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  • Charging hourly

    Hello all, I was wondering if anyone has done the hourly charge model for grooming? How do you communicate effectively to clients and how is this model working for you? Im doing hourly with "add ons" : color, nail color, fun stuff etc. Id love to collaborate with you all. Thanks!

  • #2
    At one time I did hourly charging. I think Dogma does? I stopped doing hourly, too many customers didn't like it. They wanted to know the cost before they left the dog. No surprises.

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    • #3
      Sure it can work but true words, some people want a fixed amount. Might be on tight budgets.

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      • #4
        I do hourly. I find that people do understand and are accustomed to it. Other professionals charge and quote by the hour. Car mechanics, plumbers, etc.

        Ive been grooming a loooong time. Once I see the dog and know the hairstyle they want, I can estimate almost to the minute.
        If, once I see the dog, the condition that it’s in, and it’s general behavior I will give them a quote. $$
        If the dog is of questionable behavior we will discuss that and I will give a wider range. $$ to $$$$ for instance.
        If I’m really off the mark, I will hold to my quote and inform them that “Rover was a bit more work then expected. His next groom here will be $$$.”

        In general, I can give a fairly accurate quote over the phone without seeing the dog. I know how long the average Shih Tzu, in a 5 Kennel trim, takes to do. I will still give a variance of a few dollars…say, between $65 to $70 and then firm it up once I see the dog.

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        • #5
          I did cats hourly when I started but that's when I was working for someone and they gave up trying to estimate and book for me. Easier when working for yourself.

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          • #6
            I base everything on $75/hr. Like Dogma I have a rough idea how long each groom takes. I add on for mats, behavior, fleas, etc. I explain to people that the general price is xxx for a shihtzu but if it takes longer I charge more. People fully get it.
            <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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            • #7
              Originally posted by dogma View Post
              I do hourly. I find that people do understand and are accustomed to it. Other professionals charge and quote by the hour. Car mechanics, plumbers, etc.

              Ive been grooming a loooong time. Once I see the dog and know the hairstyle they want, I can estimate almost to the minute.
              If, once I see the dog, the condition that it’s in, and it’s general behavior I will give them a quote. $$
              If the dog is of questionable behavior we will discuss that and I will give a wider range. $$ to $$$$ for instance.
              If I’m really off the mark, I will hold to my quote and inform them that “Rover was a bit more work then expected. His next groom here will be $$$.”

              In general, I can give a fairly accurate quote over the phone without seeing the dog. I know how long the average Shih Tzu, in a 5 Kennel trim, takes to do. I will still give a variance of a few dollars…say, between $65 to $70 and then firm it up once I see the dog.
              ^^^^This^^^^
              It's not what you look at that matters; it's what you see.
              Henry David Thoreau

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              • #8
                My prices are based on time (in addition to other factors), but I don't say that outright to the client. I tell them the starting price for the service, the range/upper limit, and what would affect their final price. It's really about communication to the client in terms that they can easily understand.

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                • #9
                  Lyttleravyn….that is basically the way I do it too. When clients call and say they have a Shih Tzu, for example, I’ll ask what hair style they like and then give them a range. I don’t mention that it’s an hourly rate. As mentioned above, I already know how much the average Shih Tzu costs in that trim.

                  Where I do find it helpful to mention that I charge an hourly rate is when the client has a dog that might vary greatly in price. If I seem to be hemming and hawing, as I’m thinking of all the variables, I explain this to clients. They seem relieved that I’m not just making up some price out of thin air. That I actually have a system in place.

                  Take Alaskan Malamutes for instances. I know they can be average size or HUGE. They might have a proper coat, or be longhair. They might be be lugs or a handful. They might range in price from $70 to $200. That’s a big range and clients appreciate that I have a reason and system for coming up with that range.

                  I think the more important thing is to KNOW how much we need to make per hour to meet our expenses. No matter how we phrase it to the client is not really the issue, it’s knowing what we should be charging so we aren’t working for ‘free’.

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                  • #10
                    I figures all my grooms by an hourly figure for the business's hourly fee. But each client is not told I am billing them hourly. Too many wary of that here. But yes I do ranges. Amazing those Shelties that are Collie size. So I quote a range until they get inspected at the counter. Works out. Everyone knows what they will be charged when they get back.
                    Most questions regarding GroomerTALK are answered in the Board Help Talk Forum. Thanks for coming to our community a part of PetGroomer.com https://www.petgroomer.com.

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                    • #11
                      Interesting, I tried hourly grooming early on and many people were like no way. Their stylists don't so why for pets? Some people said no way and hung up the phone even. I got the message.

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                      • #12
                        Every job I had paid me by the hour. I figured out how much I needed to charge per hour to cover my costs. So it only made sense to me to charge by the hour when I set up shop.
                        I do not advertise that I use and hourly fee structure. Like others have said, I have a general idea how long a lab takes, but the client is told a range of price until I am finished. I have only had one or two clients ask how I arrive at my price. Most don’t care. Owners of big hairies are accustomed to their price fluctuating, they understand that their dogs are more work some months than others.
                        OP if you decide to post an hourly rate at your salon it would be interesting to hear how clients respond.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Sarahsmomma View Post
                          Interesting, I tried hourly grooming early on and many people were like no way. Their stylists don't so why for pets? Some people said no way and hung up the phone even. I got the message.
                          It's alllll about how you explain it.
                          <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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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Particentral View Post

                            It's alllll about how you explain it.
                            Well dang friend.....you need to give us all a script! I know I would love to practice what to say...and I agree It is ALL about not what you say but HOW you say it.

                            I read the article by Khris Berry from the Feb 2020 Groomer to Groomer and would like to comment on how much that resonated with me. In my days of being a stylist I can remember mixing up bowls of color for people, and at the end charging per bowl of color, which is still done today. So a poor lady with oodles of hair, is shocked when a receptionist said color starts at $85 and can go up, but is vague about how much "up" it can go.... so lady with tons of hair is checking out and four to five extra bowls have been tacked on at 20 extra dollars a bowl....she is shocked and kinda mad...doesnt want to tip and feels duped. The pricing formula can get dicey..

                            It resonated with me that we are selling OUR TIME...and yes, overhead costs to keep the lights on, shampoos, skill etc. We all have "the number" we need to make. You have to know what it costs to keep the business running each week, day and month to determine the hourly (as is my understanding of it)

                            So, if Groomer A has weekly expenses of 1200 (all "in") and works 5 days a week 8 hours a day; however this groomer may only be actually working 6 actual hours because : going to the bathroom, eating, checking email, answering calls, scheduling, pictures social media yada yadda, groomer A wants to make over head $600(profit)/$1800 week:

                            6(hrs) x 5(days per week) = 30 (hours per week)

                            $1800 (gross per week) /divided by/ 30 (hrs per week) = $60 per hour (what you need to make an hour to make goal) Plug in your numbers

                            I understand being in-line with other shops, not pricing yourself out, but what if you find your base, set a "starting at" and charge more in increments for mats, behavior, etc., but we know no two dogs are alike, even in the same breed. With my Pomeranians, I can do a full groom for my female in 30 minutes. She sits perfectly and has sparse coat, but my male is an EvEnT! I would want to charge for my extra time on him.

                            Opinions and thoughts welcome...sorry parti, I didn't mean to direct all that in the reply just towards you, I just got to typin and couldn't shut up......this topic fascinates me and being so new I like to hear what is simple and works well.

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                            • #15

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