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Am I a sucker?

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  • Am I a sucker?

    An elderly one-time customer calls me today to tell me he is not happy with his dog's grooming. The man had been bringing his senior cocker to the same lady for 12 years but then she retired so he came to me. When he had first called and I quoted him an approximate price and he said that he couldn't pay that and he 'didn't want anything fancy' could I do it for less. Well I knew that he was need of a new groomer and I am very new so I thought heck I will give him a break. So he brings the 12 year old dog in and he has atleast 5 inches of dirty nasty coat on him and my jaw hit the floor. This was not what I was expecting to see but I bit my tongue and we get to talking about the dog and how he wants the hair done. Well his nothing fancy turned into alot of specifics but I thought oh well I will do what I can. Well the dog ended up being a nightmare to groom and was full of crusty bleedy warts. After three and a half hours the man shows up before I had called to say I was done and at that point I had had enough and in my opinion his discount nothing fancy groom was done fine. It wasn't my best work but I did what I could with all of that coat, the time I had and the fact that the dog was really difficult. So today I get a call from the man and he says that I groomed his dog a couple of weeks ago and that the dog was all uneven and was too long. I look back in my books and I groomed the dog the first week of March....and he was just calling now to say that the dog was too long and uneven....maybe 6 weeks of growth makes a difference? He then goes on to tell me he isn't very good with dates and he thought it was just 2 weeks ago, that his wife is in the hospital and that he had saved up for 3 months to get the money to get his dog groomed. Then he wants to know how much it would be to get him re-done and I say $20 and he asks me if he has to pay it right away! He is very sweet on the phone and says I am not saying it is your fault (then who's is it?) and telling me he is recommending me to a lot of people. I understand that the first time you groom a dog the communication might not be perfect between the client and the groomer so I always get them to check the dog over when they pick the dog up and tell them if they get home and something doesn't seem right or whatever to stop back in and I will fix it. But 6 weeks is pushing it. I can't imagine that it took him that long to notice that it was uneven and then he tells me I didn't do the nails either (which I of course did). Now maybe I didn't do the dog as short as he is used to so it seems long faster? Or do you think he is trying to get a free groom out of me? I have agreed to re-do the dog anyways because for whatever reason he wants it done I think he might need a helping hand and I obviously don't want an unhappy customer. His old groomer was one you that did more of 'utility' cuts ie nothing fancy whereas I find that I try to give the dogs a bit of style so it could be just the difference between styles and maybe all he wanted was a 7 shavedown but he certainly didn't ask for that when he got there. Anyways just wanted to know what your guys thought and how you might have dealt with similar situations. I am going to show him a picture of a 7f cocker shavedown when he comes back in and hopefully that will aid in the communication.

  • #2
    You are most definitely a sucker. You fell for his sob story hook, line, and sinker!

    I tell all my customers up front they have 48 HOURS to complain. After that it's tough patooties. 6 weeks is not a re-groom, it's a FULL GROOM. Even if it had been 2 weeks, if he cared enough, he would have called sooner.

    He has lied about everything else, why should you believe him that he is recommending you? Has any of his so called recommendations called? He is not happy with your work. (my guess is he's plenty happy but wants to see what he can get.) Of course he is nice about it...that is called manipulation!

    DO NOT DO NOT DO NOT DO NOT discount this person again!!!!! There is nothing redeeming about this client. He will not be a regular, his dog is not nice, he's particular, he will not pay you what you are worth, he is prone to complaining, and he's unobservant. This is a recipe for disaster. If he asks about the increase tell him it was introductory and an extra handling. For being a pain in the ass.

    I know I'm being harsh but GAH I hate it when I see people walked on.
    There are 3 different kinds of people in this world: Dog people, cat people, and rational people who don't have a problem liking two things at the same time.


    • #3
      NEVER. NEVER discount your prices, it will alays bite you in the butt! I have had many people try sob stories on me to get cheaper prices, grooming on my day off, me picking up their dog for them, etc. I have never given in on my prices or policies. They will either get the money and get here on the day I schedule them or they will go elsewhere. Six weeks is most definitely a full groom. Most of my cocker grooms come in every 4-6 weeks for grooming.
      Lisa VanVleet, RVT


      • #4
        As a new groomer it will be very hard for you to be able to say to a new customer "I'm sorry, but your dog will need to be shaved." We've all been through it- we want our business to grow, want the customer to be happy and want to be able to preform miracles on dirty, matted, nasty cocker spaniels covered in warts and moles!

        This guy is taking advantage of you, and will continue in the future. Do not regroom the dog for free, have a written policy starting tomorrow that says you have 24 hours to qualify for a regroom, and stick to your guns!

        I do a lot of discount grooming, but never for first time clients. I know when my current clients are in need of a little extra help, and I'm glad to give them a break.


        • #5
          I would probably shave it for him

          That's probably what he was used to, that's what he needs, and that's why it looks too long already.

          As tempting as it was for you to try to style, it is doubtful that he expected any style or hair to deal with. I've definitely done this MANY times, and then shaved it off later for the client - sometimes free, sometimes not.

          He may or may not be exaggerating about saving up for the groom, but he's older, his wife is ill, the dog was not taken care of when you first did it - I'd give him the benefit of the doubt and tell him you will give it a short cut all over, and explain that you are pretty sure that is what his old groomer did, and you hope that it works better for him and the dog.

          That isn't being a sucker, it is giving the benefit of the doubt this once, and helping him out. Hopefully the dog will be simpler when you just have to shave it instead of trying to leave a style on a mess.

          Good luck.


          • #6
            i would redo it this one time for him (even though i agree that after that long its considered a full groom) If he has any complaints after that then you dont need him as a client. Your using up your time and resources after all. And you may want to adopt a policy like OntheBRINKofDisaster and make a 48 hour complaint time frame. If they know you are new to it many people will try to take advantage of it


            • #7

              Well, now you know just how long it takes to get to the center of a tootsie pop!


              • #8
                Yep, the little old man is working you. Full grooms require full groom price and yes it is due in full at the time of the grooming. After 6 weeks it is a full groom, not a touch up or correction groom. Dont start letting him nickle and dime you...his dog is a PITA and so is he with all his complaining about the groom (6 weeks after the grooming) and trying to get you to do something for nothing. He sounds like one of those who will never be satisfied with anything.


                • #9
                  Ben there done that. Assuming you redo the dog, dont bother with him again. He sounds like someone that is stretching his pennies at your expense. You have to eat too.


                  • #10
                    Personally I don't think you're a sucker. It's possible the old gent was trying to scam you, but it's more likely that he's just old, confused, and his mind is focused on his wife in the hospital. He may even be suffering from early dementia, or he's on a lot of meds that leave him a little whack-o.

                    If it were me, I'd take the high road. The old goat might be taking advantage, but doing what you've done earns you some instant karma.


                    • #11
                      I would redo it with a 7F AO and be done with it. But dont expect him to tip, dont expect him to be a regular and I highly doubt he is recommending you to all his friends (as he claims).


                      • #12
                        I am going to re-do the dog, sucker or not only because I know that this dog probably only gets done once a year and if I left it too long like I think I probably did then I want to get the extra hair off of it. The man did sound remotely confused to me and he did seem grateful that I agreed to do the dog. I really doubt he will pay me anything because of his asking me if he had to pay me right away. I doubt that even if I had a policy for 24 or 48 hours he wouldn't have called back. I really think I did probably leave it too long, although I am sure the longest I left it was a 4 but whatever. I think my lesson learned here is to not let myself be nickled and dimed in general. I offer appointments only so dogs are in and out and I use high quality products compared to other shops in town. I have people come in and try to talk my price down all of the time and I usually give in.... If I was doing 12 dogs a day and was cage drying them etc to save on time then I could charge less but thats not how I do things (nothing against those who are able to do it that way). I work alone and this works best for me. Most of my clients appreciate the express service and I guess I should be telling people who want to pay less to go somewhere else. But anyways I am going to do this one but I will take your words of wisdom and learn to stand up for myself and my business. I have definitely let myself be a sucker in the past.


                        • #13
                          You might offer to talk to his old groomer to make sure you get the groom right. Perhaps she will have some insight and be able to help you out about his state of mind. Good luck with this one.


                          • #14
                            I know how you feel. I opened 6 months ago and I did discount a few grooms. And true to form these have been my PITA clients. It is hard when we are starting a new shop and we want to please customers. Follow your heart and re-do it if you want to but take it from the members who have been around the block, don't screw yourself. All of us do and have dne a few charity cases maybe this is your one. If he is screwing you over you will know soon enough.

                            4 weeks 6 weeks thats a whole new groom on a cocker. But this is your business run it your way. I'm sure you will figure it out ho, just don't under estimate the years of knowledge on this Board these ladies are usually right. LOL


                            • #15
                              So he calls back today to see if I can book the dog in for a groom........even though I already gave him an appointment for tomorrow morning....makes me lean a little towards the forgetful confused guy rather than one who is trying to sucker me lol. I will let you guys know how it goes. ALSO, my new boss at the restaurant I waitress at is bringing her shih-tzu in tomorrow. She told me that I MIGHT have a hard time because he hasn't been groomed in months and is a mess, he doesn't like women, doesn't like being groomed and bites when you try to touch his feet, bum and face. Sweet jeepers I will need your prayers tomorrow lol.