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  • Tipping

    Anyone agree with the recent article on tipping in the Groomer to Groomer Buyer's Guide issue (pg. 22)?

    The author's take is that we should basically demand tips and she proposes going so far as to add it to the grooming tab such as is done in many restaurants (a practice I despise, BTW). I think I would lose quite a lot of clients with the attitude she takes in her article.

    For one thing, I would not compare waitressing to grooming. For some reason the restaurant business evolved in such a way as to make the customer repsonsible for paying the staff the bulk of its salary, wait-staff being criminally underpaid.

    I agree that we are a service industry and as such, typing is APPROPRIATE, but I do not think it should be required and part of the bill. If a client asks if they should tip me, I just tell them some people do and some people don't, but it lets me know that they are happy in a concrete way. One new client stunned me with a big hug when I brought her dog in and when she asked if she should tip me, I said well, I guess that hug let me know you were very pleased! (A cash tip followed the next groom.)

    I am a self-employed mobile groomer. I appreciate and enjoy getting tips but I do not expect them and I price my grooms such that they are not a necessary part of my income. That said, when it comes time to raise prices I tend to hold off a bit on increasing the price for the little old lady who tips me well and my total compensation for grooming her yorkie is more than adequate, while the owner who lives in the mansion, is very demanding of me and expects all sorts of little favors, yet never shows any appreciation tends to be the first one I'll try out the higher price on.

    An owner with two very difficult dogs never tipped me; I was ready to pass her on to a new groomer in the area because I just dreaded the day, but she told me they'd be moving within the next couple of grooms, would I mind still coming out? Dummy me, I thought she would finally tip now that she knew I found her dogs so difficult that I was going to give her to another groomer. Nope. Her last appointment with me was last Thursday, still no tip, but I'd never ASK, let alone bill her a tip. (I did increase her price a lot when it becamse apparent that no matter how much I worked with her beasts they were not going to improve.)

    I treat my clients very well, I give their dogs toys on holidays and their birthdays, when I pick up samples of shampoos at trade shows I pass them along to my special clients. Many of them tip me, and some do not. Oddly, very few people tip me a "normal" tip (which I'd consider $5-$10) -- I am either stiffed or tipped $50 on an $80 groom.

    I know some people feel they don't need to tip the owner of a business, something I've never really understood. If the owner of the salon cuts my hair I still tip her. A lot of my clients give me gifts, which I almost appreciate more than the cash -- it shows they've been thinking of me. I especially enjoy when they give me little gifts from their vacations. It feels good to think they were thinking about me while they were out of town.

    Anyway, my rant was a little long, but am I the one off-base here? Should we be demanding tips or should they just be appreciated when they come and not given a thought when they don't? Does it make a difference if you're a salon groomer or a mobile or a house call groomer?


  • #2
    I went straight out of school to a big box store which did not allow tipping I worked there for 10 yrs. I'm mobile now I do enjoy the tips but I think it shouldn't be expected.I'm tipped more than I'm not.My best tippers seem to come from the blue collar workers.I once had a client who told me she has 2.00 for me if her dog looked good she owns a large temp service.
    Last edited by happy trails; 05-19-07, 05:00 PM.


    • #3
      I didn't read the article, but from what you described about it, I agree with you. I think that a tip is reward for going above and beyond. If they are happy with my service, then they can tip. I always appreciate it, but I don't expect it. Also, like you our prices are such that we get what we need, and the tips are just an added bonus. I'm not even sure what the clients would say if we started just adding the tip to the bill. (I, like you, hate when a restaurant adds it automatically). I kinda think that adding a tip to the bill defeats the whole purpose of a tip.
      Scratch a dog and you'll find a permanent job. ~Franklin P. Jones


      • #4
        When I read that article I cracked up!! If I demanded a tip my clients would just go elsewhere and I'd be out of work, not what I want. I don't expect a tip but it is sure nice when I get one, I won't turn it down.

        I had a lot of the same feelings you did Meesh.
        "There is no psychiatrist in the world like a puppy licking your face."


        • #5
          The attitude expressed in that article is one of the reasons we're not seen as professionals. If a tip means the difference between eating or not...raise prices.

          How much tackier can we get than demanding tips?


          • #6
            I haven't read it either

            but we've shared here before that a tip should only be given to show appreciation for good service. It does increase happier servers, lol, but nope never expected or demanded. It's called a tip. I hate that when a big restaurant group at one table they add the tip in. Huh, what if I got terrible service?

            Nope Nope Nope, don't agree with that article.
            Money will buy you a pretty good dog but it won't buy the wag of it's tail.


            • #7
              To me tipping is done when you have done exceptional work above what their normal fees pay for.

              I hate when the 18% is automatically added and I have MANY times changed it (less or more) depending on service.


              • #8
                I'll answer as a consumer: in my opinion it's tacky to charge a certain price for grooming and then ask the customer for more money. And that's what you're doing if you have a tip sign and jar on the counter. This is such a turn-off for many consumers. If you feel you're not making enough, ask your boss for a raise or raise your prices.
                The true meaning of life is to plant trees, under whose shade you do not expect to sit. ~Nelson Henderson


                • #9
                  If people ask I tell them that unless I had a groomer I really liked and always requested I would not tip. I know this fly’s in the face of reason, but I have known too many not so nice money grubbing groomers who will practically jump across the counter to snag the tip dogs. This is the reason we simply split tips, that way there is no incentive to be greedy.


                  • #10
                    I think probably 50% of my clients tip. I don't expect it, and certainly would never demand it. My prices are set so that I make the money I feel I should, and anything tip-wise is a nice extra.


                    • #11
                      I think demanding or even asking for a tip defeats the whole purpose of it! Like others have said, tips are rewards for a job well done. For whatever reason since I started working at a vets office, I have seen very few tips. I think a SMALL part of this is from sticky fingers and part of it is from customers not thinking to tip me since its not a salon/shop. That being said, I usually make enough money that it isn't a huge concern. I only say usually because this past week it has been abnormally slow! Luckily I think everyone is just waiting until the holiday to get squeezed in all at once. Ugh!

                      Anyways, I think its tacky to have a tip jar (no offense) and unless its to spare myself the burden of carting around change, I never use them. If I'm asked if I'd like to leave a tip, I leave either none (if unhappy) or a smaller one than I was going to. Otherwise, I'm a very good tipper, I try to tip at least 20% as long as service was decent.


                      • #12
                        i must have skipped over that article. Meesh could not have said it better. there was an article some time back in groomer to groomer stating that we should keep waiting lists and charge a yearly fee to be on them. one of the few times i was so outraged, i actually wrote back. i got a form email thanking me for my interest. i doubt my email was read by anyone.
                        Certified Master Pet Tech Pet CPR, First Aid and Care Instructor
                        "Compassion will cure more sins than condemnation." Henry Ward Beecher US Congregational Minister 1813-1887


                        • #13
                          I think that the article was written for places like where I work. I don't even get the tips that the clients pass on. The owners keep all of tips because he thinks that buying lunch for everyone 5 days a week covers the tips that we should be getting.

                          He trys to make it sound like he is doing the groomers a favor because if we got our tips, then we would have to tip the bather and dryers. But I don't mind tipping if they are working hard to get nice looking dogs out to us. Know what I mean.


                          • #14
                            I read it too, and thought, "NEVER wold I EVER do that!" It would go over like a lead balloon!

                            I can't do the tip jar thing, no signs, nothing. I have tippers from all 3 classes (lower, middle, upper class), no significant differences in that, but the wealthier ones tip me bigger, that's all.

                            That is the tackiest thing I've ever heard of. Can you imagine the client getting their receipt and reading, "18% gratuity" added onto it? OH MY GOSH!!!

                            Tammy in Utah
                            Groomers Helper Affiliate


                            • #15
                              Geez, I left my copy at the shop, I'll have to make sure I read that article! Tips should never be demanded, and never be considered a neccesary part of your income. If that's the case, then you need to raise your prices!