By Khris Berry
Pets are a universal language. Everywhere in the world, the dog continues to reign supreme as Man’s Best Friend—a position he has worked hard to attain for tens of thousands of years. And, universally, groomers worldwide speak that universal language.
While for many, the world seems a very large place—dreams of travelling abroad are shared by people of all nations—for pet groomers, that world is much smaller than it may appear at first glance. The pet grooming industry is thriving in most industrialized countries in 2019.
Just for fun, we polled pet groomers from all across the globe to discover just how similar (or different) the pet grooming experience may be for pets, clients and groomers, no matter where you live. In every country where there are dogs who need grooming, there are groomers who step up to provide the grooming services to them in very similar ways.
When speaking a worldwide language (such as pets!), we would begin looking for the links that tie us all together. Pet groomers from Spain, Canada, Ireland, England, Scotland, Germany, Serbia, Montenegro, China, Korea, Russia, New Zealand, Mexico and the United States all offered opinions on common procedures, as well as common problem areas, for the industry.
Most groomers worldwide work by appointment. With a few exceptions, clients worldwide have become conditioned to wait for their preferred pet stylist to provide a dedicated appointment period for their pet. There are a few countries where walk–ins and call–ins are commonly accommodated, but predominantly, the pets of the world will wait an average of about 2–3 weeks to be serviced by their groomer.
When it comes to seasonality, groomers everywhere seem to be plagued by weather, holidays and distinct cyclical patterns of their clients. Good marketing and customer training appear to help most with smoothing out their high/low seasons, but when left to do what clients will do naturally, groomers worldwide are still juggling too many customers sometimes and not enough customers other times.
Speaking of customer training, there was a common theme which crept into our question/answer sessions with pet groomers around the world, and that was a lack of client education. Most groomers found that they needed to provide clients with better understanding about how to manage their pets’ coats at home, help develop necessary grooming schedules and explain to clients with matted pets the necessity of regular grooming. Groomers are finding language and taking time to educate not only themselves, but also their pet owning clients about basic coat care.
Another worldwide theme was developing good communication skills with clients. With the rise of social media, it appears that groomers everywhere—no matter the nation—are finding themselves battling the occasional poor review of their services. By providing client education about your role as their pet groomer, and developing good client communication skills, most groomers are finding they can lessen their exposure to poor reviews and increase their clients’ positive interactions with their grooming salon.
There are a few other common themes which tie all pet groomers together, including the equipment they are reaching for when completing their grooming tasks. Far and above, clippers and brushes seem to top the list of items that no groomer worldwide could live without. While styles may range from the maintenance–free, no–frills styles preferred in New Zealand to the dense, thick coats preferred by clients in the United Kingdom, every groomer worldwide is completing their tasks with concerns about care, safety and compassion.
Pet groomers are being trained around the world in various ways—from state–run schools, to private education, to on–the–job learning. No matter how one becomes a pet groomer, there is that underlying universal language of the dog which connects each and every groomer. From beginning education to continuing education, all groomers are joined by a desire to improve constantly to provide the best care for each pet.
What about the dogs? Worldwide, the people’s favorite pets appear to be small white dogs with hair that tangles easily. Maltese, Shih Tzus and Bichons, as well as mixes of those breeds dominate the tables of pet groomers everywhere.
Besides the breeds they choose, here are some other factors which appear to affect the styling choices of customers for their pets:
- Cultural—Styling choices range from high fashion extensions of pet owners’ styles to modest utility clips which reflect more basic and modest lifestyles which are driven by specific cultures in each country. Basically, the pets are a reflection of the people who own them!
- Income—More prosperous areas will see that pets are afforded more regular grooming appointments while less prosperous areas find that pet grooming is being afforded as a necessity rather than a luxury.
- Weather/Climate—Weather and climate can affect styling choices for pets by encouraging clients to shave down in tropical, warm climates or manage longer, thicker coats in damp, cool climates. Weather/climate also seem to affect seasonal surges for pet groomers who are located in areas with multiple seasonal climates. Many countries are well–versed in the “summer” cut and shorter styles to adapt to changing climates.
- Education—The availability of educational opportunities to pet groomers varies greatly. In areas where pet groomers have access to many continuing educational programs, there is a wider variation of styling choices to which customers are exposed. With the advent of online tutorials, more internet long–distance learning opportunities and travelling educators, this gap in education is narrowing quickly.
To every groomer in the world—this serves as a message that you are not alone. Somewhere on the other side of the globe, there is a groomer struggling with your same concerns and enjoying the same rewards you take from your career. Dogs are still dogs – no matter where they live. And it seems, groomers are still groomers, no matter where they are located. When it comes to pet grooming, it really is a small world, after all.