Groomer Strong: Knowing Your Rights -The waiting game

  • Groomer Strong: Knowing Your Rights -The waiting game


    In the pet grooming industry, a large number of groomers are still being paid on a commission only basis.  


    In many cases, groomers are required to stay until their dogs have been picked up or until closing time if the salon offers walk in services.What does this mean for the groomer during slower times? It often means the groomer will spend a large portion of the day as a free secretary and/or cleaning crew.  


    Don't get me wrong here. It's common courtesy to clean up after yourself and to grab a ringing phone if you're just sitting around. I see nothing wrong with doing that. Helping out when needed is not a bad thing. It can become an issue when you routinely come to work to find only 2 dogs on the books and have to spend the remaining 6 hours of your day scrubbing floors, doing laundry or reading a book. You have moved from being a skilled professional to someone's free labor.


    Over the years I have heard many groomers complain about being hired on at a salon only to find out that there are not enough dogs for everyone. They are required to stay the entire day making it difficult to get another job to make ends meet. They are told it is up to them to recruit new clients in order to have more work.


    While I agree, it is in the best interest of the groomer to try to get new clients, as employees, it is not their responsibility. It is the responsibility of the business owner to market and advertise their business in a way to bring in new clients.  It's the responsibility of the employees to make sure those new clients are happy and become repeat customers. 

    More important, it is the responsibility of a business owner to work within the laws requiring all employees to make minimum wage. In a two week time period, a commissioned employee must make at least the minimum wage per hour worked. If a commissioned employee is spending 40 hours a week in the salon, their commission must be no less than $580 for a 2 week period.  If they are only grooming 2 or 3 small dogs a day, and must stay an entire 8 hour day, they may be making less than the Federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour. When that happens, the ramifications can be very costly to the business owner.


    The pet industry is growing by leaps and bounds. Where once it tended to stay under the radar, and salon owners could go on for many years running things however they wanted, things are changing. Employees are getting wiser and State and Federal agencies are taking notice. The more common phrase if "if someone looks at the books" is quickly turning into "when someone looks at the books". The larger the industry gets and the closer it gets to regulations, the more the government will be interested in making sure pet related business are following all government regulations.