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, March 12, 2015

Feeling Annoyed

I am sorry.
I feel like all of my new posts here lately have been full of a bunch of complaining.

Before I start this new post tonight I would like to thank those who responded to my question yesterday.

I will start working on those posts as soon as possible.
I am not sure how often I will post, hopefully 2 to 3 times a week if possible.
We are already book solid for the summer and on top of that I will be remodeling my kitchen in the evenings.
I also plan on remodeling my shop lobby and bathing room this spring, but I will post before and after pictures of that.
The shop is way overdue for a remodel.
We have been in our current  location for 14 years now.  

Okay, back to my annoyance.... 

I groomed a new Wheaton yesterday.
He was a very sweet groom.
The owner wanted short all over, but not too short, and did not want the legs to look like toothpicks, but still wanted them short also.
She wanted the beard off and the mustache very short with no fall.
So I did a #3F blade on the body and a 3/4 blade on the legs (light touch) and followed up with scissors all over.

The dog was one of the best behaved, calm Wheatons I have groomed in a while.
He had a great coat also.
I thought he turned out great....even if I do say so myself. :/
I wanted to take pictures of him but I was running late and forgot all about it.

I guess the owner liked the cut, she didn't really say when she picked up.
The phone call today may be the reason why.....

My husband took the call.
He came back into the grooming room around noon and asked if we remembered the Wheaton from the day before.

"Yes, why? I asked. "Is something wrong?"
"She is complaining about the price we charged her," he informed me.
"There was no quote marked on her appointment," I told him.
"I didn't quote her a price," my daughter added. (My daughter pretty much has a photographic memory)
"She said that she stop by four months ago and was told the dog would be $$,"  my husband told us what the customer told him. "She wants to know why she was charged so much more."
"That is only $3 more than we charge for a small dog. Her dog is four times the size of a small dog. No way anyone quoted that price to her." I said.
You know, even if we did quote a price it is always between $$ to $$ and it all depends on how the grooming goes." I reminded him.
"I know, I know, I am just telling you what she is saying," he told us. "She said that her other groomer does not charge as much as we charged her."
"You mean the groomer that she told me didn't even touch her dogs head the last time she had it groomed?!" I asked a little sarcastically.
I couldn't help it.
I was getting upset.

Well, I would have to say that we lost that customer and she will not be returning.
We try really hard not to give an exact quote on a groom until we are actually working on the dog.
We also try not to give estimations if at all possible, but if someone really pushes for one we give a wide ballpark range. (example Shih-Tzu $47-$60)

The sad part is, they usually only hear and/or remember the first price and not the highest price you quoted.
That is why we try really hard NOT to give a quote.

My husband answers most of the phone calls.
My daughter and I are the only others that will give quotes on grooms.
The customer said she brought the dog in for a quote 4 months ago.
I usually give the 'in person' quotes, but for the life of me I do not remember her walking in, and we don't get very many walking in for quotes.

It is so frustrating when it is your word against theirs, and there is no proof on either side of what is being said.

I know that there are people out there who believe that 'the customer is always right'.
I am sorry, I don't!

I have had other customers come in over the years insisting that they paid a lower price the last time they were in, only to have to actually show them their client cards to prove that the current price we were charging was still the same that they had been paying.
One customer even accused my husband of writing a fake new price on her card just to charge her $2 extra.
She had been paying the same price for two years.

There also seems to be a pet owner mentality that the price of a dogs groom should stay the same for the lifetime of the dogs grooming, no matter how heavy it gets over the years.
How matted it is when it comes in for a grooming, or if they change up the type of cut they want.
No matter how much higher our overhead goes in the possible 12 to 18 years of the dogs life.

I will honor a misquote.
If we made the mistake to quote an exact price only to find out once we work on the dog that it was a lot more work, I will honor the price that I quoted.
Unfortunately, this happened a lot when I first started grooming, that is why we try very hard not to give out a price for the groom before we start the groom.
Even then, I will quote a little high and then adjust the price lower if the dog ended up being less work than I thought.

But this dog, this Wheaton.....the price she was claiming that we quoted was sooooo low.

We apologized for the miss communication and lost the customer.

I could have honored her price to keep 'the customer happy', but I would have lost the customer anyway, because I would have never groomed the dog for that price again and she obviously thought ours prices were too high, so she would not have come back.
A lose lose all of the way around.

Pricing grooms.

It has been one of the most annoying things about grooming over the years.
You charge a fair price for the time and work you did only to have the customer stare at you in shock and then say; "I don't even pay that much for my own hair cut!!  That's crazy, it's just a dog! The other groomer didn't charge that much."

Only to have the next customer come in to pickup and pay for their dog and say; "Is that all!! Are you sure it's not more? You should really raise your prices, that's cheaper than the other groomer I went to."

I have had both of these scenarios happen many times over the years.

As I said....feeling a little annoyed. :/

To try to end this post on a happier note....

I am once again working on my prices. (it has been two years since our last price increase)
This time I am approaching my pricing a different way.
When I finish working on my price formula I will share it.
I am not promising that it will work for everyone, or be perfect, but I am hoping that it will make my life easier, and stop what happened today from happening again. :-)


  1. Lisa, don't get upset over this one customer. You have enough customers to keep you afloat, right? I think you charged her WAAAY too low, but let her go and find somebody who will work for less.
    Just this morning I had a guy calling and asking about price to groom a poodle, then he asked about just a bath price, then he said it was $5 more than his current groomer charges him, and he has three dogs and he gets them washed every week, so it's getting too expensive…Well, why doesn't he stay with his current groomer then? I don't feel I have to explain my prices to customers, I'm trying to remember that there are enough dogs out there to support all the groomers in our area regardless of what we charge.

  2. I think you are a groomer that cares about the animal and the job you do on them. Post a sign telling customers they are not only paying for your experience but also the fact that you take the proper amount of time it takes for each and every dog. Like people, each dog has its own personality and grooming isn't as easy as it looks because most animals are going to be twitchy at some point.

    I groom my own dog and I know it isn't easy. My old groomer did the job in about an hour, but it takes me days to get it done. I'm done for when it is over. If you haven't tried to groom a dog then you have no real appreciation what the groomer goes through.

    Thanks for the tip about using the blenders on mats. My schnauzer gets them under her armpits because of the harness and she is always hyper when it comes to the sensitive areas. This helped me get them out yesterday..