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Head groomer afraid to raise prices in our shop! Advice?

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  • Head groomer afraid to raise prices in our shop! Advice?

    Hello all! I need a bit of advice.

    When I got out of grooming school I worked under a groomer with 15+ years of experience. She is VERY good and uses all of the best (and expensive!) shampoos and tools. She stopped taking new clients a few years ago and they are all maintenance schedule dogs. She is typically booked for the year and people get angry when they can't get an appointment with her. When I worked for her, we could do up to 12 dogs a day. I told her she does high quality work and should charge more for her grooms, especially since her prices have been the same for 15 years. Even though she was reluctant, she tried twice to raise her prices by $5 and both clients got upset and threatened to go somewhere else. So now she is petrified to try raising prices with anyone else.

    Now I groom myself at the same place with her (Let's call her H) and another groomer who worked under her for 3 years (We'll call her S). Since I started grooming, H doesn't want to hire another assistant, therefore she can only do 5-6 dogs a day, which means she has to pass on her clients to us some days. Me and S would like to raise our prices, but we try to keep them the same across the board. If we can't get H, the head groomer, on board it doesn't make sense for us to raise our prices, especially since she talks us out of it saying they will go somewhere else.

    Small puppycut dogs and Schnauzers are generally $40.
    Goldendoodles and Standard Poodles are $60.
    Golden Retriever cuts are $45.
    German Shepherds are $40.
    Large Labs are $35.

    We are in Ohio, and I know other shops charge at least $50 for small dogs and $70 for standard poodles. One time I called a popular shop and they wanted $60 for a min schnauzer! Do you think our prices are too low? We are even in an area with high income clients. I think there's an illusion that people only come to us because we are so cheap, but when clients try somewhere else they come running back. Any advice on how we can reorganize our pricing? Or maybe just S and I should raise ours for new clients?

  • #2
    Hello, I think not raising prices in 15 years is absolutely ridiculous. You know why clients are threatening to leave and go elsewhere? Its because they view her as the cheapest place in town. Cheap people cause problems, they argue, they expect the world. $5 and they threatened to leave? Forget that. Make them leave and fill the spots with people willing to pay her well and respect her time. If I took over that salon tomorrow, you can bet a $10 price increase would be the first sign I put on that counter. Along with a new business name and under new ownership sign. If people had an issue with price "Sorry, new owners spoke to their accountant. Our prices weren't where they needed to be to stay open. " Those goldens, poodles, doodles would go up $25. If she had even raised prices $2 every two years she would be making a nice steady income and charging right.

    Anyways, if you are a contractor, You make your prices. You don't follow the stores pricing. Its your business and your income. If the head groomer wants to work harder and not smarter , move on with your own plans. Raise your own pricing.

    The pricing you posted is lower than my friends shops in some seriously economically challenged areas. Its lower by $3 to $5 to $10 compared to with the lowest of the low pricing. And that person pays $450 a month with utilities for her shop in the nicer area of downtown!


    Originally posted by DoggyDeSpa View Post
    Hello all! I need a bit of advice.

    When I got out of grooming school I worked under a groomer with 15+ years of experience. She is VERY good and uses all of the best (and expensive!) shampoos and tools. She stopped taking new clients a few years ago and they are all maintenance schedule dogs. She is typically booked for the year and people get angry when they can't get an appointment with her. When I worked for her, we could do up to 12 dogs a day. I told her she does high quality work and should charge more for her grooms, especially since her prices have been the same for 15 years. Even though she was reluctant, she tried twice to raise her prices by $5 and both clients got upset and threatened to go somewhere else. So now she is petrified to try raising prices with anyone else.

    Now I groom myself at the same place with her (Let's call her H) and another groomer who worked under her for 3 years (We'll call her S). Since I started grooming, H doesn't want to hire another assistant, therefore she can only do 5-6 dogs a day, which means she has to pass on her clients to us some days. Me and S would like to raise our prices, but we try to keep them the same across the board. If we can't get H, the head groomer, on board it doesn't make sense for us to raise our prices, especially since she talks us out of it saying they will go somewhere else.

    Small puppycut dogs and Schnauzers are generally $40.
    Goldendoodles and Standard Poodles are $60.
    Golden Retriever cuts are $45.
    German Shepherds are $40.
    Large Labs are $35.

    We are in Ohio, and I know other shops charge at least $50 for small dogs and $70 for standard poodles. One time I called a popular shop and they wanted $60 for a min schnauzer! Do you think our prices are too low? We are even in an area with high income clients. I think there's an illusion that people only come to us because we are so cheap, but when clients try somewhere else they come running back. Any advice on how we can reorganize our pricing? Or maybe just S and I should raise ours for new clients?

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    • #3
      OMG 15 years, crazy.

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      • #4
        Those prices that you have are higher than where I am.

        The place I work charges $32 for a small dog haircut.

        Sent from my SM-G900V using Tapatalk

        Comment


        • #5
          Those prices are incredibly low, no high, no low. It all matters where you are. Look the price surveys done every year. The same groomer can range from $50 to $125 depending upon location. These could very well be low where the OP is and if they haven't raised in 15 years, I tend to think they must be low because that would mean this groomer was charging really high prices 15 years ago and held steady. I think not. Two different persons.

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          • #6
            Low Prices for High Quality Breeds Bad Customers

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            • #7
              I'm no pricing expert, but I can see how this is a tricky situation. It sounds like she is the Head Groomer, the one with the most experience and the highest skill level. For you to charge more than her would be inappropriate. Is there another way to bring in more money without the dreaded price increase? What about selling add-ons like facials and nail polish? Since you say there are high-income people in the area, they should be able to easily afford the add-ons.

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              • #8
                18 years? Years?

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                • #9
                  Guess what though, any customers she can't fit in would have to go to you guys at your higher prices or they can just go to a different place. You don't have to match her prices because they missed out their chance to go to her by not prebooking or whatever. So who cares what her prices are, you guys charge your worth and the cheapos can go elsewhere

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                  • #10
                    I'm in ohio as well (northeast) those are similar to the prices I had when I had a store front. I've been grooming for almost 15 years. I would start by raising prices across the board with all new clients. As well as anytime her clients come to you charge a little more. I'm mobile now so my lowest price (20lbs and under) is $75. Check prices of shops around you and use that as a guide for what your new prices should be. People are going to complain and threaten to or actually go elsewhere. Most will come back once they realize you get what you pay for. Be confident when you quote prices. Don't apologize it is what it is.

                    Sent from my SM-G900V using Tapatalk

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                    • #11
                      Any time you raise prices you have to think some won't come back but the new fees will make up for it. But it is how you tell people, it's been so many years etc and costs have gone up etc. Most will stay, just be reasonable.

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                      • #12
                        We raise prices I think every three-five years, but don't quote me that exactly. Is usually no more than $5 or so and there is advanced notice given as to the upcoming price changes. Some customers are going to try else where, it's just how people are. Most will stay and be understanding and alot will come back after trying elsewhere and realizing that the extra money is worth it for the quality and service provided.
                        It's not what you look at that matters; it's what you see.
                        Henry David Thoreau

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                        • #13
                          Is she not open to taking on new clients to replace the cheap ones? Seems like she has that option.

                          A while ago a groomer of 20 years left our corp salon. She did a a very LARGE number of problem dogs for bare bones prices and never charged any extra for dematting services or handling. A lot of her customers were notoriously miserable to deal with. We literally had this huge purge of aggressive dogs and cheapos after she left, and to be honest, there were nicer dogs and more flexible clients standing in line to take their place. The clients of hers that stayed now pay for the extra time it takes and enjoy the better quality of the grooms because we take our time and get paid for it.

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