"A PET EDUCATION ENTERPRISE"

 

CAREER INFORMATION

SELECTING A HOME STUDY PROGRAM

 

Home study opportunities have grown significantly in the last 10 years. Hands-on training is a part of home study. However, you must locate pets to groom. Most programs provide advice on how to find pets for grooming. Golden Paws will provide that advice.

Just as you must evaluate schools you attend in person, you must evaluate home study programs.

Today there are three categories.

  • Experienced pet groomers/Instructors who have set up companies specifically focused on pet care training through home study alone.
  • Experienced pet groomers/Instructors who have set up schools and a portion of their curricula is home study and then you complete an internship on-site at a specified location. (Golden Paws offers both)
  • Corporate vocational education companies offering instruction in dozens of trades of which pet grooming is only one.

We advise the first two only. You can build working relationships with them, and there are unique benefits derived from groomers teaching groomers.

You maintain communication with the home study instructors through correspondence. Some groomers completing these programs have maintained long-term working relationships with instructors.

The correspondence student has an advantage over the residence students. They’re already over their fear of grooming without instructors. Students graduate with confidence. People should also realize that home study courses can be very different so they need to choose wisely. Some courses are videos and a book. Some are much more than that. Home study graduates open shops, win competitions and go on to get their Certified Master Groomer Certificates. Some groomers take home study courses to expand their training experience. However, by all means I recommend that all students, residence or correspondence go on to further their education and experience.

Selecting a Grooming School

Your choice of grooming school couldn’t be more important for a stable and more profitable entry into the pet grooming industry. Education isn’t about instant gratification; it backs careers of several years and even decades. Think long-term. What will you earn in the next 10, 20 or more years? Some pet stylists with 20 years experience have earned $2,000,000 or more in gross wages. Tuition for grooming school looks far more reasonable when you consider that a college education costs a great deal more than the most expensive grooming school. Large numbers of college graduates earn less than skilled groomers. Reputable grooming schools are a great deal when you consider the long-term aspect of your career.

It's true that some regions weather downturns better than others. In this report we are speaking in general for the entire U.S. grooming industry. Fortunately there were signs that 2009 did not have a major impact on the service sector of the pet industry.

Curricula vary like night and day. “Caveat emptor” is Latin for “Let the buyer beware.” That adage applies to the broad variety of educational opportunities in grooming. Remember, grooming is a profession without vocational licensing in any U.S. state. Without adopted standards of education a great deal of latitude is given to school owners. Expect significant differences in the education you will receive when comparing schools. We cannot emphasize this fact enough. All too often groomers with a few years experience come to realize just how little, or how much, they learned in the schools they attended. "I thought all the schools were the same." How many times have we heard that?

Most grooming schools are reputable. It's their programs that vary most as well as the amount and quality of the hands-on training. These are the factors that should guide your choice. The most common mistake made by career seekers choosing a school is to simply make their choices based on proximity to homes. Based on our experience, location is the number one factor when career seekers choose a school, and then cost. The odds that the best curriculum to meet their educational goals just happens to be their neighborhood wouldn’t get anyone far gambling in Las Vegas.

We've heard every excuse why students cannot travel outside of their area to attend school for several weeks. Some of them are very good excuses. It is their choice. We can only provide our best advice. Fight the limitations preventing you from getting the best education to meet your career goals. So there you have it. There are 11 and counting Golden Paws schools around the nation.

That is why we developed the Long Distance Learning Program. We feel it is best to attend a Golden Paws Academy but also know many people can’t leave their homes, jobs, children for 8 weeks. This program is based on 40 years of teaching successful entrepreneurs and job seekers. We provide the same level of quality teaching methods and curriculum. Our requirement is you must be a self starter. We will guide you all the way. While nothing can replace a live instructor, our program has been carefully thought out to give you the best education.

Our mission stays the same “To provide our students with the best styling skills, quality pet care and professionalism in the field to achieve your goals. The world of pet styling is both financially and personally rewarding. You can make as much money as your dreams take you and hey who doesn’t like to hear they are the best everyday?”

Your next step is to contact schools or home study programs that interest you and request their brochure (sometimes called a “catalog”). Once you’ve reviewed their materials try to narrow your candidates to two or three schools. Call them and schedule an interview and tour of their facilities. If you need housing ask for their assistance. Some have housing onsite and others have leads to reasonable or shared housing alternatives.

Look at the quality you will be learning (Finished Pets), sit in on a class and see how the instructor communicates with the students, ask questions as to how long a student has been there and what level they are at. Just remember some people learn slower than others or may have a disability so take everything into consideration. The main issue is the schools qualified instructor (not every groomer can teach). Do they have a structured curriculum that will teach you the knowledge, fundamentals and excellent styling skills to apply to all breeds and client requests plus will they be there for you for support after you graduate? This is your career whether you choose to attend a Golden Paws Academy or the Long Distance Learning Program-WE ARE THERE FOR YOU!

Pet owners acquire home study courses to learn how to groom their pets. I wonder how many of them quickly discover that grooming pets is more complex than they first thought and were glad they invested in a great home study course with an experienced instructor.

If you don't know if pet grooming is right for you taking a home study could help you to discover your answer. The cost is reasonable, far less than grooming school. If you simply cannot afford grooming school or obtain financial aid, home study may be your best first step. In the future you can continue to acquire more home study aids like books and DVDs, and find a way to attend trade shows, seminars and workshops whenever possible. Never stop learning the art of grooming.

Curricula vary like night and day. “Caveat emptor” is Latin for “Let the buyer beware.” That adage applies to the broad variety of educational opportunities in grooming. Remember, grooming is a profession without vocational licensing in any U.S. state. Without adopted standards of education a great deal of latitude is given to school owners. Expect significant differences in the education you will receive when comparing schools. We cannot emphasize this fact enough. All too often groomers with a few years experience come to realize just how little, or how much, they learned in the schools they attended. "I thought all the schools were the same." How many times have we heard that?

Most grooming schools are reputable. It's their programs that vary most as well as the amount and quality of the hands-on training. These are the factors that should guide your choice. The most common mistake made by career seekers choosing a school is to simply make their choices based on proximity to homes. Based on our experience, location is the number one factor when career seekers choose a school, and then cost. The odds that the best curriculum to meet their educational goals just happens to be their neighborhood wouldn’t get anyone far gambling in Las Vegas.

We've heard every excuse why students cannot travel outside of their area to attend school for several weeks. Some of them are very good excuses. It is their choice. We can only provide our best advice. Fight the limitations preventing you from getting the best education to meet your career goals. So there you have it. There are 11 and counting Golden Paws schools around the nation.

That is why we developed the Long Distance Learning Program. We feel it is best to attend a Golden Paws Academy but also know many people can’t leave their homes, jobs, children for 8 weeks. This program is based on 40 years of teaching successful entrepreneurs and job seekers. We provide the same level of quality teaching methods and curriculum. Our requirement is you must be a self starter. We will guide you all the way. While nothing can replace a live instructor, our program has been carefully thought out to give you the best education.

Our mission stays the same “To provide our students with the best styling skills, quality pet care and professionalism in the field to achieve your goals. The world of pet styling is both financially and personally rewarding. You can make as much money as your dreams take you and hey who doesn’t like to hear they are the best everyday?”

Your next step is to contact schools or home study programs that interest you and request their brochure (sometimes called a “catalog”). Once you’ve reviewed their materials try to narrow your candidates to two or three schools. Call them and schedule an interview and tour of their facilities. If you need housing ask for their assistance. Some have housing onsite and others have leads to reasonable or shared housing alternatives.

Look at the quality you will be learning (Finished Pets), sit in on a class and see how the instructor communicates with the students, ask questions as to how long a student has been there and what level they are at. Just remember some people learn slower than others or may have a disability so take everything into consideration. The main issue is the schools qualified instructor (not every groomer can teach). Do they have a structured curriculum that will teach you the knowledge, fundamentals and excellent styling skills to apply to all breeds and client requests plus will they be there for you for support after you graduate? This is your career whether you choose to attend a Golden Paws Academy or the Long Distance Learning Program-WE ARE THERE FOR YOU!

The "school tour" is mandatory in some U.S. states. Now what does that tell you about the importance of touring a school before you enroll? Our advice is to tour institutions before you enroll whether required or not.

Schools may offer more than one course. We suggest you take the longest course. Successful pet groomers know the learning mode continues for at least the first 5 years of their careers. When you consider how many different breeds and mixed breeds there are you need confidence. Remember these points too. Pet owners are going to ask you to style in ways against normal breed standard grooming. What do you do? It won't be long before you are grooming without the supervision of onsite instructors. A quality curricula and an experienced instructor will give you the tools and confidence to groom all pets and succeed in your career. With the Golden Paws method of instruction we teach you the quality styling skills and how to apply them on the breed designs and individual customer request whether attending a Golden Paws Academy or completing the Long Distance Learning Program or both (the mini camp). You will appreciate extra confidence when you finally debut as a pet groomer.

LIVING UP TO A LEGACY OF BEING A RECESSION RESISTANT INDUSTRY

Our business endured a serious 3 year recession in Houston, TX. That's a long time, and yet it's also a lot of proof. Our clients continued to use professional grooming services. They cutback other household expenses, not pet grooming. Some pet owners extend the period between grooming appointments when their budgets are tight. To recuperate from the income loss you simply add more clientele.

Here are 2 references which make our point:

Mercanti Group Report Says Pet Owners Spend Heavily
Making the Pet Industry One of the Nation's Fastest Growing Consumer Retail Sectors

Monday, March 31, 10:00 am ET

MINNEAPOLIS--(BUSINESS WIRE)--The economy may be in sluggish shape, but investment banking firm The Mercanti Group is bullish on the multi-billion dollar pet industry. In its current monthly issue of its newsletter, the Mercanti Chronicle, the report shows that pet industry sales, including products and services, dipped fractionally in 2006, compared to 2005, the first decrease in 10 years, and then bounced back almost 4% last year, to over $39 billion.

Jim D’Aquila, managing director of Mercanti and author of the report, isn’t counting out some impact from a recession on pet industry volume in 2008, but he expects that any dip would be slight, as growth in various sectors – herbal supplements and grooming aids – more than take up the slack.

Moreover, the report points out, not only will affinity by owners of their pets win out, with over half of pet expenditures made by higher income households of $70,000 or more, the outlook remains very bright. “We’re still incredibly optimistic about the pet sector,” says D’Aquila.

While pets remain very dear to their owners – more American households (two-thirds) have a pet, while only one-third have a child – Mercanti notes that the driver in the industry’s steady, basic growth remains high wage earners. That group, in addition to the basics of food and supplies, is increasing its spending on sophisticated veterinary care and pet services, including grooming and elaborate high-end pet hotels that continue to proliferate.

"Veterinary care is becoming high tech and people are increasingly willing to spend money on both preventive pet healthcare and rehabilitative care, such as joint replacement and cancer treatments. The pet services sector is growing dramatically as upper income owners send their pets for grooming more frequently and four-star pet hotels spring up around the country,” comments D’Aquila.

The Chronicle report also says that the industry is benefiting from merchandisers actively converting what were “food-only” shoppers into customers for supplies, including fancier pet beds. “Over-the-counter pet nutritional supplement aisles are beginning to look a bit like the center aisles of Whole Foods Market,” the report comments.

Along with more active pet product sales by mass merchandisers like Wal-Mart and Target, specialty pet retailers, such as Petco and PetSmart, are creating their own dynamics in the field. “Petco and PetSmart’s grooming services now comprise a meaningful portion of the business,” says D’Aquila, “while Petsmart and VCA Antech (Veterinary Centers of America) are major players on a national basis directly or through attrition in veterinary care.”

Spending on veterinary care services has been especially pronounced among pet owners with household incomes of over $100,000 annually, who in 2006 accounted for 35%, or $3.9 billion of this segment, up from 27%, or $2.3 billion, in 2003. And, veterinary service spending increased more than 6% between 2005 and 2006, versus the 0.7% decline in overall pet expenditures. “As willing as owners are to adopt advanced screening, diagnostics and treatment options for their pets, they also have been embracing more esoteric veterinary services such as.

Chemotherapy, linear accelerators, artificial joints and organ transplants,” the Mercanti report says.

The fastest-growing segment of this industry in terms of percentile growth is expected to remain pet services, particularly grooming and boarding, the Chronicle adds. Spending in this segment totalled $1.74 billion, or 43% percent of the category, up from $1.05 billion, or 37%, in 2005. The report notes that Aussie Pet Mobile, founded in California in 1996, now has locations in 17 states. And boarding companies like Camp Bow Wow, a franchisor that started in 2000 in Denver, today has 52 locations in the U.S. and Canada, offering “doggy day care” and “overnight camps,” representing a $500 million business. An additional 150 sites are in the planning stage. Other pet service providers include Best Friends Pet Care with 44 locations in 18 states and Pet Paradise, currently operating at the Jacksonville International Airport and opening soon in New Orleans and Houston. Airports in San Diego, Portland and Seattle have opened pet hotels and one is underway in Minneapolis.

“The pet industry remains a demographically strong market with good growth trends,” says D’Aquila. Mercanti expects it to remain the fastest growing retail sector after electronics.

Pet Pampering Seen at High 2008 Despite Econ Fears
Tue Feb 26, 11:49 AM ET

NEW YORK (Reuters Life!) - Leading a dog's life could be a good thing in the United States this year with spending on pets forecast to hit a new high despite fears of a recession and a crimp on consumer spending.

The American Pet Products Manufacturers Association released figures on Tuesday showing pet owners spent an estimated $41 billion on their animal friends last year which was almost double the $21 billion spent in 1996.

But the non-profit industry group projected this would rise by nearly six percent to $43.4 billion in 2008 as pet owners treated their animals to spas, designer clothing, and other high-end goods as well as gourmet foods.

Demand for Pet Groomers will increase 12% by 2010*

* Growth figures represent a ten-year period ending 2010. Source: "National Industry-Occupation Employment Matrix," a publication of The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES

Before you march down a career path into the grooming industry you must make vitally important decisions which will affect your entire career. The all important question for career seekers entering the industry is, “What is your plan for grooming education?” Our best assistance is to share the common options.

There are no commonly adopted standards for pet grooming education. Hairstylists (for people) enter their field knowing requirements for education, examinations and experience. Not so for pet grooming career seekers. They can enter the grooming industry without clocking a single hour of training or passing exams. Now isn't that a precarious prospect for pet owners?

Some career seekers take the easiest path. They need a job quickly and accept minimal education. That's understandable. It's important they don't forget continuing education opportunities online, onsite at seminars and workshops and home study material such as DVDs.

Other career seekers secure the best educational opportunities beforehand and plan on more continuing education. Most career seekers fall somewhere between these two extremes.

What's important for you to know now is this; every career seeker requires continuing education for years ahead. Therefore you have immediate need for educational opportunities to get started, and several years of continuing to achieve the level of excellence you demand for yourself and the owners and pets you serve.

Pet grooming schools may sound expensive, and without cash or credit, seem all the more expensive. However, are they really "expensive?" Most programs cost about $8 to $20 an hour. A 4 year college education costs substantially more, even tens of thousands of dollars more. Do you know that many 4 year college graduates earn lower incomes than pet groomers with experience and productivity skills? It's true.

We've talked with veterinarians hiring groomers for the first time. Their alarm was obvious. How do they explain to new vets graduating from veterinary schools that their income may be less than the hired groomers?

Are pet grooming schools really "expensive?" No. To spend $4,000 to $8,000 for career education leading to $40,000 or more annual incomes with experience, and perhaps $1,000,000 or more in 20 year career is rather cheap in comparison to 4 year college. Think of the time too! Four years in college versus weeks in a grooming school! What a small investment to earn a million dollars in a 20 year career. "Expensive" is not the correct word. With the Golden Paws Long Distance Program the price of the full course with a personal instructor is only $2,000.00!

If you accept an apprenticeship your biggest investment is time. There are risks with apprenticeships. Just as there no commonly adopted formats for educating pet groomers by state licensed schools, there is even less formalization with apprenticeships. Your apprenticeship is only as good as the groomer teaching you. We've known hundreds of groomers that did enter with rare apprenticeships and most needed plenty of continuing education. It's a viable route, but there are no guarantees what you will learn. Keep that in mind.

SETTING A CAREER PATH

There are a surprising number of career paths in pet grooming. Don't make quick decisions. Study the diverse opportunities. Remember, not every groomer you meet has had experience with all of these career paths. We have. It's our job as professional consultants and experienced pet industry owners. Some groomers have strict opinions on career paths, and they may be right. At the same time how do they explain why there are so many diverse opportunities that have been around for many years? Change abounds in pet grooming. There are no common standards of performance outside of voluntary certification by grooming associations. Listen to all opinions, but don't make quick decisions. Learn all you can first.

Without adopted standards for education and experiential requirements set for any career paths in grooming, you are going to be exposed to an abundance of theories. Take this course, get certified here, you don't need to do that, etc.

Regardless of credentials, talk and listen to fellow groomers sharing their experiences, but no matter how persuasive they may be keep an open mind. We're a field moving ever closer to adopted professional standards, and that leads to commonly agreed upon career paths into the world of grooming pets.

Employed groomers and self-employed groomers are very different people. Nearly all home-based and mobile groomers you meet will be self-employed. Their worlds are very different from the groomers in commercial locations.

Everyone shares only one common thread; we groom pets for pet owners. Celebrate the diversity of grooming. By the time you gain your initial grooming education you are likely know the right path for you. Well, at least the first one!

The biggest tasks lie ahead. It's your education. Never underestimate the knowledge of a professional pet groomer. The stereotypical perception of the public for pet grooming far underrates the amount of training and skill required to become a professional pet groomer.

DEMANDS OF PET GROOMING

Attending pet industry and grooming trade shows and competitions is an excellent way to help determine if you are fit for the demands of grooming. Trade shows and competitions are held regularly across the United States.

Does it bother you that you are likely to be working mostly with women? Overall female groomers outnumber male groomers by 10 to 1. There are more male pet bathers than male groomers.

Grooming Business Owners Age Study 2007
Under 257%
25-3531%
36-4545%
*46-5511%
*Over 556%

*I am in the 46-55 age study and my mother is in the over 55 and we both still are grooming.

As consultants we’ve helped dozens of men proud to join growing grooming businesses established by their wives. There are even stories of men jealous of their wives huge success in grooming! Go for it! Together couples take their business to an even higher performance level. We encourage men to enter the field. Careers in grooming are right for either sex as long as the individuals have the important qualities of professional groomers reviewed here.

 

Skilled pet groomers have some artistic traits. Much like a sculptor transforming a rough hewn slab of marble fresh from the quarry into a finished polished statue, groomers style masterpieces from hairy dogs and even cats. Some purebred and mixed breed dogs require only bathing, drying and touchups. Others best illustrate the art of grooming requiring substantially more “finish work” such as Poodles, Bichon Frises, to name just two purebreds. There are many more including mixed breeds such as the "Goldendoodle." The Golden Paws Teaching Method takes a complex subject and simplifies it so you can quickly understand the mechanics of grooming that then creates the “Art of Styling!”

If you enjoy color, design and using your hands you have some of the basic requirements to learn the art of grooming. There is another very important reality that comes with grooming pets. Your animal clients are not inanimate canvas or marble. Groomers are temporary caretakers of beloved animals. There are substantial responsibilities to respect the faith and trust placed in you by pet owners. Not only do they trust you to make their pets beautiful, but also to protect and maintain the well-being of their pets while separated from them. Professionals understand these responsibilities are not occasional and instead rest on their shoulders daily.

Pet grooming is never right for anyone without a sincere, humane appreciation of animals. You must consistently express that character in your work performance. It requires infinite patience to successfully work with pets. Even passionate dog lovers can fail as groomers. It takes more than passion to secure the cooperation of pets. Your patience will be tried.

Abusive tendencies for heated reactions toward pets and people won't do. Animals will react to your emotions even when you are in control of your physical reactions. You must temper your reactions at all times without yelling, scolding or physical admonishment. You must handle stress well and be willing to work smarter. Is that you?

Do you fear household pets? It may sound incredible but we have interviewed a surprising number of grooming job applicants fearful of dogs and cats. Perhaps they have a romantic, unrealistic concept of the position. Some don't realize that pet grooming is always an ongoing educational experience.

You must humanely handle behavioral pets with infinite patience. Groomers serve some behavioral pets that require muzzles and other restraint systems. Some pets bite. There are methods which safely protect both you and pets. If this worries you, training and experience may reverse your fears. Be honest. We want you to understand there is more to the art of grooming than the "art."

Are you allergic to pet dirt, dander and other contaminants? If so, you may them aggravated working as a pet groomer. Wise employers will ask about your allergies. Hair coats collect weeds, pollens, pests and dust then released by grooming. If you have these allergies but decide to persist in pet grooming, ask your physician to provide written medical clearance for prospective employers. A medical release may encourage an employer to hire you.

You may require inoculations, usually a tetanus booster. Although you may work in an air-conditioned environment, bathing and drying areas can become humid and warm.

Pet groomers clean up after pets. You should expect to clean up pet waste every workday. Job applicants new to pet care have even halted job interviews when they discovered we required everyone to help clean up pet waste! Did they think we hired someone dedicated to cleaning pet wastes? In fact, it's very important to clean up pet waste immediately. Pet owners don't want to see, smell or step-in pet waste. It's part of professional client services to maintain a fresh, sanitary environment at all times.

One more grooming routine causes some career seekers to shudder. How do you feel about blood? Not yours, the pets. There are blood vessels in pet nails. When cutting nails groomers avoid opening the "quick of the blood vessel," but it does happen. Groomers stock agents specially made to quickly stop nail bleeding. Does this bother you badly? Can you overcome it? If not, you won’t make a successful pet groomer until you do.

We have shared important and not so glamorous aspects of pet grooming. It would be unfair not to share these responsibilities with career seekers. Groomers deserve great respect!

JOB POSITIONS

Outside of the pet grooming industry prospective employers offer candidates job descriptions. Most independently-owned grooming businesses do not offer job descriptions or employee handbooks. These owners focus on the art of grooming. Without job descriptions just how do owners quantify the duties and responsibilities of the job positions they offer? For career seekers it can be very confusing indeed. Is the work of a pet groomer at one business the same as another? Maybe. Probably not. Golden paws will help you prepare for job interviews and how to interview your potential employer.

A pet groomer can operate as a stand alone and complete pet grooming assignments start-to-finish without assistance.

Give us a call or email and we will be glad to help you on this wonderful career path!

Sincerely,
Mitzi
Parrish
888-808-7297
info@goldenpaws.com

*Note- Most of this information came from petgroomer.com