The creators of were owners of one of the world's largest grooming salons established in 1961. In 1989 they became one of the first consultation firms for groomers. Others have followed and today there several more consultants devoted to helping groomers and business owners. They play an important role in an industry working for more professional recognition.

The demand for consultants is greatest for consultants offering assistance to business owners establishing a school of grooming, working on business plans and business owners requiring assistance to improve the performance of their grooming businesses. There are also career seekers that get professional assistance to map a more successful career in grooming. We can provide you with leads to companies providing these and more services.

It's been our experience as consultants since 1989 that many career seekers and groomers don't understand the advantages of using a consultant. Here are some reasons to consider using a consultant:

Rapid change: After many decades with little change the 1990's ushered in major changes in the grooming industry. Predictions of pet superstores with grooming would have gotten you chuckles less than a decade before. Mobile grooming was a growing fire and look how it burns today. Vocational licensing is probably going to become a reality before 2010 with legislation pending in 2 states for 2007. Such licensing will have a dramatic impact on pet grooming and affect how everyone manages their grooming business, and the nature of grooming schools and their curriculums is certainly going to be affected. In fact, the demand for grooming schools could soar. Professional consultants understand the nature of change in their industry and the changes that lie ahead. Business owners often don't have the same number of sources of up-to-the-minute information. Keep in mind that the grooming has only 1 major trade magazine and a very few major web sites to disperse information. Consultants can help fill the information gap. Magazine

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Financial advantages: The owners of have been grooming management consultants for over 16 years. In that time millions of dollars were saved for consultation. Some were going to sign a major lease in a building that would require $50,000 in improvements when another similar space with similar advantages needed only $5,000 in improvements. In fact, lease complications amount to a great deal of those millions saved. Other were shown ways to boost quality and reduce payroll without cutting wage levels. Others were shown a way to expand their business with new services, such as consultants like Golden Paws which has an opportunity to expand a grooming business into a grooming school. With the help of a consultant you can usually be in business earning income weeks if not months faster than if you go it alone. The cost of consultants is often temporary, but the financial advantages in savings or boosting sales income can be longstanding.

Breadth of experience: Learning how to open or expand a grooming business by trial and error can be very costly, or delay beneficial returns. Circumvent trial and error using professional consultants who have previously succeeded and gone where you want to go, it only makes sense.

Specific experience: Grooming is a very specific industry. There are books in the Bookstore and there are seminar opportunities at industry events. There are no business schools dedicated to the "business side" of Information. What does this mean? You have to look for individuals to assist you that have the specific experience you need. Consultants like Grooming Business in a Box®, John Stazko or Mitzi Parrish of Golden Paws are few and far between and our industry is fortunate to have them. Potential hazards: All too often consultants greet new customers that already entered pet grooming without the assistance professional consultant. Too many of these customers relied on the advice of skilled pet groomers only to find their skill was in grooming, not business management. Some relied on a relative who had no background with the pet industry. We can vouch for at least 100 consultation clients that listened only to relatives and groomer employees and the result was costly mistakes. You are making a serious investment in your business and career, use a professional consultant. A good consultant will listen to your ideas and review your plans and immediately list the potential hazards and offer ways to eliminate them. The role of a professional consultant is to work for your success, never to introduce hazards that arise from a lack of knowledge about your venture.

Independent perspective: All business decisions such as entering the grooming industry, resolving operational problems like commissions and salaries, expanding into a school or opening a second location have a “political” side to them. They all affect organizational and power relationships within a business. It is helpful to have a perspective from outside the internal politics of a business for making significant decisions that affect the health and future of an enterprise. Business consulting provides perspective from other organizations who may have solved the problems you are experiencing.

Why Open a Pet Styling School? Article by Mitzi Parrish of Golden Paws

The pet industry is a 36 Billion dollar industry and 30% growth was predicted every year for at least the last 6 years. This is an incredible industry on the verge of a raging tide of profitableness! The sky is the limit and no one has a corner on the market!

I liken this current stage of our industry to the early days of the Internet. The possibilities are endless! There are no limits to what one can achieve as we all take this wonderful ride in a profession we love. Pet styling!

Where will we find the staff to keep up with the ever increasing demand? This is the one great drawback to our profession. I have spoken with people globally as they search for qualified stylists, the question is always the same do you have a graduate that will fill the position or positions I need? Even with the best schools the need can’t be filled.

Perhaps some of you think you can’t hire someone right out of school. To quote an industry leader, “Graduates of a good school are the ones you want to hire because you can train them to your standards and you won’t have to deal with, 'This is my way and I am going to do it my way!'”

The profession of pet styling is really coming to the forefront, the public forefront. At one time I thought vocational licensing would never happen in my lifetime. I now think it is five years away if that. I also believe when one state gets a bill passed for licensing within 2-3 years all states will require pet groomers/stylists to be licensed.

I know there are groomers who think licensing is a bad thing but if we get involved in the process I think we could come up with a Bill that would greatly benefit all of us as a profession. I could discuss this on and on, as could you, but that is not meant to be the subject of this article. So staying with the subject at hand, let me ask you some questions:

Students need to learn the craft by applying the styling skills they learn on pets. In order to learn correctly they will be doing the majority of the physical part, while you/your instructor are instructing – for some of us who have been doing this for quite a few years this is very attractive and is a win-win for the student and instructor. The bonus is the pet gets double attention!

These are the main benefits but there are more.

You may be excited and ready to go open a school or may be you decided this isn’t for you. Just like the pet styling business this option isn’t for everyone. For those who have the desire to have a school, you will make more money than any other section of your business (of course it is always what you put in as to what you get out of it) and you really feel good about helping other people achieve their dreams!

The tasks to become a school may sound daunting but stay with me because I have the (or at least an alternative) answer at the end!

How to Open a Pet Styling School

1) Design Space – Is it conducive to learning? How much space do you need? How to convert from salon/kennel and insert a school – Name – Design – Logo?
2) Catalogs, Enrollment Forms, Brochures, and Website
3) Marketing – Where? How? When? Target Market? Free Marketing?
4) Phone and Tour Procedures – Who? How? What to show? Curriculum? Hours of Operation?
5) Seamless fold into existing business staff? Clients?
6) Insurance? Accounting? State Licensing – Time to accomplish, Where to start?
7) Financing Options for students – Where to get? Government Funding – How to find?
8) Record Keeping System – How? What to keep for State? Organization?
9) Instructional Guide, Progress Reports and Tests? How do I track student’s progress so they can understand?
10) All School Operational Support Materials? Record Keeping?
11) How do I transfer the knowledge in my head to someone who has never picked up a clipper and scissors and learning on the pets that I charge for grooming and that I deeply care about?
12) Tool Kits? Distributorships? What to put in Tool Kits?

Of course not every task has been listed, but I think you get an idea of the comprehensive requirements! Now I have a solution.

1) You could spend years developing the instructional program and operational system.
2) You could wing it, and try to get state licensed and open your doors. If someone walks-in, fine. If not, fine too. Basically you could just give the student trusting in you average training that says, “Cut it until it looks good.” You will probably end up being too busy finishing your dogs to really teach them because you are not prepared with an instructional method and plan to teach the student much more than the basics of bathing and prepping. Your reputation will be at stake as a training facility.
3) I propose you become a Golden Paws Pet Styling Academy Licensee.

As a Golden Paws Pet Styling Academy Licensee you get these benefits:

1) We provide 35 years of pet styling school operational systems, materials, support, proprietary step-by-step instructional teaching book-videos, and an instructor’s daily guide.

2) We provide answers and formats and give you the tools for success just as you will equip your students for success.

3) You license the use of the trademarked Golden Paws Name and become part of a nationally branded proven successful pet styling school system with all the support!

We do all the work while you keep concentrating on your business. We do most of the State Licensing work. We travel to you for 5 days of training in the instructional program and systems. We give you 35 years of successful marketing goals and what works.

We also offer a financing plan with no interest. That is how much we believe in the program and your success. This program is only licensed to people we feel have the same value system and hard work ethics.

Now remember when I was rambling about when I started bathing and drying for my Mother (above)?

OK, the #1 reason: “We were raised to always try to be our best, do the best work or don’t do it at all and above all else CARE! We care about the pets, the students, the clients, our Licensees, and this wonderful profession – Pet Styling!

If you have any questions or if you would like a more detailed brochure sent to you please contact us at 888-808-7297 or you can email us at We look forward to hearing from you!

Sincerely, Mitzi Hicks


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