Pet Grooming At Home
by Raelynn Coombs
I am a thirty six year old mother of 3 beautiful girls. For the past 5 years, I've searched high and low for legitimate home based work or businesses. With so many crazy things going on in the world today, many mothers want to be able to stay at home with their children and I was one of them. After all the searching, I had come to a dead end. Sure there are plenty of offers out there, but most are scams. If they are not scams, they are legitimate businesses that ask for money up front for kits, etc. that most of us do not have to spend. I know MY situation is financially binding and does not allow me to take a risk on spending twenty or more dollars here and there. I am ashamed to say that I have fallen for some of those scams out there only to be cheated out of money I could have used to pay bills.
I consider myself a jack of “most” trades. I am a very creative person and have a head full of “ideas”! This trait only frustrates my family simply because I usually tell them these wonderful money making ideas and never follow through with them. My husband is constantly saying, “If you could only make a career out of coming up with ideas, we’d have it made!” I would love to come up with an idea that would help all those mothers out there looking for legitimate home based work, but as of today, no luck. My ideas have included everything from a pet waste removal service (I know, sounds disgusting!) to an online telecommuting recruiting service for mothers. With that said, here is my story.
I have been in the pet industry for about seventeen years now. I wanted to become a Veterinarian throughout high school, but didn’t pursue it. I started out in high school doing volunteer work for veterinarians. Soon after high school, I married my high school sweetheart and changed paths totally. I went to college and majored in Aviation Technology and received my private pilots license. That’s when I became pregnant with my first daughter and the aviation career faded away. Unfortunately, so did my marriage. Eventually I became a vet assistant. After that, I went on to become an assistant animal trainer and then I finally found my calling, A Professional Pet Groomer. I did apprentice work under an experienced groomer and started out just doing baths. I soon moved up to clipping toenails, cleaning ears, and then finally using the clippers. After about 6 months of training, I felt that I was confident enough to groom on my own. I had learned many types of styles for different breeds and I had all my vet assistant training that would help tremendously with elderly pets and medical issues.
So, through divorce, and being a single parent for 5 years, I seemed to stay in the pet industry. I soon married my now wonderful husband and became pregnant with my second child. Although I loved pet grooming, I started looking for ways to be able to stay home with my baby after her birth. My first daughter was eight years old and in school, but I didn’t want to put my baby in daycare. So, for the first year of her life, I searched and searched for a job I could do at home. I started an online gel candle business that did not work out. Nothing else came up and I had to return to work as a pet groomer. I reluctantly put my daughter in daycare and went to work in tears everyday. In the meantime I was still searching for work I could do at home. Three years later, I found out I was pregnant with my third child. (Another daughter!) I went on maternity leave in my eighth month of pregnancy and when my daughter was six weeks old I decided I wasn’t going to return. I decided that I would try grooming from home. It was the best idea I have had yet!
With my husband’s support and engineering background, we have made a grooming room in my garage complete with tub, table, dryers, cages and other equipment. I currently groom the pets of family, friends’, and previous loyal clients until I can live my dream of opening my own pet grooming and boarding business one day. (It will be complete with a childcare room for my children and hopefully a family member to help take care of them.) I usually have my clients drop their pets off before 7:30 a.m. or after 8:30 a.m. (this is when I’m gone to take my 12 year old to school) and then I call them as soon as I’m finished. My children are really not a problem. My 12 year old is at school during the day (when she’s home, she is wonderful help!), my 3 year old helps by standing on her stool and giving me advice on how to bathe the dogs, and my 4 month old usually takes a 2 hour nap in the a.m. I’m able to groom 3-4 pets a day and this usually takes about 3-4 hours. Then I have the rest of the day to be with my children, and take care of other things. Average price for one pet is $30-$50. It just depends on the size, condition, the temperament of the pet and what the owner wants done. Today I did a $75 dog that took me 1 1/2 hours from start to finish. These prices are the going rate in my area. I like to take “before and after” pictures of the pets that I groom. It is such a feeling of accomplishment to see what I can create. It’s also nice to see how happy the pets are after they are clean! Another good feeling is when your clients tell you that they only trust YOU to groom their pet! I’m currently working on the best way to market my business to hopefully add new clients. I recently had some magnetic signs made for my van that just say PET GROOMING and my phone number with a picture of a dog and a cat. I have gotten more calls from these than I thought I would. My home business doesn’t bring in as much as I’d like at the moment, but it buys groceries, pays a few bills and allows me to be with my children everyday! It's tough caring for a three year old, a 4 month old and a 12 year old (who already thinks she knows more than I do about life), but it's all worth it to me. I no longer have to pay an outrageous amount of money to have my children raised by a stranger in daycare. Life is just too short!
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