How Much Do Self-Employed Dog Groomers Earn?

by Leslie Bloom - Updated October 15, 2018
Factor grooming equipment and other business expenses into your self-employment earnings.

It’s not just humans who need regular pampering. Dog grooming in the form of shampoos, trims, nail maintenance and brushing keeps pets looking clean and healthy.

If your love of pets leads you to become a self-employed dog groomer, you have the opportunity to set your own schedule, choose your own clients and offer the services that you enjoy doing most. Since the dog-grooming career outlook is good, it’s a career worth exploring if you love being around animals all day.

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  • Self-employed dog groomers earn a median annual salary of $23,610.

Job Description

As a self-employed dog groomer, you handle all things related to dog beautification. That means cleaning ears, trimming nails, styling fur and bathing dogs of all shapes and sizes. It may also mean de-matting fur, expressing anal glands and giving flea baths. If your love of animals extends to cats, you may also provide services to the feline species as well.

When you are a self-employed dog groomer, you are also responsible for the day-to-day operations of your business. Whether you have a brick-and-mortar business or one that is mobile, you have a lot of administrative tasks to handle. Those include getting new clients, scheduling appointments and keeping your business running at a profit.

The life of a self-employed dog groomer isn’t always glamorous, and a dog-groomer salary isn’t always high, but you have the reward of making both pets and their owners happy.

Education Requirements

Not much education is required to become a self-employed dog groomer. Most of the learning that is done in the field comes from working under an experienced groomer, so not much more than a high school diploma is needed. If you want to gain more professional experience, you can always attend grooming school and get certified by the National Dog Groomers Association of America. Doing so may make it easier to differentiate yourself in a field of self-employed dog groomers.

Industry

Self-employed dog groomers work in a variety of settings. When you run your own business, you have the option of opening your own store or renting space in another business. For example, you can provide mobile dog-grooming services at the local doggy day care, where there is a built-in clientele. You may also be hired by vets, kennels and pet stores to provide your services.

You can specialize in certain breeds of dogs or only large or small canines. If competitions are your thing, you may specialize in grooming for dog competitions. That may be a little more intense than everyday grooming, but it can be very rewarding.

Years of Experience and Salary

Those working in the animal personal care and service occupations, including self-employed dog groomers, earn a median annual salary of $23,610 as of May 2017, which means that half earn more than this, and the other half earns less. Grooming fees vary widely according to the groomer's skill, grooming environment and location.

A self-employed dog-groomer salary may appear to be higher per hour than their retail counterparts, but you must figure in the cost of equipment, overhead and transportation to find out how much you will truly make in this field. Overall, animal care professions are not highly paid careers, but they can offer enjoyable, fulfilling work environments with non-monetary rewards that go beyond a dog-groomer salary.

Job Growth Trend

Job opportunities for all animal care and service workers, including self-employed dog groomers, are expected to grow an impressive 22 percent over the next decade, much faster than other industries. Since an increasing number of people want to pamper their pet, the dog-grooming career outlook is good. The conveniences of mobile grooming services also helps the dog-grooming career outlook.

About the Author

Leslie Bloom is a Los Angeles native who has worked everywhere from new start-ups to established corporate settings. In addition to years of business and management experience, she has more than 20 years of experience writing for a variety of online and print publications. She holds degrees in both journalism and law.

Photo Credits

  • Jupiterimages/Brand X Pictures/Getty Images
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