I have often asked my clients why they have chosen MDD for their pet care needs and I have gotten a variety of answers. Mostly, it is the high-level of professionalism and customer service we provide but the overall haircut is the driving factor. But how do you FIND that in a groomer? How can you know if the place you are taking sweet Fluffy exhibits all of these features? Sure, they may seem nice and caring and the place looks okay but how can you tell? I have a variety of answers that will help put your mind at ease and I will provide simple questions for you when calling around.
What kind of owner are you?
A realistic look into your wants, needs and expectations will determine the type of groomer that fits your lifestyle. Do you mind your pet being in a crate or do you prefer kennel-free? Do you like him to be there all day or would you rather get him as soon as he is finished? How important is his haircut to you? How knowledgeable do you want your groomer to be? Do you want to be able to call on them for most pet care concerns or is she just a groomer that you see once a year?
Research and Interview
Do your homework – check out potential groomers websites and message boards with other clients feedback. You have every right to know who will be caring for your four-legged family member! When calling, ask the important questions:
1) Is this business owned and operated by a groomer or is it run by business people with no grooming background? Though facilities run by entrepreneurs are good businesses, there is limited understanding of how to run a grooming spa when you do not fully understand every aspect of the job. Scheduling conflicts, staff burnout and a lack of knowledge in canine behavior and the handling of pets are typical in shops run by non-groomers. Sometimes these internal issues can rub up on the clientele as well.
2) How did the groomers learn the art of grooming? Self-study? Grooming school? Apprenticeship or through a corporate chain? The level of grooming skills vary greatly based on how they learned and if they invest in continuing education. Self-study and corporate chain schools produce the least skilled groomers initially. Though they can become better with practice and continuing ed, they will not be capable of the high-end grooming that some pet owners are looking for. Grooming schools are focused on providing high quality groomers yet the students are not there for long periods of time. Apprenticeships under Master Groomers produce the most qualified groomers. However, like anything, it is the time and effort the individual puts into exceling at their trade!
3) How is the facility set up? As stated above, are they crated? Roaming free? Do they use cage dryers or do they hand-blow dry everyone? **Hand-dried dogs look much better!**
4) Are they members of any trade associations like the National Dog Groomers Association of America and do they attend conferences throughout the year?
The saying “You Get What You Pay For” is true especially in grooming! My staff and I have a running joke about the commercial with the fancy $6 Haircut salon that is built across the street from a Barber. The Barber advertised: We Fix $6 Haircuts and the large cheap salon went out of business! Multiple times a month, new clients come to us with horror stories of bad hairdo’s and mistreatment. The common denominator is that they wanted to save a few bucks. Grooming is a challenging job that only the creative, strong-willed and non-squeamish individuals can handle! There are many more dogs and cats that need to be groomed than actual groomers to do them. The quality groomers will charge fair prices that reflect their level of service and expertise.
Overall, go with your gut. You know what makes you feel comfortable and secure and your pet will know this too. Finding a groomer is like finding your own hairdresser and daycare provider all rolled up into one! This person should be considerate of your needs and those of your pet as well. They should listen to your requests and accurately describe back to you the haircut you desire. There should be a calmness about them and the facility – despite all the barking dogs!