Pantops Pet Salon
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Pantops Pet Salon & Spa
Charlottesville's Professional Dog Grooming

It's what we do -- it's all we do.

(434) 293-2424
Fax: (434) 293-8231
504 Pantops Center
Charlottesville, VA 22911

A Career as a Dog Groomer

Thursday, November 10th, 2005 by Mike Cronk

The first thing entered on an application for a grooming position is “I just love dogs.” This is great and tops on the list of attributes needed in the grooming profession, but hardly enough. Consider the following…


  1. Physical strength. You are on your feet all day and a good pair of shoes is essential. You are constantly carrying small dogs from cage to table, then to bath and back to table again—strong arms are a must. When it comes to large dogs, it generally takes two people and you need to protect your back when lifting.
  2. Willingness to work weekends and holidays. Most grooming shops operate monday through saturday (we don’t work saturdays). Before major holidays such as Christmas and Thanksgiving the demand is high–don’t even think about time off then. Seasonally the busiest time is spring, followed by summer and then fall. January and February are slow since most clients come in at Christmas and they want longer coats for the winter.
  3. Patience. Grooming is not painful, but dogs can be quite anxious about it anyway. Most dogs adjust to the clippers, brushing and bath just fine, but some never do. They tend to be afraid of grooming, people and their own shadows, and no amount of kindness can change their minds. 90% of our clients can be groomed under normal circumstances, but that 10% can be pretty disagreeable and some can’t be done at all. Puppies and our seniors require more time, patience and understanding. If you have a short fuse or quick temper, you need to look elsewhere.
  4. Artistic talant. I always tell prospective groomers that they are going to be Michaelangelo’s, only instead of using a hammer and chisel on stone, you use a comb and scissors on hair. You must be able to visualize a pattern in your head and transfer that to the dog–and hopefully it’s not a moving target. Good hand eye coordination is a must.

What do you get out of the profession? Well, you wont get rich. The industry will only allow us to charge an average of $50 for a haircut that takes as much as two hours to do. After paying for a shop, equipment, insurance, shampoo, utilities, taxes, licensing, receptionist etc its a struggle to reach a goal of $35 an hour, but we’re working on it. The best reward is doing a good job and seeing the joy on a customer’s face when their buddy comes out clean, smelling good, and tail going to beat the band! People love their pets and a demonstration of that love is a good grooming. The happiness brought on by a job well done can’t be beat. Even though there are a few bad apples, most dogs are very appreciative when it’s all done and your liable to get a big lick in the face if you get too close…and I make it a point to do so!

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