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.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Money Wins!! :(

This morning I was so excited.
I had a great story for my Happy Grooming Stories facebook group today.

Let me start at the beginning.

About eight weeks ago I wrote a post about a  very matted Lhasa mix that came in for a grooming.
I charged about $20 more than my usual price because of the matting.
I also explained to the owner that if she brought the dog in to be groomed no later than every 8 weeks, I would be able to do any length that she would like, and the price would be lower. (as long as the dog was not matted)
I spent time educating the owner about regular groomings, how mats hurt a dog, and that if she got her dog groomed more regularly, she could keep her dog in a length that she liked.

The owner made another appointment for 8 weeks right then and there.

To be honest, I was not holding my breath that she would keep the appointment today. 

I try to educate every customer that comes in with matted dogs, and most of them will rebook before they leave.
Unfortunately, not all of them keep those appointments, and go right back to letting their dogs mat before they get them groomed again. :(

I was afraid that this customer was going to be a no-show.
So, I was very happy to see the owner and dog show up this morning.

The owner kept telling me that the groom that I did 8 weeks ago was the best groom the dog had ever had.
She also remembered that I had said that she could have any length that she wanted on her dog if she was not matted.

 She did not have a mat in her.

I had managed to get a #4F and #5F through her matting the last time.

The owner wanted a longer cut this time. 

No problem. :)

 She also wanted the hair around the mouth short and tight, but not shaved looking.

Got that?

So, I ran a yellow comb attachment over her and scissored her up.

  I ran the yellow comb over the top of her head also.
Blended into the ears and scissored to finish.

I concentrated on scissoring the long hair right around the front of her mouth and taking that short, because that was the hair that the owner was pointing to when she talked about going short.

I also clipped along the lip line, under the mustache and above the beard.

Then I rounded the rest of the face off.

I took pictures, because as I said before, I was going to post about her in my facebook group.
I was just so tickled that this owner listened to me and came back before her dog got matted again.

Then she came to pick up.....

The look on my husbands face, when he came back to get the dog immediately told me that something was wrong.

"What's wrong?" I asked him.
"She is pissed," he told me.
"Pissed? About what?" I asked totally confused. "She hasn't even seen the dog yet."
"I'll tell you in a minute," he said as he got the dog out of the kennel.
"Nooo! Tell me now," I whined.
Grrr I didn't want to wait.
"She won't be back," he told me as he started to take the dog up to its owner.
"What!  Why!!" I sputtered.
As he disappeared through the grooming room door, he turned his head and whispered; "She is pissed about the price you charged her."

I had to wait for him to come back into the grooming room to hear the rest of the story.
But, I was in shock.
I had charged her the price I told her that the groom would be if she brought the dog back in 8 weeks, with no mats.
It was almost $20 dollars cheaper than when I groomed the dog in June.

I jumped right on my husband when he came back into the grooming room.
"What is going on? Why was she pissed? I charged what I told her it would be?" I shot the questions rapid fire.
My husband put his hand up to get me to stop so he could explain.
"She came in and put her credit card on the counter, and as I swiped her card I told her the price," he explained. "She immediately got pissed and said that she thought the price was going to be $30."
"What? Where in the world did she get $30 from?" I asked. 

I had written down on her file, after her last visit, exactly how much I had quoted her for the next groom.
It certainly was not for $30 dollars, especially when the cut was a comb/hand scissor cut.

"She said that she did not understand why she was charged more than $30 dollars," my husband continued. "She said that she would not be coming back and would go back to PetSm*rt."

Right before she walked out the door, she told my husband to tell me that I do really great work.....


The last time I was in PetSm*rt, behind a customer that was paying for their Lhasa's grooming, the man paid $75.
I waited in my car to see the man come out, because I wanted to see what $75 bought him.
The dog looked nice, but it was nothing more than a #5 or #7 clip on the dog.
Not sure where she thinks she is going to find a PetSm*rt that charges $30 for a full hair cut.

I was so upset.
I really liked the dog.
She was very sweet, and her hair was great to scissor.

I guess money wins. :(
It is more important how much the grooming costs, instead of how nice the dog is treated and looks.  :`(

Oh well, I tried.
I'll keep on trying.

 ✂ Happy Grooming, MFF


  1. I'm so sorry Lisa...inside my grooming drawer ( where only I can see it) us my favorite bumper sticker. People Suck!....some days its very true

    1. Haha big dog mom,
      My daughter would love that bumper sticker. lol
      Lisa, MFF

  2. Wow such a happy story with such a horrible ending. I am so sorry that it had to end that way. I can tell you now that she will not be getting any type of hand scissoring at Petsmart, and she will definitely not be getting any full haircut for under $40, maybe a bath and trim but not a haircut. It was $40 for the smallest breed like a Toy Poodle or Shih tzu a couple of years ago when I was there, and that was in a very low income city. Maybe she will come back when she realizes she is not going to get that price there.

    1. I don't know what it is Anjanette,
      Some people just seem to get a price in their head and they don't think it should be anymore than that. Most owners just don't have any idea what all goes into a grooming.
      Lisa, MFF

  3. Oh my goodness! I agree with you! When the dog is treated well and all the time and talent is put into the high quality results of the groom, nothing else should matter! I have (briefly) worked for a lg. corporate pet grooming salon and all they cared about was squeezing people (upselling) for top dollar so they could meet percentage standards! My manager whipped through dogs without a care to how well it was groomed. She may have worked for that particular corporation for a number of years, but their grooming training alone did not constitute talent or skill. Just a drive to sell, groom, and zoom...out the door. It behooves people to support local business and talent and not grumble about price! They are paying much less than when they walk through the doors of the big time pet stores. Guaranteed!

  4. My comment has nothing to do with your post... I just wanted to thank you for writing this blog. I've been reading it for over a year and saved loads of bookmarks and photos. Sometimes I go back to them and re-read to refresh my memory. Your tips and tricks have helped so much. Thank you, Lisa, from me and other newbie groomers :) sending you a big hug!
    No stress be strong!

    1. Thanks Insomnia,
      I am so glad that I have been able to help. :)

  5. Hello
    I'm growling right along with you about the Lhasa mix. Sometimes the more you do for someone/for their dog the more POOP you get kicked in your face! Agreed?
    The client was totally off base with the cost.
    You did your best to educate and I hope that goes a long way for the dogs' sake.
    BY the way, does she realize her dog has a CHERRY EYE and this is normally painful for the dog.
    The Lhasa mix looks fabulous, by the way and I think you are well on your way to the French version.

    1. Thank you,
      Yes, I told her about the cherry eye the first time I groomed the dog. She said that her Vet told her it was nothing to worry about. I told her that I believed that it is uncomfortable for the dog. You have to be so careful not to contradicted a Vet.
      Lisa, MFF

  6. Ahem. We don't. Lhasas are $44 at my store. (I think.) Also we DO charge more for matting or special handling. However, 1) We've had groomers under charge and get bigger tips to keep--and get fired for it. But it makes a mess when the dog comes back and has to pay the correct price. and 2) Many store managers give in to any and all complaints to avoid having corporate come in. So it's pretty easy to complain and get a discount or a groom for free. We definitely get taken advantage of.

    Sorry for the anonymous comment (I am a regular reader). But We've also been warned to be careful when talking about work online.

    1. Hi,
      I hate that commercial that I see that talks about how the groom is free if you don't like it. That is SO wrong, and I always feel so sorry for the groomers.
      Lisa, MFF

    2. Different Anonymous . We don't get paid for the groom if they invoke that guarantee, at least not at my store.

  7. Oh Lisa...I am so sorry that you got upset over that customer. Just remember there will always be people who only see dollar amounts and don't consider the value of what they are getting for that price.
    The fact that she chose to go to PetSomething is in no way reflects on your quality of work (she even said that you did great job). Just think what she will get there: for no less than 40-something bucks (no way she is getting a haircut for $30!) she will get just basic shampoo (no oatmeal, no anything special), no conditioner, no nail dremeling - all that stuff is extra. And if that store does it by the book, they should charge her even more for dematting and hand scissoring as well.
    Who knows, maybe she will be back once she sees the difference.

    (We had a customer with Shiba Inu who was thrown out of another PetSomething - the notes said the dog hated water, dryer, nail trimming, and grooming in general and was not allowed back in that store. So they basically washed and dried the dog - no brushing, no nails, no ear cleaning. She came to us and our bather was able to clip the nails, clean the ears and brush for few minutes. So she was told she was welcome to our store since "Max" apparently did not have a problem with our bathers. So what does the lady do? She goes to competitor across the street because they charge $4 less for nail buffing! They cut his nails to the quick, almost broke his toes (well, according the the owner, anyway), he had to be muzzled and now he is traumatized for life)

    Again, cherish the customers who are fiercely loyal to you and don't worry about price shoppers.

    1. Hi tvergirl,
      So sad when saving a buck is more important than the dog. :/
      Lisa, MFF

  8. Yeah ermm petsmart charges 45-47 for a basica lahsa haircut, that doesn't include dematting fees that we charge depending on the severity of the dog and if it was clipped short it most likely was high due to matting. I don't think we charge 30$ on any full haircut on a breed..

  9. Im very curious to know where you are located and your pricing...of course you dont have to tell me but I can tell it must be more than I charge. For small breeds I charge a base of $30 for a full groom, medium dogs $40 and large dogs start at $55. The prices go up according to hair condition (i.e. mats or nasty dirty fur) and dogs behavior. BUT I also dont groom nearly as well as you. My clients dont really prefer the fluffy show look. They all just want easy and practical. We love in the south. Country south at that...