The Pet Groomers has become the first groomer in Kent to achieve the new Quality Assurance Standard for Groomers. Designed to help cat and dog owners find a reputable groomer, the Quality Assurance Standard was launched by the Pet Industry Federation in 2013, in association with Dogs Trust and PDSA. The Pet Groomers has now been officially awarded its certification.

PIF QAQuality Assured Groomers have to pass a rigorous inspection and testing process to ensure their knowledge, health and safety procedures, business practices and animal welfare policies are up to scratch. Participating businesses are also given a star rating, which is based on the qualifications and experience of the staff.

‘Grooming is unregulated, which means that anyone can set up in business, no matter what their qualifications or experience,’ said Nigel Baker, Chief Executive of the Pet Industry Federation. ‘Sadly, there have been incidents of injuries to animals – or worse – in grooming salons. Whilst these incidents are few and far between, the general public may not know where to turn to find a groomer they can trust. Specialists from national charities Dogs Trust and PDSA and the British Dog Grooming Association have launched this scheme to provide peace of mind. Quality Assured Groomers have demonstrated that they operate to best practice guidelines and put animal welfare first.’

‘We are delighted that Sue Birley, who runs The Pet Groomers, has had the courage and enthusiasm to take on the challenge of achieving the Quality Assurance Standard,’ said Nigel. ‘Our inspectors were impressed with the salon and, due to the qualifications of their staff, The Pet Groomers receives the top star rating. I am sure this will be of particular interest to pet owners in the Kent area.’

Sue Birley Says:

I run a small business in West Kingsdown, a pet grooming business. I recently under went a test and audit carried out by the PIF and was awarded the highest star rating possible, 4 stars. Not only was I the first in Kent to achieve such an award, I was told at the time of the audit that I was also one of the first in the country to do so.

A little background on The Pet Groomers… I was made redundant from a medium sized local housing association as Performance Manager in March 2011. I had been dog grooming as a hobby for five years up until then. About six months before the redundancy I had an inkling my team were going to get ‘the chop’ as part of the Association’s reaction to the Government’s cut backs on social housing.

Not deterred, I decided to take the impending unemployment situation as a chance to have a complete change of career. I had already completed all my training as a dog groomer at Hadlow College, achieving the City and Guilds Level 3 in Professional Dog Styling in 2010. I put  my redundancy money towards purchasing my salon, in West Kingsdown, in July 2011. I am very proud that I now employ two full time groomers and one part timer. To have all my efforts recognised by the PIF is icing on the cake and an award that I and my staff are extremely proud of.