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A Closer Look

Results for the Employed Groomers Only 2002

2002 was the first year we provided a survey dedicated to employed groomers. We don't believe there has ever been a survey dedicated to grooming employees, and so it was time to look at the industry from their perspective. We thought there might be some interesting results, and there was.

1,337 employed groomers completed a survey. 77% described themselves as a "full charge groomer or stylist" and an additional 7% described themselves as being not only a full charge groomer or stylist, but also certified (NDGAA, IPG, ISCC etc). Only 7% were "bather brushers" or 'prep only" workers. 50% of them had 3 to 9 years grooming experience, and 74% worked 30 or more hours per week. The majority (74%) worked in a grooming salon or shop whereas 12% worked for a mobile grooming business and 12% in a grooming department within a veterinary, pet store, kennel or day care business.

Compensation: Here was a surprise. Only 51% stated they were paid by commission and 47% stated they were paid by hourly (40%) or salary (7%) wages. Our surveys of business owners in previous years showed a growing trend toward hourly and salary wages for full-charge groomers. However, in less than 2 years the increase in owners calculating wages by hourly and salary compensation plans has jumped almost 17%. A modest 26% complained about their wages whereas 52% complained not about wages but their "working environment." An annual raise was expected by 67% of the surveyed employed groomers, and 77% said their employer offered them opportunities for promotion. 88% stated they did not get benefits such as medical and/or dental insurance, 401K or paid vacation, and 98% stated that these benefits were somewhat to very important to them.

Career Goals: It seems that forever and ever, employed full-charge groomers dream of owning a grooming business. In previous surveys about 70% of career seekers indicated they would seek employment when ready to enter the industry but their goal was to one day open their own business. The rank and file held steady in this survey with 70% stating they were somewhat to very serious in owning their own grooming business at some time in the future. 45% stated that the longest period of time they worked for the same employer was 3-5 years, yet a strong 46% stated 6 or more years.

Working Conditions: 84% stated that they must provide and maintain their scissors and shears, and 77% stated the same conditions for clippers and blades. The favorite grooming table is hydraulic (57%), and strangely (in our opinion) the standard four legged table was slightly favored over an electric table.

Employers: We continue to be aghast at how grooming business owners ignore effective (even legally required) personnel management. 89% of surveyed employed groomers did not receive a written job description during the hiring process, and 91% did not receive an employee handbook. That is extremely risky management on the part of owners and should employee related litigation arise it is a strike against the employer, sometimes a major one. Only 13% of grooming business owners make all grooming assignments to employees, and 60% rarely or never do.

Productivity: 49% of surveyed employed groomers said that on an average day they are capable of doing 7 or more dogs in 8 hours without a bather. That's very productive! Another 49% stated 5-6 dogs. Mobile groomers were included in these numbers, but they were asked to rate their skills as if they didn't have to drive between appointments.

Satisfaction: Overall 65% of surveyed employer groomers said they were satisfied with their job, and 27% said "average." That's excellent and only 8% of those surveyed said they were "poorly," or "not at all," satisfied with their jobs. Pet grooming is a wonderful and rewarding career!

In closing, we may sound like a broken record to those of you who have followed PetGroomer.com and our book, From Problems to Profits, but it needs to be said again here. Grooming business employers must adhere to employment law and codes just like every other employer in the U.S. If they don't they put their business interests at risk and display less than professional management to employees which can lead to problems.

With a staggering majority of grooming employers still overlooking the basics of providing job descriptions and employee handbooks you can say that as a profession we are still infants. It's a blight on our industry. Though pet care services may be very professional choosing to operate a business outside of the employment laws of this country helps to explain why we are still a fragmented industry. Perhaps it is why so many of our employees move into self-employment. We took excellent care of our employees and had proper personnel management throughout our operation and for that reason our average full-charge groomers stayed with us 9 or more years. It's time for more grooming business owners to protect the interests of their businesses and fulfill their obligations for personnel management.

You can review the complete results of the Employed Groomers Only Survey 2002 here.

Return to Surveys Main Page to view more results or to select a current survey.


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