If your dream is to become a groomer, then you’ve probably heard it all… That you won’t earn enough from your professional dog groomer salary… That it isn’t a “realistic” career path… Or maybe, that you’ll eventually wish you’d chosen an entirely different career.
If you have friends or family saying any of these things to you, just keep this one important question at the front of your mind: how would they know?
They are not dog groomers! The fact is, there are a lot of inaccurate myths about a career in dog grooming. As such, it can be hard to know what’s real and what’s not. That’s why today, we’ll tell you exactly how much dog groomers make.
This way, you can decide for yourself if a dog grooming career is truly right for you!
Meet Master Groomer, Lisa Day!
Lisa Day, one of QC Pet Studies‘ online grooming instructors, heard the same negative things when she first decided to become a professional dog groomer. Her mom told her that she didn’t support her career decision. Instead, she wanted to see her daughter in a job that was more rewarding and financially feasible.
Despite the fact that Lisa’s mom was a pet groomer herself, she was so adamantly against the idea that she refused to train Lisa.
Nonetheless, Lisa pursued her dream. She’s now a Certified Master Groomer with over 40 years of experience – and importantly, she’s still enjoying a prosperous grooming career! Lisa has worked as a certifier for the Canadian Professional Pet Stylists and has won multiple awards for her work in show grooming. In 2010, she even placed first for Poodle Obedience in Canada!
Lisa is just one example of how it’s 100% possible to have a successful career in the industry and make a good professional dog groomer salary. The negative feedback you hear about dog grooming is just that: negative feedback from negative people.
Maybe your parents want the best for you, but that shouldn’t hold you back from following your dreams. If you’re passionate about dog grooming, nothing should stand in your way!
Can You Make Good Money as a Professional Dog Groomer?
When it comes to the money you can make, the first thing you need to know is that there’s no “one-size-fits-all” income for a professional groomer. Two experts living in the same city can make completely different salaries. How much money you make will depend on a handful of factors, such as:
- Where you live (i.e. a small town, a big city, etc.);
- How much experience you have under your belt;
- Whether you’re booking clients full-time vs. part-time;
- Whether you’re working for an established salon (and receiving a set pay) or running your own grooming business;
- The efforts you put into marketing strategies, client acquisition/retention, social media, your website, etc.
- The types of dog grooming services your business offers (i.e. standard grooming, competition grooming, etc.);
- Whether or not your business – if applicable – offers any other, complementary services, etc.
What the above list just goes to show is that dog grooming is a career path filled with endless opportunities. As you can see, there’s a LOT of room to make the most of your prospects and goals – and the more effort you’re willing to put in, the better your income will ultimately be.
In a nutshell, if you want to make dog grooming your full-time career, and do it for the rest of your life, I’m here to tell you that you 100% CAN! Plus, you can definitely earn enough money to not only pay all the bills, but live comfortably!
Are Dog Groomers Paid Per Hour?
How you get paid depends on where you work. It can also depend on whether you’ve been hired by an existing business or whether you’ve chosen to run your own.
Working in a Salon
Many salons will pay a set hourly wage. Others will pay an hourly wage plus commission. Some salons only pay you in commission. That said, there are also plenty of salons out there who will pay an annual salary (rather than an hourly wage) to seasoned groomers with years of experience on their resume.
If you’re looking for stability – in terms of regular hours and a reliable paycheck – and you wish to work for an existing business, your best bet will be to apply to places that pay a firm hourly wage. If you join a team that only pays in commission, your salary could be a little inconsistent, especially at the start of your career.
Running Your Own Business
On the other hand, you might dream of launching your own business. If that’s the case, your professional dog groomer salary will be entirely in your hands.
You’ll have complete control over what you charge for your services. Moreover, you’ll get to choose whether you want to pay yourself a specific hourly wage for a specific amount of hours each week, or whether you want to allot yourself a set salary for the entire year (so long as your business is making the necessary profit to accommodate this, of course).
Just Keep in Mind…
In the beginning, it could take a little while to get your business off the ground, get your name out there, and get a healthy stream of continuous bookings. It will likely take a bit of time to start making a noticeable profit, but don’t let this deter you!
All great things take time. So long as you stay committed and put in the required work, you’ll eventually start making the money you want – and paying yourself the salary you’ve always dreamed of!
How Much Do Professional Dog Groomers Make?
With the above in mind, I can still give you some general figures that’ll help you get a better idea of salary ranges you can potentially earn.
In the United States, Glassdoor reported that as of August 19th, 2021, the average annual income for dog groomers is approx. $35,142 USD. Keep in mind, though, that this number is based on newer groomers with less experience. As you build seniority and gain more experience, this average yearly income can increase to approx. $36,738 USD.
If you reside in Canada, Indeed states that as of September 9th, 2021, and based on 206 salaries, the average pet groomer makes as much as $40,619 per year. For dog groomers living in the United Kingdom, Indeed also reported (as of September 7th, 2021, and based off 187 salaries) that the average income for professional dog groomers working within salons is approx. £17,905 GBP per year.
As of September 14th, 2021, Salary Expert found that the professional dog groomer salary for those living in New Zealand is approx. $41,599 NZD/year. On that same date, Salary Expert also reported that pet groomers residing in Australia can expect to earn an average annual salary of approx. $39,867 AUD.
The Added Value of a Certification
When you have a certification/designation on your resume, you can earn a better income.
Why is this? Because prospective clients will always prefer to work with a professional dog groomer who’s taken the time to earn their stripes. Only then can they fully trust you to take proper care of their beloved pet.
Furthermore, when you get a legitimate education, it’s proof that you’re investing time, money, and effort into your craft. As a result, you then earn the right to price your grooming services in a way that properly reflects that!
Plus, if you run your own business and it offers any other types of relevant services, you can raise the rates for those, too!
Not to mention, having a credible certification will do wonders in terms of helping you stand out from the local competition. Setting yourself apart from the crowd will not only elevate your career – it’ll definitely help you better your bottom line and make an even better dog groomer salary!
Start-Up Costs for Your Dog Groomer Career
Like with any other job, you’ll have to start somewhere. Don’t expect to make big money right off the bat. Since dog grooming is a trade, you’ll more than likely work as an apprentice or student groomer before you branch off on your own. This means that you’ll get paid as you learn!
The dog grooming industry is unregulated. As a result, you are not required to complete any classroom training in order to work. But don’t assume that your competition is skipping their schooling. Those who are serious about pursuing a career as a dog groomer WILL invest in a proper, reputable education!
Accumulating grooming experience as you learn, as well as earning a physical certification when you graduate, gives you ample credibility to hit the ground running. Plus, your clients will know that their furry companions are in the best hands!
Dog grooming courses cost only a fraction of what you would pay to get a college or university degree. And in today’s world, with the internet so readily available, online groomer courses are a great way to save even more!
Is Dog Grooming a Good Career?
Now that you have a solid understanding of the kind of money you could make, what you really need to know is whether dog grooming is a good career for YOU.
Ultimately, only you can know this for sure. But if you’re not completely certain yet, consider the following questions:
- Are you passionate about animals?
- Do you love dogs and dream of working alongside them every day?
- Would you thrive in an active environment where you’re guaranteed tons of exercise?
- Do you want to work in a field that provides countless opportunities for growth and various career paths?
- Do you enjoy getting creative, while also keeping technical precision in mind?
- Are you willing to put in the hard work needed to thrive in this industry?
- Can you see yourself going the extra mile in order to make the professional dog groomer salary YOU want to make?
If you’ve said “yes” to these questions, then guess what? Professional grooming is not only a good career for you – it may very well be the perfect fit!
Professional Grooming Opportunities Out There
When starting out as a dog groomer, your best bet will be to work at a salon or pet store. This will be the most straightforward way for you to gain grooming experience, before going solo and starting your own freelance business.
As we discussed earlier, being your boss can be a very smart and lucrative career move. Obviously, one of the biggest perks to this is that you’ll get to decide what you want your professional dog groomer salary to look like.
Here are 3 common settings for freelance groomers:
- Groom dogs out of your own home;
- Open your own salon;
- Open a mobile grooming business where you travel directly to your clients.
Now, I won’t lie – owning your own grooming salon will be a LOT of work. But it’ll also be incredibly rewarding. If you eventually want to hire grooming employees, then in addition to your own salary, you’ll also gain a fraction of what they make. You may even work less and make more!
Plus, when you have your own salon, you can earn more money from retail. So, make sure to stock up your salon with all the hottest dog essentials!
If you’re really passionate about grooming, you might even venture into feline grooming or competitive grooming. You’ll more than likely earn a higher salary at this level.
More Than Just The Money
In conclusion, when someone asks you if you can live off a professional dog groomer salary, the short answer is YES! There are plenty of full-time dog groomers out there with thriving, successful careers.
However, if you’re looking for a guaranteed six-figure salary, then grooming probably won’t be the right career choice for you. It’s definitely not a get-rich-quick scheme. Your passion for dog grooming should sprout first and foremost from your love of animals.
If this doesn’t sound like you, then you probably won’t enjoy the daily work of being a pro groomer.
However, if you’re an animal lover, then professional dog grooming will provide you with more than just the means to earn a living! Furthermore, as it’s a physically demanding job, your career will keep you in great shape. It’s also scientifically proven that spending your day around animals can also improve your mental health, along with your communication skills.
As QC Pet Studies’ tutor, Lisa Day, says: “I don’t work. I get paid to do something that I would do for free.”
Does it really get any better than that?
Have more questions? Leave them in the comment section below!