Amongst professional groomers, there is often the debate about what prices to charge for different breeds and styles. In starting my own grooming business, I have been thinking a lot about this so that I can offer the best service and value for money whilst remaining a viable going concern.
The nearest comparable business is probably a hairdresser and the prices we pay there. So, maybe it would help to use this as a starting point.
We are polite when we go in, tell the hairdresser how we want our hair and sit patiently while our hair is washed and styled.
Our dogs, however, come into the groomer as an unknown quantity. A consultation with the owner and assessment will include size, breed and temperament as well as the condition of the coat, including any matting or other issues such as allergies or infestations. We also complete record cards and consent forms that need to be read and signed by owners.
After you leave your dog with us they are brushed through, pre-clipped, have their paw hair and nails trimmed. We then have to either carry them or persuade them to get into the bath to be shampooed from head to toe and after, carried to the grooming table for drying and styling. We will quite often scissor the legs, scissor style the feet and their head before finishing by cleaning the ears and giving them an additional deodorising spritz.
The products we use often cost a lot more than human shampoos and conditioners, and the equipment, blades and scissors, constantly need to be replaced. Washing and particularly drying of the coat -which can take up to an hour with a powerful groomers drier - takes up a lot of time so utility bills such as electricity and water are high.
If we were just styling their head, of course it would be cheaper but we are styling the whole dog.
Unlike humans, whether a Miniature Yorkshire Terrier or an Irish Wolf Hound, all dogs may fidget, they might poo on the table or could need considerable pre-grooming to remove knots or matting before the proper grooming can begin. Dogs don't always let you know when they have had enough and a bite from a client’s dog could leave the groomer unable to work for some time or even permanently disable them.
We humans tend to go to the hairdressers because we ‘fancy a change’ but we generally wash and brush our own hair daily and there are rarely any serious issues to contend with.
As responsible dog owners, we also take pride in how our four legged friends look but it’s more important than just style. A well-groomed dog will be healthier and happier.
Removing dead hair with regular brushing reduces matting and associated skin issues but a regular trip to the groomers keeps a manageable coat length, and going skin deep, they are often the first person to find any underlying cuts, bumps or other concerns that may need veterinary attention.
So, when your Groomer quotes a price for your dog’s groom, you actually get very good value for money.