I have always wished that I had kept a grooming journal.
Not really about grooming dogs per say, but about some of the customers I have dealt with over the years.
Then it dawned on me the other day.....my dead files.
I have a box full of old files from past customers that have moved, or dogs have passed and the owners never got another dog.
In these files are notes.
A lot of notes.
Notes about how each dog was groomed, and notes about things that customers did and said.
I started going through some of the old files and thought that I would share some of those notes.
The one thing that I found while going through these old files was, that people never change.
The excuses never change.
The complaints never change.
AND, that some customers were just down right crazy.
Of course, when I first opened my business all I wanted to do was please my customers, and build my business with a good reputation.
I would bend over backwards to please them.
I also let them walk all over me.
One of the worst things that I did was not respect myself and my skill enough to charge what my grooming was worth.
It was almost painful looking at some of the old prices that I used to charge, and the fact that some dogs I groomed for years and years without ever raising their prices.
I was so worried about growing my business that I started out under charging my grooming.
So, make sure that you are not drinking anything while you read this post, because you just may spit that drink back out at your computer when you choke while reading some of the prices that I used to charge.
I will type the notes just the way they were written on the files.
I groomed this dog from 1986 to 1999.
Lhasa/Poo--clipdown#4---Price (1986) $20 - (1999) $25
Other than grooming notes, there was only one other note on this card.
July 1990: Cust called for appt, told Lisa was booking 3wks out--owner said he could take the dog to another groomer--still didn't get appt they wanted--then sd last time dog went home he was limping, Vet said he had sprained shoulder, told him nothing happened here and if it had we would have told him, it pissed me off
This owner was used to calling and getting an appointment the next day.
My business had grown and for the first time I was starting to book up two to three weeks in advance.
My regulars were not used to that, and were not happy.
The favorite thing to say, seemed to be the threat to take the dog to another groomer.
When that didn't work to get them the appointment that they wanted, some would then complain about the last grooming.
This particular customer continued to come every 6 weeks till 1999 when the dog passed away.
There were no other bad notes on the file.
Oh, and according to the file, we must have fit him in a week after he called. lol
I groomed this dog from 1987 to 2000
Yorkie (@6 pounds, very thick hair)--groom varied between hand scissor and Lamb cut-- Price (1987) $10 - (2000) $20
I had been grooming for 4 years when this customer first came to me. The owner was a nice lady, but she absolutely terrified and intimidated me.The very first thing that she said to me was that she had been to several other groomers and none of them had done what she asked, now she was trying me. Well if none of the other groomers got it right, surely I wouldn't either.
I was so scared that I wrote a detailed note on her file as she told me what she wanted.
April 1987: FACE: bangs short, back of head long, eyes close, short around beard EARS: 1/2 off, close FEET: short, round LEGS: trim BACK: thin TUMMY: clip stomach, shorten belly with a #7 TAIL: long, clip underneath UNDERARMS: clip, shorten inside of hind legs.
Above is exactly what and how I wrote the instructions on my file card.
I wanted to make sure that I did everything exactly how she said.
I was so scared as I groomed that little Yorkie.
I had never seen a Yorkie with such thick hair.
As you can see, I passed the test.
She was a really great customer for 13 years.
In 13 years, there was only one no-show note where she forgot her appointment.
I only raised her price three times in that 13 years period....don't ask me why. :(
I groomed this dog every month from 1989 to 1998.
Min Poo--Lamb cut--Price (1989) $24 - (1998) $28
There is only one note on this file.
It was the very last time that I groomed this dog.
Aug 1998: Told customer about closing the shop and Lisa grooming out of the van. Told him the price would be $10 more to come to his home in the grooming van. He felt that we were ridicules and our prices were getting too expensive and didn't make an appointment for the van.
This customer was half an hour outside of my grooming area, but I was willing to go to him anyway.
I loved the dog and he had been really good customer for nine years.
Plus the dog was older and arthritic.
I would have worked something out.
Sadly, $10 wasn't worth all that to this customer.
I groomed this dog from 1993 to 1998.
Schnauzer--Schn style---Price (1993) $26 - (1998) $26
I am a little surprised that this file is not covered in notes.
This particular customer was a complete nut case.
Her dog was a complete nervous wreck that I totally blamed on the owner.
This was a customer that we would pray, after each grooming, that she would never come back....she always did....even after we asked her not to.
April 1998: cust came back after an hour and took her dog back home, because she saw our Collie come over to greet her dog when he went through the gate, back to the grooming room. She was concerned, suggested that she get a mobile groomer, she called back 2 hrs later, sd she wanted to bring dog back to us. (Our Collie was always behind the desk in the lobby. Never a problem before)
June 1998: Told cust to call at 2pm - she walked in at 1pm - complained that the pick up time changes all of the time (she always has different appt times) said she would have to go elsewhere (woohoo) - I said you have to do what you have to do, but the pick up time did not change, you came back early - she got upset and sd don't you want to do him anymore? - I sd NO - she had to wait until 2 pm and did not make another appointment when she picked him up - but she was pleasant - who knows.....
Believe me, there was much more with this customer, a lot of small things, but my husband didn't bother to write it down every time.
I groomed the dog two more times before I moved to my van.
No, we didn't tell her about the van. :/
We groomed this dog from 1989 to 1998
Brd CollieX -- long puppy cut -- Price (1989) $25 - (1998) $33
There was only one note on this file, but I thought that it was funny, so I will share.
Dec 1991: cust walked in without an appointment. Thought she called us, but turned out she called her kennel. Wanted us to take her anyway, because she DID call for an appointment.
That was a unique excuse for trying to get the dog groomed before Christmas.
Yes, we let her dog stay and groomed it.
I am going to stop there tonight.
I have more.
I'll post some more next week.
Oh, I am much better about pricing now.
Well, at least with most of my customers. :)
✂ Happy Grooming, MFF ✂