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Warning...watch your discounts!!

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  • Warning...watch your discounts!!

    Today I did 6 grooms (normally don't work Tuesdays but was gone all last week to help my daughter with our new grandson, so I have to make up missed grooms), and didn't make a cent.

    When we opened 10 years ago we started offering deep discounts (9 grooms, 10th free) to bring people in because we are in a small town and were unknown to the people in the area. It worked, but too well. We were seriously trying to quietly discontinue it about 3 years ago, but the competition that moved in lowered their prices so drastically that we had to keep the discount. They still do an average small dog full groom for $20, newfies for $30. We're about double that.

    We knew this would happen sooner or later: of the 6 grooms today, 4 were free. The income from the other 2 grooms paid for our kennel assistant's wages and that was it.

    It really is starting to impact the bottom line. Not sure what the solution is, but I think we'll try doing a half price 10th groom and see how many customers we lose. Oh, and we haven't raised prices in 2 years.

    This is just a warning to others to be careful about what type of discounts you offer. Truthfully, we thought it would be a good idea...it wasn't. I don't want others to make the same mistake.

  • #2
    Thanks for the heads up. Do you have a time limit on earning the free groom? I've considered doing a buy 8, get one free but with a 12 month cycle--so they have to come in more often than every 6 weeks to get the free groom. So 8 grooms in 13 months would not earn a freebie. I'm still not sure whether it's a good idea though...

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    • #3
      We have made it without ever discounting services. Even in the beginning I was tempted and I adopted a just say no. I have privately comped several customers that brought me many referrals, but no referral program is advertised. I do discount some supplies occasionally to move stock but then again we don't stock much. Good thoughts Pete.

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      • #4
        I have a referral policy that allows a free bath or 1/2 off groom when you refer 3 new dogs. Huskies and the like are not included in free bath considering it is a groom for them. It is not posted and I forget 1/2 the time to mention. Clients really light up when they hear about it though. Worked for corp and they would discount our commission when owners would get their free groom. That I dont think was fair.

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        • #5
          I hear ya! I also think you should add a limited time to your card!
          I did gave -10% of discount at 6th groom but it pissed me off because they always want more, and the twice a year grooms always try to get more discount!
          Like I give a discount because they have 2 dogs and they still give me the card for the 10% discount, even if I explained it doesn't work that's 6th discount or multiple dog discount, not both !
          I deleted my discounts card, I didn't lost any client, but no one over here does the 10th groom free or half price!

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          • #6
            Our corp had a program like that a few years ago, but you had to get the dog groomed 8 times in 12 months to get a free groom. We no longer do this for various reasons. The only discounts I don't mind are new customer coups (one time only), discounted bath for customers that only got nail trims (one time only), and discounts on spa packages as an incentive to try our upgrades (we don't see these much anymore though).

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            • #7
              Tell me, Pete, is there anywhere in the USA that someone should pay $20 for a small dog full groom? That's crazy. I won't bathe a Chiu for $30. You need to quit giving ANY discounts. In my opinion, cheap prices = cheap clients. Raise your standard. you don't want their prices or clients.

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              • #8
                I don't do any discounts, even when they have 4 dogs at one home, (I'm mobile).........and as far as only charging $20 for a groom........My Chiu client gets charged $75 and I always get a $25 tip. I would discontinue all discounts as of 2016, good grooming and good customer service will keep you clients loyal to you. I think every groomer that starts up with discounts is sorry as the years go by.

                Happy having no discounts

                Dolly's Barking Bubbles, LLC

                www.dollysbarkingbubbles.com

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                • #9
                  I have had people ask for a discount when they brought their own shampoo. Ugh.

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                  • #10
                    I did the math to figure out what this discount program does to your "bottom line."
                    Let's say your average small-dog grooming fee is $40 per groom.
                    (9 grooms at $40) + (1 groom at $0) = $360 total amount received for 10 grooms.
                    So your fee per small-dog groom has decreased from $40 to $36 per dog due to the discount program.
                    Instead of making $400 for ten grooms, you are making $360.

                    If you decide to change your discount program, and discount the 10th groom by 50% instead of making it free, you are going to earn $380 for ten grooms, or $38/groom.

                    You could offer loyal clients some pretty cool stuff like dremeling, holiday nail polish, facials, a free collar or a small bag of food, and still do better financially than you're doing now with this discount program. You see what I'm saying? I'm not a math whiz, but I think that I got the math right here.

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                    • #11
                      Remember you are in business to make money, don't worry about the competition.

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                      • #12
                        I am discount free, say it loud, say it proud.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Brit View Post
                          I am discount free, say it loud, say it proud.
                          Me too Brit! DISCOUNT FREE!!!!!!
                          Ain't always easy to stand up for what is right.

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                          • #14
                            So, those of you that are discount free, you charge the same for a client that brings their dog grooming every 2weeks the same as someone that brings them every 6-8?

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by The Dusty Muzzle View Post
                              So, those of you that are discount free, you charge the same for a client that brings their dog grooming every 2weeks the same as someone that brings them every 6-8?
                              Absolutely, however, I will suggest perhaps a bath or bath with touchup if the last appt just 2 weeks ago was a full groom.

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