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  • Pricing by weight

    I think I remember one or 2 mentioning they price by weight, I know we can't really lay it out here on the forum, but for those of you who do, would you mind to pm me how exactly you go about it? Do you figure in type of coat at all? I suppose I keep mulling this over in my head, I am getting tired of people who bring in #30 shihs, #20 yorkies and such. We price by breed, so if they say it is a yorkie, and it mainly looks like a yorkie, then that is what we charge, even if it is larger than your average shih tzu. I wouldn't want to tick off a customer by arguing w/ them about the lineage of their pet, but I do want to be compensated accordingly. I realize I could just stick on an extra charge, but sometimes people get a little ticked off about that too. I am thinking this might be how I want to do my pricing when I open my own shop. Probably the down side is I would have to do keep up on a scale to weigh the pets. Also, do you weigh them every time, or just like once a year or what. Anyway, thanks in advance.
    I saw the angel in the marble and carved until I set him free.
    -Michelangelo

  • #2
    We always quote a range for this very reason, for little dogs we leave room for a $6 "scissoring" charge which I really view as more of a "your dog is F'in huge" charge. You might make the variance bigger or smaller to fit your needs. I am also not afraid to tell people that I will need to charge more than the original quote if the dog is waaaay bigger. A good example of that is the 90lb "beagle mix" I had in last week.

    example with fake numbers:
    say you charge $30 for a yorkie groom, you would then quote "$30-$36 depending on the dog and coat" and then charge them $30 for a normal yorkie and $36 for a yorkie on growth hormones.

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    • #3
      I price by sizes but I don't have a scale so it's really just a guess. Also, all my prices give an estimate rather than a set prices.

      Small (up to 20lbs)
      Medium (20-40lbs)
      Large (40-75lbs)
      Xlarge (75+)

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      • #4
        We charge by weight, but it's also set up Under 25lb short hair is XX and under 25lb long hair is XX Then charge different for 'trim and thin' and a shave.
        we say there will be a extra charge for matting, and certain coat types...
        I really wish we would charge by breed!

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        • #5
          An easier way is to just charge according to the amount of time it takes you. But do have a minimum. For example, all grooms start at $$, with additional charges depending on the time involved. That way a 4 pound smooth Chihuahua isn't walking out the door for $15.

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          • #6
            Helly, I really do like that idea, but I do have one problem w/ it. After the first groom you know how the dog is, but what if on that first groom you don't know the dog is a freak for the dryer, nails, etc. and takes you way more than average time for that breed. Do you not finalize the price until after you are completely done? Do you just tack on $$$ and tell them too bad when they come back? Do you only groom one dog @ a time so that you know exactly how long it takes? I would rather take 2, 3, 4 dogs at a time and work them in the order that works best for me, not work one dog @ a time. I just don't have the wherewithall to keep tabs on how long each dog takes me if I am working them like that. Lets say I have a dog that hates the hv, so I put it in a kennel w/ a fan and it finishes drying like that for an hour while I am finishing another dog. Now on a fully scheduled day, that might not necessarily be a big deal because I am still busy, but on a day where it was my only dog, I would be sitting around waiting for that dog to dry, do I then charge for that time? Not trying to be snotty, really just trying to figure out how in the world I am going to do my pricing. Pricing by time really does make the most sense, I just don't see how I can do it while taking multiple dogs. I realize any system is not perfect, I just want the easiest way that gives me the best compensation for my effort.
            I saw the angel in the marble and carved until I set him free.
            -Michelangelo

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            • #7
              i basically charge by the hour. though, i do have a set base fee for each breed as a starting point. if you quote a range then you have some leeway at least. i will also tell people that once i see the dog i can let them know if the price is going to be different, that helps handle new clients.

              so if i have a cockapoo come in that is thick like a cocker it will most likely be more than a small poodley one because it will take longer to dry and finish.

              if i get a naughty dog that takes more time i may add some $ on if it is not a crazy amount, or i will tell them that next time it will be more. if it is really bad i would call the owner and speak to them about it.

              sometimes i will have a dog in a kennel with a fan, i do not charge for that time.

              you can still have 3 or 4 dogs in at a time, i am sure you have some idea of how long it takes to wash/dry a small dog and how long it takes to finish an easy cut. most of my small dogs are right around an hour. having a base price set for each breed helps because you can feel when it is taking longer than it should if a dog is matted or difficult. just think about how many shih tzus you could have done in that amount of time. you may also want to take wear and tear on your body into account for those newfs and such.

              i find this method is easiest as well, and it makes sense, you should charge for your time. i think clients understand that.

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              • #8
                If you want to continue to price by breed, you could stipulate that your price is for dogs that fall within the size set by the AKC breed standard and that oversize dogs are $xx more.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by gr8danlvr1 View Post
                  Helly, I really do like that idea, but I do have one problem w/ it. After the first groom you know how the dog is, but what if on that first groom you don't know the dog is a freak for the dryer, nails, etc. and takes you way more than average time for that breed. Do you not finalize the price until after you are completely done? Do you just tack on $$$ and tell them too bad when they come back? Do you only groom one dog @ a time so that you know exactly how long it takes? I would rather take 2, 3, 4 dogs at a time and work them in the order that works best for me, not work one dog @ a time. I just don't have the wherewithall to keep tabs on how long each dog takes me if I am working them like that. Lets say I have a dog that hates the hv, so I put it in a kennel w/ a fan and it finishes drying like that for an hour while I am finishing another dog. Now on a fully scheduled day, that might not necessarily be a big deal because I am still busy, but on a day where it was my only dog, I would be sitting around waiting for that dog to dry, do I then charge for that time? Not trying to be snotty, really just trying to figure out how in the world I am going to do my pricing. Pricing by time really does make the most sense, I just don't see how I can do it while taking multiple dogs. I realize any system is not perfect, I just want the easiest way that gives me the best compensation for my effort.
                  You pose some difficult questions. Let me see if I can answer them.

                  If I'm taking in a dog I have never groomed before, I'll inform the owner that there may be additional charges if the dog is difficult for one reason or another. If I have to spend more time working on the dog, I feel I deserve to be compensated for that time. Some groomers add a "hard to handle" or "special handling" fee. I prefer to just keep it at an hourly rate of $$ per hour, and charge for the extra time that way.

                  I do work one dog at a time, straight through. I know this isn't satisfactory for everyone, but it's what works best for me. But in a situation where you may be working more than one dog, you can guesstimate the time, can't you? It doesn't have to be exact to the minute. I have a general idea how long it takes me to clip and finish a Shih, for example, so on the odd occasion that I might be working more than one, I have a pretty good idea on how much time I spent on each one.

                  I don't charge for time that I'm not actually working on the dog. I have very few dogs that have to be cage dried. Right now I don't think I have any. The only dogs I've groomed that required cage drying have been those that have seizures that are triggered by the dryer. I have yet to meet the dog that I can't get to accept the HV in a fairly short time. Not saying they don't exist. Just saying I haven't run into any.

                  At this point in time, I can estimate pretty accurately how long any particular dog is going to take. And that's how I qoute prices.. For that reason I don't like to quote fees over the phone, other than to say "I charge $$ per hour spent working on the dog. A (insert breed here) takes about (insert time estimate) hour, so ball park figure is going to be $$. I'll be able to give you a more accurate price once I see your dog."

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                  • #10
                    My shop charges by the weight. We end up living by the adage: You win some, you lose some. Ie. a large golden retriever, a large newfoundland, and a standard poodle (if over 50lbs) all are in the same category which is Large, Long Hair.

                    Our categories are Small (up to 25lbs), Med (25-50lbs), Lg (over 50lbs),
                    Short Hair or Long hair different prices
                    then there is an add on charge for a haircut (all base prices include trim eyes, hygiene and pads shaved, nails clipped, ears)

                    So what happens sometimes is that Golden that only takes a bath, HV, clip nails, trim feet and sanitary and brushout...I make the same amount as the super furry and twice as long to wash/dry Newfie.

                    The only time I can't stand the pricing mostly is when I have a day full of puppy cuts and it seems that I'm taking twice as long on my "Small/Long Hair/Haircut" (like a min poodle) and the price is exactly the same for a, say, Large/Short Hair/Bath only (like a Lab). But then I have to remember that sometimes I have several of the baths only dogs some days and it seems to even out.

                    I work in a vet clinic so all dogs are weighed. I really hate doing the 44.2lb cocker spaniels, LOL. So some cockers are "small" and some are "medium" in this case.

                    Jessie

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                    • #11
                      Thanks Helly, I guess I am just used to giving people a set price at check in and then our salon is of the opinion of once its said, its the law. Course, once I get my own shop I can just change that philosophy! Yes, I can pretty much guesstimate time on a regular sized dog of the breed, and then just quote a range around that for larger or more difficult. Being a groomer for a corporate store has really gotten me into that cookie cutter thinking, but I have to keep reminding myself there is a reason (many reasons actually)I want to leave there.

                      kpuman: I could just tell them their dog isn't breed standard, but I'm just kind of a chicken when it comes to that! There are so many clients that just get so upset when you even suggest their little baby isn't right. I just don't want to deal w/ that type of drama personally. We see so many non breed standard "purebred" dogs it is ridiculous. My personal favorite is the couple who swear they have a purebred schipperke. It looks like a purebred Pomeranian. They even said that the breeder listed the dog as a schipperke/pom mix, but the breeder was wrong too (according to these people) and that it is, in fact, a pure bred schipperke. WOW! Our pom price is cheaper than that of the schipperke, but they were freaking out about us saying it wasn't a purebred dog and would still rather, quite literally, pay the price for their stupidity.

                      Lucylove: Wow, I would be really ticked if I got paid the same rate for a pyrenees as say an airedale! I would totally not leave that much space in the weight categories. I would probably do like every 10lbs is a different weight/price category. I will stew on it for a while, it isn't like I will be opening my shop tomorrow so I have plenty of time.

                      Thanks again for your help, suggestions and experiences!!!!
                      I saw the angel in the marble and carved until I set him free.
                      -Michelangelo

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                      • #12
                        I charge by the breed and kinda by the hour.
                        The way I charge by the breed is according to breed standard set forth by AKC. If they do not understand breed standard, my website has a link. So basically if a client owns a yorkie, breed standard states 4-7 lbs for a yorkie, we pretty much know what a correct 4-7# yorkie looks like, and its not as big as a shih tzu, lol. I also know it will take me approx. an hour (usually less) to groom a well behaved, in good condition yorkie in pretty much any standard style.
                        Also, in the AKC standard there is no such thing as a tiny teacup or miniature yorkie, the under 4# yorkies still get the 4-7 # price, I do not discount for undersized breeds, lol.
                        So my pricing states:
                        Rates are based on Breed, Size, Coat Condition, Temperament, and Frequency (I go by pets on no more than an 8 week schedule) according to the AKC breed standard.
                        Another example is the Golden Ret. The average weight (male and female) is 55-75#, height 21 1/2 - 24" at withers. Not 120+. I know it will take me approx. 1-1.5 hours to groom a well behaved, good condition, average size golden.
                        This is where it pays to learn the breed standards, problem is remembering them, LOL.

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