Before you take a Grooming Job - Words of Wisdom
A Grooming job is one way to work your way into the Horse Industry. It’s a long day, with little pay, and lots of hard work. You have gone on an interview, and you have been given a job offer. (Congratulations!)
Do a happy dance, and then come back to planet Earth for a few minutes to ask your potential employer the following questions. Then resume the happy dance!!
-What is the wage? Is it salary or hourly?
-Is health insurance included? What about Workman’s Compensation?
-Is this position considered an employee or independent contractor? You will need to do some research if the answer is “independent contractor”, this is a very gray area and some folks classify you as this in order to avoid paying Workman’s Compensation Insurance. Laws also may vary from state to state.
-What safeguards for your income and medical bills are in place should you have an accident on the job and can not work for a period of time?
-What benefits come with the position? If there is an apartment above the barn or a stall for your own horse included, find out up front if this is deducted from your wages or if your wage quote includes the benefit. Often these types of compensation are used to avoid the dreaded taxes, turns out, there's a required way to report bartered income to the IRS. More on that in this riveting article about working students.
-What will your day off be? Will that fit into your life?
-What is the protocol for local, regional, national and international travel for shows? If you go on extended trips, are you working without a day off? How is this compensated on your return home?
It’s also wise to do your homework on your potential employer. The Horse Industry is a small one, and everyone seems to know everyone!
-Is your potential employer in good standing with the community? Talk to the other employees and trainers that you know.
-Can you spend a day or two at the farm as a trial and shadow the other Grooms? This will give you a good idea about how your potential employer handles clients, employees, and the day to day stuff. (Read the comments below to find out if this is even legal, sometimes it's not.)
-Why did the former Groom leave the position? Or is this a new position?
-Go basic - do a Google search! Use ratemyhorsepro.com, a comprehensive site that lists reviews of trainers and facilities, among others!
Of course you can never know fully how awesome your job will be. And at least now you are fully prepared to accept (or decline) an offer! What are some other things you may want to check out before you start a new job?
This article does not constitute legal advice - so if you are at all worried about a job being a bit shady or illegal - contact an employment lawyer in your area.