How to be your dog groomer's favorite client

How to be Your Dog Groomer’s Favorite Client

Dog groomers are, for the most part, people pleasers. We know how much your pets mean to you. They end up meaning a lot to us, too! We want your dogs to have good experiences. And we really, really want you to be happy with our services because most of us take a lot of pride in our work. But, let me tell you, some of you do not make it easy to work with you.

For those of you who want to do better for your dog and the people who help you care for them, keep on reading!

Show Up

Showing up to your appointment probably seems obvious, but clients not showing up to their scheduled appointments is an issue in the pet grooming industry where we already run on close margins in both time and income management. Busy salons often don’t have time to squeeze another client into the gap a no-show creates in their day by the time they realize you aren’t coming, and that means they’re missing out on a chunk of their daily income. That adds up!

To counter this issue, many pet groomers are implementing policies to require a no-show fee if you fail to arrive within their grace period. This sometimes only applies if you’ve given no notice, but could also apply to cancelations if you haven’t given enough notice, depending on the salon’s policies. If your salon has these fees, and you want to continue being their client, pay them.

If your salon doesn’t have any policies regarding no-shows or short-notice cancelation fees, offering to pay one will go a long way toward making you a salon favorite.

So how much should you offer? If your budget can manage it, pay the full grooming price as though you had shown up, and your dog groomer will be happy to forget it ever happened. If your budget is tighter, paying half of the full grooming price will often be just as appreciated in a salon without these fees already built into their policies.

Be Honest

Behavioral Issues

Dog grooming can be a dangerous job. If your dog is difficult to groom, and especially if your dog has a history of biting, it makes it even more dangerous when you don’t warn a salon that isn’t already familiar with your dog’s behavior. Dog groomers must be able to take the proper precautions for the safety of both your dog and themselves.

Not only are our hands (and the limbs they’re attached to) our livelihood, but most employees in the industry DO NOT receive any benefits. Additionally, while it is becoming less of an issue, many employees are misclassified as independent contractors, which makes them ineligible for worker’s compensation should they become injured on the job. This is part of the reason why many dog groomers refuse to do dogs with behavioral issues. The risk is too great.

Coat Condition

We get it. Sometimes life is uncooperative, your appointment schedule gets disrupted for any number of reasons, and your dog ends up matted. It happens.

What doesn’t happen? Your dog does not become seriously matted because your window was open on the drive to the salon, or from playing with another dog the other day, or any other number of reasons I’ve personally heard throughout my twenty year career. We know you didn’t just brush Bella out last night, we know Oreo has never felt the touch of a brush at home in his life. We know when you’re lying. Some of us might just smile and nod to spare us both the embarrassment of calling you out, but we know.

This is so common that it’s refreshing to hear a client just tell the truth and take responsibility for the condition of their dog without making excuses. Because regardless of why your dog ends up in less than ideal condition, you are responsible for your dog. It can be as simple as, “I know she’s matted, just do what you can.” Which leads us to our next point!

Trust Us

It might come as a surprise, but most dog groomers don’t like having to clip dogs super short because of matting. It’s not an easy solution, and it comes with its own set of risks. Don’t get me wrong, that doesn’t mean we’d rather brush out mats. We absolutely would not. Extensive brushing is hard on our wrists, backs, and shoulders, never mind the mental toll, and it can be downright inhumane for the dog depending on the severity, which is why few salons will do any serious de-matting. Matting is a lose-lose situation for dog groomers.

If your salon tells you that your dog needs to be clipped short because of matting, trust that this is in you and your dog’s best interests. We would much rather give you the haircut that you want, but we can only work with the condition (and behavior) of the dog that you bring to us.

Remember that hair grows fast! Keeping your dog on a regular schedule will increase the chances of getting the haircut that you want, and make the experience much more enjoyable for everyone involved. Especially your dog!

Pay Us

While grooming dogs is a passion for many of us, at the end of the day, it’s still a job. And it’s a much harder, high-stress job than most people realize. It needs to pay our bills. And, ideally, it needs to pay our bills without ruining our bodies or burning us out, while allowing us more than just the bare minimum. Just like everyone else.

If you’ve had to look for a new salon for your dog anytime recently, you might be well aware that finding an available dog groomer can be an endeavor. It is for salon owners looking for employees, too. Dog groomers, especially experienced dog groomers, are few and far between. Part of the reason for that is because many dog groomers leave dog grooming after they’ve been burned out by entitled customers, clueless salon owners, neglected and/or naughty dogs, overbooking, low prices, etc.

That’s all to say, when you find a dog groomer you like and want to stick with them for the long term, know that the prices they charge are the prices that keep them in business.

And it never hurts to add a tip!