When it comes to finding the perfect dog groomer, many pet parents feel overwhelmed. How do you know who is the best fit for your pup? What should you look for when choosing someone for the first time?

In this article, we’ll break down the process into 5 simple steps so that you know how to choose the right dog groomer for you and your furbaby!

How To Choose The Right Dog Groomer in 5 Steps

Step 1: Determine Your Dog’s Grooming Needs

The first step is to take a look at your dog and determine what kind of grooming they will need. For instance, you should ask yourself:

  • Are they a long-haired breed that needs regular haircuts?
  • Does their fur mat easily?
  • Are they a hypoallergenic breed with special needs?
  • Do they have sensitive skin that requires special shampoo?
  • Does their breed require specific, standard cuts?
  • Do they need their nails trimmed?
  • Do they have any medical conditions that a groomer should be aware of?

Knowing your dog’s specific needs will help you narrow down the type of groomer you’re looking for.

Step #2: Ask For Recommendations

Once you know what kind of groomer you are looking for, the next step is to ask your friends, family, and vet for recommendations. If you have a long-haired dog, chances are you know someone who takes their pup to a great groomer that does amazing haircuts.

If you don’t have any personal recommendations, that’s okay, too! You can always look for reviews online (more on that in the next step).

Step #3: Do Your Research

Now that you have a list of potential groomers, it’s time to do your research! The best way to get started is by visiting each groomer’s website. Read their “About Me” page. This will give you a good idea of their experience and training. Also, make sure to look over their Service List as well, so you’re familiar with the type(s) of grooming services they offer.

After this, you should then take a look at online reviews. This is a great way to get an idea of what other pet parents think of the groomer and their services. Once you’ve read through a few reviews, you should have a good idea of which groomers are worth considering.

When you find a groomer you like, it’s also worth checking out their social media as well. Doing this will let you see more of their portfolio, give you a good sense of their personality, and show you first-hand how they interact with their clients.

Remember: in addition to possessing the necessary grooming skill-set, the right dog groomer should also be friendly, professional, and have a great bedside manner. After all, your pup will be spending a lot of time with them!

Checking for Certification & Insurance

As part of your research, we also advise you to make sure the groomer you’re considering is both certified and insured. This may not seem like an important factor, but it’s actually very important! A certified groomer has gone through the necessary training – through a reputable institution, such as QC Pet Studies – to learn how to safely groom dogs.

As such, you can be rest assured that they’ll also be up-to-date on the latest trends, styles, and techniques!

As for insurance, this is important in case of any accidents that may happen while your pup is in their care. So, don’t hesitate to ask groomers you’re interested in booking if they have any of the following types of insurance:

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Step #4: Schedule a Consultation

After you’ve done your research and narrowed down your options, the next step to choosing the right dog groomer is to schedule a consultation with each of the groomers you’re interested in. This will give you an opportunity to meet them in person, ask any remaining questions you may have, and get a feel for their grooming facility.

During your consultation, be sure to pay attention to the following:

  • First impressions – Does the groomer seem friendly and professional? Do they make you feel comfortable? Are they able to answer all of your questions knowledgeably and with confidence?
  • The grooming facility – Is it clean and well-organized?
  • The groomer’s interaction with your dog – Do they handle your pup with care? Are they patient with them?

After your consultation, you should have a good idea of which groomer is the best fit for you and your pup.

Step #5: Make an Appointment

The final step in choosing the right dog groomer is to make an appointment! Once you’ve decided on a particular groomer, simply give them a call or visit their website to book an appointment. When you do, be sure to let them know what type of grooming services you’re interested in and provide any other relevant details (e.g., your pup’s age, breed, etc.).

Ultimately, you’ll never be able to choose the right dog groomer for you and your furbaby until you actually give someone a try. Sometimes, after seeing the work they actually do on your dog, you’ll realize that they’re not the right fit after all.

And that’s okay! Just remember to always trust your gut and, most importantly, make sure your pup is happy with their new groomer. After all, they’re the ones who matter most in the end.

Finding a Dog Groomer: Questions To Ask BEFORE The First Consultation

“How long have you been in business?”

This is a very good place to start when gauging a groomer’s experience. If they’ve only been open for a few months, they may not have the same level of experience as someone who’s been in business for years.

On the other hand, there are admittedly perks to working with groomers who are fresh to the industry. For instance, they may be more eager to please and build up their clientele. Not to mention, their bedside manner may be impeccable since they haven’t been jaded by years of working with uncooperative pups!

“Are you certified and/or insured?”

As we mentioned earlier, it’s always best to choose a certified and insured dog groomer. A certification ensures that the groomer has received proper training from a reputable institution. Plus, a groomer with proper qualifications will also likely mean a groomer who knows First Aid for canines – which is super important!

Meanwhile, as we discussed earlier, insurance protects you in case of any accidents that may occur while your pup is in their care. So, it’s always a good idea to book with a groomer who has this in place for their business.

“Can you provide me with some references?”

If a groomer is confident in their abilities, they should have no problem providing you with references from past clients. These references can give you some insight into what it’s actually like to work with the groomer and whether or not their clients were happy with the end result.

“Do you have a portfolio I can look at?”

Another way to get an idea of what it’s like to work with a particular groomer is to ask if they have a portfolio. This will give you a chance to see some examples of their previous work and get a feel for their style.

“What type of grooming services do you offer?”

Be sure to ask about the types of grooming services the groomer offers. This is important because not all groomers offer the same services. For example, some may only offer baths while others may offer a wide range of services like haircuts, nail trims, and more.

“How do you handle dogs who are resistant to grooming?”

This is an important question to ask because it will give you an idea of how the groomer deals with difficult dogs. After all, not every pup is going to be cooperative during their grooming session!

“Do you have any experience grooming dogs with my pup’s coat type/length?”

This is another important question to ask because it will give you an idea of whether or not the groomer has experience working with dogs who have a coat type/length similar to your pup.

“How much do your services cost?”

Of course, you’ll also want to ask about the cost of the groomer’s services. This is important because you’ll want to make sure their rates are in line with your budget.

“When are you available?”

Finally, be sure to ask about the groomer’s availability. This is important because you’ll want to make sure they have appointments available that work with your schedule.

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How To Choose a Dog Groomer: Questions To Ask DURING The First Consultation

“What is your policy on cancellations/no-shows?”

Be sure to ask about the groomer’s policy on cancellations and no-shows. This is important because you’ll want to make sure you’re aware of their policy in case you need to cancel or reschedule an appointment.

“What forms of payment do you accept?”

Another important question to ask is what forms of payment the groomer accepts. After all, you’ll want to make sure they accept a form of payment that you’re comfortable with.

“Do you have any promotions or discounts available?”

You may also want to ask about any promotions or discounts the groomer may be running. This is a great way to save money on their services!

“Can I stay and watch during the grooming appointment?”

If you’re concerned about leaving your pup in the hands of a stranger, be sure to ask if you can stay and watch during the grooming appointment. This way, you can see firsthand how they interact with your pup and what their grooming process is like.

Of course, it’s ultimately up to the groomer to say yes or not. Some groomers may not feel comfortable with this for a variety of reasons. But it’s always worth asking!

“How will my dog be housed after their groom is finished?”

This is an important question to ask because there may be times where you’ll drop off your dog, leave, and then come back after you’ve been notified that the groom is over. During that critical period between the groom ending and you arriving, you’ll want to make sure your pup is comfortable after their groom is finished. For example, some groomers may keep pups in a kennel while others may let them roam free in a play area.

“Do you have a First Aid kit on-hand?”

This is an important question to ask because you’ll want to make sure the groomer is prepared in case of an emergency. After all, accidents can happen and it’s always better to be safe than sorry!

“Who will be grooming my dog?”

This is particularly important to ask if you’ve found a grooming salon you want to book with, but they employ multiple different groomers.

For example, my Pembroke Welsh Corgi has really bad anxiety. The salon I take her to has a handful of groomers, but I specifically make sure she’s actually booked with the same one every single time. As a result, I can do my part to try and make the experience as easy on her as I possibly can.

All that to say, if you have a preference for who grooms your dog, be sure to ask about this upfront. That way, you can be sure to request a specific groomer when you book your appointment!

“What’s your protocol in the event of an emergency?”

Before you hand off your dog, you’re going to want to make sure the groomer knows what to do in the event of an emergency.

For example, if your dog was to start having a seizure during their grooming appointment, you’ll want to be confident that the groomer knows how to handle the situation properly. Similarly, if there was a fire in the salon, you’ll want to know that the groomer has a plan to get all the dogs out safely.

In short, you’ll want to make sure the groomer has a plan for how to handle any potential emergencies that could occur during the grooming appointment.

“Are there any hidden fees for your services?”

Another thing you’ll want to do during the consultation is make sure there are no hidden fees for the groomer’s services. Unfortunately, some groomers will try to sneak in extra charges for things like “extra-long fur” or “difficult temperament.”

To avoid being blindsided by hidden fees, be sure to ask about them upfront! This way, you can be sure that you’re aware of all the costs associated with the grooming appointment.

“What should I do to prepare my dog for their grooming appointment?”

Finally, you’ll want to ask the groomer what you should do to prepare your dog for their grooming appointment. For example, some groomers may recommend that you brush your dog’s fur before the appointment while others may not.

At the end of the day, you’ll want to do whatever you can to make sure the grooming appointment goes as smoothly as possible for both you and your pup. And asking the groomer what you should do to prepare is a great way to do just that!

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What To Look For In a Dog Groomer

Hard Skills

When you’re looking for a dog groomer, you’ll want to make sure they have the hard skills necessary to do the job well. This means they should be knowledgeable about things like different types of dog breeds, coat care, and grooming tools. Additionally, the best dog groomers will also have experience working with dogs of all temperaments.

Soft Skills

In addition to hard skills, you’ll also want to make sure the dog groomer has soft skills. After all, the best dog groomers are not only good at what they do, but they’re also great with people! This means they should be friendly, patient, and good at communicating.

Finding a dog groomer who has both hard and soft skills can be tricky. But it’s definitely worth taking the time to find someone who meets both criteria!

Should You Tip Your Dog Groomer?

While there’s no right or wrong answer to this question, it’s definitely something you’ll want to consider. After all, your dog groomer is providing a service that you likely wouldn’t be able to do yourself.

That said, there’s no need to tip if you don’t feel comfortable doing so. Ultimately, the decision of whether or not to tip your dog groomer is up to you.

How Much Should You Tip a Dog Groomer?

If you decide to tip your dog groomer, a good rule of thumb is to tip them 15-20% of the total bill. However, you can always tip more (or less) depending on the quality of the service.

What to Avoid When Choosing a Dog Groomer

Finally, let’s go over a few things you’ll want to avoid when choosing a dog groomer…

First, you’ll want to avoid any groomers who seem inexperienced or unprofessional. The less experienced and/or untrained they are, the more likely they’ll be to make mistakes that could harm your dog.

Second, you’ll want to avoid any groomers who use harsh methods to discipline dogs. This includes things like yelling, hitting, flooding, or using electric shock collars.

And lastly, you’ll want to avoid any groomers who try to upsell you on services you don’t need. For example, some groomers may try to sell you on things like teeth cleaning or nail trimming when your dog doesn’t actually need them.

When it comes to knowing how to choose the right dog groomer for you, understanding what you don’t want is just as important as understanding what you do want. By avoiding the things on this list, you’ll be one step closer to finding the perfect groomer for your pup!

Should YOU Become a Dog Groomer?

Maybe you’ve read this far and are thinking to yourself, “Okay… But I still think my dog would be best taken care of in my own hands…”

And that’s totally understandable! After all, it can be hard to entrust the care of your furry friend to someone else. So, why not extend that to not just your dog – but other people’s dogs as well?

Becoming a dog groomer is a great way to make some extra money while doing something you love. And who knows… You may even find that you’re better at it than you thought!

If you’re thinking about becoming a dog groomer, we’ve got some information that can help get you started. For example, this Ultimate Guide will break down how to become a certified dog groomer right from the comfort of home – and even if you have no experience!

We also strongly recommend getting this kind of career started on the right foot by completing a certification training program. QC Pet Studies, for example, offers a self-paced, online Dog Grooming Course that will arm you with a globally-recognized International Dog Grooming Professional™ (IDGP™) certification in less than a year.

And the best part?

You get to earn this certification entirely on your schedule, right from the comfort of your bed (or couch, or patio, or wherever you want to be, really)!

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Check out our full Dog Grooming Course curriculum for more info!

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Choosing the right dog groomer doesn’t have to be difficult. Just follow the 5 simple steps and additional tips discussed in this article and you’ll be well on your way!

Do you have any tips for choosing the right dog groomer? Share them in the comments below! Thanks for reading!

Enroll with QC Pet Studies today and become the “right dog groomer” for countless clients!

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