Dog Groomer Salary: How Much Do Dog Groomers Make?

Many things matter in choosing a career.

For dog groomers, taking good care of all dogs coming into the pet salons should be a priority.

The dogs’ happiness must always come first.

Everything else should come second.

That’s because they are building their careers out of caring for these animals.

And a good deed deserves a good reward—usually in the form of money.

On this page, we’ll take you into a glimpse of how much a dog groomer makes and other things you should know about this job.

Average Salary of a Dog Groomer

Choosing to be a dog groomer is a critical choice, especially for individuals just starting their careers.

You have plenty of options when it comes to workplaces.

It may be in an animal shelter or a pet store.

You may also choose to establish your own grooming salon or do freelance.

But the path you take will be determined mostly by one factor—salary.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (May 2020), animal caretakers like dog groomers receive an average pay of $26,080 per year.

And per Salary.com, as of December 2021, dog groomers are earning a median of $35,601.

The table below shows how much you’ll earn if you belong to a certain percentile.

PercentileSalary
10%$23,183
25%$29,101
50%$35,601
75%$44,401
90%$52,413

So what does this mean?

The more advanced your skills are and the more extensive your experience is, you’ll belong to the top 10% percentile in no time.

Plus, you’ll gain many job opportunities at your disposal.

Let’s take a look at the average salary for each type of dog groomer in the industry.

TypeAverage Pay
Retail$10 per hour for entry-level
$14 per hour for professionals
Salon$22 per dog
FreelanceClose to the national median pay or more

Average Annual Salary by State

StateAvg. Annual Salary
Alabama$31,642
Alaska$37,851
Arizona$33,327
Arkansas$31,259
California$38,038
Colorado$34,013
Connecticut$36,996
Delaware$35,927
Florida$32,783
Georgia$33,125
Hawaii$34,830
Idaho$31,911
Illinois$35,827
Indiana$32,701
Iowa$32,321
Kansas$33,059
Kentucky$31,716
Louisiana$33,389
Maine$34,440
Maryland$37,410
Massachusetts$38,258
Michigan$35,303
Minnesota$35,819
Mississippi$31,660
Missouri$33,059
Montana$33,095
Nebraska$32,674
Nevada$34,978
New Hampshire$36,458
New Jersey$40,696
New Mexico$31,783
New York$40,696
North Carolina$33,229
North Dakota$31,420
Ohio$33,465
Oklahoma$33,139
Oregon$35,153
Pennsylvania$38,192
Rhode Island$36,099
South Carolina$33,105
South Dakota$30,916
Tennessee$31,817
Texas$34,474
Utah$34,474
Vermont$35,018
Virginia$37,410
Washington$36,907
West Virginia$34,921
Wisconsin$35,517
Wyoming$31,705

Relationship Between Salary and Experience

experience is an investment

In every industry, the more knowledgeable and experienced you are, the higher your salary.

Entry-level dog groomers may earn about $20,000 to $23,000 in a year, excluding the tips.

Meanwhile, professionals will receive higher commissions on top of their already high salaries.

And with the more clients you have, the more your business will expand equating to more dollars.

Years 1-5

When starting as a pet grooming professional, you’ll earn at least $20,000 per year.

Proper training and certification will increase your chances of higher wages.

At this stage, it’s beneficial to become a retail pet groomer as it provides you with the extensive experience you need.

Years 6-8

At this point, you’ll be able to negotiate your wages, or set your own prices if you’re freelancing.

Working at a pet salon will give you more potential for higher commissions.

Mostly because you’ve earned yourself a good reputation among clients that they’re willing to pay more for your good service.

Years 8+

After more than eight years of experience, you may likely decide to be your own boss.

To start a business and hire groomers to work for you.

In such a case, you’ll likely earn more than $36,000 per year, maybe at the 90% percentile level.

What’s the Cost

One has to begin somewhere, and a dog grooming career is no exception.

If you want to scale, you must first invest in your studies.

Enroll in a dog grooming program or apprentice under a more experienced groomer.

While you’re at it, it’s not bad to practice by applying part-time at animal care facilities.

Earn as you learn, as they say.

And although there are no set regulations yet, we recommend that you get certified.

The National Dog Groomers Association of America is a nationally-recognized body offering one.

What you’re paying for here—the school, the certifying exam—will only be a fraction of what you’re going to pay if you go to university.

Especially if you choose online learning or massive open online courses people are into nowadays.

It’s Not Just About Money

People will always ask if you can make a living on a dog groomer’s salary.

Yes, you can.

Of course, it’s expected that you won’t have a lot of money at the start.

What, with the fierce competition with many dog groomers out there.

And this career isn’t a “get rich quick” scheme either.

You have to put the effort into everything you do to reach a 5- or 6-figure salary.

And a lot of that effort must be stemmed from the fact that you love what you’re doing.

That you genuinely love and care for animals, enough to deliver a great service.

And between us, pet owners are the best clients you can ask for—in any industry.

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