The rough clip is the starting point of the grooming process. The rough clipper determines the condition of the pet and establishes whether or not the wishes of the client can be met. Basically, the rough clip is the initial removal of hair from the face, body, legs, pads of the feet, genital area, and rectum.

The time involved with this stage varies considerably from one pet to another depending on the volume of hair to be removed, the texture of the hair, and most importantly, the condition of the pet when it arrives. Also, in the case of poodle clips, additional time is involved with the shaving of the feet, around the tail, and face. This stage of the grooming process is done before the bath to minimize any skin irritations that may occur.