About Me:

I am a professional Pet Groomer. I have been grooming for 28 years. This Blog is a kind of diary of my work. I wish I had started years ago, writing some of the experiences I have had while grooming. Most days are fun, some can be sad, some can be just down right crazy. If you are a pet owner and come across this blog, I hope it helps you understand how your pet is groomed. If you are a Pet Groomer, I hope you can relate to some of the stories. Maybe even learn a grooming tip or can leave a friendly grooming tip for me. There is always something to learn, no matter how long you have been grooming.

Monday, February 27, 2012

I am so Tired

...of having to justify my prices and my price increases.

We raised our prices at the beginning of this year.
It is the first time in a little over 2 years.
I did not raise them last year because of the economy and trying to help my customers out.

I had to raise them this year.
No one gave me a break on my bills last year.
My rent went up.
The price of shampoos have been creeping up.
I don't even want to talk about the electric bill.

I increased my prices by $1 to $2 on small to medium size dogs.
Three dollars on medium/large dogs.
Five dollars on large dogs.
Most of my long time large dogs are very under priced.
(I've gotten better with the new large dog customers.)

With every price increase we seem to have a few people fuss about it, that's normal.

But, this time it has been constant fussing.
They are not nice comments either.

I know that it is hard on a lot of people out there, but I am not rolling in dough.
It costs me over a hundred dollars every week for gas, because of the 40 mile round trip to work everyday.
Gas only cost a dollar something 14 years ago when we moved so far from the shop.
I have kept my shop where I am now for my customers.
I really care about the dogs that I groom.
They are my guys, I know them.
If I moved my shop closer to home, those dogs would have to go to someone who doesn't know all of their little quirks.

I know, I am not talking like a business woman.
Grooming is very personal for me.
Not a good thing when you are trying to run a business.

I know that some of my customers would pay any price to stay with me, because they know I really care about their dogs.

That sounded conceded didn't it?

I didn't say it to be conceded.
I just mean that they know that their dogs are in good hands when they are with us, and they appreciate it.

 Then there are the customers that wouldn't think twice about finding someone else to groom their dog if the cost was cheaper.

That is still not coming out right.
I can't seem to explain it right.

How is it that a pet owner thinks nothing of sinking 25 dollars on a collar, 60 dollars on a dog bed, 30 dollars on a fancy corduroy winter coat, and 30 to 50 dollars a week on a quality dog food, but around 40 dollars every 4 to 8 weeks, to keep their dogs clean and healthy, seems to be highway robbery.

The hair dresser takes one look at my long, thick hair and wants 35 to 40 dollars just to cut my head.
I don't give her a hard time.
I even tip 5 to 10 dollars.

One of my worst complainers last week was an owner of a Bichon that we groom every 5 months.
She not only complained about the 2 dollar increase, but argued that she was paying 40 last year instead of the 43 she was actually paying.
5 months.
Her dog averages about 2 grooms a year, and is a mess when it comes in, requiring more work.

Come on people!
We groomers did not tell you to buy high maintenance dogs.
It is not our fault that a lot of dogs require regular grooming.
It is not our fault when a dog is matted.
Give us a break.

We brush your dog.
We bathe it.
We hand fluff dry it.
We clean ears.
We express anals.
We clip and file nails.
We clip and scissor the entire body, not just the head.

If a person was to go to their hairdresser and ask for a haircut (30 more if you want a blowdry), wax (15 just for lip and eyebrows), manicure (15),  and pedicure (25).
That along adds up to 80.
You have to go to the doctor to have your ears cleaned out. $$$
You have to go to a spa for a scented bath. $$$

Thankfully we don't have anal glands.  :/

I am sorry I seem to be ranting again.

I am not really.
I am just tired.

If you really want to hear me rant, ask me about pre-written checks.

I don't complain to the cashier at the food store every week when I see that the frozen french fries that I used to buy for $1.69 (store brand) are now $ 2.89.
I don't give the person at the gas station a hard time because $20 barley gives me a quarter tank of gas now.
(Although the local news  has had some reports about people attacking gas station workers because of rising gas prices.)

Actually, people have always complained about grooming prices, ever since I started grooming.
For 28 years I have had to listen to people fuss about the price of grooming their dog.
There seems to be a mentality out there that the price of a dogs grooming should stay the same for the lifetime of the dog.

I just want someone to explain to me why the pet industry is a billion dollar business, but groomers seem to be the low man on the totem poll.

Oh well, all of the complaining and snide comments have made me do something that I don't normally do.

I made a sign.

I don't have many signs in my shop.
It has been my experience that people do not read signs.
Even when they are right under their noses.

I made one anyway.

It is a temporary sign right now.
I will be designing a permanent one with Vistaprint.

I sent a letter out about the price increase back in October with my scheduling letter.
I have come to the conclusion that no one reads the letters either, or they like to pretend that they didn't read it.

Here is my temporary sign that will be going on my counter tomorrow.

Will this help?
Probably not.  :(
But I am going to try it anyway.

Happy Grooming, MFF


  1. Hey, Lisa, just a little comment on your sign...don't want to be picky, but...the footnote probably should say "here at My Furry Friends we use" [not "used" - that makes it sound like you don't anymore]. Again, don't want to sound picky, but that just caught my eye.

  2. Hi tvergirl2001,
    I could have sworn that I responded to your comment a couple of days ago, but I must not have hit publish. lol
    Thanks for pointing out my mistake. I read that sign a few times and never noticed that. I am glad you found that before I make that sign a permanent poster.
    Thanks again!
    Lisa, MFF

  3. The price increase thing is so tricky. We luckily decided years ago to raise prices by $1 every single year. We call it the "cost of living raise". Other jobs give you raises.. why not ours? Granted, I am on commission and only get 60 % of the dollar.. then the tax man takes a percentage as well. Many clients of course think I must be getting fabulously rich off that dollar. Sure. I love your sign, it's very well written. You are correct though, no one will read it. Customers just don't seem to read that stuff. :( I know what you are saying about some would stay if you raised and others would just find the cheaper option. In this economy the price thing has been so sensitive. I do find, however, that people will leave sometimes, but the nearly always come running back, when they find that you actually do get what you pay for.

  4. Hi D,
    I have found that it is best to just let them go somewhere else. You are right, most of them come running back.
    Is it bad that I like when they go somewhere else and see just how good they had it with us? I mostly feel bad for the dog.

  5. Good Job. Love the sign. I own a pet salon as well and it is hard to put up the prices. People don't understand how hard it is. They don't realize their pets are animals. Plus grooming is like a medical procedure. The health of their dogs depend on bathing and grooming. why does petsmart and petco; That do nothing different from pet salons; can charge 70 for a small dog. Time is money. Time is money.$$$$$$$$$$$$

  6. Hi Anonymous,
    I have wondered the same question about the pet super stores prices. Thanks for reading my blog. :)

  7. I know that you posted this a while ago, and I dont mean to pick at your sign, but less can be a lot more. I have been reading through your blog today (and I absolutely love it), but when it came to reading the sign, I read the first four points because they were short and sweet, but that was it.

    If you would really like to catch someones attention, compare prices with a big chain groomers like Petsmart and Petco, list services that you do that they dont, and give a price range from the lowest to the highest and state that final price is determined in shop.

    Have you thought about putting a note on the back of your business cards?

    I happen to look for prices and am very honest when requesting a quote on something because I dont commit to something unless I know what I am in for.

    You seem like an awesome chica who I would be proud to take my animals (three male dogs, ranging from 5 to 120 pounds <3) to because I know that what I get in effort, care, and devotion for my animal is worth any amount of money.

    ** And seriously, they are complaining about a $1 - $5 price increase?!? Honey, I'm from Seattle and I drink $5 in Starbucks coffee every morning, tell 'em to build a bridge and get over it.

    You should be proud that your business survived these tuff economic times... seriously... Kudos to you and your wonderful work :)

    1. Hi,
      lol Actually, I have yet to post that sign. People just don't read them no matter how simply they are. Plus I felt that the sign was just too wordy. I wrote it up when I was in a mood. :/
      Thank you for the compliment! :)
      Lisa, MFF