can learn to become an employer with less problems, and we taught her how to maintain a near constant supply groomer employees and to lessen her dependency on more than one other full-charge groomer even in a large business.Her statement that she will make every new customer a “client” is a brilliant attitude, and that her grooming business is worthy of news coverage via a press release is also brilliant. Wouldn’t you be impressed if someone you knew entering the field gave you such an answer to your inquiry about their new career plans?

Let’s look at another One Minute Presentation. It is an example of a career plan presentation where the presenter seeks employment, not self-employment.


My objective is to find a job as a full-charge groomer at a pet grooming salon is Yokohama, Japan. I will finish grooming school in 2 weeks. After I graduate I will be able to groom dogs of all breeds, mixed breeds and cats.

I believe that “client relations” is the most important thing in the grooming business as well as grooming services. I am a team-oriented person, and am willing to support my future employer the best I can. As a bilingual of Japanese and English, I will provide customer service in both languages and will use it as a tool to earn more clients and grow my employer’s business.

I would like to paid on a salary basis. I will work hard to improve myself and my grooming skill.


Commentary: If I was an employer I would perk up when an applicant delivered such a simple yet well-organized request for employment. I would know that Risa desires to groom all sizes, all breeds and cats. Great! I would be pleased that she would respect my clients without me having to impress this important factor to a successful grooming business. That she wants to work as a team member and that she will do that in part with her strengths other than grooming, like being bilingual, would really impress. Risa’s desire to join in and support my goals for increasing my client base will get a quick nod from me. Everything about her presentation shows a great attitude. Risa would likely adapt to our method of operation, including artistic styling standards, and completely follow all of the The Madson Management. Now let’s go on to another presentation, and soon you will be shown a “Perfect 10” presentation.


I plan on using The Madson Management System to operate my grooming business. I plan to have measurable goals for operations, personnel, client relations, marketing and finance in order to achieve the goals of a successful business with the guidelines of my written business plan.

My objective is to become self-employed establishing an upscale all-breed and cat grooming salon. At present, I am completing my grooming school program.

I am planning on developing a clientele of 200 pet owners in my first year of operation, 500 in my second year, 1,000 in my third year and up to 2,000 in my fourth year of operation.

I plan to target my marketing in the (city area withheld until business doors opened). This target area has a population of 80,000. I will market this area with the Madson People and Pet Marketing Program. One needs to analyze the potential neighborhoods the business will serve and find out the population, the number of households and pets per household. Also, there are demographics for the people’s average incomes and lifestyle factors to consider.

I plan on expanding into a full-service grooming salon implementing the 3 step Madson Business Plan. I will execute my action plan to focus on making as many consecutive grooming appointments for each client for the benefit and future of the business (Ed. note: Jonathan is referring to the Preferred Client Program in From Problems to Profits).

I plan on hiring a full-service staff including pet bathers, receptionists, assistant pet trimmers and myself as the master pet trimmer. I will offer entry level positions available to those who are willing to learn and work toward the future growth of the business. I expect to have at 6 or more employees by my third or fourth year in operation. Presently I plan to have one staff member in the Client Relations, Trimming and Bathing Departments.

I project that the business will earn about $120,000 a year in grooming services after it reaches its goal of 500 regular clients in the first year. I derived using an average service fee of $30 overall, and an average appointment frequency of 8 appointments a year per client.

Once I reach 2,000 clients the business will average up to $500,000 a year from grooming services. Operating expenses including payroll will be budgeted and managed to stay at around 70%, and the net income will then be my salary from the business.


Commentary: What an excellent presentation by a confident young man in his 20’s. His strengths are many. He has vision not only for his immediate future but nearly 5 years from now. That’s a key to success in any trade. A five year view ahead is expected by all startup businesses today, not only grooming businesses. In fact, 5 year pictures of the future for a new or expanding business is required by banks making business loans, and these are more formally called ‘business plans.” Most banks will not loan money without one to present or future business owners even when they have plenty of collateral. They gain confidence in you and your vision knowing you have prepared one for their scrutiny, and they are right. Without one you may have the skills of the trade you sell, but you likely don’t know all that it takes to run a stable business and stay growing and profitable. If you are not out to grow a business, they usually don’t want to make loans either. J.P.M. says right at the start he is willing to do whatever it takes to write a formal business plan. That alone makes him one of the Next Generation. He clearly states client base goals. Great, now we have something to measure his progress towards achieving the goals of his business plan. How can you measure success if you score yourself and your business solely by measurements of money only, such as how much you rang up on the register?

Such scores may be misleading, and remember the old adage, “It’s not how much you earn, but how much you keep.” Setting and measuring client base goals for as long as you own your business helps bring you into being as one of the next generation. It is rarely done by grooming business owners unless they are followers of The Madson Management System, and yet all of all corporate America uses similar measures in addition to adding up revenues. J.P.M. states he is wisely going to study the demographics of the areas he is considering for his business, and it sounds as if he knows how to figure average number of pets per household. We train that, and I know very few other people in the entirety of the grooming industry that are adept at such calculations. Yes that is next generation thinking. Why invest thousands of dollars in an area that has not yet proved to you that it is a viable location for your dream career or business? As with other presentations, it’s fantastic to hear J.P.M. talk about the various job positions. There are more positions in grooming businesses than Groomers and Bather/brusher, but you wouldn’t think so if you listen to past generations.

Saying this is not our criticism, it’s an observation we have experienced helping hundreds to operate grooming businesses that succeed in becoming stable and profitable, and provide physical well-being to all of its workers. All of the leading grooming businesses today have several job descriptions and titles. In fact, we know some with 12 different job titles! Even a 2 to 4 person business uses all 7 job titles in From Problems to Profits. It’s just that some employees work regular full time hours but perform duties of more than one job description. J.P.M. is right on with annual gross revenue projections, and every next generation will prepare an annual budget projection. Way to go Jonathan! You know this young man is going to open a successful and intriguing business if he maintains his motivation and determination to go from problems to profits in grooming. As long as his performance shows that management is just as important as the art of grooming, he is very likely to fulfill his vision quest. Does it get better? Yes. Next up is the “Perfect 10” One Minute Presentation.


My grooming career plan is to become a certifiable, all-breed dog and cat groomer and to own a full-service grooming salon in (location).

As not only the lead groomer, but also the owner/manager of the business for the first three years, I will use the industry’s bench mark The Madson Management System to operate my grooming salon. As the owner/manager I will be responsible to implement and maintain the system, as well as follow a written business plan with financial projections. I am using the 3 step Madson Business Plan to model my business plan. My plan will detail my strategy to develop a stable, continually growing, and modern grooming business based on the highest standards of pet care management within 5 years.

My business plan will set measurable goals for grooming and client service operations, management and staff, marketing and finance in order to achieve the goals of  the business plan. Goals will be assigned to each year of operation. I will use various Madson Management System forms on a daily basis to collect pet care and client service data from the Client Relations, Trimming and Bathing Departments. Using this data I will analyze the performance of my business on a daily, weekly, monthly and annual review and correct problems early. As I add more employees they will be trained to assist me with the collection of the data as a part of their regular daily duties.

I will use all 7 Madson job descriptions and new ones of my own devise to staff my salon. In the first year of operation I will personally master all 7 job descriptions myself, yet I intend to assisted by pet bathers and receptionists working part-time to full-time shortly after opening my business. Using The Madson Management System I will pay higher than average wages on a guaranteed salary basis. We will never introduce problematic commission wages that do not allow employees to maintain regular household budgets. As a result, my payroll expense will be far less than traditional commission wage shops.

For example, before Year Two I will implement Madson Team Trimming by filling the Assistant Pet Trimmer position. With practice and dedication as a full-charge groomer teamed with an assistant pet trimmer, we will complete pre-clipping and finish trimming duties on 16 to 18 complete trim and bath pets every work day. We will be assisted by the bathing department staffed with a bathing department supervisor and a full-time pet bather. As a team, we will generate a daily average of $560 to $630 gross revenue.

I will also market a large demand for ‘bath-only” services. Supervised by the Bathing Department Supervisor following Madson’s Humane Bath Procedure and the Madson Bathing Department Safety Program, two additional full-time bathers will together bathe and hand-fluff dry another 24 bath-only services every work day. The 24 bath-only services will add another $600 to daily gross revenue. Since bath-only pets are being groomed by skilled bathers, and not the highest waged full-charge groomers, the business will save considerable payroll expense. Even when paying bathers very well at $10 an hour, the savings will be significant. For example, the two bathers completing 24 bath-only pets will be paid a total of $160 daily gross wages. Deducting this amount from the daily revenue of $600 leaves $440 before deducting non-payroll operating expenses. A 50% commission business could pay up to $300 for the same labor.

Receptionists will attend to all client relations duties to allow all groomers and bathers to focus on grooming duties and not have to serve incoming and outgoing clients, or answer phones. In this way groomers will maintain high productivity. In a team trimming environment, full-charge groomers enjoy not having to do the more rigorous physical work of pre-bathing, bathing and hand fluff-drying, and they are able to maintain a focus on finish grooming, the true art of grooming, throughout each work day with few exceptions.

Operating at this level 5 days-a-week, the business will gross between $1,160 and $1,230 a day, or up to $319,800 a year. After paying four bathers and one assistant pet trimmer above average wages totaling $416 a day, or $108,160 in gross wages. That is a savings of $51,740 compared to paying 50% commission wages.

Perhaps most remarkable about my operation is that the $319,800 a year in grooming service revenue is being earned with only one full-charge groomer with an assistant and 4 bathers. Two the senior bathers will be trained to do minor touch-up clipping and light scissoring required on some breed baths as well as some thinning duties on specific breeds. All bathers will be trained in hair bunning, bows and etc. In this way, full-charge groomers can stay focused on finish grooming full groom pets, and where bathers need assistance, the assistant pet trimmers will assist them and is so doing, payroll will be minimized. Today many grooming businesses would instead complete the same pets generating $319,800 in annual revenue by using 4 full-charge groomers. It is very stressful to try to keep 4 full-charge and seemingly impossible at times even to employ find and employ 4 full-charge groomers. As the business grows one additional full-charge groomer and assistant pet trimmer team will be added.

By the fourth year of operation, I plan to add a hired manager. The manager will be responsible to manage the operation of the business as it expands its hours of operation to include mid-week evening appointments until 9:30 pm, and to open on Sunday’s. The business will become a 7 day-a-week operation under the hired manager. The manager will be paid $36,000 a year to start and expected to raise the business’ earnings from $319,800 a year to over $500,000 a year within 2 years.

The client base goals I have set are 750 clients in the 1st year, 1,250 in the 2nd year, 1,750 in the 3rd year, 2,250 in the 4th year and 2,500 in the 5th year. In choosing ( name of area omitted ) as the location for the business we discovered there was a population of 120,000 people in 55,000 households. 62% of the households have 2.1 dogs and cats, for a total estimated dog and cat population of 71,610 within the salon’s immediate marketing area. We will aggressively apply the entirety of the Madson People and Pet Marketing Program in order to achieve these client base goals.

We understand that for every client we really have two, the pet owner and the pet. Therefore, we will use the Madson Client Relations Program and its many business forms to not only provide artistic and humane pet care and styling, but also make every new customer a long-term loyal client with a complete menu of client services and conveniences. We expect to gain an average of 5 to 10 referrals from every satisfied client in the first 10 years of their patronage. The most important client services we will offer is our version of the Madson Preferred Client Program. Our goal like other Madson Management System followers, is to enroll 85% or more of all clients into the courtesy appointment scheduling program. By doing so we will gain an average of 2 to 4 more appointments every year from each member, or up to an average of $120 a year more from each member. The program offers superior customer service and convenience, and pets will maintain a well groomed image throughout the year. This program is far superior to the traditional standing appointment option. As a result, clients will enjoy not only quality care but also moderate grooming fees. By improving appointment frequency we can also attain our financial goals with a smaller client base compared to other businesses not using the Preferred Client Program.

Finally, as part of our client relations we will provide pet owners with a Madson Pet Groomer’s Report and Health Alert for every grooming. Pet owner confidence will become extraordinarily high knowing that they will receive a professional written report of all observations we make while grooming their pets. Where there are observations indicating the need for veterinary attention, the pet owner will be recommended to take their pet and the form to their veterinarian. In this professional and humane manner of pet care we anticipate earning  thousands of free veterinarian referrals in the years ahead, and new customers to be made into loyal clients.

A Manager’s Daily Summary Report Envelope will be completed for every work day and kept in the business’ permanent files. It will summarize each work day’s financial, marketing, client relations and personnel data and as they accumulate generate a complete business history. This system will help to maximize the net worth of the business. Someday when we decide to sell the business, we will display all of accumulated envelopes to a certified commercial business appraiser documenting the history of the business. Thereby we expect an extraordinarily high appraisal for the business.


Commentary: Grooming fees shown here reflect 2002 year prices. This one minute presentation that takes about four minutes to deliver. It could be edited to one minute, but in her case she was asked to speak as if she if were funding a business plan and they asked for a detailed presentation. She disclosed our important proven method of management largely unknown by most groomers. You can have a large grooming business, open 5 days-a-week schedule, charging an average of $30 per full grooming, and $25 bath-only, and using well-trained and well-supervised pet bathers, assistant pet trimmer and a bathing department complete up to and over 40 pets with only one full-charge groomer. That is often extraordinary information to many grooming business owners, even explosive to some. However, we have proven it true for over 50 years. Many now follow this setup. Why? When I ask, “Why have you not grown a larger business?” a few answer that that is not their desire. That’s a good answer because you don’t have to grow a large business, but the smaller your business the owner usually has to groom more for years, decades, and that is wearing. But most answer the question saying, “You can’t find or keep enough full-charge groomers so we stay small.” You can own an easily-managed large salon with only one full-charge groomer by realizing the financial value of bath-only pets groomed in bathing department by professional bathers. We show groomers how at our workshops and it forever changes their careers, and they thank us all the time. See Grooming Business in a Box® for more information.  ♦