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Issues with working at a vet clinic as a groomer.

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  • Issues with working at a vet clinic as a groomer.

    I have been a groomer for over 5 years now, I've only worked in grooming businesses but have recently (within the past year) started working at the local animal clinic. I am the only groomer, I do every thing myself, from bathing to grooming and I am having a big problem, only recently.

    For starters, i work on a 50/50 split with the office, in return i do not have to pay for anything, until recently. Now, as i was just told yesterday, I need to start buying everything on my own, buying and washing my own towels, products, including shampoo's, and basically everything my self. I am told not to use any of the clinics products...etc. I have not had this problem until just this week, I do not know what has changed, or what I did for them to tell me this, as i keep a list of every single thing i use, I have been given my shampoo's and I have used their towels, etc.

    My problem, is the fact that I give them half of my pay check every pay period, I know for a FACT that The electric and water and other main services i use do not even come close to that amount that they take from my check so...my question is, would you work under those conditions? Or do you think I should seek legal advice, or at least demand a raise or the ability to use their services if I am paying that price?

    Has anyone worked under split's like that, that could give me info on what should and shouldn't be asked of me?

    I am just really at a loss for what I can do.

    I have worked under a 60/40 split before at the last place I worked, but I used all of their products and services and their tools and help, and I even had a bather! So I just don't know exactly what to do. I am supposed to have a meeting tuesday and was hoping to get info asap. Thanks in advance!

  • #2
    I think its ridiculous that they would expect you to buy your own shampoo and towels!!! I've been grooming 12+ years and have never had anyone ask me to bring my own towels!!! The way its worked everywhere I've been is that you are responsible for YOUR equipment maintaince, ( blade sharpening, clippers, scissors, etc) I don't think that this is a place you will be happy working at, they should have told you that from the start and not changed it later. I think 50% of your paycheck is more than reasonable to pay for the daily supplies you may use, Am I dumb or aren't towels reusable? I've never liked grooming for vets, I think you will be happier in a grooming salon only, where the other workers understand where your coming from because they are doing it along with you. Good luck to you, hope it all works out!!

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    • #3
      That would be totally unacceptable to me.

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      • #4
        been there...done that

        Get out of that situation and work for a grooming salon, where you will be respected as a groomer. Even better would be to go into business for yourself, if that's an option. Why give away your hard earned money? Besides, I got tired of grooming every reject pet from other shops, even with sedation. Aren't you sick of that? There's much better opportunities for good groomers out there... go for it! Good luck!

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        • #5
          Either go someplace else--or stand your ground. The vet makes money even having you in the BUILDING or they would not have you there. In the 1rst place all grooming clients are required to have updated vaccines which is the REASON you are even there. Then you are supposed to look at every dog and see if there is something that can be made into an exam or tests, etc, aren't you?

          Here is the usual split: You pay for maintenance of your equipment--scissors, blades, etc. THEY pay for supplies that need to be restocked--cotton balls, shampoo, conditioner ear cleaner, bows, bandannas, etc. They supply & maintain towels.

          Who makes the schedule?
          "We are all ignorant--we merely have different areas of specialization."~Anonymous
          People, PLEASE..It's ONLY a website!~Me

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          • #6
            Sounds like they want to/have you as an IC. If you aren't an IC already.

            If you are an employee, but they want you as an IC - fine. You'll pay them "X" amount a month, do your own thing as an IC and they can butt out of your grooming business, thank you. You handle the booking, set your own prices, do things YOUR way.

            If they are doing the IC thing, tell them they can't run with the hare and hunt with the hounds. If you are an employee, they buy your supplies and make sure you have the other sundries you need to do your job. If they want YOU to provide the supplies needed to run THEIR business profitably, okay, you are then an IC and can run YOUR business as you see fit.

            That, or they can go jump in the lake while you take your skills elsewhere.

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            • #7
              Um, you tell them that if they want you to pay for everything than they need to give you 100% of your earnings and then you'll pay them a certain amount per week or month in rent. Do you have any sort of contract with them? I'm assuming your an Independent contractor and not an employee. If that is so they shouldn't be taking 50% in the first place. If you're an IC than you should be getting 100% of your earnings and then paying them a set rate in rent. If they aren't willing to change than you need to get out of there.

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              • #8
                I know that different places of employment offer different things. I've heard of places that don't provide tools and expect you to sharpen your own blades and scissors, but short of going IC I have not heard of a place that makes you provide your own shampoo.

                Can you sit down and ask them what has changed? Why did they decide this was a good business decision? Sounds like what they really need is someone that is a "real" IC.

                Personally, I would find another place of employment.
                "The most affectionate creature in the world is a wet dog." -Ambrose Bierce

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                • #9


                  I know a girl who happily worked at this job that was probably paying fair, that she was kind of desperate for (for reasons beyond her control.) Her boss told her she'd have to give her a paycut, then another one, then another one, and a few more, before finally freaking out on my friend for things that had everything to do with her own bitchiness. My friend ended up going waaayyyyy out of her way for this woman, trying desperately to save her job, and to no avail.

                  My point is, when someone offers something then takes it back, sometimes it's good to be suspicious. And maybe keep your eyes peeled for something better.

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                  • #10
                    I, personally, don't have the patience to sit down, negotiate, etc.
                    Apparently they either...
                    A. already sold out to one of the veterinarian conglomerate absorbing companies...and are trying to get you "quietly" accustomed to the corporate policies...because they "sold" you with it. or...
                    B. had a Practice Evaluator in to assess the value of the practice and tell the boss(es) where and how to cut costs so the practice is more marketable.

                    Get out of there.

                    Worst case scenario...I'm totally wrong, and you present them w/ this, and things go back to the way they were.
                    Often it's not what you say, but how you say it.

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                    • #11
                      Not a good thing

                      As others have said, starting out with you one way and then changing things to make the deal much worse for you is very suspicious, and not to be tolerated.

                      As was also mentioned by a few, it is very common for vets to disrespect their groomers, unfortunately.

                      When you have this meeting, my advice is to state your dissatisfaction with having things change for the worse for you, and to make sure you do NOT agree to the scraps they may offer at that time. It is a great business strategy to simply say, "I'll have to think that over" to show them that you are not jumping for everything they suggest, and such an attitude will make THEM think things over, which will often result in them deciding that they really may be better off keeping their groomer happy and sticking with their original agreement. Remind them that this was not the agreement made between the two parties originally, and tell them this makes you very uncomfortable about a future with them. Again, do not let them nickle and dime you by quickly agreeing to pay for some of the things if they try the "how about just this and this?" tactic. Stick with the, "I'll have to think about it", or repeat that if you pay for more than originally agreed, your percentage will have to increase. Don't look sad and victimized - look serious and unimpressed with them and their tactics. Don't sound hurt, sound like you know you are worth a lot.

                      In addition, if you discuss the option of being paid 100% of the grooming and paying them rent, make sure it is a reasonable amount and that there is a "cap" on it. This is because the faster you get and the more you do you may want a bather, and you don't want to have to pay a bather PLUS pay more on your rent doing the increased amount of grooming.

                      Ultimately you should be looking at a job where the people won't do you this way (and some people try, whether at vet clinics, pet stores or grooming salons). It is unethical and unconscionable for them to attempt to do this to you. If they want you to spend more, they have to give you more. I have known groomers at vets who get 75% of the grooming gross and provide only their tools and shampoo!! Vets who try to be stingy with their groomers are highly suspect; they either are just starting out, or they are cheap and greedy. They make enough money with vet care, they don't need to scrimp with a groomer.

                      Good luck to you; been there a few times myself.

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                      • #12
                        I forgot to ask you if the office takes taxes out of your check. If so you are an employee and it is important to this discussion.
                        "We are all ignorant--we merely have different areas of specialization."~Anonymous
                        People, PLEASE..It's ONLY a website!~Me

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                        • #13
                          Highly Suspicious

                          I too work at an Animal Med Center. The money you bring in from grooming is only the beginning of what you bring to the table for your clinic. Like someone mentioned, every dog that comes in must be vaccine current. A good part of my groom clients have a health issue, and need to be seen while they're there. The Vet also makes money from treatments for things like ear infections, skin problems, anal glands, flea and tick protection, etc. that he gets from getting that dog into his clinic for grooming.
                          A pay reduction is NONSENSE. Why work as hard, for less money? Suze Orman says," Don't put yourself on sale!".
                          Find a place that will pay you what you know you're worth. A lot of Vets are suffering in the economy too, but mine doesn't let that trickle down to me. Not for any reason.
                          Good luck, and Go You!

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