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.

Friday, June 8, 2012

A Question

This question is for groomers and grooming shop owners.

Would you, or do you have a black list.

What's a black list?

It is a list of customers that you no longer wish to give appointments to.
It is a list of taboo customers names that would sit next to your phone.

I don't have one....yet.
Could I make one tomorrow?

You bet ya!

In all the years that I have been grooming, I haven't ever refused a customer an appointment.....yet.

Oh, there have been plenty of pet owners that I wish I would never see again, but I always like their dogs.
I only keep them as customers because of their dogs.

That sounds terrible doesn't it?

I am sorry, but 28 years of being disrespected in this profession can do that to you.
~ Listening to tactless comments with a smile on my face.
~ Being told that I caused a dogs mats because I didn't give a customer the appointment that they wanted.
~ Customers showing up for appointments anywhere from 20 minutes to 2 hours late with no apology and expecting to still have their dog groomed.
~ Keeping me past my closing time waiting for a customer to pick up their dog who has been ready to go home for 5 hours or more.
~ Canceling an appointment 10 minutes after their scheduled appointment with a reason that they knew about for a week.
~ Getting angry with me because I can't move their appointment to the exact day they want, even though I have already suggested 4 other dates.
~ Scheduling appointments and missing every other one.
~Talking down to me because all I do everyday is 'play with dogs'.
~Tell me how to do my job.
~Ask me if I am going to hurt thier dog.
~Yelling at me because I dared to charge them $3 more for the extra brushing I needed to do to save your pets neglected coat.
~make a snide remark because I raised my prices by a $1.
~Letting their dog crap and pee in my lobby and not bothering to clean it up or tell me.

Don't get me wrong.

I certainly do not feel this way about all of my customers.
I am very lucky, I have a lot of really great customers.

I wouldn't be truthful if I didn't admit that I have a bad habit of letting the rude customers get to me.
Out of 12 or 14 great customers in a day, it only takes that one rude, insensitive, tactless customer to ruin your day.

I know it shouldn't, but knowing that and putting it into practice are two different things.

We came close to starting that list today.

It was 1:15pm and my daughters 1:00 appointment had not shown up.
My husband had called to remind the customer the day before, but her voice mail box was full. :/

So, my husband called again to see if he could get  a hold of her this time.
He did.
She forgot about the appointment, but she could have the dog to the shop by 1:45.
My husband told her to come on in.
Right before the customer hung up, she asked my husband who was going to groom her dog.
My husband told her that her dog was scheduled on Jessica.

She never showed.
She never called back.

Did she not come because I wasn't going to be grooming her dog?
or because her dog wouldn't get in the car.
or because her car broke down.
or because she had a flat tire.
or because she already had the dog groomed and just didn't want to admit it.
or because she couldn't afford it and didn't want to tell us that.
or because she is just a down right rude person.

I don't no.

She didn't bother to call back.

The story of a groomers life.

Do I really think that she didn't come because her dog was scheduled with my daughter?
Unfortunately, that is a possibility.
I have had this happen many times before and not just with my daughter.

It amazes me how many people want 'the owner' of the shop to groom their dogs.
It does not matter how good the other groomers are, they want the owner.
Who says just because I own the shop that I am the better groomer?

Some customers also seem to judge my daughters grooming by her age.
Believe me, this is a really big pet peeve with my daughter.
Unfortunately, some customers actually talk to her differently from the way they talk to me.
I think that some of them think that she can't possibly know what she is doing at her age.
It really upsets her.

I think that it is really sad if that was the reason why my daughters 1:00 appointment didn't show.

I really want to put this customer on my black list.

Do I think that she will call back with some lame excuse for missing the appointment after telling us that she was on her way?

From past experience....yep.
And, she will expect us to happily give her another appointment.

Sorry for the rant.

I can deal with the frustration of grooming nasty, mean dogs.
I can't deal with the frustration of dealing with tactless, nasty, rude, insensitive pet owners.

Okay....I got it all out.
I feel better.

I'll be back to the job I love doing tomorrow.
I'll try to concentrate on the good customers and forget the bad ones. :)

Happy Grooming, MFF


  1. I absolutely have a black list. Only two customers are on it and they certainly earned the right to be on it. One no-showed three times in a row after only being my client for one haircut prior (if I am losing more money than I am making off you it's time to go.) The other was incredibly rude after bringing in her 85# golden doodle instead of the 11# Shih Tzu she had scheduled the appointment for. I kindly told her I did not have the space to groom a doodle that day and she went off. I let her finish her rant and told her that I work on a schedule and if she couldn't respect that, I would no longer groom her dogs. Haven't heard from her since, thank heavens.

  2. I used to work at a grooming shop that was the same way. A lot of people would request the owner because she was the owner. It honestly would hurt my feeling a lot of the time and the owner would have to talk to me and tell me that I am a great groomer and most of those customers were hers from a previous job and just don't wanna give anyone else a chance. It didnt help that I am only 25 so a lot of people look down on that as well. That was one of the reasons that I left to go be a solo groomer at a vet hospital but now there is talk of the groomer before me wanting to come back and she worked there for 25 years and I know it will just happen again. Getting some old insecurities again. What makes me mad with customers is when the owners get nervous about leaving the dog there and the dogs pick up on it and start shaking then the owner acts like it's your fault and the dog is scared to go back with you. Then they say the dog hides for the next few days after grooming as if you're the bad guy. Sorry it's so long but I can relate to your daughter.

  3. Do I have a black list?? You betcha!! After 24 years in this business, there does come a time where you can and should be selective, and downright picky about the people you choose to deal with. All of the scenarios you mentioned have happened to me many times over, and I have taken so much crap from people over the years, that it caused a nervous breakdown. I have since re-programmed myself to understand and believe that I am an excellent groomer who always goes above and beyond to make my customers happy, (some of whom have been with me for over 20 years). It seems to me that it's only been the past 4 or 5 years that I have come across the more rude, demanding type of customers you are describing. Maybe it's the economy, maybe it's just that we are all doing 50 diffrent things at once, but the bottom line is, my waiting list of customers trying to get into my shop is a mile long, so if someone is rude, or doesn't respect that my time is valuable, I simply do not re-book them. Easy to say, harder to do, but in the end, it's all worth it. If you're not strong mentally, you will physically break down in no time at all. Sorry to be so long winded, but I understand the situations you are put in, and since you are very well established and know what you're doing, you have earned the right to be as selective as you choose. Good luck, and start that list today. Karen from NJ

  4. There is obviously a lot to consider about this. But I think you made some good points in discussing the topic.

  5. Hi Anonymous,
    I agree that customers who has missed repeated appointments with no notice or explanation don't deserve to get another appointment.
    I am a firm believer in the fact that the customer is NOT always right. AND, that I DO NOT have to serve every customer that walks in my door, or calls on the phone. Been there, done that in the early years of grooming. I was really used and abused my some of my customers.
    Grooming can be stressful enough without the public giving you a hard time.
    I am glad you haven't heard from the Doddle owner again. :)


  6. Hi Peggan,
    You and my daughter could probably commiserate together for hours. One of the things that bothers her the most is the customers not taking her seriously because of her age. Some of them actually get upset with her when she is explaining something to them, but if I come up and say the same thing, the customer is like, "Oh, okay" with a smile. I can't tell you how much that upsets her.
    I will admit that when my daughter first started grooming customers dogs we did not tell the customer that she was grooming them unless they asked.
    I found that when I asked if it was okay if she groomed them some would say no, or they would find something wrong with the groom even though the grooming was fine.
    Even now when a customer asks me who groomed their dog I tell the customer; "Oh, my daughter has BEEN grooming him for awhile now. She likes him so much that she doesn't want me to groom him." When a customer hears how much my daughter likes their dog, THEN they seem to be fine with her grooming them.
    If my daughter ever leaves her grooming career it will be because of the customers not respecting her or her talent. :(
    As for the other groomer coming back to work, I wish I could give you some advice. I don't know the other groomers personality, but if I were you I would make sure that I was as pleasant as possible with the customers and fawn all over their dogs. If they know that you truly love grooming their dogs they will want YOU to groom them.
    As for the shaking, upset dogs...we all have them. I have some dogs that I have been grooming for years ALWAYS come in shaking. When a customer says something to me about their dog being scared and shaking I will hug the dog close, and I will say something like this..."Awwww he is shaking because he knows you have to leave. It is just like taking your child to daycare, or Kindergarten. They think if they shake enough you will take them back home, but you know, as soon as he goes in the grooming room and sees all of the other dogs he stops shaking." It helps with most customers but not all.
    I also tell some customers 'that grooming is a love/hate relationship, they love all of the loving I give them while I am grooming them, and they love how good the grooming makes them feel, but some of them don't like leaving home, or getting wet, or being brushed.'
    As for the hiding...I tell customers that it is very important that they DON'T laugh at their dogs haircut. I tell them that a dog that is not groomed often can get embarrassed if they get a drastic haircut. It is hard to get customers to understand that their actions and feelings reflect on the dog. Good luck with your job. Hang in there! :)

    Hi Karen,
    You are so right. I have noticed the same thing, customers being ruder in the last 4-5 years. Even some of my really good, long time customers.
    I don't quite have a black list...well maybe one or two people, but I do have a list of people who I will no longer go out of my way for, no matter how much I like their dog.
    I am a good, caring groomer who knows what I am doing. I use common sense, and I treat all of my groom dogs as if they were my own. I truly like all of them, even some of the nasty ones. There are also a good number of them that I really can say that I love.
    I have gone through several burn outs and almost quit grooming back in my early years. It has only been about the last 10 years that I have stopped letting my customers walk all over me...well almost stopped. :/ I seem to have a hard time following my own advice sometimes.
    I am sorry that you had to go through a breakdown. I am SO glad that you came out better on the other side. :) Here's to another 24 years in the business!

    Hi pet food,
    After being used and abused by some of my customers for years, there is not much left to consider. :)

    Lisa, MFF

  7. Greetings from Canada! The girls at my shop read your blog regularly and I just wanted to comment that we all understand exactly where you are coming from!
    We dont have a black list. We have some customers we wish we didnt have, but we always give them appointments. There is always talk about "firing" clients, but easier said then done! Our shop has only been open a few years, and all of our girls are young, even the owner. People still brush us off to talk to her, it doesn't have anything to do with age in our shop. Its still pretty aggravating regardless.
    One idea is to raise your prices further. It sounds weird but we just raised all our prices by 5$ or more (a lot more on bigger breeds)and have'nt had any flack for it. It really helped weed out some of the inconsiderates. To recognize our regulars and our favourites, we started a loyalty discount so their price didn't go up much. they really appreciated it, and any complainers can go else where! you get what you pay for, and from what I read, your patience and experience warrants a premium.

    Sam, What a Mess Pet Grooming

  8. Hi Sam & Ladies,
    Thanks for reading my blog. :) Sorry I have taken so long to respond to your comment. Most nights I only have enough time to either post or respond to comments. Rarely do I have time to do both.
    Believe me, I understand the 'firing' clients being harder said then done. I usually like the dog more than I can't stand the owner.
    As for prices, we raised ours this year. Because I feel that me prices are pretty much where they should be (other than large dogs) I have been working on an extra fee scale for customers that are not regulars. Such as, a dog that comes in for grooming and has not been groomed in 4 months is charged $5 extra. A dog that has not been groomed in 6 months is charged $8 extra, and so on. If they schedule regular appointments, their price goes to my regular prices. So in a way it is something similar to your loyalty discount.
    I will say that I tried the loyalty discount system when I first opened, but it came back to bite me in the butt when customers wouldn't keep their appointments, but when they finally came in they still wanted the discount.
    Oh well, it seems no matter what system you come up with someone is going to argue with you about it. :/
    Again, thanks for reading my blog. It is great to hear from groomers in Canada. :)
    Lisa, MFF

  9. I fire clients all the time. I'm booking 3 weeks in advance so why should I lose money or be treated like crap from somone? If a dog is psychotic on my table I give owners a table training plan and tell them I will continue grooming the dog as long as it shows signs of improvement - most people put in the effort and I get dogs that are not trying to take my hands off. If clients miss an appointment without calling me they get one chance, then if they miss another they are informed that there will be a $20 missed appointment fee if they want to reschedule (unless it was an emergency) if they miss another one they are gone. I had a client yell and swear at me once, he was shown the door very quickly and told if I saw him again I would have him charged with trespassing because he was no longer welcome in the store. I try very hard to keep my clients happy and I work my backside off, but I'm done putting up with being treated like crap.

    As for your daughter I remember my first 3 years grooming fresh out of highscool... People ignored everything I had to say and would look to the 50 year old woman in the room (who started her grooming career 2 years after I had). During a period of time that we had some groomer turn over and our manager was on vacation I (with 3 years grooming and 2 years bathing) was the senior groomer and when people would ask for the most experience person, they would get pissed off that I was grooming their dog. Even after I explained that they asked for the most experienced groomer and explained that I had 2 years on the other 2 women in the salon at the time, they didnt believe me. Now into my 30s I'm finally getting treated like I know what I'm talking about. Tell her it will pass in time and try not to let it effect her.

  10. Hi Mimi,
    My daughter reminded me the other day that we have in fact 'fired' at least two very rude customers. Both of them had been really rude to my daughter. (I think that that is why she remembered and I didn't)
    We are very lucky that we DO have very good and nice customers. It's just that one or two that you let get under your skin no matter how much you know you shouldn't. My daughter has a real hard time dealing with it. Even though she knows she shouldn't let it bother her. :(
    Lisa, MFF

  11. http://thewritinggroomer.blogspot.com/2012/07/craziest-customer-ever.html

    I hope you can copy and paste that to see that blog post. I'm still new to this whole blogging thing. Anyway, this is one of the only dogs in my 8-year career to have been blacklisted.

  12. Hi groomgirl82,
    OMG!!! That must be the nightmare of ALL customers!
    I have bookmakered your blog. I enjoyed reading it.
    Lisa, MFF

  13. Wow, thanks for taking the time to read my blog! I'm glad you liked it. Any advice for a new blogger?

  14. Hi groomgirl82,
    I don't think that I have any advice. Sometimes it is a struggle to come up with things to write. The main thing that I try to do is keep it real and easy to read. I read, A LOT! I can't stand to read something that just rambles. If a book does not catch me on the first couple of pages, I don't read it. So when I started my blog, I wanted it to be easy and fun to read. I hope that I am succeeding. :)
    Lisa, MFF

  15. I definitely think you are succeeding in that, that's why I asked your advice. I try not to ramble too much, but it's possible sometimes I don't realize that I am rambling. Anyway, good advice, thanks!

    1. Thank you groomgirl82,
      Please don't think that I was saying that you were rambling. I was just saying that I struggle not to, because I know I can talk too much sometimes. lol
      Lisa, MFF

  16. This is great to find. I just had a really rude customer and actually cried which is not like me. I am getting so tired of people lying to get appointments, giving me a sad story to get a deal, being mean, missed appointments with no call, everything is urgent,urgent, urgent because they couldn't book in advance and yes, it is now my fault their dog is matted. Don't get me wrong, I have some really great customers but lately it has been something else.

    I live in a rural town that is on the verge of a boom and my ad just now went into the phone book. I have busy before now but thought that would be a good idea - now I am wondering. I am thinking I will no longer book urgent people and yes, I am developing a black list. I make notes on my client cards and am now checking before I book the appointment if they are mean/rude, miss appointments etc. etc. I have had it with people who do not value my skills, knowledge, and expertise. It always amazes me when I hear "I'm busy" as an excuse for someone who missed an appointment and didn't call. I'm busy too and one lady cost me over $200 and I never ever did see her - 5 last minute rebooks and then she got snotty, always an excuse, always something that is supposed to make me feel sorry for them? Stuff I never want or care to know or hear about their personal lives like it somehow makes it okay? It doesn't - it actually makes it worse that they make their problems my problem. Anyways, thank you for your blog. Thank you for addressing this issue, and thank you for giving me somewhere safe to vent.

    1. Hi Anonymous,
      I feel your pain. Everything that you mentioned above is what I hate the most about grooming. I work hard everyday to try to remind myself not let the bad customers override all of the nice, good customers that I have. It is not easy. Sometimes I can do it and other times I find myself letting them get to me. We are only humane after all.
      If you are busy, you obviously have the talent to bring customers back because they like you and your work. You can be a little more picky with who you choose to take on as a customer. I have lived by a hard and fast rule for awhile now...'NEVER take a same day appointment!' It is hard sometimes to turn someone away when I have an opening because of a late cancellation or a No Show, but it NEVER seems to fail and kick me in the a** when I take a same day appointment. The dog is a mess, a biter, the owner doesn't pick up by my closing time, or they walk in before I am finished with their dog. Now a regular customer is a different story, BUT I Never take a new customer on the same day. Oh, and they will ALWAYS expect you take them the same day to.
      Okay, I have rambled too long. :) Thank you for reading my blog! Try not to let the bad, mean, ungrateful, rude, customers bother you too much. I thank the Lord all the time that the dogs can't talk, because if they told their owners some of things that I say to them about their owners, while I am grooming them, I would be in trouble. ;)
      Lisa, MFF
      Lisa, MFF

  17. Only one lady is on 'that' list. She was 45 minutes late when I finally got a hold of her, and on top of that she was only just leaving (15-20 minute drive). Had to rebook her since there was no way I had time left, and wow, never been called so many names before :/ Couldn't get a word in, as I held the phone inches from my ear. Can't imagine being that late would be okay with a hairdresser or a doctor... *sigh* I find I'm never very accommodating to the nasty ones. Told her politely to "have a nice day" and *click* hung up. That was very satisfying! Turns out one of my other regulars got wind of it after talking to the very late ex-customer herself. Told me "that lady is nuts" with an eye-roll. So it didn't end up weighing on my mind (too much, haha).