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So what do you say???

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  • So what do you say???

    I posted a bit ago about the newer groomer in our small town closing her doors in March after 9 months in business. We've been a bit busier (not overwhelmed) because of this.

    From what people have told me, the other groomer in town (her family owns the retail pet store) lowered her prices from when they opened 4 years ago.
    People call to book an appt. with us because they have a hard time getting into the competition in a timely manner. Obviously, because of their prices, they are booked more than 2 months out. (Complete small dog groom - $20, complete large dog groom, including newfies doodles and standard poodles - $30).
    Some, not all, ask us why we are so expensive.
    Our prices start at $37 for a complete Shih Tzu groom, $70 for a standard poodle, and large dogs like St. Bernards and Newfies start at $85.
    We obviously cannot compete with the competition's prices and stay in business.

    What do I tell these people without sounding like I'm putting down the competition?? "Ya get what ya pay for", to me, just sounds condescending.

    Any ideas?

  • #2
    To provide your pets with the quality pet care products we use on your pets, and to give your pet the time required to accommodate your pet safely and its comfort by not rushing it, our prices may be higher but it is what is required for superior grooming. Something in this vein.

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    • #3
      Honestly, I don't validate it at all. When presented with price comparisons between me and any competition-- and there are some low-ballers around here-- I barely respond with more than, "huh," and then just repeat what my price is. It's more awkward for them than it is me to just let it hang in the air.

      This may be tangential, but it feels relevant-- there are a lot of groomers in my area who market themselves as being "affordable," "cheap," "just love dogs and understand times are tough, so I strive to keep prices as low as possible." I resent with a frothy white hot ragey fury the implication that grooming is just a hobby for bored housewives or somesuch, not a skilled trade. And while there may be some for whom that's the case, it isn't the case for me and plenty of others. No, this is a business. I run it like a business. I don't know or care why the shop down the road charges roughly half what I do. I am completely unapologetic and refuse to justify my desire to earn a nice living, drive a nice car, take a vacation once in a while, not live in absolute squalor "for love of dogs." My prices are $$ - $$. They have the choice to pay it or not, but I'll be doggoned if I'm going to let them put me on the defense about my prices. Even if I defensively rage about it here.

      I get that markets are different, and all this may not apply to you, but honestly, faking it till I made it worked wonders for me. I'm trained, experienced, run a nice salon (and that presentation goes a long way), but most of my work is simple trims, buzzes, easy maintenance, not much flashy. However, having the appearance of being a step above the competition and being somewhat exclusive has built my business so that I am booked out year round, rarely take new clients, all despite being in a rural low cost of living area saturated with much cheaper groomers. The harder it is to get in, the more the people with money to spend want to get in. Also, auto rebooking because "this way I can guarantee you a spot in the future." It's offered as a courtesy to them, not a requirement, but pretty much all of my clients are auto rebooked. Once they get in, most of them stay. There are plenty of people glad to take the place of the few who don't. Not because I am so much better, but because they think I am. In my small low cost of living rural area, people are blowing up my phone and knocking down my door to pay $40 for a simple, no frills, small dog buzz cut even though they could get it for nearly half the price elsewhere. I feel like I am probably average, not necessarily spectacular. What I may lack in technical skills, I make up for with presentation, atmosphere, confidence. People are weird. I just work with that. Ain't no shame in my game.

      All of that may actually translate into "tl;dr- ya get what ya pay for." But with a more flowery presentation.

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      • #4
        Totally Clips nailed it.

        If you want to say something, maybe say it's not that we are expensive, but our competition is charging prices from the 1970's. We simply could not keep our doors open charging prices like that.

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        • #5
          Totally Clips is right. That's exactly how I run things too. My prices are my prices--I don't offer discounts for more than one dog either. If you don't like how I run things or how much I charge, please feel free to look elsewhere.


          Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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          • #6
            Totally Clips, you are sooooo right. My prices are little less than PetSmart for small dogs and more than private shops in our town (one charges $15 less than me for small breeds full grooms). But I have customers that appreciate what I do and how I run my business (one dog/family at a time, in and out in 1.5 hrs, undivided attention, etc), most of my regulars started asking if I am raising my prices, because they think I should. All salons have different expenses and different business models. We have some salons that let dogs run all together cage free, some like it, some don't and those people that don't, come to me. The ones that charge less groom more dogs a day so dogs stay longer in the salon - again, some people are OK with that, they can drop the dog off before work and pick it up on lunch break, those who don't like their dogs staying for hours, come to me. I don't remember anyone asking WHY I charge what I charge, some people just say they have to "talk to the husband" or a few will say that "so and so" charges less.

            To Petekids: if you feel you have to explain your prices (which you don't, really) you can tell them you have years of experience, use high end tools and products, you can tell them, "yes, I am expensive, and your dog will look like million bucks after I groom him". Don't apologize for your prices, they are what they are for a reason.

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            • #7
              I agree. Don't ever apologize for your prices. Your prices are still lower than my shop and much lower than my mobile and we have no shortage of clients willing to pay. We all have bills to pay and need to support ourselves and family. In this day anywhere in the US, no small dog full groom with haircut should be under 35 for basically an hour's worth of skilled work to be split with the shop so you earn 17.50 for that hour. States are starting to pass $15 minimums soon for basic unskilled jobs. Groomers should be many notches ahead of that 15 bucks per hour for a professional job like finish groomers.

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              • #8
                Totally Clips you took the words right out of my mouth.

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                • #9
                  I'm confused about something. You say the other groomer has lowered her prices from when they opened 4 years ago. Why? It wasn't to compete with your prices, since yours were higher than theirs. Why did they do it?

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                  • #10
                    Vote for Totally, run for president too.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Emma123 View Post
                      I'm confused about something. You say the other groomer has lowered her prices from when they opened 4 years ago. Why? It wasn't to compete with your prices, since yours were higher than theirs. Why did they do it?
                      This is one thing that drives me nuts...I can't figure out, in any way, shape or form, how they make a profit at their business. Why would one want to lower prices? Are they eligible for a non-profit business?(lots of them around here, we have a vet that is) They do carry a lot of dog food and pet supplies as well as selling reptiles, birds, etc. I know there is huge mark-up there. The father owns another large business, is the grooming a tax write-off? Do they provide grooming to benefit the lower income people in the area? If so, that is their prerogative.
                      In the long run, it's none of my business, but I get tired of trying to assure my clients they get a better groom here - because paying 3 times as much as the competition charges looks pretty ludicrous to most. (i.e. their Doodle grooms are $25-$30) Somebody said to me "maybe the groomer does it for fun." As much as I like my job, I can't fathom anyone grooming 10 dogs a day, 6 days a week for "fun". (her mother told my husband that is a pretty average day for her)

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                      • #12
                        They are not doing low prices out of the kindness of their heart. It's probably taxes and profits. The other pet business is using the grooming biz as a loss so it looks like less profit thus lowering the company tax burden. I can almost guarantee the cash paying grooms go directly into someone's pocket, not the company bank account to make it look more more of a loss.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by IrishSetterTom View Post
                          They are not doing low prices out of the kindness of their heart. It's probably taxes and profits. The other pet business is using the grooming biz as a loss so it looks like less profit thus lowering the company tax burden. I can almost guarantee the cash paying grooms go directly into someone's pocket, not the company bank account to make it look more more of a loss.
                          You may well be right. That is one way it is unfair for those persons that do declare all income and those that don't. So those charging so little actually can makeup for it by not declaring all income. Sad.

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                          • #14
                            Peteskids, maybe she is like I was when I started. In my 20's, major energy and drive. Hubby made enough to support us and pay my salons bills at first. I didn't ever have to work, I did it cause I loved it. I have consistently worked 5-6 days week 10-12 hours a day. And 13 years later I'm starting to want more time off, as my old clients pass away I will be able to. So perhaps it is her hobby, maybe she is herself a " cheap" or economical person that cringes to pay for things so that's why she charges so low. I hope in some way it helps out those who are unable to afford even $10 more. Compared to the $65 Yorkie here it seems like coffee money. I would not touch a doodle for that little unless it's weekly bath! ... On a mini... Puppy!!

                            Sent from my HTC One using Tapatalk

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