Dog Grooming Career: Overview, Salary & Qualifications

September 27, 2022

Imagine a life where you spend your days with adorable pups, have free reign to showcase your creativity daily and get well compensated for your efforts — sounds like a win-win if you ask us! If you’re passionate about taking care of dogs and are keen on a field that allows you to work with them daily, then dog grooming may well be the perfect fit for you.

Landing a job you love is the best way to never work a day in your life. Begin your journey to living the dream by finding out all you need to know about establishing or furthering your career in dog grooming in the following post.

Is Dog Grooming a Good Career?

Dog grooming is a great career for animal lovers. It's a rewarding job that allows you to work with a variety of breeds, helping them to look and feel their best. As a burgeoning industry, there are also plenty of opportunities for advancement. Overall job satisfaction will depend on the company you work for. At Barkbus, for example, you can expect to earn an amazing living with a competitive salary, full benefits, paid time off, and even have a concierge helping you with appointment bookings!

In addition to the joys of spending your work days around canines, you get to flex your creative muscles while helping each dog look their best. The growing demand for dog grooming services also means salaries are becoming more competitive with the ability to earn even more income from tips for quality service. 

Responsibilities of a Groomer

The main duties of a dog groomer involve maintaining the hygiene and general appearance of dogs. In this profession, you’ll find that the most common services requested by dog parents are typically bathing, trimming, and nail clipping. However, some groomers like Barkbus include additional services such as teeth brushing and ear cleaning as well.

Groomer cutting pup's fur


In general, a dog groomer job description usually includes:

  • Washing and clipping fur to conform with a variety of breed-specific styles
  • Detangling longer coats and removing matted hair
  • Drying the coat 
  • Ensuring hair and skin health
  • Checking for parasites or other skin conditions
  • Trimming nails
  • Cleaning the ears
  • Brushing teeth

It goes without saying that you’ll need to have a certain comfort and knowledge level of canines to successfully carry out your dog grooming duties. You’ll also need to be patient and gentle as some dogs may be resistant to the grooming process. The added ability to work quickly will also help ensure that you’re delivering an efficient service for clients.

While you don't need any formal qualifications to be a dog groomer, many professional dog groomers choose to get certified. At Barkbus, we ensure that all groomers are certified in Pet First Aid and CPR, in addition to their years of dog grooming experience. Not only does it show dedication to the craft, but it also demonstrates skills and aptitude for the job. There are numerous grooming qualifications and certification programs available. It should be fairly straightforward to find one that's right for you depending on your experience and goals.

For instance, you can take a dog grooming course online through a reputable institute like QC Pet Studies or attend in-person grooming certification and workshop programs through an association like the National Dog Groomers Association of America (NDGAA) which take place around the United States.

Dog Groomer Salary Range

How much does a dog groomer make? This question often plagues people who are thinking about embarking on a career in dog grooming. While the love of dogs is a great motivator for forging a career in this field, you also want to ensure that it can financially sustain your livelihood as well.

The average salary for a dog groomer in the United States is $36,000 per year. However, pay can vary greatly depending on location, work experience, and job type — such as mobile vs. salon — among a few other factors, including additional tips. For instance, dog groomers in New York City typically earn a higher salary than those in other parts of the country.

At Barkbus, dog groomers typically earn $5,000 to $6,000 per month — including an additional $1,000 sign-on bonus and countless other perks like paid time off! That’s a minimum annual pay of $60,000, which is well above the national average. Check out our careers page to learn more. 

Types of Grooming Jobs

There are several types of dog grooming jobs out there, which can all be pretty rewarding. From working in a dog salon to being a mobile groomer, there are different approaches to helping dogs look and feel their best. 

If you're thinking about getting into the dog grooming business, here are some of the types of dog grooming jobs you can consider.

Mobile Grooming

Mobile grooming services like Barkbus are becoming an increasingly popular dog grooming option. Compared to the typical salon, mobile grooming offers many more advantages for all parties involved, including groomers, pet parents, and pups. Your four-legged friends get the convenience of getting groomed in familiar surroundings, so they’re less likely to become stressed. No cages required and no other dogs around — just a personalized one-on-one interaction between groomer and dog from the convenience of your driveway.

Barkbus mobile dog grooming van in driveway of home

Additionally, pet parents love mobile grooming just as much. The flexibility of mobile groomers makes it much easier to fit appointments around a busy schedule. It also saves a lot of time and hassle getting pups to and from a salon, while also ensuring that parents and their fur babies don’t have to go extended periods away from each other.

Mobile grooming gives groomers flexibility regarding your work schedule and the role itself. At Barkbus, other fun work perks include:

  • Paid time off
  • Medical, dental, vision, and pet insurance
  • Retirement benefits

Learn more about other benefits of becoming a mobile groomer on our careers page! 

Corporate Grooming

Corporate grooming is dog grooming performed by large-scale corporations like Petco and PetSmart. Similar to Barkbus, corporate grooming jobs offer stability in terms of daily schedules and salary in addition to benefits like health insurance and retirement options. When it comes to the work itself, corporate roles can often be more rigid. Corporate groomers likely experience more restrictions on when and how they work due to the corporate nature of the business entity.

On the other hand, corporate grooming is an easy way to get your foot in the door before expanding into other grooming options such as mobile or private grooming because many of these companies offer training programs to gain skills and experience.

Local Grooming Salons

This is the most traditional type of dog grooming job. You'll work in a salon environment and groom dogs of all different breeds and sizes. Often, local grooming salons don’t offer the more comprehensive list of dog grooming services as those offered by other service operators, such as catering to general skin and hair health.

Small dog being groomed at a salon

Private Grooming

Private dog grooming gives you the opportunity to work for yourself, get your own customers, and set rates on your own terms. However that comes with all the headaches of running your own business. Just keep in mind that it can be a little difficult to compete with the more established names in town, especially when you’re just starting out but there’s still a great number of opportunities to get a good slice of the pie.

Here are other important things to consider if you’d like to pursue private dog grooming business:

  • Setting up your business
  • Getting capital and sorting out a budget
  • Accounting and taxes
  • Finding a physical location for your business
  • Marketing, sales, and lead generation
  • Supplying vehicles, equipment, and other resources
  • Vehicle maintenance

Dog Grooming Career Outlook 

The pet industry is booming, and dog grooming is one of the most sought-after professional services by pet parents. This makes dog grooming a great career opportunity for people who love canines and want to be involved in their care.

The field of dog care is constantly evolving. As we learn more about dogs and new grooming services are introduced, dog groomers must keep up with the latest trends and technology to provide the best possible service for clients. With dogs maintaining their position as the world’s most popular pet, the demand for professional dog grooming services won’t wane any time soon.

That’s exactly why the dog groomer career outlook looks very positive. If you’re passionate about dogs and believe you have what it takes to succeed, professional dog grooming could be your dream job!

Level Up Your Grooming Career 

Dog grooming can be an extremely fulfilling profession path for the right person. If that person is you, Barkbus has proven to be a great place to further your career. We offer numerous dog grooming services and great benefits, as well as a friendly, supportive team that’ll make you feel valued.

Contact us today to learn more about our services and how we can help you level up your dog grooming career!


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