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  • Cheap grooming.

    Ok, so im getting a car and this will allow me to groom somewhere other than the shop im at right now. There are so many things I want to do. I want to see if the local shelters need a groomer, but I was also thinking of something else... Let me run this by you guys.

    I want to groom for cheap. I mean, real cheap. On my days available, I want to groom for the elderly. The elderly that dont have much to live on. Ive been thinking, grooming is such an expensive thing. I know its because its a luxury and not a necessity, but what about people that dont have that kind of money?Do they not deserve to have pets? I want to focus on the elderly because they should have companion animals but most of them live on fixed incomes. My partner thinks that this is a good idea. We both have deep respect for the elderly and feel that as young people we should do what we can. He worries that charging so little will cause other groomers to take legal action against me. Is that a possibility? If I was to do this, how can I find these people? I dont want to advertise cheap grooming, because im not looking to help EVERYONE. Just the ones that really need it. Any advice?

  • #2
    i do this just for elderly on fixed incomes,there is an apartment complex here for the elderly,on fixed incomes,i guess the state pays for it,but i just talked to the office mgr,and groom some dogs and cats,i love elderly people too,also i dont know if they have the animeals were you live kinda like meals on wheels for shut in,low income,if you do maybe you can talk to them,but for regular folks,charge what you are worth,but for elderly i think its a great idea imo anyways
    good luck
    trish

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    • #3
      that's a kind thing to do

      and it's good to hear someone say that they have a great respect for the elderly. it's seems to be something that is fading away, this day and age. i don't see how another shop could try to take legal action against you. i do think that if this is what you want to do you should try to structure it that you have a set price and then you are discounting a certain price for low income elderly. this donated wage could probably be structured as a tax writeoff somehow. As a donation. you should speak to a tax advisor. then your kindness to help the low income elderly can also help offset your tax liability. i think it could work. and is definitey something needed.

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      • #4
        I think that is very sweet of you.

        You could advertise at a Senior Center. Just that you sepecialize in grooming lil dogs for seniors at affordable prices. Try a little newspaper. many Seniors live in group homes, tho' not cheap. Also some Seniors have people to come check on them daily or a few times a week. Notify hospitals, after a stay in the hospital medicare sends a health care person to assist after hospital for a few weeks. You could even try home health care companies that supply Oxygen etc. Arizona is full of Seniors and my mom was, so I know a little about senior care. If you can afford to do this, I think it is great. These people need and love their companion dogs.

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        • #5
          I have many elderly clients who can and do pay full price for their grooms.

          I also have a man, recently widowed, enduring cancer treatments, lost his job, whose little dog I do for free. He was a monthly client for many years before his life fell apart, he wanted to bring the dog in less frequently but I told him to stick with the schedule and he could start paying again when things picked up for him. I have a lady on disability whose cairn comes every month, her price has never been increased. I have several others, but you get the point.

          I don't actually ask for the hard luck cases, but when it happens, I try to do the right thing. By 'right thing' I'm referring to what feels right to me, and that might be different for someone else. I'm community minded and like the idea that we can help each other out. Some people donate blood, some deliver meals on wheels, some volunteer at the school. I like to 'take care' of my people when they need me and I'd be just as happy if, instead of making it up to me, that they instead pay it forward.

          I'm concerned that if you go into it as the cheap groomer for elderly folks, you might find yourself feeling cheated and unappreciated, which is exactly the opposite of what you want. You could market yourself as the most caring, gentle, professional groomer, at a reasonable price. Then be receptive to those clients with limited income, give them a break as you see fit. You might find if you're just a low price groomer you'll be seen as such and get less respect accordingly. On the other hand, if you're a good groomer, charging a fair (or better!) price, it will be all the sweeter for the customer who gets "you" as their groomer and a "special" price as well.

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          • #6
            Well, I think it is very nice of you to offer to do that. I don't, however, think advertising it would be a good idea (and you didn't say you were going to, but just in case!). I would target specific communities, areas, etc. where you KNOW they are on fixed incomes etc.

            A long time ago on the old website/bulletinboards there was a groomer who backed down and groomed this old couple's dog for waaaay cheap. And if I recall, when she called for them to pick up the dog, they were busy at the moment, so they'd come pick the dog up later. They were busy on the golf course!!!

            Tammy in Utah
            Groomers Helper Affiliate

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            • #7
              I thought about going to our Senior Home, it's a HUGE retirement place for all ages for people over 60yrs. but the center says no, then they would have to let the other businesses in too and they don't want to start anything.
              I asked just to do baths & touch ups, still ....no. So nice thought.

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              • #8
                This would all be housecall grooming, as I would not be allowed to do it in my current place of business. I wouldnt be grooming for anyone that didnt need it, as I would be keeping the job I have now. Anyone that I would charge reg price could come to my place of employment. I wont be doing any of this until about September, because I am leaving for the summer, but im so excited.

                The reason I was worried about legal issues is because I plan on doing this for a very small charge. Somewhere in the 20 something range. If word got out, I dont think this would sit too well with other housecall/mobile groomers.

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                • #9
                  In my town, the local spca has programs and vouchers for people who have trouble affording their pets. There are food programs, but I've never heard of grooming programs. You may want to talk to your local office to see if they'd pass out some sort of vouchers to those in need. Perhaps you could charge on a sliding scale depending on how much people can afford to pay. You could say that "My full price for grooming Fluffy is $$$$$, are you comfortable paying that?" If no, "How about $$$?" I think most people will pay as much as they can. I've always looked at pet grooming as somewhat of a ministry so I really applaud what you're trying to do!

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                  • #10
                    I applaud you for what you want to do. And I don't think other groomers could legally do a thing about it. That's too close to price fixing, which is illegal.

                    I used to work for a chiropractor who offered several options for people who needed finacial assistance, from prepaid plans that lowered the cost by about 40%, reduced fees if the patient provided proof of being low income (last years tax return works well for that), and barter. We had some legal issues we had to abide by...couldn't charge less than the Medicaid approved copay, and couldn't give services free, but barter was ok. A couple of patients paid in pies and cookies.

                    You could set up a sliding fee scale, and charge according to the clients ability to pay, or just set a fee you feel comfortable with. But do make sure that the clients really deserve the lower fees by asking for some proof of income. If they really need it, they won't have a problem providing it.

                    And make sure the fee covers your costs.

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                    • #11
                      I think that this is great if that is what you want to do. But you should also keep in mind that there are people out there that will try to take advantage of your kindness. I agree with the person that said that you should said that your normal grooming charge for this particular breed is......., but I will charge you this ........ for a senior discount.

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                      • #12
                        I agree with the others who posted here about how great it is that you want to help people in need. Just be CAREFUL! The woman who used to own my shop, a senior herself, said she didn't give senior discounts because most of the seniors she saw had more money than the young people.lol

                        That being said, I would definitely look to your local humane society for their guidance on this, as well as your local meals-on-wheels. I wouldn't personally be focusing just on the elderly, but, as Helly was mentioning, on anyone who was really in a tough spot and their dog needed care.

                        My shining, or should I say very dark, example of this was a couple that came in to turn over their Aussie when I worked at AC. They were in tears- they had lost their income, their home, and were having to stay at a shelter. Shelters don't allow dogs. This dog was one of the nicest you'd ever want to meet, but was reserved with strangers. People seem to be attracted to the dogs jumping around begging for attention, not the one who sits quietly and with dignity. No one was interested, and he was eventually put down.
                        (The rest of my life will be filled with memories like that, and worse, of working there...... my heart just breaks over and over.)

                        If you're open to helping, there are plenty in need. You're a very kind person to have such a strong desire to do this. :-)

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                        • #13
                          Grooming a luxury not a necessity?

                          How long have you been grooming? Do you go to Conferences? Have you been reading this board for long?
                          For all and each of the dogs that I groom....grooming is a necessity for the health of their skin and coat. The skin is the largest organ and needs to protect all the others with the assistance of a healthy coat.
                          If you were to advertise your intentions, which are kind and good, you may find yourself meeting wealthy seniors who may not truly appreciate your good intentions.
                          Info from Meals-On-Wheels etc. should be guarded to protect the elderly from people who offer services at a discount who may have another agenda. I was met with well-meant paranoia when I visited assisted-living homes in my area when I started out Mobile.
                          Past preditors make it difficult for us to make an impact in a charitable way. I wish you the best. If you are young and have the extra energy...go for it. Wouldn't it be wonderful if every little old lady and little old man had a nice clean dog to keep them company.
                          How about a charitable fund raiser for Veterinary Pet Insurance, Grooming Services, and Food Vouchers for matching pets for seniors. You know the older dogs at the shelters that would be perfect for a quiet loving short but forever home.

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                          • #14
                            Ask a local food bank if any of their elderly clients also ask for dog food.

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                            • #15
                              You have recieved a lot of great advice. I have none to add, just want to wish you luck in this adventure. Want you to know what a kind thoughtful person you are.
                              "There is no psychiatrist in the world like a puppy licking your face."
                              Diane

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