How Much Does a Dog Groomer Make?

A career in dog grooming can be both rewarding and lucrative. As more people prioritize their dogs’ health and appearance, the demand for dog grooming services has increased significantly. Dog groomers make up a large part of the pet care industry, and are one of the sought-after professions by animal lovers. 

Why? 

Because the job is fun and rewarding, you can also make a good living on a dog grooming salary. So, how much does a dog groomer make?

The exact amount that a dog groomer makes may vary depending on several factors, including education, location, and experience. So let’s break down what goes into the earning potential of a dog groomer salary and other useful information you should know related to the job.

Average Dog Groomer Salary in the US

Dog grooming is a fulfilling career where you get to work one-on-one with animals, while also making a livable wage. One of the difficult choices to make when considering a career in the pet care industry is choosing a path with the most earning potential, especially for those who are at the beginning of their journey.

There are plenty of options when it comes to career paths within pet care. This can range from working at a pet store to being a vet tech, or even owning your pet grooming salon. The decision of which route you take is influenced significantly by the salary you want to make. 

According to ZipRecruiter (April 2023), the average salary for a groomer in the US is $39,521 a year. This translates to an hourly pay of about $19.00, equivalent to $760 per week or $3,290 per month.

ziprecruiter answers "how much does a dog groomer make?"

ZipRecruiter reports that dog groomer salaries range widely – from $16,500 to an impressive $71,500 annually. Surprisingly, most of these professionals earn between the 25th and 75th percentile marks; meaning they make anywhere from a salary of $28,500 (25th percentile) to an earning potential of $47,500 (75th percentile).

This means there may be plenty of chances for growth and increased earnings based on levels of expertise, geographical location, and years of experience, as the pay range for dog groomers varies widely by as much as $19,000. For example, a dog groomer in South Dakota can earn $30,916 yearly, while one in Texas can make up to $44,572 a year. 

These numbers reflect the income you can make off of being an independent contractor or working for an employer, such as a pet grooming salon. If you choose to open your own business, the earnings you make will be highly influenced by the size of your client base and the services you offer. 

How A Dog Groomer’s Salary Is Determined

As we mentioned earlier, several factors influence how much you can make as a dog groomer. So let’s break down some of the main elements that can affect your salary, so you can choose the career path that is most suitable for you. 

1. Education and Certification: 

Many dog groomers have received formal training in pet grooming. Education is typically attained at a vocational or technical school and can range anywhere from 6 months to 4 years of study. If you decide to pursue a formal education, you will learn how to groom different dog breeds and sizes as well as health and safety protocols.

Typically, individuals who possess higher levels of education may command higher starting salaries as dog groomers. Salons prefer to hire novice groomers who have hands-on experience working with different breeds and conducting various grooming procedures. Without a formal education, individuals can still get hired at pet grooming salons but may face an uphill battle in terms of salary. 

2. Experience: 

Experience is another key factor when it comes to salary negotiation. Many salons will look favorably upon individuals who have prior experience as dog groomers. With growing experience comes greater earning potential; the more you acquire, the higher salary you can command. Entry-level groomers pocket an annual salary of between $20,000 – $23,000.

With 6 to 8 years of experience, you may have the leverage to negotiate your wages, or even set your own prices if you are working independently. A groomer that has been in the industry for a longer period of time ( 8+ years) with a solid track record of success may likely decide to start his/her own grooming business. In this case, you would be able to hire groomers to work for you, set your prices and build a successful career based on the experience and expertise you have gained. 

3. Your Location: 

Your geographical location can affect your earning potential. Generally, dog groomers in larger cities tend to make more than those in more rural areas. This is due to the fact that dog owners in cities typically have larger disposable incomes and are used to paying higher prices for services. 

In addition, the cost of living in cities is typically higher than in other locations, which also influences your salary. Breeds that are common in certain locations may also affect salary. For example, a groomer located in Texas could expect to earn more for grooming toy breeds due to their popularity in the state.

4. The Work Environment: 

Dog groomers can choose to work in several different settings, including pet supply stores, veterinary clinics, and other grooming salons. Some have their businesses and operate out of home, while others may be employed by larger companies. The type of environment you choose to work in can play a role in determining the salary you can command. 

For example, those who work in dog show competitions may earn higher wages than those working in a regular pet grooming salon because of the additional duties and services they must provide. 

5. The Pay Structure

Dog groomers are remunerated by means of a commission system, meaning each groomer earns a certain percentage of the cost of every grooming job they do. They may also receive tips from clients or a base salary plus commission. Groomers who work for larger companies may receive an hourly wage and paid vacation time, as well as medical insurance, which can be beneficial. 

How Much Does It Cost To Become A Groomer?

Like any profession, starting a career in dog grooming requires taking the first step, and working your way up. You have to prioritize investing in education through a grooming program, dog grooming school, or an apprenticeship with a seasoned groomer.

Certificate and diploma programs are widely available through state-accredited grooming schools and online institutions across the nation. These courses typically span from a few weeks to approximately six months to complete and cost between $3,000 to $6,000. Online schools may charge a lower fee in the range of $400 to $600, while apprenticeship programs can cost about $4,000. 

In some programs, the cost of the tuition already includes instructional materials like textbooks, DVDs, and grooming supplies. To further ensure your success, you may also need to invest in additional tools and equipment such as clippers, shampoos, brushes, and other materials. 

The National Dog Groomers Association of America for example provides the necessary information and resources to help aspiring groomers get started in the industry. The organization offers a certification program for those who want to become professional groomers and provides the necessary guidance to make sure you are well-equipped with the right knowledge and skills to excel in your career. 

Animal Behavior College (ABC) offers tuition ranging from $3,299 to $5,647, which covers the cost of instructor-led training, hands-on grooming experience at the school’s facility, and other supplies. An online program by Penn Foster Career School is also available for $2,000 with optional certification. American Grooming Academy’s complete online program runs $2700 but you can also do each level (there are three: beginner, intermediate, and advanced) for $900 each.

Hound Therapy Dog Grooming School: The Most Comprehensive Program Available

Right here at Hound Therapy, we offer in-person training, and hands-on experience from ISCC champion, Shannon Griffin. She believes that the only way to become a good groomer is to work as one rather than learn from an instructional video.

There are so many things that can happen like unfriendly dogs, uncooperative dogs, biting, whining, etc and how could you possibly gain the knowledge of how to deal with these things without having the experience or being taught in person? 

The biggest value of the Hound Therapy training program is that it is geared to not only become an expert dog groomer but it is also a business coaching program. Shannon will walk you through every aspect of running a successful dog grooming business where you don’t need to settle for the “average dog groomer’s salary” but can plan on running a successful 6-figure business from someone who’s done it already. Learn more about our dog grooming school here.

hound therapy dog groomer bathing dog

Dog bathing is the first stage of the dog grooming process

The Value of Running a Business

Having your own business means being able to set up shop wherever you choose. A mobile groomer, for example, might decide to work out of his/her vehicle, traveling to clients’ homes or businesses. Others open a brick-and-mortar grooming salon either in an existing space or with their own building on the premises.

In addition to earning a salary as an independent groomer, you may also choose to hire additional staff if your business is large enough. This provides the opportunity to teach, mentor and cultivate a positive work environment while increasing profits through more efficient use of time. 

Starting up a successful grooming business requires planning, researching the area where you want to open up shop, and making sure you have the necessary capital. If you do this, your annual salary has the potential to soar past $50K up to a whopping $100K plus depending on how many clients and services you provide.

Conclusion

With hard work, dedication, and determination, it is possible to make a good living as a dog groomer. When it comes to how much a dog groomer makes, the answer depends on several factors. The key is to stay informed about industry trends and changes, stay up to date on the latest techniques and products, and always strive for customer satisfaction. In this way, you can build a successful business that will help ensure your financial security and set you up for long-term success. 

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