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SPCAGAL

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Reply with quote  #1 
I'm looking for some help/information -
we recently got our yearly budget from head office, and for some reason they anticipate us grossing $76,000 next year (Gulp!!!)  At first we just laughed, but when we really thought about it....it is doable.  Discussed it with our manager, and she realized we were right - if we had a bather/brusher, we could almost double our output.  Plus, it would save our poor bodies the grunt work, and perhaps our backs and arms and wrists!

Problem being, I don't know a thing about what to look for (other than the obvious, knows at least SOMETHING about dogs, is strong and reliable...)  I have re-read some of the other posts in this section, and I'm getting an idea about what to pay - leaning toward commission.  If you pay by com, what percentage do you give the bather?  I know I'd include the bather in the tips, especially if it was a b/b only dog. 

I also don't know what I should be asking the person to do - just bathing and cleaning, that + HVing, that + HVing and nails/ears...what is the norm? 

Are very many bathers full time, or mostly part-time?  I would think that they would be needed mornings in to early afternoon, but I can't see needing a bather past about 2.  Thoughts?

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PawPrints

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Reply with quote  #2 
OH boy. Well....you asked!  LOL. 

I have the worst luck ever with bathers.  Just had another one quit Tuesday with no notice.   The one before that landed herself in jail for two years....the one before that lied CONSTANTLY and missed a lot of work, lying about why, of course.  Another one actually worked at another groom shop for a short while, so I had high hopes for her.  Turns out she had no way with animals at all.  She almost was bitten four times in two days, one of the times by a sweet dog that we would have never guessed to bite.  I had to let her go for her safety and my sanity.  Another bather who quit a year ago because "the job wasn't worth getting all wet and wrestling with the dogs all day", without notice, of course, called last week wanting me to know if I could use her she would be willing to work Saturdays!  Yeah, right.  Along with her horrible work attitude, she didn't get the dogs clean...dirty bums and eye crusties.  I need help badly right now, but not quite that bad.  We are seriously considering not having bathers.  We are constantly training new people and end up bathing our own most of the day anyway.  I have very dependable, reliable groomers and my receptionist is great, too.   I'm thinking about taking my remaining bather (just hired her two weeks ago) and seeing if she can learn to groom. 

Okay, now that my rant is done and you see the down side to the issue, I will say if you can find dependable, hard working people who will do the job right and truly be a help to you, then bathers are WONDERFUL.  Your arms will not hurt as bad, they may even stop going numb on you at night.  Yup, it's a beautiful thing, having compentant bathers.  Just tough to find them.

I think people apply for bathing jobs because they think it will be easy.  As one of my applicants said to me while handing me their application..."eh, bathing dogs...how hard can it be?"    Riiiiight....you can bet he didn't get called in for an interview.  People think it will be easy and when they find out it's not, they don't want to do it anymore.  Of course, I guess it depends on where you live.  I hear lots of other business owners in different industries complain about their lack of qualified help around here.

I pay my bathers hourly, but I'm not really sure that's the way to go.  If I keep bathers, I may look into commission pay for them.  Again, if you can find the right people, they will make your life easier and also increase your bottom line.  Bear in mind, you have to do extra dogs to pay for them, but if they do their job, grooming extra dogs isn't a problem.

Good luck to you, hope you find the perfect employees.
ShirleysK9Klippery

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Reply with quote  #3 
I have a wonderful bather. I pay her hourly, and she is pretty much guaranteed work from 8-5. I pay her mon,tues,thurs,fri, then my groomers pay for her on wednesday's and saturdays.  The way i look at is, she is here for me, she bathes and brushes all my dogs, then if she has time she helps all my other groomers, that way on wednesday they wind up paying about 10-20 each for her to help them that day. Over a week, its a pretty good deal for them. Same as saturday, it is there choice if they want her, and up to the bather if she wants to work a sixth day. Her responsibilities include, bathing, brushing dogs (if they need it), keeping the bathing area clean, and at the end of the day if there is time she starts helping my receptionist with cleaning the rest of the shop (crates, vaccuuming etc).

If you can afford one they are great, as for me, i have to groom an extra 2 dogs a day to pay for her, in the long run she is wonderful though, and a dream dematter!!!

We also tip her as well, i don't force my groomers too, but i do no that some do give her extra money so i try to get her to help them out first.
cattitude

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Reply with quote  #4 
Yes shirley, i agree that you have found quite the jem.
My mom has had some bad and good luck with bathers.  Her first bather was a prodigy, now owns her own shop 40 minutes away and is jut a fantastic groomer.  The next was awesome for about a year, then had a nervous breakdown a nd said she hated her job.  She was well on her way to grooming too (so good ting the meltdown was at home and not on a dog.)  Her third didnt show up the first day, but then come to find she told everyone in the neighborhood that Kim had no dogs so she didnt have to come to work.  ???? NO dogs????
The fourth is another prodigy.  She is just like I wasas a kid, very natural with dogs and such a work horse.  Problem is school is back in so availability is so limited, my mom really misses her.
The bather she has now is a complete nitwit IMO, but she is so desperate for help.  The dogs artent really clean, she will HV a beagle for 40 minutes but then only towel dry a bichon and stick it in a age with fans on it...Like duh?!?! things.  Then dogs who arent supposed to have fleas, hve them and dogs with fleas stillhave thm after a bath. And the drama she brings to that shop s worthy of its own thread.  Goofy.

I hope you can find good help SPCA, they are precious when you do.  I thik my mom pays houly but will give bonuses on really busy days plus buy lunch and stuff.  Probably works out to better than commission.  If they are good, treat them well, if they are so-so, just pay them their hourly wage, ad sen them home after dogs.  Dont let them pi$$ around for two hours dusting after work.

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PawPrints

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Reply with quote  #5 
Cattitude, I feel so sorry for your mom right now.  I have been through that drama several times.  There is nothing more frustrating than a careless worker.  Not much of a help at all at that point.  When you are getting dirty dogs or flea ridden dogs after the bath, that's when you ask yourself...."and why do I have a bather?"  It just throws your whole day off. 

I do agree though, when you find that special person who doesn't mind the work and takes pride in it and is just thankful each and every day that they get to work with animals.....well, that is the type of person you need.


SPCAGAL

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Reply with quote  #6 
Do any of you take on, say, a teenager and then train them?  I'm thinking it wouldn't be worth it.  I mean, like Kim, you'd have to work around their school schedule, plus there are so many distractions (boyfriends, parties etc) and the fact that they'd likely leave for college after a while.
I'm hoping to start looking for someone right after the holidays, putting together a "responsibilities" list and start interviewing.  Ideally, I'd love a mature person, m or f, who knows they are there to work.  Someone who has been around dogs; someone with a few years under their belt so they aren't phased by anals and skunk spray and poo on the floor, etc, etc. 
My thought process says if I can hire someone in January or early February, I can have them well trained before the giant rush come April/May. 

Why do some of you prefer hourly - it would seem to me that that would only encourage someone to take their sweet time.  No?  If it were me, I think if I were being paid by the dog, I'd work hard to get as many dogs done as I could. 
Shirley, I hope I am as lucky with this as you seem to have been! 
And thanks everyone for your advice!

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mybud

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Reply with quote  #7 

SPCA I have a bather and a dryer.The bather bathes all the dogs in the order I tell har to and the dryer starts drying them.The ones that are waiting to get blowdried that dont need extensive brushing or fluffing can have air on them to speed the process.I stager their lunches. I get in earlier then my employees and will start bathing and drying so I will quickly have a dog to work on when they get there.When all the bathing and drying is done they start cleaning up.The bather does the laundry and the dryer also can do ears and nails. I do all the nails on the dogs I am clipping though, she just does the bath and nails only ones.I have had the same bather for 12 yrs and the dryer for 2 yrs.I have had some issues with my bather but she really is a hard worker so I have had to work through them.I have sent her home in the middle of a groom for having a bad attitude.I am pleasant to work for and try to keep an upbeat attitude but have to come down hard at times to keep her in line which is usually every few months.I dont recommend teenagers but young adults are great. College kids (responsible) or 20-22 yr olds young adults work great.Keep in mind it is twice as tough when you schedule appt. when you have bather and your bather calls in sick.Those days you have to really bust a move to get the day done.

DoggieDoos

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Reply with quote  #8 
I have a bather now for the past 3 years.  It's my son....So he does show up for work.
 
I pay him by the dog and a small hourly wage for cleaning the grooming room and helping me with customers  Now I also split my tips with him. 
 
3 years ago when I didn't have a bather, I grossed $60K by my self.  This year we will top 100K. 
 
He washes the dogs, HV, clips the nails cleans the ears and brushes out.  He works part time...last year after school 3pm-7pm.  This semester he works every other day from 10:30 am until 6 and Saturday's 9-2.  H is the best investment Ihave ever made.
 
Next semester he is on the work study program and he will be here every day at 10:30 am.  Then he heads to Nash academy. 
 
He averages 20K per year as a bather and as a pet stylist we will increase even more.
 
 
 

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topknot3

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Reply with quote  #9 

I look for these qualifications in a bather.  Under age 35, totally infertile, married, has a few dogs, drives, pretty cute.  These women are bored with life and want to do something charitable.  Their husbands support them and they view their dogs as the children they couldn't have.  Love these ones!


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snowflake

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Reply with quote  #10 

Can i have the job.

SPCAGAL

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Reply with quote  #11 
Sounds great, Topknot!!!!

SNOWFLAKE - you know you'd always be welcome up here!  Take a vacation from your step-son and step-grandson, and come on up!!! 

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SigTyr

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Reply with quote  #12 
 Nope, I think the best bather is strong enough to put 100lb plus dogs in the tub, bathe, and control them.
Definitely older than 35, so there is not all the issues associated with hiring a teenager, 
One who is dependable, caring with the dogs, yet firm, and not TOO gentle...in other words...ME!
Katelyn103105

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Reply with quote  #13 
I've been a bather/brusher aka groomers technician for 3 years now. I was hired when I was 19 and I am 22 now. I was trained first on bathing for about 2weeks. Then she got me drying until she felt ready for me to start brushing and doing the nails. All together I do the bath which includes facial scrub shampoo and conditioner we have a face brush and butt brush for those messy situations. Then I go onto the drying and be sure to use a happy hoody to muffle the sound for the dog and make sure they are safely secure with the loops on the table. When drying is done I do the nails shave the pads clip and file the nails. Last thing I do is brush the dog fully with a conditioning spray. Currently I get paid hourly $9.50 and they give me raises every couple months. Do not be discouraged on finding someone who is young. I was one of them and I do a great job! It may be hard to find but if you put out specifically older people you may be losing the best employee you would ever have!!
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