A well-organized grooming shop is clean with all equipment ready for use and in its place at the start of every day; no hair under the tables and towels are folded waiting near the tub. In other words, no hunting for a blade or thinning shears when the first dog is on the table.
Can your shop attest to this?
If not, then maybe your shop practices and routines should
Start at the Beginning
First, all equipment must be sorted and inventoried. This means making sure there are enough combs, brushes, shears, clippers, nail trimmers, blades in every size and styptic powder at every station. Anything that needs repair or sharpening gets set aside and sent out. If employees take time to hunt for equipment or share things back and forth, there is not enough.
Not only is inventory important to a shop owner for tax and insurance reasons, but also to ensure every groomer in the shop has adequate supplies at each station. Ideally, every station is equipped and maintained the same so any groomer can set up there to work, except for personally–preferred equipment like shears.
The beginning also should involve looking at your practices and procedures. For example, are scissors, shears, combs and brushes cleaned and disinfected regularly? Just imagine causing an outbreak of lice or spreading mange or a topical bacterial infection because dirty tools were used day after day on various pets. Whatever your practices are, from something as simple as spray disinfectants to more cutting–edge Ultraviolet light sanitation equipment, it must be used to be effective.
Once equipment is clean, it needs to be organized in a way that makes sense for your shop. Everything should not be thrown together in one drawer, like the junk drawer in a kitchen. Each groomer should decide what works best for them—especially for their own personal tools—but consistency between stations makes for a more cohesive look.
Portable, rolling carts can be at every station, or maybe your shop has mirrored stations and drawers. Ideally, shears are laid out in a drawer or kept in a roll or scissor holster to prevent any nicked blades. Same for clipper blades. If they are lined up in a tray (cheap plastic ones from the dollar store work fine) according to size, it is quickly evident if any are missing and makes it easy to pick out the size needed. This also helps to keep them from falling on the floor and breaking.
To attain the goal of having your shop clean and ready to start the grooming day every morning, it means every groomer puts in time at the end of the day to clean up, disinfect and reorganize their station and the shop. By having each person responsible for their own space, it can quickly become apparent who is cleaning and disinfecting their equipment and who is not.
Deep Cleaning & Other Tasks
These daily steps are not the end though; weekly, monthly, or within your established parameters, there are others tasks that get done less often.
These might include:
- Clean outside windows.
- Clean filters on dryers and air conditioners.
- Clean ceiling vents.
- Wipe down walls (it is amazing what can fly off pets and stick to walls!)
- Repair or regular maintenance on equipment.
- Purchase new equipment.
The Final Guidance
For any business to run well and be organized, leadership must provide the guidance. This comes in any or all of the following forms:
1. An employee handbook where rules and expectations of the company are spelled out. This means the same guidelines and rules of the facility apply equally to each employee. A handbook covers such things as vacation and holiday practices, discrimination clauses, overtime guidelines, staff meetings and employee grievances. A handbook defines the policies and procedures that govern the operation of the business and is written by management, or even by an outside company.
2. A Standard Operating Procedures guide defines the “who, what, where, when and how” of the steps to be completed. In other words, processes for easy and complex tasks are spelled out with the goal of everyone being able to follow directions and complete a task with the same outcome. This is where the steps for cleaning up your station or equipment maintenance are covered.
Input from staff who do the work is important here to make sure steps and guidance are correct. It can be hard for management to write out step–by–step instructions unless those people have actually done the work in the past. Even so, it can be beneficial to have employees contribute to the SOP’s in their role of day–to–day operations.
3. OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) Safety & Training Manual is often prepared by an outside company that specializes in OSHA practices; however, it can also be written by management with some research and detail investigation. OSHA safety manuals can also be purchased online and downloaded, though they may need tweaking for grooming shops. This is probably the least common handbook in grooming shops.
OSHA standards are legal requirements but the shop should still have standard safety practices and policy statements to guide employees. This manual has material data safety sheets, like those for shampoos or disinfectants, which spell out what to do if product is ingested or gets into eyes. Though not as common anymore, at one time many shampoos and dips were concentrated poisons for fleas and ticks. These products are now known to be quite a hazard, and if your employees are required to use such products, then they must know where to go for information and what to do in an emergency.
A grooming shop is more than just cutting dogs’ hair. It must run and operate like any other business. This involves planning, upkeep, meeting legal state and federal requirements, and creating a workplace environment where an employee can excel in their job. And, walking into a clean, organized grooming salon every morning sets everyone up to have a safe and productive day! ✂️