By Shannon Tupes, NCMG, Andis Global Educator
After finishing grooming school, you might be a bit overwhelmed because of the abundance of information you have been given to start your new career, but embrace your journey into the fabulous world of pet grooming by keeping an open mind and absorb as much information as possible.
Grow Your Toolkit
One of the most important things you can do is invest in good, reliable equipment. Clippers are one of the first investments to make after grooming school. After graduating from grooming school, you will want to start upgrading your equipment. You will be grooming more dogs, and you will need some additional tools to add to your arsenal of grooming supplies. Having the proper equipment allows you to groom safely and efficiently while allowing you to put a beautiful finish on the pet as well.
My personal favorite is the Andis Pulse® ZR II clipper (image right). This cordless, detachable blade clipper has a 3-hour run time, allowing me the ability to groom dogs all day without having to charge them. They are a workhorse of a clipper with the ability to get through the thickest of coats with ease. And at the same time, they are a great finishing clipper by being able to pay attention to the finest details on a soft, silky and luxurious coat. The versatility of the Pulse ZR II makes them a must-have in the grooming salon.
The Andis Vida™ clipper is another favorite of mine. It is a 5-in-1 clipper where you can adjust the blade length from a #9 length to a #40 length (see blade closeup on the right). It is my go-to clipper for shaving pads, sanitary work, poodle feet, face, and tails, tipping ears, cleaning out the hair between the eyes, and a great choice when working with puppies. It is lightweight yet durable and has a natural, comfortable fit in my hand.
If you immediately start adding to your equipment and take care of what you already have with routine maintenance, such as disinfecting and oiling blades, you will be able to grow your tool kit in a reasonable amount of time.
Grow Your Client List
Not only do you want to grow your tool kit, but growing your client list is just as important. Finding new clients is a necessity, but also make sure to keep the clientele you already have. It is important to develop good working relationships with your clients and know that everyone deserves a great groom with excellent customer service. If you can build these relationships with your current clients, you will get most of your new business through referrals. One of the best things about being a pet groomer is when you do what you love and are passionate about what you do, it never seems like work.
Continue Your Education
Never stop learning. To stay relevant in this fast-growing industry, it is imperative to continue your education. Regardless of how long you have been grooming, you can always learn something new that might help you in your day-to-day grooming. From grooming conferences with grooming competitions (image right: a grooming event at SuperZoo 2019), live in-person seminars, virtual webinars, Facebook Live instruction, monthly on-line educational subscriptions, private lessons in-person or online, and private group lessons, you can choose the right path to fit your schedule.
Continuing education also affords you the opportunity to stay on top of new trends in the industry, introduce you to new, innovative tools, technology and equipment to keep you on top of your game, and show you ways to keep your clientele and expand your business.
About the Author: Shannon Tupes is a certified master groomer for NDGAA as well as IPG, and a board member of Groom Team USA. She has owned several successful grooming salons throughout the U.S. and is currently a global educator for Andis. In addition, Shannon is a successful breeder, owner, handler of Bichon Frises.