You Can No Longer Groom, Now What? - Groomer to Groomer

Mary's Musings

You Can No Longer Groom, Now What?

I knew I had an expiration date when it came to the physical aspect of grooming. Part of it was because I loved grooming the big dogs and it would—without a doubt—take a toll on my body. And the second reason was because my husband has chronic medical conditions, and two broken-down people in our household was not a feasible scenario. So, about 12 years ago, I started looking at what options were available to me that would keep me in the pet industry. 

Your reasons may be different, but at some point, something may happen in your life that takes pet grooming out of the equation. Maybe you’re burned out, physically unable, retiring or any other reason that makes it impossible to groom. But, you may want to remain relevant or continue earning an income in the industry you love. 

I realized I had more choices than I thought, ranging from teaching or running the admin side of pet grooming to training or pet sitting. And today, there are more options than ever! 

Let’s go over some of those post-grooming, pet industry career options in more detail:

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1 Grooming Teacher. You likely have years of experience you can share with the upcoming generation of new groomers. Whether you want to open a brick-and-mortar school or develop an on-the-job training program to help area shops train new hires, the need is huge. 

2 Create Educational Materials. This could include books, guides, charts, breed flash cards and so forth. I would have killed for breed flash cards when I first started, but it could be anything that is in your professional library. 

3 Online Educator. There are multiple professional pet education businesses that I am aware of that are offering online education, and the opportunities are still abound. This doesn’t have to be limited to just teaching breed trims; there’s the other side of grooming which is business, safety and wellness.

4 Shop Manager. Run the grooming shop without actually having to groom. Manage clients, do admin work, payroll, supply ordering, manage employees, and handle check-ins and check-outs. This allows the groomers and bathers to make more money for the shop since their not taking time from their skilled labor to handle these other tasks.

5 Receptionist. I floated this idea in my head for years before deciding on education. This would be similar to a shop manager, except that their focus would be client interactions and client management. Retired groomers know the correct questions to ask clients when checking in and making appointments.

6 Social Media Manager. Do you love Facebook, TikTok and Instagram? More importantly, do you know how to leverage and use these platforms effectively? Guess what—most of us don’t (and don’t want to learn). So, help us out!

7 Dog Trainer. Dog training utilizes the practical knowledge of animal behavior that we have observed over the years as groomers to teach practical behaviors to pet owners. The Association of Professional Dog Trainers is a great place to get started.1 

8 Dog Walker or Pet Sitter. Most families are double income and need someone to walk, play with, feed or give medications to their pets while they are at work. And, how many of us already have a client list to get started on pet sitting or walking? The National Association of Professional Pet Sitters can help you get started.2

9 Pet Professional Virtual Assistant. This is an upcoming field within our industry. Much of client management can be performed from the comfort of your home office, allowing you to work part-time for several different shops anywhere in the world. 

10 Coaching/Consulting. A coach will guide you in whatever facet of help you need. Most coaches will have a specialty. A consultant takes a look at something specific and then tells you what needs to be changed. Both are worth their weight in gold as they can get new professionals from A to B a lot faster without making costly or timely mistakes.

11 Create products. Who knows better than a groomer what we need to make our life easier? Some of the best products on the market were designed by groomers. Many of the scissor companies even started out as groomer-owned. 

Not being able to do the physical aspect of grooming does not mean your career is over, but planning now will make the transition easier later. ✂️

References:

  1. Association of Professional Dog Trainers. https://apdt.com/
  2. The National Association of Professional Pet Sitters. https://petsitters.org/
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