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Teri DiMarino on Regulation

Special Guests

Teri DiMarino

Teri is a thirty-five year-plus veteran of the pet styling industry. She is a popular speaker, judge and master of ceremonies at seminars and trade shows across the United States, Canada, Europe, South America, Korea, New Zealand and Australia. When the State of California was faced with a devastating anti-groomer legislation Teri helped rally groomers from around the state to defeat the legislation and to form the California Professional Pet Groomers Association, where she serves as President.

In this episode, Joe Zuccarello interviews Teri DiMarino about her battle against devastating anti-groomer legislation in California. She tells the story of how she rallied groomers, defeated the bill, and formed the California Professional Pet Groomers Association.

  • What are the different tiers of legislation that could affect groomers?
  • Is regulation in the dog grooming industry a good idea?
  • What steps can groomers take to participate in legislation?
  • How do you hold your industry peers accountable?
  • How do you form a state association?

Tune in to find out!


Speaker 1: Welcome to the Hey Joe!, a podcast answering questions asked by our listeners, created by pet professionals for pet professionals. And now your host, Hey, Joe’s very own Joe Zucarrello

Joe Zucarrello: What’s up everyone, Joe Zucarrello here and welcome to Hey Joe! A podcast brought to you by Paragon School of Pet Grooming. Check out our site at paragonpetschool.com for lots of really cool information on a variety of programs, products and to connect to educational resources such as webinars, podcasts, current events, special news, certifications, and lots of other helpful information to help you grow yourself, your team, and of course your business. Let’s get started with this week’s episode.

Joe Zucarrello: Hello everyone. This is Joe Zucarrello, your podcast host for the Hey Joe! Podcast. This is a podcast where you get to listen in on a real coaching call between myself and an expert in our industry. We’re answering questions all of the time that we get from you our Hey Joe! Listener audience, and most of the time those questions start with, “Hey Joe!” So today we have a very special guests for you. We are talking with Teri DiMarino. Teri is a 35-year-plus veteran of the pet styling industry. She’s owned and operated some very large and successful businesses, South Florida and various other places. She is a popular speaker, a judge, a master of ceremonies. She works at trade shows, and providing her expertise really all over the world. United States, Canada, Europe, South America, you name it, she’s probably been there. They provide professional pet grooming.

Joe Zucarrello: Teri is usually a featured presenter and judge. One of her most recent claims to fame though, however, is really the topic in which we’re bringing to you today on our podcast, which is legislation. So when the state of California was faced with some anti-groomer legislation, Teri really helped to rally the troops. She helped rally groomers from around the state to defeat the legislation, and actually to form an association where she serves as the president. She’s going to tell you a lot about that and some really cool standards that have been created as a result of her efforts.

Joe Zucarrello: So without further ado, let’s start our interview with Teri DiMarino. Teri DiMarino thank you so much for hopping on a Hey Joe! Podcast with us today. Our listeners are in for quite a treat, so thanks for taking some time out of your crazy busy schedule to join us today.

Teri DiMarino: Thank you Joe. It is my pleasure.

Joe Zucarrello: So as I had said in the introduction, Teri is just a wealth of knowledge and really if you were to look at it in a creative sort of way, Teri is like the tip of the spear when it comes to information, and the greatest amount of knowledge when it comes to this tricky topic of legislation, or regulation, or government intervention, or all of the things wrapped around this standards of grooming. Teri, tell us about yourself and tell us what’s going on in your world.

Teri DiMarino: Well, I’ve been in the grooming industry for 46 plus years, and the last 20 have been in out here in California. I had a big salon in Florida and ran it like anyone else would run a salon. And then coming out here… California of course is the vortex of the world in tough legislation as you can probably imagine. And about [inaudible 00:03:42]six years ago when I first moved out here there was a bill in West Hollywood that I got dragged into to work on a little bit with the people. So, that was kind of my initial bath into legislation.

Teri DiMarino: It got quiet, and then about six years ago, there was a bill SB-69, Senate Bill 969 that came on out, which basically would have devastated the California grooming industry. They were calling for licensing, when that didn’t work they called for certification. But there were so many subtle nuances in that bill, or not in that bill that needed to be that it would have been bad for the whole industry within the state, and it would have become contagious throughout the country. This was my bath of fire on education on myself on the legislative process.

Joe Zucarrello: And you didn’t have a Teri DiMarino back then to help you out, did you?

Teri DiMarino: No, but I did have a Judy [Britton 00:04:39] and I did have several other people. Interestingly enough, when this came to light, Judy Britton, good friend of mine and also in with the grooming industry for years, she’s up in Sacramento. She got wind of this, and the ground zero for this actually was down in my end of the wood near Palm Springs, and Judy is up in Sacramento up North. She said, “We have got to defeat this, I need your help.” And the two of us pounded the halls of Sacramento and we called PIJAC, which is the Pet Industry Joint Advisory Council. And that is, for those who don’t know, that’s our lobbyists for the pet industry, not grooming, pet, okay? The entire pet industry. And their reaction was, “We don’t have groomers on the radar. We support pet shops.” So this was kind of a rude awakening to us, but it was to them too.

Teri DiMarino: It was to them because at that time too they had lobbyists that were being paid for by the big corporate stores working on this bill. So they saw a need for what we ended up calling these green grassroots groomers. And because we had to organize ourselves, we had to get ourselves together because PIJAC was not… they declared they weren’t going to be able to help us because they didn’t know we existed. They were working with corporate. Well, what happened was this became a marriage because they needed our help. We had the grassroots groomers, we had the 80%. They were the 20% with the deep pockets. So when people say, “Gee, corporate groomers are going to control all of this,” they’re really not. We’re all in the same bed together. And they realized this and it was with their help and us helping them that we really got the education in what happens in the background of legislative process, politics at the raw form, and they needed our voice. So it really worked. We worked together, and we ended up defeating the bill.

Joe Zucarrello: Well, congratulations on that. It sounds like it was a lot of pioneering, right? A lot of learning on the fly. A lot of support, a lot of extensions of olive branches, right?

Teri DiMarino: Absolutely.

Joe Zucarrello: And awareness. So let’s take a half a step back. You’re using the word legislation. So let’s kind of talk about legislation. And I know that if we don’t get educated about legislation it could be very scary. So why Teri, in your opinion, do we need legislation? I know some of my Hey Joe! Listener audience out there just like, “Whoa, Whoa, Whoa, wait a minute, we don’t need legislation.” But you kind of look at it from a different perspective. So why do we need legislation, and really why all the hype on this anyway? Why is it even a thing?

Teri DiMarino: Well, inadvertently we deal with legislation every single day of our lives. When you really have to think of it, when you get in a car you have dealt with legislation, you have had to take a test, you have had to study and you get a license. It gives a source of accountability if there’s an accident, all right? Now that’s pretty much a very every day look at legislation, we’ve got legislation governing the chemicals we use, the gasoline we put in our car. The things we use, our dogs, legislation, you have to have rabies shots on them every three years. So we inadvertently deal with legislation on a daily basis. So this should not come as too much of a surprise to us when we have someone wanting to regulate our industry. Now legislators act on what they hear, and think about it, they don’t hear about the thousands and thousands of dogs that are groomed safely on a daily basis.

Teri DiMarino: They hear about the one dog that got injured or worse. They hear about somebody not liking a haircut. They react to their constituents, to the voters. And it is a reactive, and this was what happened with the 969 bill, was a dog was supposedly had gotten injured in a salon. They found out that there is no regulation, that there’s an unregulated industry. A couple of high powered attorneys got their fingernails into a legislator and they proposed the bill. And of course, us groomers come along and saying, “We don’t want this.” We become reactive as opposed to proactive. Of course, we react, we don’t like it. We want to kill the bill. But legislators are still working because they had a complaint.

Teri DiMarino: They had a constituent, a voter, one of the people that pays taxes and puts them in office say, “We need this.” So what? They would come to us say, “How can we make this better? What’s wrong with it? What would you like to see?” And the time of 969, we had nothing. We had nothing. So we were really… as you said, we were working on the fly. So this was actually the impetus for the PPGSA standards, the Professional Pet Groomers and Stylists Alliance, we drew up after this whole debacle was over. We drew up the Standards for Safety Care and Sanitation. We put together 13 agencies across the United States, including the California Professional Pet Groomers Association, which was once again a child of 969. We’ve realized I’m bantering back and forth. I see what I’m doing here. But 969 really gave birth to a lot of things. And the California Professional Pet Groomers Association and the PPGSA were two of them.

Joe Zucarrello: Okay.

Teri DiMarino: And along with the corporate grooming salons, all of the certification boards, National Dog Groomers, IPG, ISCC, the two cat groups, corporate, several clubs, we put together these standards and it took us about a year and a half to hammer them out. But all it is, is common sense on paper. We’re not telling anyone or suggesting how anyone should style a dog. We don’t care what your top knots look like, we just care that you’re running a clean, safe business, that’s it.

Joe Zucarrello: So, when you’re talking… and I want to unpack the PPGSA Standards of Care in just a little bit, but I still want to maybe just camp out just for a few more minutes on the legislation because I think it just tells a really good foundation of the why, right? So when I’m looking at it, I’m sure that not only our Hey Joe! Listener audience out there, but groomers all over the country are… I kind of hinted this earlier, they’re afraid of it, right? But we’re afraid of things that we don’t know, or that we need more education on. So will legislation hurt the average groomer, and should they… is it something to be fearful of? So, maybe address the fear factor.

Teri DiMarino: Absolutely, fear rose as you mentioned, very well stated. We’re always afraid of what we don’t know. And one of the big problems that we have on just personal levels is that we are unfamiliar with the legislative process. And that’s one thing we do have to educate ourselves on. Legislation in itself properly written would actually benefit the grooming community. Now mind you, I’m talking legislation, I did not use the word licensing, I did not use the word certification, I did not use the word registration. These are almost three different levels that legislation could possibly take. One being a little more strict than the aforementioned. So, these are things that we have to look into. Legislation would be… hairdressers are regulated. And just like your driver’s license, you know it’s illegal to run a red light because you took a test, you studied.

Teri DiMarino: So if you run the red light, you’re going to get a ticket, or worse you’ll suffer some nasty ramifications. With the grooming licensing or regulation If someone who passes the certification and further goes into state legislation where they have to have, say, this certification, this gives an accountability to the consumer. That’s it. This groomer knows they took a test, they’ve been informed that it is not safe to walk six feet away from a dog on a table, or leave a dog unsupervised in a bathtub. They know that. And if there is an accident they can go back and they have accountability for their actions.

Joe Zucarrello: Right. And I think the groomers it might scare the most maybe. So as we start to get educated we get less and less afraid of this, but maybe the groomers that it scares the most are the folks that may need some sprucing up on their procedures, or on the way that they perform their daily tasks. So what’s really great about it is that hopefully what it does is it brings light to areas where some groomers need to improve, and I hope do improve. But it also rewards good behavior of groomers or operators that already do it even above the standards that you’re talking about.

Teri DiMarino: I couldn’t agree more. We tend to get a little casual in our habits. I keep them going back to the driving. How many times we’ve got to become a little casual with our driving habits. So don’t see anybody coming and do a rolling stop. We don’t do the total stop. We become a little eased on up. We need to recognize that every single day we have to be on point and we have to do what’s best for the dog. So this would come with, as I mentioned, accountability and making sure that people know what is right and what is wrong.

Speaker 1: So let me ask you a real quick question then. So obviously you’re in California and so when we’re talking about legislation, is legislation really come… in your opinion, is it really coming? Is it going to be something that sweeps the country? Or is it just a lot to do about nothing in states that are traditionally extreme examples anyway?

Teri DiMarino: No, I don’t think it’s a matter of if it’s a matter of when, and we said this 25 years ago, and we almost got lynched for it because people just did not believe that this could ever possibly benefit the groomers in any way, shape or form. And legislation will come in different forms. There are already a couple of legislations in place. I believe Colorado is the only state that does have a groomer licensing bill and it is fairly casual. It is not a super strict, it’s more like a registration, which is kind of like a low ball because you’ve got, on that that triple threat as I mentioned, the first would be licensing. The second would be a certification. The lower, more kind, gentle would be a registration and Suffolk County in New York has a registration. New York state actually has a bill on the docket that would call for a registration.

Teri DiMarino: Others like New Jersey go the other extreme. They’re wanting a licensing and that particular bill will come to life again in November. So we’re watching this very carefully. They want a very strict licensing with a very strict testing, and there are a few other things attached to it. Now, one of the things that that bill is not taking into account, where we’re working, is they’re not giving consideration to the groomers who have already gone through certification processes, and that is that middle sector that we would like to see take place. A certification, be it from an accredited school who is teaching according to the PPGSA standards or running a test, passing a test, say like the American Kennel Club safe salon test, something like that, or IPG or IFCC. We want to see a grandfathering for those. Just because I’ve been grooming for 45 years doesn’t mean I should have the right to be grandfathered in because I could be doing it wrong or unsafe for the last 45 years.

Teri DiMarino: So we want to see people currently… we want to see people that have taken some sort of tests. While we respect the longevity of a lot of groomers, it’s just not enough in some areas. And once again, we have to have accountability to the consumers because it was not for the consumers none of us would have jobs.

Joe Zucarrello: So Teri, what I’ve heard you said is listen, “It’s not a question of if it’s just when,” and I’ve always kind of lived by the mantra of if change is inevitable, the sooner you get involved with change and try to have influence in that change the better. And if you choose not to, well then you’re assuming the role of the victim and you just take what comes your way. So if that’s the case and somebody then wants to be part of change… You started talking about two things that happen as a result of this activity in California and one was the CPPGA, right? And just… Go ahead.

Teri DiMarino: California Professional Pet Groomers Association. Yes.

Joe Zucarrello: Right. And to all of the Hey Joe! Listener audience, just a quick reminder of who we’re talking with. We’re talking with Teri DiMarino who is an icon in the grooming services industry and a real advocate, and watchdog for legislation that might be coming our way in the professional grooming space.

Joe Zucarrello: So, you took it upon yourselves, you formed this group, this association. So can others in their own state, I know that there are other state associations, but maybe there’s somebody out there that can’t find their state association, or one doesn’t exist. So can they start their own? And I know this is a much more complex conversation, but just in a nutshell, can you hit the high points on what does it look like to start your own state association, or find the one that might already exist?

Teri DiMarino: Well there’s a lot of Facebook groups out there that can pull you together. There are a group of people that are looking to just form a database of state associations, which would be terrific. And just being able to go into a website, they’re working on this, to go into a website, click on your state and find the movers and shakers within that state, or an association that might exist. Working together is big. That’s it. Some of the smallest states are having some of the biggest discord. So, you just have to all go for the same thing. We’re all in this boat together. Finding state associations go on Facebook. Social media seems to be the number one way of finding these associations, and these groups that are working together.

Teri DiMarino: And all it takes is just a couple people with some push. That’s really it. We saw a desperate need for this, and we were able to pull together. California Groomers Association we are happy to help anyone, guide them through the process of becoming an association. You’ve got certain liabilities attached to this because it is a statewide association, and you’re making some moves all that are going to get attention. So getting incorporated is the first step and then applying as a 501(c)(6) tax exempt nonprofit is another, that’s not a charity. So what happens is the dues or donations are not tax deductible as a charity, but because they are industry related your annual dues would be tax deductible business expense. Any of our corporate sponsors, they write that off as advertising, which is fine. But you’ve got to do that. You’ve got to find out the legal aspect within your state.

Teri DiMarino: You have to have a cohesive group because legislators are not going to listen to just people throwing ideas on out. You’ve got to work together. I cannot emphasize that enough. And this is where a state or regional association comes into play. They will listen to that. They’re just… We had a real hard time with ourselves getting to be taken seriously by the legislators in the beginning until we suited up. We’re all of our pin saying, “Yes, we’re certified by IPG, IFCC, national, we’re recognized by these.” That started getting their attention, and that we want to be their first phone call when they get something dog grooming related on their desk.

Joe Zucarrello: Well, in our show prep you had mentioned the difference between being reactive and proactive, and it kind of plays right into my involve yourself early, or just assume the role of the victim, right? So would you would recommend it as, “Listen, go meet your legislators so that they at least they have a name, and a face, and a phone number, and email, something that when…” Again, they’re only going to react because their constituents, the customers, the pet parents out there have some negative experience, right? And it’s not like the legislators are looking for something new to do that they just don’t have anything else to focus on, but they want their constituents to be happy. So you’re saying, “Go out and meet these folks”

Teri DiMarino: Absolutely. I think one of the shortcomings we have in the industry, or anywhere, is people are afraid to get involved, and they wait for someone else to do something when actually everyone can get involved for their own personal benefit by just learning the legislative process. We can sit back, we’ve watched the 6:00 PM news, we get angry, we get annoyed, but a lot of that is because we just don’t know the background on what’s going on. So to get involved in an organization may not be your cup of tea, but to at least become educated and knowledgeable on who you’re voting for, who that legislator is. You’re a taxpayer. You may just be Jane Doe average dog groomer, but you pay taxes, you employ people, you vote, and those are big deals with them. It really, really is because you’re paying these guys to do their job.

Teri DiMarino: So the sooner that we can educate ourselves on the actual legislative process and what it takes for a bill to become a law and go through that process, that’s one. And so much of this information can be found on our state governmental sites. Very, very easy to find. And as you mentioned, learning who our legislators are, who our councilmen are, who our assembly people are. How many people don’t even know their districts, their Senate or their assembly district numbers? And if you do make it to your state capital, you go knock on their doors and you say, “Hi, I’m a business person in your district and I just want to give you a business card, if you ever have any questions you call me.” This really, really makes a big impression on these people.[crosstalk 00:24:42]

Joe Zucarrello: Yeah. Don’t have the agenda going there to start laying out an agenda, but just more so meet and greet just in case an agenda happens, or something develops in that district now they have a contact.

Teri DiMarino: Absolutely. The CPPGA, we’re waiting for the next legislative session to come on in. We want the time to be right because we’re going to paper the desk of every assemblyman and senator in Sacramento with a packet on the CPPGA, who we are, what we do, what our goals are, what our plans are, what we’ve done, and how we move forward with the pet and the owner in mind. And we want to be the first phone call they make in the event that anything dog grooming ever comes across their desk.

Joe Zucarrello: So part of being proactive. So remember you had mentioned two things that you did as a result, right? So in your time doing this over the course of the last number of years, the very first thing is that you formed your association the CPPGA organization. But then the second thing that you did was that you started banding together to create with a group of influential industry people, right? Of all different sizes and shapes the PPGSA Standards of Care, Safety and Sanitation guidelines. So let’s talk a little bit about that. What is that? First, go ahead and let us know what all the letters stand for, but then tell us what is this document?

Teri DiMarino: Okay, the PPGSA is Professional Pet Groomers and Stylists Alliance. And this was just an epic meeting of all the groups. I mean, there was a time, I hate to say it, where the certification groups, they didn’t even want to talk to each other. They didn’t even want to be in the same room with each other, if you can believe that.

Joe Zucarrello: I can believe it.

Teri DiMarino: Oh, yeah. And with 969, this got everyone’s attention. And when we in California… I mean it got the attention of PIJAC, the Pet Industry Joint Advisory Council. And once again, they are our voice. They are the pet industry voice in Washington, D.C. They’re the ones that hire the lobbyists. They keep their ear to the ground for any legislation that will affect the pet industry. So with their guidance, and it was really quite an epic thing that we did, but we got the International Professional Groomers, International Society Canine Cosmetologists, National Dog Groomers, National Cat Groomers, the Professional Cat Groomers, New Jersey, California Merrifield School, he participated. Petco, PetSmart, Barkley, America’s Pet Registry, PIJAC and the WPA, we all sat down and would have meetings sometimes once a week, couple times a week, to just hammer out these standards.

Teri DiMarino: People were threatened by them in the beginning, if you can believe that. They objected to them and they said, “Nobody’s going to tell me how to groom a dog,” and nothing could be farther from the truth. We don’t want to tell anybody how to trim eyebrows or top knots. Style is the last thing on our agenda. What this is, is to give a consistency of what is good practices in a salon. Safety, sanitation, and care. Just as it says, we have definitions and surprisingly and happily I might add, this is being used verbatim in some legislation that is being drawn up in some states. It’s giving the legislators something to work for. Instead of them grabbing straws out of the air and listening to the pet owner that’s not happy with their hair cut, or that maybe had a dog that was clipper irritated, or have a vet bill for an eye problem, we are physically giving them something to chew on, something to work on and say, “This is what we want,” instead of some average pet owner coming up with what they would like to see people [crosstalk 00:28:49] legislation.

Joe Zucarrello: Right. And those pet owners, those pet parents, they’re operating from a very emotional driven platform, a very emotional driven perspective and really-

Teri DiMarino: Exactly.

Joe Zucarrello: … a one-sided. So it’s not necessarily saying that they’re doing anything wrong, it’s just that they could be misrepresenting the tone or the temperature of the entire, right? And listen, mistakes happen and they happen. But to your point, this guideline, this pledge, if you would, I know you’ve used that word before, this pledge serves legislators, but it also serves pet parents. So to help loop the pet parents in to say, “Listen, hold me accountable to these standards.” Heck, if I had a grooming salon right now, I might actually put some of these on the wall.

Teri DiMarino: Absolutely. The customer doesn’t know how much they don’t know about our industry. Simply said. So everything comes on assumptions. And let me use an example. The New Jersey bill, for instance, a dog died in a salon, autopsy was never done, Okay? But the first thing people jump on, they assumed that the dog died in a cage dryer, all right? Has this happened? Unfortunately we know, yes, all right? And the standard cover protocol for that. But the knee jerk reaction of most of this legislation is people want to outlaw cage drying. Okay. Think about that. If we outlaw cage drying, can’t do any kind of cage drying, and we have to hand dry everything, how are you going to deal with that man-eating Lhasa or that cat that you can’t touch.

Joe Zucarrello: True.

Teri DiMarino: Think about that.

Joe Zucarrello: Very true.

Teri DiMarino: You are going to have many, many, many more injured animals, and many more injured groomers. But this what happens, is the average pet owner doesn’t know how much they don’t know about our industry. And the first knee jerk reaction is to emotionally deal with the situation.

Joe Zucarrello: Right. And again, it’s not that they’re not right. The pet parents… I can imagine myself, I can imagine if something happened to my dog. So one of the things that I’m very familiar with is, in one of my previous careers, I was in charge of product development and innovation for a pet products’ manufacturer. And we would get calls all the time from groomers or even pet parents that said, “There was an eye injury as a result of using a shampoo, or a particular product, or particular tool, or such.” And most of the time the pet parents have no other knowledge or no other basis to build a platform on other than correlation. “My pet just experienced a grooming appointment, so this effect or this problem must have come from that.” So, correlation does not always mean causation or vice versa.

Joe Zucarrello: So what I mean by that is they’re just going to latch onto whatever it is that’s the most recent experience for the pet parent or for the pet. So to your point, it’s not necessarily that they’re wrong, it’s just that they have limited knowledge to base their position on. So, Teri, these standards of care, right? Developed with… I’m sure there’s just… this is a labor of love. I’ve read this document backwards and forwards, and I think it’s phenomenal, phenomenal.

Joe Zucarrello: And all of our Hey Joe! Listener audience listeners out there, Teri’s going to make a really great offer to you and make this available to you at the end of the episode. So stay tuned for that. But when I look at this, I see that it’s a pledge. You’ve used the words that it’s a pledge. So what happens the first time that a shop whose pledged to follow these standards of care, they do something that’s against the standard? Does that then diminish the value system wide among all, let’s say that that hits the news media and somebody says, “This particular shop pledged to follow these standards and they didn’t,” does that diminish the value of the standards or does it do just the opposite?

Teri DiMarino: No, I think now as far as diminishing the standards, I don’t think anyone can diminish the standards as whether they follow them or not. Now, if there is an accident in a salon and, I’m just reading over a couple of things and seeing where I can grab something here. Cleaning products and equipment should be made readily available. Well, if someone were to come on in and say, “What kind of products you clean with them?” And they don’t have anything, that could raise a bit of a stink with someone.[crosstalk 00:33:20]

Joe Zucarrello: Literally, right? Cleaning products, I see what you did there.

Teri DiMarino: Yeah, no kidding. Okay. Facility dryers, all dryers should be appropriately maintained. Well, if we all know that it’s easy if you don’t maintain a dryer you can have a little fire trap on your hands there. Unless by owner’s consent, only one pet may be housed per drying cage compartment, all right? So if you have two in there and all of a sudden you’ve got an action with something, you’ve got an accountability there. This is just basically spelling out what should, what can and cannot be done. Pet housing standards, pet should be able to sit, stand, turn around comfortably in the provided crater enclosure. Nothing wrong with that. Nothing wrong with that. Must be adequately ventilated. Enclosures must be of a material that’s easy to clean, which eliminates those old fashioned wood crates that we used so many years ago. I’m just breaching on down here. This is nothing more than common sense on paper, it really is. We have actually been accused of not being specific enough, and we purposely are vague in a few areas. So we-

Joe Zucarrello: So what’s great about what you’re saying is that if somebody violates their own pledge, right? What’s really nice about that is it actually then… yeah, shame on them, and I hope that it was just an accident, or misshapen that they correct their ways and most will. Listen, that’s a really great thing about this industry is for the most part people are the most caring individuals. I’ve often said we’re not in a high tech business, we’re in a high touch business and we’re driven by emotion, and we’re driven by feelings and we’re driven by passion and experience. But it also then… I think the standards can help separate groomers from those that they might share their market with, and people that don’t want to adhere to these standards, right? So it’s something… I think it’s bragging rights, Teri, that somebody should say, “Listen, we adhere to these standards,” and calling out for what it is.

Teri DiMarino: It’s giving the client something to chew on. It’s giving them something to see what they would want in a groomer. Funny, I was watching something, I was looking on a site on Facebook a couple of weeks ago and someone was just absolutely insulted. She had someone call and this person was interviewing them. She said, “It was like I was having a job interview. They wanted to know where I learned, they wanted to know what experience I had with this breed, they wanted to know if they could tour the salon. And I felt like it was a job interview.” And I got on there and said, “Be glad that they asked. We want people to ask this.”

Teri DiMarino: There were a couple of the people that got in there with the same thing before me. They said, “I’m happy to be able to brag.” The customers don’t know. And this is an opportunity for me to say, “I adhere by standards that are in place. Yes, I have this kind of experience with the dog. No, I don’t do this kind of breed. Yes, I do have tours of the salon between certain hours.” So this is something where it’s giving us as groomers something that we can say, “I adhere to these practices.” And once again, this is just practices of safety, care, and sanitation. There’s no word in there about style at all. So [crosstalk 00:36:44]

Joe Zucarrello: Well, and I’ve been in the grooming industry for over 34 years and I will tell you that I can… I mean it is… I don’t even know if it’s ever really even happened. The number one question when a new customer calls is, “How much do you charge?”

Teri DiMarino: Oh yes.

Joe Zucarrello: “How much do you charge?” And of course, now that’s a whole separate podcast topic on its own.

Teri DiMarino: Oh yeah.

Joe Zucarrello: But they don’t know any other questions to ask. So what I really love about this is that yeah, it’s putting professional groomers on alert, but it’s an opportunity back to involve yourself in change as early, and as deeply as you possibly can or you’re just a victim. So be proactive and promote. Just say, “I’d love to tell you what I charge, but let me tell you a little bit about my experience, and let me tell you a little bit about my salon, and let me tell you a little bit about what other pet parents are saying about us.” And then when you deliver what the price is, even if they… sometimes they don’t even want to know the price anymore because you’ve built a value so high up on what it is that you stand for. That price as long as it’s fair, you just got yourself a new customer.

Teri DiMarino: Exactly. There’s so many groomers though that feel that, “Oh, I’m going to take time out of my day doing this.” This is where a good website comes in handy, and a good about us front page right up and right up on top would really help a lot of people. Yes, unfortunately the first words out of a client’s mouth is, “How much do you charge for a Doodle? How much you charge for a Schnauzer.?” And I can see where some people get frustrated if they’re taken off of that, but these groomers that are frustrated by having to answer other questions, look, you’re giving you an opportunity for a client to make a decision. It almost puts some responsibility on the pet owner to make the right choice for them and the dog, not just based on price, but based on experience, or learning ability, or convenience, or whatever else is important to them besides the price factor.

Joe Zucarrello: Teri, I do plenty of seminars as you do as well. And one of the things I always quiz my audience on, I say, “What kind of business are we in?” And they say, “Well, we’re in the grooming business, or when the boarding business, or we’re in the training business,” and someone say, “Oh, I’m in the customers service business.” They think they’re going to out craft me, right? But I said, “No, you know what business we’re in? We’re in the peace of mind business. What we sell every day is peace of mind.” So Teri, what you’re describing in the PPGSA Standards of Care, Safety and Sanitation and everything that you stand for is helping us help the pet parents understand, “Listen, do business with us and you can have peace of mind. That your cherished fuzzy family member is going to be cared for to the utmost of our ability and our accountability.”

Joe Zucarrello: So I applaud you for everything that you’ve done. Not only sharing information, just this little podcast that we do and reach out a nice listener audience size, but also everything you’re doing in the industry to push this education because at Paragon School of Pet Grooming we have that our mantra, which is education is everything, and we just never stop learning and things are always going to change. So Teri, personally involving themselves in change to be more proactive, what can a groomer do themselves personally to get involved?

Teri DiMarino: Okay. What I would like to see all groomers do is to put a value on what they have done in their careers so far education wise. When you’re needed because someone has put some legislature out forward and they need your help to write to a legislator, or to be proactive, if you have nothing you’re scrambling. What you should do tonight, whatever grimmer should have is an educational resume of how much time, effort, and money they have put into their business, to themselves.

Teri DiMarino: How many seminars you attend each year, how much did that cost you? How much did it cost you to set up your business? How much time have you spent sitting in classrooms? How many certifications do you have? These values are what legislators are also going to be looking at is, “These people have already put this time, effort and money into the education within the industry.” So that when you are called upon by your state association to stand up and represent, say either for or against a particular legislator, you already have everything for yourself in the camp, and you can go and say, “This is me, this is what I’ve done, and this is why I believe this is good, bad, and different.”

Joe Zucarrello: Oh, that is great, great advice to do and listen, if you do that and if you’re a professional groomer out there and you don’t think that that list is long enough, maybe ask others to share their lists with you and you might… you might not realize what it is that you can value about yourself. Heck, even listen in to a podcast. It’s important to say, “Listen, this is the network of influencers I surround myself with. I just listened to Teri DiMarino. Let me tell you a little bit about her.” I don’t think Teri is going to have her feelings hurt if you drop her name and say, “This is what she does, and I’m listening to her, and taking cues from her as well and learning.” So where is it that you absorb your information? So, Teri, how do they find your state association?

Teri DiMarino: Okay, they can go online. We are www.cppga.org. Or they can find us, we have a Facebook page, which is just mainly for us posting events, and anybody can go in and like that Facebook page. And we also have a Facebook group, and that is California Professional Pet Groomers Association. And that is the Facebook group. Now, the club, the actual association itself, you must be a resident of California in which to join, and everything on there, on how to join is right on that website.

Joe Zucarrello: So that is a great way to start, Right? And then from there then maybe they can search for their own state associations or heck, maybe even foreign form their own, but a really great resource. And really I call it a piece of art, really is the PPGSA Standards of Care Safety and Sanitation guide. And we’re going to provide that to them free, right? You’ve come prepared to provide them a free download of that entire document.

Joe Zucarrello: Well, and for all of the Hey Joe! Listener audience out there, if you’re used to going to our website to tune in to this podcast, you can simply also go to paragonpetschool.com and go to the podcast page and find Teri’s episode. And we will have a link to the PDF as well. So there’s a variety of different places to get it, but if you used to going to paragonpetschool.com to listen to the episodes, you can download it right from that page as well. Now, Teri, on a little bit of a fun kind of semi-professional, semi casual note, you also have your own podcast, right?

Teri DiMarino: Yep.

Joe Zucarrello: So listen, now you’ve got the ear of all of my podcast listeners, tell them about your podcast.

Teri DiMarino: Okay. Every Monday night at seven o’clock, California time of course. So East coasters we are three hours behind you, but at 7:00 PM I do a live stream. So we do a little legislative alert, we do a little state of the industry address, or if there’s anything that we have on the radar we let you know, we do a little mini episode of a little seminar, and we also do a wine review. So we call it wine down Monday because you just got to wine down at the end of the day, grab a glass of wine, a beer, a soda, whatever you want and join us. And-

Joe Zucarrello: Well, and our friends on the East coast might’ve already got a headstart on you since that’s three hours ahead of you.

Teri DiMarino: Very possibly.

Teri DiMarino: You can go on in to the California Professional Pet Groomers Association Facebook group. And once again, it is a closed group. So you do have to join. Not a problem. As long as you answer the questions and you are a groomer, you’re in, it’s good. But we have fun. You got to have fun. We got to lighten up a little bit. But we have also been able to give a lot of people a lot of information because we are pretty much the watchdogs for legislation within the state of California. And believe me, we have no problem helping people get formed. The biggest question that comes to us is, “How do I form an association?” And I tell them, “You’ve got to have a core group of people that are willing and able to do the work.”

Joe Zucarrello: So Teri, what a wealth of knowledge. And you’re right, this is a heavy topic, right? So we have to sometimes find the humor and find the fun. And remember that our industry is that high touch, is that that can be very rewarding, which I know I’m preaching to the choir on that one. So again, Hey Joe! Podcast listeners if you want to find out anything and everything about how to find the CPPGA information the PPGSA standards document, the PDF download that Teri’s making available to you, and heck, just to find out more information about her wine down Monday podcast. Remember, visit paragonpetschool.com. Find out all of that information.

Joe Zucarrello: And Teri, thank you so much for carving time out of your busy schedule, but what a great, great topic to educate our listeners on. Thank you for your time.

Teri DiMarino: Thank you, Joe. I appreciate it. And thank everybody for tuning on in.

About Joe

Joe Zuccarello is president of the Paragon School of Pet Grooming, leaders in grooming education on campus and online. He possesses more than three decades of experience in the pet grooming, product development and pet business consulting disciplines.

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