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Tolerance versus losing money

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  • Tolerance versus losing money

    What do you do with a person who consistently misses appts. and expects to have the dog get in at a moments notice? I know this thread has been covered before, but I'll give a short history. It's a bit unusual.

    This is a person who has had some health issues (both mental and physical) and we've tried to be extremely tolerant, but it's getting old and starting to cost us money. For instance, she boarded the dog over this last weekend, showed up 35 minutes after closing wanting to pick him up, forgot her checkbook, had to go back (another 1/2 hour) and get it, pays for the dog and then realized that she locked her keys in her car and didn't have a spare. She had no one to call so I ended up taking her home (1/2 hour) and she was able to find her keys the next day and came back and got the car. She has missed at least 3 grooming appts. in the last year without calling, then reschedules and misses those appts. She apologizes and we've squeezed the dog in (small longhaired mix) for just a bath and nails in between. Of course he's a mess when he does show up for a groom. Oh, the dog is a biter and the woman never wants him groomed the same way twice.

    She missed her appt., again, yesterday and calls this morning to say she's bringing the dog over. I told her we weren't open and she had missed her appt. on Friday. Then I told her we couldn't afford to work for her anymore. She insisted that because she's been sick she doesn't need to let us know when she can't be here because she's not thinking about the dog. She got very upset and hung up on me...oh welll..

    Am I being too harsh? Actually I feel sorry for the dog because she is the reason he's a biter - she has no control over him what so ever. The owner really doesn't want the dog, we even offered a few months ago to try to find a home for him but we haven't come up with anything - and she won't take him to the humane society because she's afraid they'll put him down.

    It's very frustrating for me, because I fear for the dog's welfare. Where does one draw the line?

  • #2
    Could be early Alzheimer’s disease…..forgetting appts, remembering them, then confusion towards everyday tasks……… I took care of my father for 9 months, who was on his horrible journey to the early Alzheimer’s. The pain in his face when he couldn’t remember things, and the struggle to remember, will forever be engraved in my mind. I would try to fit your client in whenever possible and consider it a part of business. I too have a client that I fear is also “going down that road”, she insists that she cancelled appts when I show up, then calls and makes appts, sometimes twice in one day, then gives great detail about her “Precious” as though it would be a “new” client for me………… so sad.

    Happy Helping the Seniors of our world

    Dolly’s Barking Bubbles, LLC


    • #3
      I had a client similar to that although his dog was sweet. I fired them, they no-showed 50% of the time. A little over a year later, he calls me again, begging me to take him back and promised he wouldn't miss anymore. Big changes in his life that I knew about so I thought maybe he had changed. I groomed the dog less than a year as I had to fire the owner again after his third no-show.
      Lisa VanVleet, RVT


      • #4
        I think you have been very tolerant however she is taking advantage of you. If she calls you back to complain explain that when she misses an appt it's like the DR office that slot was for her specifically and now she has to wait for another one. No coming in when she wants you are a professional and you need to give each animal the time it deserves and what the owners are paying you for.


        • #5
          It seems like you only have two options; either "stick to your guns" and no longer give her any services (grooming or boarding), or you get a credit card number and charge it each time she misses an appt. With the frequency of her missed appt's. you may need to have her sign something stating she is aware of this policy and does agree to pay when charged for any missed appts.

          If I read this correctly, she said you shouldn't do this as you know she is sick ???????? Sounds like she is not interested in taking personal responsibility for her obligations. (it is always easier to blame sone else.)


          • #6
            I understand your questioning yourself. Although I am a firm believer in asking to be compensated after the first no-show, there certainly have been times when I've been reluctant to do so, and have let people slide. One is a woman who very much sounds like yours. She is handicapped physically and I suspect there may be mental problems as well.

            Because I felt sorry for her, I chose to let her get away with 5 no-shows (a record for me!), after the third time time telling her that if it happened again I would no longer be able to take her dog. I was unwilling to ask for compensation because I know she has very little money.

            After the 5th time, I didn't return her phone call for about a week, then I realized that if I asked her to prepay, I would not place myself in jeopardy ever again. So now she prepays and everybody's happy. Oh, and ever since she started prepaying, her memory has improved considerably.

            Having said all that, I do not regret the times I let it slide. It was my choice and I looked upon it as an act of charity. It simply got to the point where I could no longer afford to let her do so.

            But every case it different and should be judged differently. Almost all of the time, first NS is on me and the subsequent ones on the customer.
            The true meaning of life is to plant trees, under whose shade you do not expect to sit. ~Nelson Henderson


            • #7
              I know how much it bothers your heart to do something like that, but your business is your head and your pocketbook. I would fire her too, course I'd also have a no show policy that I would adhere to that would have never allowed her to become so close! No matter how I felt about someone, I just couldn't keep letting them cost me $$$$. I suppose if you really wanted to be nice like Dolly and still groom her dog you could always fit her in at the end of the day. That way you wouldn't lose $$ if she didn't show up, when she did show up you'd just have a slightly longer day. I mean we'd only be talking what, one day a month getting off late? Course I still wouldn't do that either, just a suggestion. I prefer my charity cases to be the dogs, not the humans attached to the other end of the leash.
              I saw the angel in the marble and carved until I set him free.


              • #8
                fire 'em for sure

                One of my basic rules is 3 no shows in a year and you're out! now if your mom died that morning or something dramiatic ok no biggie $Hit happens but using health problems is a poor excuse. it takes less tham 1 min to make a phone call. i a customer calls say 1 hr before an appt thats a strike also. while we love dogs we have to remember that we are in business to make money and our time is important.


                • #9
                  You need to be charging a late pick up fee that makes it worth your while. Her choice, board an extra night or pay the extra fee. Missed appointments should also cost money. If you don't want to deal with her again, simply don't schedule him.

                  Here is another idea...if you want to continue grooming him, offer to pick him up and then take him home again after the groom.


                  • #10
                    Leave it alone

                    Just cut them loose and don't think about it again.


                    • #11
                      Check the laws in your state, and if you can legally do so, make her prepay or make a nonrefunable deposit. Once you have the money, you book the appointment. This may not be legal in some states where you are not allowed to charge for services not rendered. Personally, I think that's a load of fertilizer, because they reserve your time, you can't use that time for another client, and they should have to compensate you for it. But that may be the law, and laws should be obeyed.