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  • St. Poodle Pricing

    My St. Poodle pricing is a wreck. Most dogs I groom take about an hour and run $40-$45. Clipper cut St. Poodles run up to 2 hours and are $65. Right there that hurts - where as I could be making $80-$90 on 2 dogs, I'm getting $65. It gets worse. I have 3 that take me 3 hours each - fancier modified town and country pet trims. I'm getting $85 on those (instead of $120-$135 I'd be getting on regular hourly dogs.)

    Needless to say, I'm starting to dread and hate grooming St. Poodles. Even at the $85 owners have a hissy. They want their dogs to look like a million bucks but don't want to spend any money!

    What do you guys do about St. Poodles? I've thought about going to a flat hourly on them ($40/hour). How do you get the current clients to understand the price increase? I.e. this one with the 3 hour dogs would go from $85 up to $120. She'd have a heart attack. And when people call with St. Poodles they always start with why their dogs are so easy and should be too much $$$.

    Out of all the dogs I groom St. Poodles are the only ones (so far) that don't end up averaging out right. I'm just so tired of dealing with this issue!

  • #2
    Well, first of all, you need to stop worrying about the customers having a hissy fit! Quite frankly how they feel about your prices shouldn't be even close to the top of issues to worry about. You charge what you need to charge to make $$, the amount you need to keep your business afloat and your personal finances afloat as well. Otherwise, you wouldn't be there to groom their dogs anymore anyway. Probably what I would do, is do a small increase right off the bat on your current st poo clients, maybe $10 each. Then just tell new customers you charge an hourly rate. I work in a corporate salon and I feel like our prices are very skewed that way, I can do 3 yorkies in the time it takes me to do one st poo, but make about 1/2 the $$ grooming the poo. It makes me not want to groom them, and quite frankly given the choice I do pass them off. That does make me sad too, because I love to groom them, but not at the cost of my paycheck. So, maybe you lose a poodle client or 2. Either they go somewhere else and are happy, or go somewhere else, realize you are worth the cost and come back. You might also see a rash of better cared for st poodles too. A pre-brushed out dog will take you less time to groom, right? You could market that to your customers as well, the more they do at home the less they have to pay for. Either way, remember you are running a business and can't afford to run it at a loss.
    I saw the angel in the marble and carved until I set him free.
    -Michelangelo

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    • #3
      That's exactly why I DO charge (all breeds) by the hour.

      I think I would be asking myself (if I were you) "gee, what's the worst that could happen"? Some of the Standard's owners get so upset they go elsewhere....and you fill their slots w/ dogs that DON'T lose you money?

      Actually, the worst would be....the owners go elsewhere, you fill the slots, then....the owner's all come back all sad and embarrassed...because they paid lots more at another salon, didn't like the job,...and now they want you back, even at the "new" price, lol!
      Often it's not what you say, but how you say it.

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      • #4
        Why is it that the people with the highest maintanance breeds gripe the most about the cost of keeping it up? Do they truly not realize when they choose these breeds that is what they are getting themselves into? These are generally breeds that they paid a pretty penny for to acquire too. Do they buy their Mercedes and then try to chisel the mechanic when it needs work? Or wait until it dies on the side of the road to bring it in?
        I try to figure my prices according to my time. But I have stopped telling clients that. If they hear $XX per hour, they somehow think all that is going into my pocket, and we all know that someone that grooms could certainly not be deserving of that much money!

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        • #5
          I use the frequent flyer approach described in PtP. Every 4 weeks $$, 6 weeks $$$, 8 weeks $$$$. If I see them every four weeks it's an easy fast groom.
          "The gift which I am sending you is called a dog, and is in fact the most precious and valuable possession of mankind"-Theodorus Gaza

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          • #6
            I start with a base price by breed for st Po's the price includes bath - blow dry -face- feet- fanny - nails and ears - 15 min brush or a cut up to #4 blade (kennel clip). anything left longer or pattern or specialty cuts are charged extra by the hour.I also charge extra brushing and dematting by the hr. a well maintained coat can be fully brushed out in 15 minutes.

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            • #7
              I actually had to deal with this problem today. We charge a pretty high amount for standard poodles, but that is because they are time consuming. Even if they are just getting FFT, you still have to fluff dry them and spend a pretty good amount of time on them. My co-worker and I are also VERY good at poodles. We have people that drive a couple of hours to have us groom their poodles.
              Anyway, I had this client today that has been in a couple of times before with her standard. The first time she came in she got a town and country and I charged her $XXX amount. She knew what the price was when she dropped the dog off, but when she came to pick up she started throwing a hissy fit about the price. Saying she used to pay only a third of that at her last groomer, blah blah blah, and I told her that if that's all she wants to pay she should go back to her old groomer, we charge $XXX and we aren't going to budge.
              Then a few weeks later she brought her poodle in again for just a bath, and again I told her when she dropped off what the price was going to be and again she didn't say anything until she picked up. She went on an on about how her old groomer in Georgia only charged her $20 to bathe her standard and blah blah blah again. Then she started going on about how she is going to have to start taking her dog to petsomething from now on because we just charge too much.
              We didn't see the dog for a while which was fine, because we weren't going to lower our prices for this lady. Then the dog was here boarding at the kennel all week and I had to bathe the dog today before it went home. And again, the owner started throwing a hissy fit about the price...when she already knew good and well what the price was going to be when she told the receptionist that she wanted her dog to have a bath before going home.

              Sorry, that was kind of long, but the point is if you feel you should charge more for a standard than do it. If people have a problem with it, let them take them elsewhere. If having their dog get a quality haircut is important to them than I'm sure they'll probably be back and willing to pay the extra $$ to have you groom them. You have to be firm, and charge what you are worth. People will either pay it or they won't, but at least you will be getting paid what you're worth.

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              • #8
                I charge loosely by the hour and it is why I do not have any st. poodle clients. I mean I could groom four yorkies and get $120 in the time it would take me to groom a standard. Local shops here charge 50-60 for standards and I refuse to compete with them.

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                • #9
                  It does seem that the ST Poo people don't want to pay to have theri dogs groomed. I practically quit grooming them when I had my shop. Drove me crazy to listen to the gripes.

                  I did do some in fancier pet trims (hand scissored all over) for PCA. These were shown in obed and she wanted them groomed to the nines. Well I would come in on my day off, Monday before PCA and groom these two. She knew what I would charge and still just about had a heart attack. Next year they didn't get done by me on my day off.

                  Now they are priced so high, only have a couple that want me to groom their dogs. I get over 3 figures for St's, even for a clip down.

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                  • #10
                    Thanks for the input and suggestions, I think many of these will help a lot, my boss and I just need to put our foot down.

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                    • #11
                      educate and then stand firm

                      I have standard poodles. It does take a LOT to groom them, regardless. So, to educate is first (in simple quick format: some dogs take alot more time and effort and education to do a proper groomout - poodles (of any size) are one of those breeds, therefore I charge more for my time and expertise.

                      Period.

                      Then charge the fees you should be charging for the extra work. simple...if they want to go get a cheapie cllip...let em go get a cheapie clip. it is so not worth it to loose money just so you can groom them I mean I love em but...ya gotta stay in business and, they can look wonderul when groomed... but you gotta get paid.

                      You know it shocks me how people dont understand all that goes into a groom job..and that is often why they gripe I think...ppl dont think twice about paying their hair dresser 100 bucks. but for a DOG? well..educate.

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                      • #12
                        I am mobile and when I started my prices were the same as yours...because I was just starting. I did these two st poodles that together took me over five hours. I went home feel exhausted, stressed, upset and tired. All that kept running through my head was : In the time it took me to groom those two dogs alone I could have more than doubled my money and not felt tired grooming small dogs and baths.
                        One of the dogs would bite on her feet and it was struggle all the way and the other was just full of fur because the owner only had them groomed every several mos.
                        So I wrote her a letter one day (because she wasn't home when I groomed the dogs) and told her I was upping the price by ten dollars each...not a whole lot ....but it was a start. In turn, I was hoping she would never call me again and she didn't.

                        She called the other mobile groomer and informed the other groomer she wouldn't pay me the extra money so would she groom her dogs for the old price and the other girl agreed. The other mobile groomer then called me and told me the story I was familiar with...the dogs took her under six hours! Basically a whole day...she went home crying because she worked all day for nothing....so that mobile groomer left a message on the womans machine and said she was doubling the price because of the work! The woman naturally never called her again.
                        I don't know where she took the dogs after that because the third mobile groomer never got a call from her so she probably found a shop.

                        So, ben there done that. It makes you dread that day because all you can think of is all the work for half the money. You will be thinking, I could be grooming several shih's/bathing a couple of labs/cutting some nails in that time.

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