Passion Performance Paychecks…by Khris Berry


Outside of work, Amy juggles a husband and a few kids, a pack of dogs, and ever-constant extended family responsibilities. She always loved animals, her aunts and grandma tell her stories of being good with family pets growing up at the occasional family gathering. She graduated high school a few years ago and stumbled through life for a bit before accepting a job as a kennel assistant. Fast forward on Amy’s life playlist and she is now a really good groomer. She learned from a veteran groomer and found she had a knack for the trade. She supplemented her education along the way by attending a few seminars and has recently been exploring on-line Grooming tutorials.  Amy enjoys her job and it earns a nice living for her family. If you ask her what she thought her career would be, she will likely list 3-4 different trades or professions but none of them would have been Pet Grooming.

Enter Amanda. Amanda always knew she wanted to be a dog groomer. From her first employment experiences, she positioned herself to work with animals and become a dog groomer. She listened, learned, and honed her skills. She attended dog shows and tagged along with professional handlers and groomers. Today, she juggles a husband, a few kids, a pack of dogs, and ever constant extended family responsibilities. She an Amy have similar lives with the exception of the path which brought them each to this moment in time.

One of these groomers is a passion groomer. And the other one is a paycheck groomer. This leads me to the question of the day…is one preferable to the other? You may think you know the answer but before you jump to conclusions, let’s explore both of these groomers, and gain some insights into their motivation.

The Passion Groomer is a Client’s dream. Their passion lies somewhere between the client, the pet, and the craft itself. They get excited about a new Airedale client on their appointment book because they have been studying the breed standard and can’t wait to apply the knowledge. Our Passion groomer may also offer discounted services on the area’s only Afghan Hound for the experience gained by handling the coat and begin to draw rare breeds and high-level styles into a salon.

Our Paycheck Groomer is an Employer’s dream. She shows up early and stays late- not necessarily for the salon itself, but to groom an extra dog or two each day. She out earns the groomers around her, and can whip out a shih-tzu faster than you can say shih-tzu thirty times. She will never discount her services- she is keenly aware of the connection between her hard work and her paycheck.

And there we have a paradox- Passion and Paycheck converge. Much like Venus and Mars, these Groomers inhabit the same universe but speak dynamically different career languages. Passion Groomers cannot understand why Paycheck Groomers don’t invest in constantly elevating their education. Paycheck Groomers cannot fathom why Passion Groomers spend an extra 30 minutes to ensure every hair is in place before revealing their masterpiece to their loyal client.

The common denominator in this debate is Performance. When you begin to communicate with both types of groomers using this common language- you are closer to bringing their worlds together. Passion groomers must understand that if they are discounting their services, not charging appropriately for their time, or not running their business in a professional and profitable manner, they are harming the industry. Inversely, Paycheck groomers must understand that they should be held to a quality standard as well. Paycheck groomers who cut corners to squeeze an extra dog into the schedule, rush to finish their dogs, or send out an average groom because they ran out of time are equally harmful to the industry.

By defining standards for yourself, and your salon if you have that power, you can diminish the roots of Passion and Paycheck and begin to focus on Performance. Your client is purchasing a SERVICE. You are providing that SERVICE. You have a responsibility to charge appropriately and provide a quality product. Your industry depends on it.