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.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

(Banging Head Against Wall)

I mentioned last week that I was restructuring the way I charge for grooms.

I truly thought that I had come up with a really fair pricing structure that was not too complicated and pet owners would understand.

I was still working on this new pricing structure when.....

This sweet guy came in for a grooming.

I call him my 'toy Old English'.

His coloring and hair texture remind me of an Old English.

His owner says that he is a Maltese/Shih-tzu mix.

I no longer groom as fast as I used to.
This dog should take me about an hour to and hour and 15 minutes to groom start to finish.
He is a hand scissor cut and his owner keeps him in great shape.
All he had were about 3 small mats.
He is an easy bath and a fairly quick HV dry.
The hand scissor should  be fairly quick also, because he has a really nice coat to scissor.

There is just one problem......

 I am pretty sure that his owner has trained him to lay out on his side to be brushed.

Soooooo, apparently he thinks that I should scissor him this way too.

The longest I can get him to stand, before plopping back down again, is about 2 minutes at a time.

Believe me, he has 'plopping' down to a fine art.
He can go from standing, to laying flat out, in a split second.
He just lifts a hind leg, crosses it under him and down he goes.
I mean, all of his bones just turn to jello.

Now, don't bother sending me comments about using grooming loops and belly bands.
First off, I personally don't like them.
They get in my way.
Secondly, this guy would still continually make attempts to lay down and put too much pressure on the neck and belly loops for my (and his) comfort.

I am embarrassed to admit how long it took me to do the finish groom on this guy.
At first it didn't seem like I was taking too long.
I  just spent as much time standing him back up as I did scissoring him.
I probably spent too much time laughing at him each time he plopped down also.
I would rather laugh then get upset at him.

He took me a little over two hours to groom!!

He only stood long enough for this picture because I told him he was done and it was time to go.

He was waiting for me to pick him up.  ;-)

 My next groom went much faster.

I had her completely groomed in less than half the time it took to groom the little guy.

So, back to my pricing structure.....

Here I have two dogs.
Both in good shape.
Both well behaved.
Both basically a hand scissor job.

Even with my new pricing structure, I could not charge enough for the time I put into the smaller dog.
Technically the smaller dog should have been charged more than the Standard.
I personally don't think it is fair to charge the owner extra because her dog won't stand for the grooming.
He was not being a bad dog.
I truly believe that he won't stand because he has been trained to lay down to be brushed at home.
That would be like punishing the owner because she is taking care of her dogs coat.

Sometimes I don't think that we can charge a fair price for all of the work we put into some dogs.

Some groomers may say that I should have charged the smaller dog more because it would not stand, causing me to take longer to groom it.
Some groomers may say that it is my own fault that it took me so long, because I didn't hold the dog up with grooming loops to help speed up the grooming.

Well, I still think my new pricing structure will work for most of the dogs that we groom, but I guess that there will always be a dog here or there that we could never charge enough for the grooming that we do, or the time that we spent on the groom.

I'll keep working with him and hopefully I can train him to stand for me for the scissoring.
Hopefully each grooming will get a little faster. :)


  1. It's funny that you shared the story about dog that would not stand up, because just yesterday I had an opposite problem. I groomed a 7-year old cocker spaniel who is going to have surgery on both her rear knees next Monday. So, owner was concerned that she will not be able to stand for her entire groom. I assured him, that she does not have to stand up the entire two hours, she can sit as much as she wants, I just need her to stand for a few minutes at a time when I wash, dry and shave her rear legs, back, etc. But since this girl has been groomed regularly all her life she knew she is supposed to stand up for groom. I was fighting with her (well, not fighting, really) during drying, telling her she can sit down and she would immediately pop back up. Finally, by the time we were done drying she decided it must be OK to sit and even lay down. So, we just have to marvel at those smart dogs and adjust! :)

  2. hello. :)

    I just came a across your blog about a week ago and I love it. I have been slowly making my way through all the entries. I am a new groomer and am soaking in every tip I can get.

    I have a question. I noticed all of your dogs are so beautifully blown out!! I know you mention using the HV dryer on them. Then in one entry you mentioned about a brush attachment. Does that go on the end of the hose at the nozzle? Is that something that is universal for all HV dryers or just the specific model you have? Most of our dogs do not end up looking this good after a blow out so I am just curious as to your technique and equipment. :) We just have HV dryers with a cone concentrator nozzle and/or a flat diffuser nozzle.

    Also, we have a LOT of, to put it nicely, "stinkers" who do not tolerate the HV dryer. Do you have an alternative dryer(s) or methods for these furry friends who will not let you HV dry them?

    Thanks! :)


  3. I do SO wish you lived near Branson, Mo. Where are you? YOU are the kind of person I would pay extra for my latest "laid back kinda guy" to visit. I have done a poor job clipping my assorted dogs for 20 years. I have encouraged them to relax and enjoy the scenery on the front porch while I give myself a backache. :-P. I do have them stand off/on so I can check length.

    I have used groomers in the past, but got out of the habit for multiple reasons, number one being stress on old dogs. Also, I invested in expensive clippers for horses and dogs, so might as well use them. (Those Andis clippers no longer doing well, just used scissors for the most part last year, considering my options for this year.) With the larger, young dog I have now, the thought of all the work already on my to do list...wish I knew someone close by who wouldn't feel offended if I said I am staying to observe, and I don't want my dog to have to stand for over 20 minutes straight. He's simply not used to it. I suspect I will simply continue to make a mess of his beautiful coat, and be glad he is cooler, healthier, and happy to get attention for any reason...even if it's to provide laughs.

  4. I have a suggestion about pricing. When I had a housekeeping business, I had standard *typical* rates. When I would bid a new client, the things that would vary the costs were quickly explained (such as a a unexpected mountain of dishes would cost extra). At times, the best tack involved the client being there through a session, if only to make sure we understood each other clearly regarding any variances that arise. Documentation is helpful. I keeped notes for each session. Maybe creating a few videos regarding the average, quick, and time consuming comb outs of similar sized dogs, narrating the issues as you go.
    Regarding the ever sitting pup, consider having the owner in during a grooming encouraging him to stand with you doing it, and flopped down when the owner is. I have a spinal cord injury and do everything a little different than most. My pup/service animal walks with me being in a wheelchair much differently than with my daughter. Same goes for grooming. He needs to stand for her, while he sits or lays down for me. My pup, barely a year old and likely to be pushing 100 pounds and 28+ " at the whithers is half poodle, and a quarter each golden retriever and black lab. No undercoat and mostly poodle curls with a Golden's waves at the top of the whithers, top of muzzle, his belly and his chest. His tail is a Frankenstein mess of the two, needing combing out a few times a day to keep the tangles under control. :)