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  #1  
Old 07-26-2005, 05:42 PM
Dmanthei Dmanthei is offline
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Default Your Grooming Experience?

I am conducting research into the experiences dog groomers around the country have had.

I am conducting this interview as part of a research project I am undertaking for a class on technical writing. I am researching future employment options for my friend Mel Ecker, who is at a crossroads in her grooming career. She currently works for the PetSmart in Coon Rapids, Minnesota, as a "Pet stylist." I will be compiling a final report from the information gathered from a combination of your responses and interviews I've taken with other dog groomers.

If you could answer these questions to the best of your ability, I would greatly appreciate it:


What company do you work for? Is it a small (1-10 employees) or large (10+ employees) company?


How long have you worked as a groomer?


How pleased have you been with your wages?


What kind of benefits or perks have you been given?


How often do you encounter difficult or frustrating animals or customers?


How satisfied are you with the company’s policy on difficult clients?


Tell me about the best encounter you have ever had with a client.


Tell me about the worst encounter you have ever had with a client.


How much stress do you feel on a day-to-day basis?


What is the most frustrating part of the job that you encounter on a daily basis?


What is your favorite part of the job that you encounter on a daily basis?


How satisfied are you with the job as a whole?


If you could go back to when you were beginning as a groomer, is there anything that you would have done differently?


What kind of advice would you give a beginning groomer?



Thank you for your time!
- Dave Manthei
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  #2  
Old 07-28-2005, 09:30 AM
Athe Athe is offline
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I am not a groomer, I do some small grooming for breeds such as Golden's, Newf's and for my boarding shop I do some grooming, no styles. My Sister owns her own grooming facility, so, I can try and answer the questions on her behalf and some of my experiences.

What company do you work for? Is it a small (1-10 employees) or large (10+ employees) company? My Sister owns her own facility and employees a bath blow dryer and 2 other groomers who just pay a percentage of their grooms.


How long have you worked as a groomer? My Sister has been grooming for over 20 years.


How pleased have you been with your wages? She is very pleased as she sets her own rates. Her employee's are pleased as they only pay 30%, then after a year they go down to paying her 25%. She likes to keep her employee's happy and keep them around.


What kind of benefits or perks have you been given? Idon't know if I understand this question. Do you mean what extra training have they had access to? My Sister is a National Certified Master Groomer, she feels that if you are making a career of something you should go as far as you can go. She attends seminars every year and takes her staff with her. She has also competed just to keep an edge on your career and see how you stand up against a good judge. When you have been grooming too long it's easy to loose the edge and get slack...so, to compete you keep your talent up and are critiqued by some of the finest groomers around.


How often do you encounter difficult or frustrating animals or customers? When you are starting out you have to deal with many difficult dogs. At my Sister's grooming shop she will take on many special cases that the local animal behaviorist sends her. It's better when a difficult dog can be worked with and handled carefully and expertly rather than landing in the lap of a harsh or mean groomer. There are many groomers who deal with difficult dogs by duck taping their mouths closed. My sister also gets in many old dogs that cannot stand up on their own, aggressive dogs...she is so good with dogs and has a wonderful facility (believe it or not, some dogs get freaked out when put in a normal size cage, she has big runs for large breeds that some small clautophobic dogs do well in)


How satisfied are you with the company’s policy on difficult clients? My Sister told her staff that they can turn away any difficult dog or customer they choose.


Tell me about the best encounter you have ever had with a client? That happens daily with my Sister haha. She has had many dog show people who will only allow her to touch their dogs before a show. One gentleman was getting his Bernese groomed by the breeder and was loosing every show. He went once to my Sister and the dog took Best in group and the next day Best in Show. He swears it was because of her! haha we all know that the dog just reached maturity and finally filled out. All of her clients are true and will wait months to get in to see her, the will not go to another groomer even if my Sister recommends someone who could get them in sooner..they are very loyal.


Tell me about the worst encounter you have ever had with a client? Let's see, she has had people bring in their long coated dogs which are just pelleted with mats,one owner told her that she did not want the dog shaved and wanted it completely brushed out. That is very cruel...some times you have to be a little bit firm with these people.


How much stress do you feel on a day-to-day basis? She feels a lot of stress, she works on appointments only. The phone rings all day, people get ticked off that they have to wait so long to get in. She has to start at 6am and usually ends around 7 pm just to try and fit all her regulars in on a timely basis. She has been trying to pass some of her clients onto other groomers...but, they insist on only seeing her. Dog grooming (especially large breeds - she does a lot of Newf's) is hard on the body and crippling after the years. Be sure to start taking you omega 3's, glucosamine etc when you start out grooming to protect your joints.



What is the most frustrating part of the job that you encounter on a daily basis? The phones ringing off the wall. People who like to stand around and chat and you have a time limit on your groom.


What is your favorite part of the job that you encounter on a daily basis? I suppose for her, it's the compliments after each groom (a work of art haha). The response of the dogs and how they love to come into the shop. The fact she can take her own dogs to work with her. She also takes in puppies from friends to help socialize the pups. The feeling of having done a great job and doing some thing you really love.


How satisfied are you with the job as a whole? She is very satisfied. She loves doing breed clips etc.


If you could go back to when you were beginning as a groomer, is there anything that you would have done differently? I don't think she would, she did every thing correctly and got all the certificates she could get. She competed and won many ribbons which is satisfactory.


What kind of advice would you give a beginning groomer? Don't start out on your own right away. Work for an experienced groomer who you respect and like the work ethics of. Try to go as far as you can, get certified for your Master's...not a big deal, but, it show initialtive. Attend dog grooming seminars as often as possible. Learn about health and nutrition, diet has a lot to do with the problems many of your clients are facing (skin problems etc.) learn all about skin disease etc.
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Old 07-28-2005, 11:17 AM
Athe Athe is offline
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How often do you encounter difficult or frustrating animals or customers?
Just to add, for my experience, I had a dog in (retriever mix) that I had to groom at the boarding kennel. The dog was a fearful/offensive type dog and was hard to get close to. While it was in for boarding the dog was hard to work around. At the end of the dogs stay I had to groom the dog...I always keep the dogs leashes attached to their runs...so, all I did was take the dogs leash in my hand, the dog immediately sat down excited thinking I was taking him for a walk. I walked him around the yard then put in the tub with no issues. I have talked to other kennels who refused to groom this dog as they could not get near him...I chalked that up to experience. I learned that from my Sister, she always keeps the dogs leashes within seeing distance...they always feel more secure when they see their leash.
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Old 07-28-2005, 03:28 PM
Dmanthei Dmanthei is offline
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Awesome! Thanks for the reply... this will be very useful.
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  #5  
Old 08-02-2005, 11:18 AM
Athe Athe is offline
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One more thing I wanted to mention...no biggy...but neat. When taking a dog from a customer let the Customer hand you the dog or hand you the leash. It's amazing the impact this has on the dog, in the dogs eyes the owner is allowing you to take him/her from them. You wouldn't believe the amount of owners who come in with dogs off lead and want you to chase fluffy around and capture, kindly tell the customer to give you the dog. It's funny, I was working with my Sister (she usually takes in all the dogs)...there have been a few she took in that I could not get out of the cage and she had to get the dog out for me....I could have used a towel to throw over the dogs head...but, why even bother stressing the poor thing out further. Anyway, one day I took a new dog away from the owner...the dog would only allow me to handle it (getting out of the cage etc). It certainly was a learning experience. We also had a Husky in that was a perfect angel for my sister, standing and wagging his tail...as soon as she left the room the dog turned into a pirahna and tried to nail me...as soon as my sister peaked around the corner to check up on us the halo came out once again and the dog put on the I'm so innocent act. Very funny they way their minds work
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