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After 44 yrs of life, I have finally grown a backbone!!

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  • After 44 yrs of life, I have finally grown a backbone!!

    Sorry but gotta give you a little history here...

    About a year ago, when I was just starting up my business and desperate for clients, I had a cocker owner call wanting information. Long story short, she haggled with me about the price, and me, being desperate and all, gave in and agreed to only charge $XX ($15 less than my normal cocker price). So, she's been coming to me ever since for that original quote. Not a recurring customer but a semi-regular. This Christmas, she wanted to buy her neighbor a gift certificate for a groom for her new cocker pup. Well, when she said that, I reminded her that my "real" price is not what SHE pays and that she gets a special deal. She was like..."REALLY?" Like she didn't know!! So, anyways, she didn't want to spend that much (surprise, surprise) so I told her I could do a bath/dry, nails, etc. (everything but the whole body cut) for $XX and she thought that would be fine...and maybe, get me a new client to boot!

    Fast forward to today....a lady calls that got a gift certificate for my services from a friend. I said, "Great"...when would you like your appt?" We started setting the appt, then she wants to know what is included? I explained to her that for that price she would get the bath/tidy, etc...no full cut. (Lady)..."Well, how much is a full groom?" I tell her. (Lady)..."Well, my friend said that she pays something starting with, she thought she said, a "4". (I'm not editing it...that's what she said...lol) Ok...by this time, I'm getting a little irritated (at her for being annoying and at my client for discussing our special deal). I told her, that was a deal I made with just her friend, and that my normal cocker price is quite a bit higher than that. (Lady)..."Why would I pay $XX, when I can go a block down the street to my vet, and pay only $XX (the price of her gift certificate)? I said, well, I don't know? Maybe for the convenience of me coming to you and the quality of the groom you will get?? Umm?? I didn't know how to respond to that?? She went on and on repeating the fact that she could walk a block down the road and get it done for a lot less. "Well, I can do the bath and nails at home so she wouldn't need that part done??" (Me) "I'm sorry, but I don't do just cuts"...I can't guarantee the final results if I don't do the bath/dry that's the most important step, IMO. I finally told her that I guess she could use the gift certificate and apply a little extra with it to get the full groom. So she was like, "Well, I guess I'm going to have to think about it!...OK, let me know.

    You know, I'm about ready to call my client and let her know how I feel about her making someone else think they would get the same deal I gave to her (full well knowing that she (EDITED OUT) me down from my real price when I was desperate). Maybe I'll just call her and let her know that with the New Year comes a new price! And if she balks, you know what, I have plenty of clients that are more than willing to pay my price and then some...she's been a PITA from day 1 anyways!! Of course, these are both people who live in nice big houses in a nice new subdivision! In contrast, my last groom today...a couple; both on disability, living in a small house in older neighborhood. First time doing their poodle, they want to set her up for every 4 weeks and they pay just as much as the cocker and they never even thought about questioning the price. They loved the results and the convenience, that's all that mattered!

    Owning my own business has sure made me a stronger person...I use to feel guilty about asking people for money!! Not so much anymore lol...

  • #2
    (((GLG))) You are going to do really great! You are worth every penny and more for the loving care and attention to detail you put into your grooms. Groom on!
    "We are all ignorant--we merely have different areas of specialization."~Anonymous
    People, PLEASE..It's ONLY a website!~Me

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    • #3
      You must be standing alot taller now, congratulations!!

      I have had similar problems when a client (who is getting an old and lower $$) refers a friend. You have to tell clients that you are giving them a speciaol $$ (for whatever reason) and you cannot allow all clients to pay that lower $$. It can get confusing.

      I've had a older couple ask for this, I was very frim about why my $$ is higher than the shop they had previously gone to. They liked me and wanted to try me on a new rescue poodle after the older dog past away. I gave them a slighly lesser $$ than a new client would would pay. They were thrilled with the difference, their comment, " Boy, you sure know what you are doing!" I wondered what they thought I might do?????????

      Anyway if you can set everyone at the same $$ it makes thing alot easier. I have found that for some reason, I still give little breaks.

      Also, when someone calls price shopping tell them that if they want a lower $$ thay you are NOT the place for them. If they want top products and service then you are anxious to meet them. Remember, say it with a smile!

      sittingpretty

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      • #4
        My dad told me once that when he was doing electrical work on appliances for people, the people in the biggest houses usually had the least amount of money. Nice cars? Little money. Nice cars and big house? Nothing inside the house and NO MONEY. They are paying for that nice new subdivision house that was overpriced to begin with.

        Some peope are just difficult to get along with and think they can dictate every aspect of their life and make you do what they want. Others want the STATUS symbol of the mobile groomer or high end salon, but cannot afford it, so their way to get it is to argue down prices and make you feel inferior (like they feel) and most of the time it works.

        BTW My plumber that came out the other day for the hot water heater told me similar stories. He said he will not go to certain (upscale) areas of town unless they pay him up front. AND he says he prefers to give them a written estimate of his hours and hourly rate for each job before even starting. He said the older parts of town with the older people who worked hard for what they have their entire lives don't do that to him. Makes sense to me.
        <a href="http://www.groomwise.typepad.com/grooming_smarter" target="_blank">My Blog</a> The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why. –Mark Twain

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        • #5
          I wouldn't discuss your conversation with the new client about pricing with your older client. It will give them something to bitch and complain about you. I would raise the old clients prices. The time has come..

          This is the most stressful part of owning your own business. I have come to realize that there are too many people who wake up in the morning with one goal..to make other people miserable. They seem to think they are seperate from all rules and pride themselves on breaking down, nagging and doing whatever it takes to get their way. They are relentless and have no shame. For example, I have specific weight limits that are listed on my website. I had a client call and ask if "I would groom his 100 lb labs...even tho I have a weight limit". I didn't return his call. I don't/won't deal with people like this any longer. I'm not intentionally putting myself in front of these people.

          I hope you put a time limit on your gift certificate..

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          • #6
            So glad you put your foot down and didnt cave in. Im sure that is what your client was expecting you to do. I HAD a similar situation with a client that started comming in while I was out with surgery. She swore up and down that she was quoted one price that was about 10 bones lower then the typical price. I was kinda new so I just let it slide because she wanted 2 week standing appointments, then she got more and more difficult to deal with and I really started to resent feeling like I could only charge her what she was quoted. (still dont think she was actually quoted that price but oh well) I had finally decided to bump her price up at the first of the year, and was actually looking forward to her leaving, but I never did get the chance to bump her up. She came in the day before Thanksgiving after missing her appointment the week before, pounded on the door 20 min before we even open, (without an appointment) and left her dog with my bather saying she knew I would work him in. I met her in the parking lot. She said "Ill see you about 11 or 12" and I said it would be more like 1 or 1:30 and she threw a fit saying if I could not get him done she would have to go get him. I walked in before her and told my bather to get him she was taking him with her. She was stunned. I handed him to her and told her I really hoped she liked her next groomer better I would go ahead and cancel her remaining appointments since I could never seem to please her. She waited until late that Sunday to call and inform me that she would have to go somewhere else because she found some place that could "do 30 puppies in a day and still get them all done by noon" with only one groomer. Music to my ears when I heard the message on the answering machine, but I must admit I look forward to the day when she calls and TELLS me she is going to bring him back because she is not happy with that place so I can tell her no she is not. It took me almost a year in business before I really felt comfortable getting rid of clients like that, but now I wont even let them in the door in the first place if I can help it. Good for you, and I hope you can bump her up or loose her soon. It really does feel great!

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            • #7
              Pleae don't tell me they come in 3's...

              cuz that means there's one more on it's way!!

              Had #2 today...gosh what a sucky week.
              New client...cocker that "hadn't been done in awhile". Just wanted a complete shavedown so that's fine (easy!)...price quote $XX...

              Show up at their house first thing this morning. Everything is dandy. Boy is long but looks ok. Not matted or anything, just kinda stinky. Do the normal new client routine. Ask about what I'm doing, any health issues or whatever that I should be aware of?? "NOPE! He just gets kind of excited..." That's fine. Ok then, let's go.

              Get him in my truck. Get my 10 out and start shaving. Actually set my stopwatch on my phone. Have been wanting to time myself to see how long it takes me so thought this would be a good one since he wasn't matted or anything. Get going along and there it is! A flea! Ok, well, one flea is ok, I guess. Keep shaving away. Uh, oh...there's another one. Dang it! Start shaving the head and ears...oh boy! A whole bunch more. Shave the belly and BAM! The motherload! I am grossed out!

              Once I started shaving the head, I realized how bad they were so I called the wife.
              "Ummm, Tucker is coated with fleas..." "Oh, he is?" Yep...I don't do flea dips in my truck, only natural citrus shampoos that will kill the fleas but no residuals. I could also give him a Capstar if you prefer. But again, will kill but no residuals. (wife)..."well, we just treated him about a week ago"...(me) "then it's obviously not working. I have Frontline but wouldn't want to put that on if you just treated him..." Wife is all concerned about calling the vet to find out why the treatment didn't work? I told her I would do the citrus and kill what's on him and finish shaving him. No extra charge for de-fleaing the dog BUT...there is a big charge for "De-Bugging" my truck. "How Much?", she asks. My husband is bringing me the money for the groom and I will need to let him know how much more to bring. "It's $XX" (almost the price of the groom itself). Ok...and she hung up.

              I'm shaving along and here comes the husband knocking on my door. Let him in...he comes in like nothing is happening. (Pisses me off right there!) Told him Tucker is covered in fleas and I will do my best to get him cleaned up. "Ok, well where would you like me to put your money?", he said. So he sets it rolled up on the counter. Just his attitude gave me the stinking suspicion that he did not include the cost of de-bugging my truck. After he left, I went over and checked. Yep, just as I suspected. Just the money for the groom itself. So, now I'm fuming. After finishing the dog, I take Tucker out and dad meets us in garage. (of course, mom and kids had conveniently left). I approach him by telling him that I had discussed with his wife about the cost of de-bugging my truck. "Can't do any other grooms today, since I will need to bomb it. Had to reschedule the whole rest of my day....he gets all PO'ed at me that this "extra fee" was not discussed when they called for the appt. I told him that fleas are not a big problem around here so, NO...I don't automatically discuss that fee up front. But, I said, as soon as I realized the fleas were bad (I'm ok with 1 or 2..but not that many) I called your wife and we discussed the options and costs. She said ok. (Hubby)"Well, my wife said that the cost of debugging was included in the cost of the groom." (Me) "Um, no,. The cost of debugging the dog was in the original price but not the cost of debugging my truck! And I specifically told her how much more it would be becuz she said you would need to know." I said, "If you're wife would have told me upfront about the flea problem when I came right out and asked her about any health issues, etc. I needed to be aware of, I would have certainly discussed this extra fee at that point (before exposing my truck). She chose not to tell me. And you admitted to knowing about the fleas a week ago when you bathed her and treated her with ZODIAC..."If she wasn't ok with the fee, she should have said so, and I would have stopped right there and you would have had your dog brought back to you, half-done!" (Wouldn't have helped my debugging issue, but I wouldn't have wasted anymore time.)

              Well, you get the picture...we went round and round. I explained to him that I had to reschedule the rest of my day (this was groom #1 today) just because no one informed me of his condition prior to getting in my truck. He ended it with "I guess I should have just taken him to where I usually go and saved my $20"...and I said, "yea, you should have, you would have saved me the $300 I lost today because I had to debug your dog." Knew I wasn't going to win the battle and will never see my money or the dog again.

              Obviously wife was not being honest about what I talked to her about. Of course, didn't have anything signed to show they knew and understood about the extra fee(won't make that mistake again!) Coming up with something as we speak! Just PISSED ME OFF!! Gosh! 2 ****** clients in 2 days!! I HATE confrontation!! Never have been good at witty quick responses when I'm frustrated...I usually end up in tears!

              Sorry just had to vent....again!! Now I gotta groom tomorrow (Saturday!) If at all possible, I try not to have to groom on Saturdays...I just need those 2 days to recoup and recharge!

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              • #8
                Bump!

                I'm just bumping this post cuz I really want to know if everyone tells their new clients when they first call to make appts about every extra charge that may come up during a groom?? I tried to explain to the guy that fleas aren't really a problem around here so I am not so inclined to mention the debugging of truck fee unless someone mentions that they have a flea problem...?? Am I wrong?

                jw...glg

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                • #9
                  My advice is not to make excuses for any of your fees. If you have a flea charge, tell the client and if the dog has fleas..charge the fee. If you tell your clients that fleas aren't a problem in your area, then charge for fleas..your policies sound like you are winging it. I certainly wouldn't start back peddling my flea charge before I even saw the dog. If you groom the dog and it has a few fleas, but not enough to bomb, then tell the owner you are waiving the flea fee when you give them the bill.

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                  • #10
                    They should have told you the dog has/had fleas. There is really no excuse for that behavior, especially after you told the wife that it would be double the price for the fleas, and she still let you continue the groom. Pests (fleas/ticks) ARE a health issue and should have been brought up when you asked. I don't feel you were in the wrong, I feel the people where trying to get somethin' for nuthin'.
                    I saw the angel in the marble and carved until I set him free.
                    -Michelangelo

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                    • #11
                      They DID get something for nuthin!!

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                      • #12
                        G'Friend, if it is on your website and you have gotten them to sign a grooming release (They DID sign a release, did they not?) take them to small claims court. That's what it is for.
                        "We are all ignorant--we merely have different areas of specialization."~Anonymous
                        People, PLEASE..It's ONLY a website!~Me

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