If you love dogs and want to work with animals in a non-medical setting, a career as a dog groomer may be a good fit for you. Dog grooming is a rewarding career that offers flexibility and plenty of opportunity for growth. Grooming services are always in demand, and there’s little worry about automation taking over this industry.
But what about the pay?
You may enjoy the job, but you still have to make ends meet. How much do dog groomers get paid?
What’s the Average Dog Groomer Salary?
Just like with any other career, a dog groomer’s salary will depend on their location, their experience level and their employer. Some groomers are self-employed, while others work for pet stores or specialty grooming shops.
Company Groomer Salary
A dog groomer’s salary can vary greatly depending on the employer and experience level.
Higher pay means more experience and greater skill.
According to Indeed.com, the average salary for a dog groomer is:
- $35,339 per year
This figure is based on 1,912 salaries submitted by pet groomers and pay data collected by job advertisements on the website.
If we take a closer look at individual companies, we can get a better idea of how much you can expect to earn as a dog groomer. According to Indeed:
- The average PetSmart dog groomer salary is $31,020 per year.
- Petco pays their groomers an average of $26,696 per year.
- Wagging Tails LLC (based in CT) pays an average of $57,115 per year.
- Aussie Pet Mobile pays an average of $35,763 per year.
- Pet Supplies Plus groomers make $39,643 per year on average.
Smaller groomers tend to pay higher salaries than national chains, but they may also demand more experience and more advanced skill.
If we look at data from Glassdoor, we get a slightly different average for a groomer’s salary. According to the website, the average base pay for a dog groomer is $26,655 per year.
Glassdoor allows you to view the average pay for different experience levels, too.
- 0-1 years of experience: $21,272 per year on average
- 4-6 years of experience: $21,972 per year on average
- 15+ years of experience: $24,838 per year on average
Glassdoor paints a very different picture from Indeed’s data, but PayScale’s information is based on fewer salary submissions (389 vs. 1,912).
PayScale allows us to view data based on percentile, so we can see how much groomers in the bottom and top 10% percentiles make.
The median salary for a dog groomer, according to PayScale, is:
- $30,053 per year, or $11,18 per hour
Average additional compensation includes $8,400 in commission and $175 in bonuses.
But what about on the high and low end of the salary spectrum?
- $17,485 per year on the low end
- $50,248 per year on the high end
With all of this salary information in mind, we can estimate that a dog groomer would make between $21,000 and $31,000 per year when working for a company. Keep in mind that dog groomers can also freelance, but generally, these self-employed groomers earn about the same salary as an employed groomer.
It’s also important to remember that these figures do not include tips. Groomers, just like human hair stylists, supplement their base salaries with tips.
Experience and Salary
Experience is everything in this industry. Eventually, you can start negotiating your salary and work in higher-end salons.
The First Five Years
In the first five years, you’ll likely earn around $20,000 per year as a groomer.
If you are a certified groomer and have proper training, your starting salary will probably be higher.
Once you have a few years of experience under your belt, you can start negotiating your own salary and prices.
At this stage, many groomers begin working at salons, where they have the potential to earn commission on every grooming session. Salon groomers typically take home 40-60% of the total service charge, while the rest goes to the salon.
While you have some room to negotiate your wages when you work for a salon, it’s important to remember that you can’t just charge whatever rate you want on a whim. You must charge the salon-standard rate.
Groomers with eight or more years of experience are either starting their own businesses or running salons. At this point, you can use your experience and skills to start hiring groomers to train.
Dog groomers with this much experience can earn $36,000 or more per year.
Dog groomers who want to supplement their income can add brushing and bathing to their list of services. These quick services can be performed in between appointments, allowing you to earn more money in between full grooms.
Running Your Own Dog Grooming Business
Self-employed dog groomers have the potential to earn more if they price themselves competitively and figure out how to keep costs down.
Many freelance groomers make the same amount of money as company groomers, but they have the luxury of making their own schedules and choosing their own clients.
Freelance groomers do not earn 100% profit from each appointment. Just like a salon, they must cover the cost of insurance, equipment and overhead costs.
Working as a dog groomer can be rewarding and satisfying career, particularly for animal lovers. Salaries are modest in this industry, but there is still room for growth and opportunity for self-employment. If you ever choose to open your own salon, the sky is the limit as far as earnings go.
The more experience you gain, the more valuable your skills become. You may start with a base pay of $20,000, but after a decade of experience, your salary may increase to $30,000 or more, depending on your location and employer. Groomers who work in urban areas, like New York City and Los Angeles, will naturally earn more than those who work in more rural areas. Still, we have found that working for smaller groomers – instead of big chains – will earn you a higher salary. The only drawback is that you may not receive the same benefits that a national chain would offer.