Launching Creative Dog Grooming At Your Salon

 Lauren Piston
OPAWZ Educator

The Painted Pooch USA


OPAWZ creative grooming educator Lauren Piston

As someone who has been doing creative dog grooming for over 16 years, there are several things I have learned along the way to establish and maintain a solid clientele base. Since creative grooming is a niche market, it is important for a groomer or a shop to attract, charge and educate clients in a different manner than a typical grooming client. Here are some of the ins and outs I have developed over 16 years that have built a successful creative grooming revenue stream for my business, The Painted Pooch, in Burien, Washington.

Use Social Media To Promo Your Creative Dog Grooming Works

First thing first... you got to get clients in the door! The best way to do this, efficiently and cost effectively, is to use social media to your advantage. Build a portfolio and post those pictures on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, and more. If you are just starting out, offer creative grooming services at a reduced rate to well established clients in exchange for their willingness to allow you to do particular cuts/colors on their pets and/or promotional materials for advertising. Advertise on social media with these examples and create grooming specials that encourage pet owners to add on creative grooming aspects to services they are already coming in for. 

Tip:  Don't forget to tag OPAWZ on Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok with #opawz and @opawz to increase your social media exposure.

Creative Grooming For The Holiday Season

Marketing creative grooming specials around holidays is always a success. St. Patrick’s Day... Super Bowl... Christmas... Birthdays... people love to have a reason behind getting their pet creatively groomed. That said, not all customers are going to be down for the over the top, complex or full body creative grooming so make sure your portfolio and services have simple options as well. You want to cast a wide net with creative grooming so you appeal to a range of tastes. 

Tip:  Join the OPAWZ creative pet grooming contests

OPAWZ seasonal creative grooming contests provide the exciting opportunity for creative pet groomers around the world to showcase their skills. Pet groomers can display creativity by creating unique looks on dogs, cats, horses & other animals based on a specific seasonal theme.

Participating in these seasonal grooming contests can be a great way for groomers to challenge themselves, with a chance to win recognition and prizes, a must-join for any passionate creative dog groomer.

OPAWZ Creative Grooming Ideas Showcase >>

Charging For Your Creative Grooming Services

Part of being a successful creative groomer is making sure that you are charging enough for your services, both with labor and supplies. This is creating art and your time is valuable. Don’t be afraid to charge what you are worth because interested and invested pet owners will pay it! Come up with a good hourly rate that is in addition to the normal groom rate that you charge. For instance, my rate is an additional $60 per hour.

My rate is on the higher end because of my experience and because I am very fast with my work. If you are slower or just starting out, go with a lower rate. Set up a consultation with the owner to go over ideas and decide the final design. I usually draw mine for the client on a dog stencil. This is a huge tool in selling creative grooming because it allows the client to visualize the work as well as give you the opportunity to thoroughly review cost and provide an accurate estimate. It is vital to present it as an estimate since so many things can go into the final cost of a creative grooming (time, supplies, design, animal coat, etc). Always charge a deposit! Creative grooming takes a lot of time and supplies so if a client cancels, it can destroy your whole day and daily production goals. I make my clients pay either the cost of the dye or half of the estimate upfront, whichever one is a higher amount.


Don’t Take It Personal

Something that comes along with creative grooming that one may not be anticipating is backlash and cries of abuse. This can particularly be true in the realms of social media. The biggest piece of advice I can give you is to stay calm, don’t take it personal and use the opportunity to educate the public. A lot of people don’t understand creative pet grooming and how animals can enjoy the pampering process or they have only been exposed to scenarios where someone misused human products on animals. Be proactive and have your dye ingredients posted, both on your social media posts and in your shop. Know what permanent dog hair dye brands, like OPAWZ, are safe for dogs or semi-permanent ones safe for cats, bunnies and other small animals. Make sure to tag the brands used when posting your pictures as well as using hashtags that promote cruelty free ideals. This will not alleviate all the negative reactions but can lessen the impact as well as direct people to the actual companies to learn more about creative grooming.

Creative Grooming Is For Dogs Who are Outgoing And Socially Friendly

As with all aspects of grooming, it is essential that you understand your client. Creative grooming should be reserved for animals who are outgoing and socially friendly. Everyone wants to check out and pet a pink dog so these animals need to be okay with a lot of extra attention.

If a dog is shy and/or anxious, this will only add to that and be something that is stressful to them and their owners. Don’t be afraid to tell an owner that it is a bad idea for their pet! It is also important to communicate clearly the wash and grow out times of dyes to the owners. They need to know what it will take time and cost wise to maintain the look as well as how long dyes will typically last. For instance, OPAWZ permanent dog hair dye can last for six months so make sure to have other options for owners that are not wanting that level of commitment. Semi permanent pet hair dyes or temporary pet hair colors applied by blow pen or pet chalk are great ways for someone to get an amazing look that will last through that big game or parade but not stick around for too long. 

creative dog grooming with opawz dog hair dye

Have A Creative Dog Grooming Pamphlet On Hand 

Creative grooming isn’t only about dyes either and you can do amazing trans-FUR-mations by carving designs into the coat! One thing I have found that is helpful is to have a creative grooming pamphlet on hand to give to both perspective and actual clients. Have the top ten questions in it to provide a great overview of what someone would need to know about deciding to appoint for and/or maintain a creative groom. Questions like “Does the animal get breaks?”; “Is the dye safe for animals?”; “How long does it last?”; etc. By having this information in pamphlet form, it is easy for your shop employees to give to clients if you are not there as well as encouraging your clients to pass out to the general public which makes for great advertising! 

Understanding & Keeping Up With The Products Available

All things aside remember that creative grooming is art and that comes from the soul. As long as you remember that, you will enjoy your work and create amazing things for your clients. Your love of the art and for the animal will shine through and attract the right clientele for your creative grooming business. Don’t rush the appointment and don’t compromise your integrity or your artistic process! Having a strict routine and procedure, knowing your clients (and their owners), understanding and keeping up with the products available will only lead to success. So grab that brush and express yourself!

Have fun and success will follow!



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1 comment

  • Annmarie : May 29, 2024
    Author image

    Nice products!
    So excited to be creative!

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