Dear Sally
BIGA's Resident Agony Aunt takes your Questions. Remember, there's no such thing as a silly Question. Though we can't guarantee Sally won't give you a silly answer.

Hello BIGA website readers. I'm Sally. I'm a long established professional pet groomer. Wth lots of experience. And, apparently, a lot of opinions. That's why BIGA asked me to take on the role of BIGA's resident Agony Aunt. It's a privilege. I relish the opportunity to share with you my wisdom and knowledge. So, come on, send me your questions and worries and daily thoughts and let me deliver a solution to your situation. I can't guarantee I'll always get it right. But I can guarantee I'll always have an opinion.

Oh, and by the way, BIGA asked me to make sure I included the Disclaimer that anything I write in this column is not official BIGA policy. It's just my opinion. Otherwise the legal eagles all get into a flap, you know how it is.  

Send me your burning question and I will answer it:     Join us here!

Dear Sally

I will be reopening after lock down but need to raise my prices. I am nervous though that my customers will complain and I may lose them .

1. Do I contact my customers before they come in and advise them?

2.Do I put up a sign so they see it when the come in ?

3.Do I just tell them when they come to pay ?

4.Do I say nothing ?



Hello Zoe

This is easy to answer. Do I, 2 and 3, as this means they have been advised at all opportunities and you should have no complaints . The  customer has been given the choice to not have the dog groomed if they are unhappy with the price.

Don’t apologise  for the increase either, just advise your customers confidently .

Good luck


Dear Sally
I am self employed and have been for over 3 years so I am eligible for the grant from the government . However I am still busy with customers and I am not sure if I should claim the covid disruption payment . What do you think ?

Dear Sue
Have you had to buy PPE , put new cleanliness procedures in place, had people cancel? All this costs time and money . You have to spend extra time ordering supplies, deep cleaning and re arranging appointments . If you have been doing all this I would think you were eligible for government help . It’s very rare the government to be this generous, make the most if it !!

Dear Sally

I would like to learn to groom professionally , but not sure where to start . I see  courses  online offering a diploma costing £20 and then courses for over £3,000 which seems slot of money to learn to groom a dog . Not sure where do I start ?


Dear Louise
You would expect your hairdresser to have gone to college to learn to cut hair and have lots knowledge  of shampoos, hair styles and  health and safety along with a recognised qualification at the end of it.
Dog grooming is no different, in fact it’s a much harder trade, with so much to learn about.
I recommend you look at training schools that offer accredited qualifications , like City and Guilds , OCN and ICMG. Your tutors should hold teaching and grooming qualifications. Next, before you pay any money, visit the training school and speak to your tutor and ask to speak to former students too. Your course needs to be mostly practical work, with additional theory to give you a rounded education.  There is no cheap shortcut to leaning  to be a professional groomer . If the course is cheap and short , walk away !!

Dear Sally

I have seen so much information on going back to work , or not going back to work , how do I make a decision as to whether I should open my salon now or not ?

Thanks Zoe

Dear Zoe

Only you can make the decision on when to go back to work and of course following government guidelines . My only advice would be to stay off social media whatever your decision . .Facebook can be cruel and judgmental !!


Dear Sally

I keep getting texts and calls at all hours of the day and night , asking me to groom customers dogs .They are telling me they are desperate. I don’t know how to handle the calls and they are stressing me .

Help please


Dear Jen

Put a message on your phone asking your customers to leave name and number and you will call them when you plan returning back to work .

Those that text, respond  with the same message. Either ignore or turn off your phone in the evening. You don’t need to answer or reply to enquires between 5 pm and 9 am .

Take control of your customers instead of them trying to control you


Dear Sally

I am a new groomer and I am having trouble rebooking in dogs . The customers say how nice their dogs are when I give them back , but then I never hear from a lot of them when the dogs should be re groomed . If they call to rebook they expect it done immediately . The result is I am only ever booked a week of so in advance.

What can I do ?


Dear Alice

Are you asking the customers to rebook when you give the dogs back ? You need to assume they want another appointment .When they tell you how happy they are with the groom , tell them their dog needs to come back in 6, 8 or what ever time frame required,  pick up the diary and offer them a choice of 2 dates and time . If you only offer one day it gives the customer a chance to say no . If you give a choice of days they are far more likely to say yes. Make sure your customer details are current and tell them you will send a reminder the day before , this will help minimise now shows’. As the old saying goes , ‘assume the sale ‘ , in other words assume the customer will rebook and they usually will . If they don’t rebook at the last groom call them a week before the dog needs doing and ask when , not if they would like to book in . Be brave !!! Unless the dog has been rehomed or passed away someone will need to groom it , that some one should be you !!

Yours Sally

Dear Sally

I am struggling to tell my customers I need to increase my grooming prices and charge more  if they are matted  .

Do you have any suggestions .


Dear Tamsin

When you give the dog back after grooming it and take the money tell them it will be increasing when they next come in , face to face is always best . I think we struggle as an industry to charge what we are worth and spend too much time apologising for it . When you take your car in for servicing the garage doesn’t hesitate to charge you the going rate and they dont tell you the price has increased either . Try not to become too friendly with your customers and it is much easier to charge them correctly . Remember we are a business not a charity .

Yours Sally

Dear Sally

I am quite often asked to groom pregnant dogs , should I agree to do this or not .


Dear Pauline

I would recommend you check your insurance policy to see if you are covered for pregnant dogs . Most wont cover you if the bitch miscarriage or absorbed the puppies after a groom . My recommendation is no . Better to be safe than sorry .


Dear Sally

Christmas is coming and everyone wants their dogs booked the last week before Christmas . How do I manage to keep all my customers happy?



Dear Susie

This is a problem we have every year . You need to start booking your Christmas dogs in September . Unfortunately you  will not be able to keep everyone happy  . Book your best and most regular customers first Pick those dogs that financially give you a good return and are easy to handle. Customers that are reliable with drop off and collection too are very important . I also recommend you collect deposits from any one who is unreliable. You cannot afford to have “ no shows “ at any time , but especially December  .

Happy grooming


Dear Sally

I have been grooming 20 years and run a very successful busy salon . I have never taken a grooming exam as they are expensive . If licensing come in for groomers and they are required to have a qualification why should I have to have one with all my experience ?
Your comments on this would be appreciated .

Dear Davina

This is an easy one to answer . If you are very experienced as you say,  take a recognised qualification , it should be very easy for you to achieve . Your business is already successful and qualifications will only boost your professional image and i guarantee you will also learn new processes to implement to help you improve your business even more.

Dear Sally

I have finished an online grooming course and I am struggling to get a job as  a groomer , no-one wants to hire me . I had distinctions on my course and have a diploma to say I passed it .  Can you advise me please ?


Dear Chloe

Firstly well done on completing and passing your online grooming course . Unfortunately in order to continue with a grooming career you will need hands on training with dogs . Grooming is a practical skill and no matter how much theory you have learnt,  it does not equip you for the physical dexterity and skills that can only be acquired with hands on practice .

I recommend you contact a reputable grooming school and enroll in a course to gain these skills . Busy professional groomers won’t entertain hiring you until you have hands on (dogs ) experience , sadly your online Diploma is of no value in the real grooming world .


The British Isles Grooming Association (BIGA)

A Not-for-Profit Trade Association and Community Support Network

 Registered at St. George’s House, 14 George Street, Huntingdon, Cambs. PE29 3GH. Reg. No. 10085801

Powered by Wild Apricot Membership Software