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Manipulative customers...

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  • Manipulative customers...

    This is kind of a rant mixed with a question. I just started my mobile in December and I've been doing pretty well. My prices are not extreme, but I do charge about $20 more than the box stores in my area. About a year before i started the mobile groomer in a small town about 10 miles north of me left, so I've picked up quite a bit of her business since I opened. One of my first calls from that area was a lady that lives in a very nice gated community. I advised her of what my grooming entails and of the price of $60, and she schedule the appointment. I got there groomed her dog and she was thrilled with the job I did, but then started asking questions about why I charge so much and told me that the previous mobile only charged her $35. Truthfully?! I thought she was lying. She paid the full price when she saw I wasn't going to drop my price. She pre booked for 6 weeks out and even called two of her friends that live in the same community and raved about me. They immediately called and even after quoting them the price they booked their dogs for the same day as her next appointment! I was thrilled!

    Then I showed up last week for their appointments. First one knew I wasn't going to budge on the price, but needed to remind me that she was always charged a lot less before. No biggie... when I got to the second customer all she did was complain about how the groomer they've been using recently does such a horrible job, it's uneven, etc. so after I groom the dog she just raves about how good her dog looks. She asks me the price which is $5 more than her friend because she has a bigger dog, and she starts telling me that she has referred so many people to me and that I "need to keep that in mind when I charge her" because they aren't used to paying anywhere near that much! I was in shock! I didn't know how to respond and honestly I don't think I did. I just kind of stood there and let her get it out of her system. Then she paid the full price.

    Out of curiosity I got in touch with the previous mobile groomer through a mutual friend. Come to find out her prices were that low. She worked her fingers to the bone and she was extremely busy but all the money she made went into the grooming van. She basically said that I would have a tough time making it in this area because people don't want to pay that much for grooming. Now, I'm lucky enough that I have a trailer instead of a van right now so I don't have a lot of overhead, but am I wrong in refusing to drop my prices for these customers? How do I handle customers like the second one above? I'm sure I looked real professional standing there with my mouth open not knowing what to say!

  • #2
    Wow. I'm not even sure how I would respond to that. I have never run into a customer that rude. I suppose I would just say I have to keep things fair and charge everyone the same. I appreciate your referrals, and would like to think they are based on the quality of my work, but if you feel like you can't give them without a reduction in your price, I'll understand if you don't give me any more.


    • #3
      Tell these people the truth. This girl didnt charge enough to maintain an income for herself and it all went into the vehicle. If you want to sustain this type of service then ill need to be paid. Thats why she is gone. People have no clue. Educate them.
      Stress is nothing more than a socially acceptable form of mental illness.- Richard Carlson


      • #4
        Excellent advice from stacie and cockerlvr.


        • #5
          I'd tell them that they were getting an amazing deal with their former groomer. "Wow, that's some low price!" Then just go about your business. If they can find a $35 mobile groomer, more power to them.


          • #6
            Stay firm. It's unrealistic in today's market to charge below $60 for a single dog house. Even shops are getting $45 and up. I would not be in business 7 years with those low prices. Many clients do not know what's built into a mobile price. For instance, fuel, maintenance, insurance, business licensing, product cost, taxes, vehicle registration (several hundred per year). When all is said and done, we are left with a portion of that $60 price. At $35, it would probably be less than $20 profit for an hour's worth of work, and if you are an employee, you get half of that. No groomer should work for those wages when the national push for $15 per hour minimum wage is taking hold.

            I tell you what, if $15 per hr becomes law nationally, I will raise my prices again. I will not have hamburger flippers making close to what my groomers make and not needing a skill and schooling.


            • #7
              How rude those people were !!...........they wouldn't have seen me standing there with my mouth open, they would have seen the back end of my van going down the street.

              You might consider on your answering machine, directing new clients to your website which lists your range of prices for size and breeds of dogs. This way, they already have a basic knowledge of your charges. Also direct them to fill out an application form, so you don't spend time on the phone asking them some simple questions such as address, breed and age of dog, grooming schedule they wish for, etc. You might want to contact some area mobile groomers and see which area needs more coverage and their prices, plus possible referrals from them.

              Happy standing your ground

              Dolly's Barking Bubbles, LLC



              • #8
                If people start fussing about price I smile and say "I know what the quality of my products and work is worth!" I don't want that kind of client. There are too many nice people and nice dogs to stress over the nasty ones.


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Petekids View Post
                  Excellent advice from stacie and cockerlvr.
                  I agree!