How to Hire and Keep Experienced Groomers!

One of the greatest challenges in the grooming industry is the shortage of experienced groomers. According to ASPCA, 23 million households acquired pets during the pandemic which has disrupted the dog grooming industry.  If you are a small-business owner, you know how difficult it is to hire pet-stylists, groomers, and pet care workers right now.

Here are Some Problems in the Dog Grooming Job Sector:

  • Candidates do not have sufficient grooming experience
  • Grooming shops are not receiving enough resumes
  • Candidates are “no-showing” on their interviews
  • High attrition rates
  • Small business budgetary constraints
  • Covid vaccination, testing and mask rules among staff and job applicants

The Facts of the Labor Market and What That Means for Animal Care Jobs

The Labor Department’s latest Job Openings survey stated that the number of unfilled jobs in the U.S. increased to 10.9 million in July.

The department also estimates that over 8 million people are unemployed.

Pet industry experts predict that there will be nearly 500,000 grooming jobs created in the U.S. over the next 10 years.

Grooming and Pet Boarding comprise $11B of the $100B pet industry.

What do all these stats mean? It is a worker’s market! This means that candidates can be more selective in their grooming job search. With extended government relief packages and the spread of covid variants, many pet retail and dog and cat grooming stores have reported that full-time and part-time pet industry workers have been slow to trickle back into the job market.  

Here is a Short List of What You Can do to Hire and Keep Great Groomers:

  1. Competitive Compensation: With a low supply of experienced groomers in the market, an extra $1.50/hr can make a significant difference between hiring a great employee today or wasting time reviewing resumes for another month.
  2. Incentive Programs: Many employees will take greater ownership of their work and develop loyalty to the business if they are eligible for monthly or quarterly bonuses, tips, gift cards or other monetary perks. You can tie these incentives to duties such as: pre-booking future appointments, calling customers with appointment reminders, upselling grooming services or store products, or paying seasoned employees to train the newbies. Set some metrics and have it on paper so employees have reassurance of future rewards.
  3. Training Training Training!: Novice dog groomers at pet shops or grooming salons will require some training. Carving out the time to train is key, not just for performance, but for safety!
  4. Grooming credentials are key: The New York Institute of Pet Grooming (NYIPG) founded by The Bark Shoppe is an education program that teaches enrollees about the opportunities within the professional grooming industry, in addition to providing salon certification through a network of satellite grooming salons in the New York and New Jersey areas. Paragon School of Pet Grooming (for ongoing grooming education) and Holly and Hugo (for beginners) are highly rated online training programs that provide certificates of education. Petco and PetSmart grooming divisions have their own certificate programs as well. Give special consideration to candidates with any formal education or credentials.
  5. Do Your Due Diligence: Ask for pictures or videos (even better) of candidates’ work. Look up their previous employers, call them for references, and read reviews of their work.
  6. Consider Subsidizing Grooming Training or Grooming Certification Many grooming store owners are paying at least a portion of school costs for eager and inexperienced candidates in promise of a future employment commitment.
  7. Post Your Grooming Openings to Niche Job Boards in the Pet Industry: If you are spending over six or seven hundred dollars a month on job postings for groomers, pet stylists, kennel attendants, or ACT (Animal Care Technicians) on Indeed and other job boards, you are wasting money! There are more affordable pet grooming job boards or pet industry job boards that can provide more focused results:
  8. Develop a company culture: Many boutique grooming salons struggle to develop this with hourly, temp and part-time animal care workers. Having teambuilding events and celebrations can make the difference between a 5-year employee or someone who jumps ship at the next opportunity to make an extra couple bucks an hour.
  9. Hidden Gem Alert–Ranch and Farm Workers. These candidates work with large animals such as horses, sheep and other farm animals. They do not scare easy, are unphased by poop patrol, and often pick up the grooming trade very quickly.
  10. Talk to a Pet Industry Recruiter: If your business is growing rapidly and you simply do not have the time to dedicate to hiring, consider reaching out to a recruiting service. PackHire is here to help. Call or email us with any questions!

Happy Hiring!

–The PackHire Team