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  • Taking over at a chop shop....

    I have recently taken a position at a vet clinic that offers grooming when their groomer of 6 years left. I get complaints everyday because I dont do it the way she use to, I follow her notes but our scissoring styles must be very different. And the photos of her grooms that I have seen I honestly had to ask if they were befores or afters. My question is how to deal with customer complaints when they are accustom to their pet being groomed by a bad groomer? How do I let them know that balance and being even are basics to a proper groom and not bad mouth the past groomer at the same time? How can I convince the client that not every groom has to be stripped with an 8 1/2 with a 30 clean face (90% of the grooms the past groomer was doing).I wonder if i will ever be satisfied at work.

  • #2
    Pull out a book with pictures...or from your own portfolio and educate them on how their dog is "suppose" to look. Work from there...

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    • #3
      You can make the corrections gradually.... I took over a similar situation at the last veterinary hospital I worked at. The clients LOVED that groomer, because she is a very sweet person--not a great groomer, but a very sweet person. And because they liked HER (and she charged next to nothing), they believed that the way she groomed was correct.

      It took 10 months to fix the every 5 weeks Springer's haircut. And of course, two months after getting that cut back to standard, the vets and I had a mostly mutual parting of ways. They were of the "we've always done it this way" school of thought, and I'm not one to conform just because that's how it's always been done.

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      • #4
        Don't give up just yet; it will probably take some time but people will come around when they see how much better their dogs look. Not to mention the new clients that will be happy with your work from the get-go. I was in the same position once before. The girl I replaced had very limited grooming skills and buzzed most of the dogs down with a 7 and cage dried them. The grooms were really scary-looking, but she was really nice, and she also gave people these crazy discount prices that I couldn't afford to match. So yes, it was very discouraging @ first! People would want the other girl's super discount price, and some would be mad at me because I wouldn't do the same, but within a couple months, I had so many clients tell me this is the best grooming we've ever got!, and one lady who wanted the usual 20 off on her husky was so happy when she picked up her dog she just said wow, I guess you get what you pay for! She paid my price at the end, plus tip. Just do your best and hang in there! It will get better.

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        • #5
          Edited.
          Last edited by pamperedpups; 02-20-07, 01:12 AM.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by pamperedpups View Post
            If a client is requesting their dog get an 8 1/2 strip with a 30 face, that's what they should get (if the dog's skin can handle it, that is). I would do my best at filling the client's request in a timely fashion, add a nice finishing touch (bow(s) or bandana) and give the adorable poochie back to the owner with a gracious smile, compliment, "Thank you" and rebook. At the next appointment you might ask the owner if they would like to try a cute but slightly longer trim... blah blah blah... or the same as last time. I would also decorate the shop in nicely framed pictures of your most popular breeds done in irresistably cute (yet easy to care for) trims and start a collage and/or scrapbook of before and afters of the same, etc. Good luck!
            Oh, I agree, 100%. If that's what they want, that's what they get. I'm not the person who has to live with it.

            I sort of went through the same situation. The previous groomer where I work wasn't a strip 'em and send 'em out the door type groomer, but she had her own idea of what a pattern was supposed to be, and even when owners brought pictures of how they wanted the dog groomed, she did it like she wanted it. And a lot of people didn't know that a full skirt on a schnauzer or a hula skirt on a cocker isn't correct.

            I spent a lot of time asking the same question, "Is this how you want Phydough groomed, or would you like me to correct the pattern?" I left it up to them, for the most part. The only thing that gave me a problem was trying to do a hula skirt. I just can't do it. It gets blended. Even if I don't intend to blend it, it comes out blended. So I gave up, and just do a correct cocker skirt. No one's complained.

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            • #7
              to be honest just about every shop other than the shop I trained in I went through this very same thing.to this day Im still doing it.the best way to talk to people although your styling may be much differnt than that of hers instead of useing the old groomers cards talk to each client personally and ask for details on how they want there dog to look.although you have their past records on hand explain to them that some groomer abbreviate notes for his or her own reading not all groom notes are created equally and you would like to get a better idea of how to please them personally just as you would have done with any new client from previous shops.chances are you may find alot of the clients will be very pleased with what your idea of short realy is .many of my clients past and present were used to 10 strips or 7 backwards .personally i only use a 10 on sanitary areas and ears if they used a 10 I use a 9 instead in most cases they prefer the 9 any day.
              good luck on your new endever

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              • #8
                Originally posted by k9stylist1968 View Post
                You can make the corrections gradually.... I took over a similar situation at the last veterinary hospital I worked at. The clients LOVED that groomer, because she is a very sweet person--not a great groomer, but a very sweet person. And because they liked HER (and she charged next to nothing), they believed that the way she groomed was correct.

                It took 10 months to fix the every 5 weeks Springer's haircut. And of course, two months after getting that cut back to standard, the vets and I had a mostly mutual parting of ways. They were of the "we've always done it this way" school of thought, and I'm not one to conform just because that's how it's always been done.
                I can relate to this because I get this alot where I am working now "we've always done it this way" and people asking for a certain groomer because they see them up front more and are young and cute more than anything else. Oh well I see it as a stepping stone to my real needs.

                It's really frustrating when people insist on never changing jut cause that's what were used to right or wrong as it may be.

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                • #9
                  Use a polite approach, "have you ever considered changing FiFi's hairdo?". Explain the benefits of more correct breed trims-EG less matting problems to deal with when Schnauzer patterns lines are in the right place. (You know the Bad Groom I refer to- the SchnauzaPlow)
                  If you have any desktop publishing skills, you could create a "groomer-gram" type handout for your clients, use whatever topics you feel need to be addressed as a priority.
                  Persent yourself as a person, professional, but still a person your clients can relate to. If you have a good sense of humor,use it, folks have a tendency to like those who make them laugh.
                  By all means, use the portfolio! If you can show someone the kind of style you're talking about, they will probably be more ameniable to changing their pets' look.
                  I feel your pain- I went thru the same thing a few years back. Once you get past the inital period of wanting to bash your head against the wall, you will have loyal clients who think that you are the greatest groomer in the world.
                  PS Do you have the full support of your employers? Keep them in the loop about any changes you want to make within their business.
                  Good Luck

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                  • #10
                    Contract Confussion

                    Well it has been a month and things have gotten better, as far as the clients being happy with their grooms. The other issues I am having now is this contract, He has all his "employees" sign it. However I am not am employee I am a IC (I collect taxes from him) it states different in the contract, also according to the contract if I agree he and the clinic will have control of any of my photos which I take for upto a year where I will no be able to use these photos during this period, and the last point, I share the room/ cage space with the boarding animals now I make no money from these animals yet if there are 4 boarders then there are 4 less cages I can fill for grooming clients and when the staff doesnt walk these animals and the oppsy inside, I end up having to clean since I dont want to be smelling it for hours.
                    Any suggestions for contact disscussion...also there may be points I just dont see right now, how do I leave it a little open to cover any issues that might come up.

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                    • #11
                      That Contract?

                      Absolutely NOT! Smile politely, remind him you are an independent contractor. If he wants you to sign this, have control of your photos, and use your grooming space for boarding dogs, he needs to find another EMPLOYEE. Simply tell him that you know the IRS is extremely strict on their IC/employee rules, and you don't want there to be any confusion. If he insists, seriously, LEAVE.

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                      • #12
                        I don't understand the contracts for IC's. If one is an IC shouldn't the IC be presenting a contract to the contractee to accept? I had a friend who told me she was an IC but she had signed a non-compete contract.
                        I also had a groomer ask me to work in her new shop when first opened it. She asked if I would help her out until my van was ready. I told her I would love to work with her for two months while waiting for my van.
                        She showed me a contract with a no-compete clause with a 25 mile radius. Her shop was 17 miles from my center of my radius for my future Mobile business.
                        I enjoyed doing three poodles a day three days a week at my house for those 8 weeks. My neighbor connected me with a couple who had about 50 poodles. I did them at no charge. I needed the experience and couldn't do anything commercial in my neighborhood.
                        My point is...as long as groomers agree to less that professional/legal contracts I guess these ridiculous contracts will keep coming at them.

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                        • #13
                          The first thing that popped into my head when you said you worked for a vet was that the clients were difficult to handle. Vets in my area that do grooming typically will do a shavedown because the dogs go to them are considered too difficult for groomers and need to be sedated. An 8.5 with a 30 face means fewer trips to be groomed.
                          If this is not the case and that is what the customer wants, then by all means, give them what they want. If you'd like to do breed standard grooming then perhaps a different place of employment would be a better fit for you. No disrespect intended but people who work at McDonalds typically won't complain that they aren't serving a T-bone. In other words, their customers go there for burgers, not prime cuts.

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                          • #14
                            As a future groomer what the heck is a ICS

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by snapple63 View Post
                              As a future groomer what the heck is a ICS
                              Independent contractor.

                              she rents space from the vet office. Kind of like human hair stylist do.
                              Becky

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