Grooming Gab

keep your motor running title
by Kathy Hosler
As important as a clipper is to the smooth operation of your business, what about the person who is using them?

e pet groomers rely on specialized tools and equipment to enable us to safely and efficiently perform our jobs. Therefore, the breakdown or failure of one critical piece of equipment can bring our day to a screeching halt. That’s why having everything in good working order is crucial.

Most stylists depend on their clippers more than any other piece of equipment, so keeping them operating is a must. But as important as a clipper is to the smooth operation of your business, what about the person who is using them?

That person (you) also deserves to be a priority and to be treated with a little TLC. Actually, there are many similarities in the way they both should be cared for…

You can’t abuse your clippers by neglecting their proper care and maintenance and expect them to continue to work flawlessly. Clippers need regular cleaning and lubrication to keep them purring. Routine maintenance such as replacing the blade drive will also help them to operate at peak performance.

Groomers need care too. Chiropractor visits and regular massages are a must for many of us, and routine doctor appointments will keep you on top of your health care. Don’t neglect other needs that will make your job easier either. Grooming can take a toll on your body, but comfortable, supportive shoes, cushiony floor mats, and ergonomic tools and equipment can make a huge difference in how you feel at the end of the day.

A clipper needs a source of power to run. If it is battery operated, once its battery is depleted, the clipper can no longer do its job. To keep its motor running, the battery must be recharged, or the clipper plugged into a power source.

How about you. Do you need recharged? You can’t work for hours on end and expect to do your best work fueled only by coffee, tea or soda…and maybe a candy bar or donut. Caring for yourself with nourishing food and adequate hydration will help you keep your motor running. Taking a few short breaks to refuel and refresh yourself will also enable you to be more productive throughout the day.

Now that you’ve got your clipper and yourself fueled up and running, don’t forget to care for your clipper blades. To remove the buildup of hair, skin flakes and dirt, it’s important to clean them regularly. Putting oil on the clean blades lubricates and protects them from friction. And, you can protect yourself from friction and stress by having your clients sign grooming release forms and by taking before and after photos and videos of the pets you groom.

Dull clipper blades won’t get the job done. They drag through the hair, slow down your work day and produce poor results. Sharp blades speed up your grooming, produce a good finish and take less effort on your part. You also can’t perform at your best if you are not “sharp.” Educate yourself and keep up with what’s going on in the industry. Go to shows and attend seminars. Take as much continuing education, in person and online, as you can. Learn new techniques to help yourself become more confident in your skills.

Even a well-maintained clipper can break down. Using several clippers throughout the day, as well as having backup clippers available, will make any breakdown just a minor inconvenience. However, a groomer breakdown or burnout is not a minor inconvenience; it is far from it. Burnout can be a career-ending event.

One way to lessen experiencing burnout is to connect with your peers. Even if you love what you do, feeling alone and isolated can make every day a real struggle. Start or join a local groomers’ group and have regular get-togethers. Being able to “talk shop” and make friends with other groomers is essential. The internet makes it easy to connect with groomers from all over the world. In addition, everyone needs interests and hobbies outside of grooming. Take a cooking class, learn how to make wine, plant a garden or do volunteer work. Plan and take a vacation!

Clippers have one purpose: to clip the hair from a pet. You don’t use them to dry a wet dog or clip its toenails. You can’t do everything by yourself either, such as be a groomer, janitor, receptionist, bookkeeper, etc. Do what you do best and outsource or delegate the rest to others. Hiring professionals to do specialized tasks, such as your taxes or legal matters, can be a huge stress reducer and could actually save you money. Adding capable staff members to your team can give you more free time, which is priceless.

Yes, clippers and groomers have a lot in common, but there is one huge difference…A clipper can easily be replaced—you can’t! So give yourself some TLC and keep your motor running.