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  • how do you fire...

    How do you fire a client? Her dogs take me 6 hours to do. I know I am loosing money on these dogs she already pays alot but it should be more also.
    They use up all my water because they are so dirty, not to mention the one dog that can't get out of the fetal position to save his life, I have to tie him up just to get him to stay put, breeding issues with that one. I like her and 2 outta 3 of the dogs the location is great but not the hours or the work load involved. any advice would be greatly appreciated.

  • #2
    If you charged more would that make you more willing to stay w/her? If so, explain the problem and tell her to keep her as a client you need to charge her x more amount of money. As far as the water problem I am not mobile, so I don't know the logistics of that problem. Is there a posibility of you filling or partially filling at this clients home if she is willing?
    SheilaB from SC


    • #3
      I had that same problem with a woman with two dogs that took me over five hours! I was nearly pulling all the hair out of my head. I decided to raise her prices and hoped she wouldn't book with me and she didn't. She decided what she was paying was already high enough. So this woman went with another groomer and a few grooms later that groomer raised her prices and she cut with them. I don't know where she is now.
      With me, when I went to groom her dogs I told her right away that I was raising all of prices. When I finished the dogs I had put it in writing along with the new price and she said she would call me and never did.
      The second groomer told me she did the dogs already. Went home and cried because it took her whole day and she said she was so stressed out from taking nearly six hours with these two dogs that she had cancelled the other dogs that day. She thought about it and called the woman a few days later (the woman had booked her next appointment with this groomer). The groomer just told her outright that her dogs took her too long to groom and thus she needed to raise the prices and she raised them fourty dollars per dog! She explained that because the two dogs took her nearly six hours she was unable to do any other dogs that day when normally she does five to eight and sometimes ten dogs a day. The woman said nothing. Then sometime later the husband / boyfriend calls and leaves a message saying they would like to cancel their appointments. The groomer was relieved. She said she dreaded going to that house and we compared notes, I did too. I used to look at their names in the book and dread when that day was approaching. For these dogs, not only did they take forever to groom but one of them was a jumping biter which didn't help matters.
      So for me, raising the prices helped. Since then I don't groom certain breeds and if a dog takes way longer than it should (like a g.r. I did that took me two and a half hours when normally they take me an hour) I advise them that a shop is best. A shop is best because the dog has breaks in the kennel instead a straight run groom where they are standing the whole time.

      Good luck with that.


      • #4

        Tell her the truth,it's not a personal issue.Your loosing money on that job.Other wise do it on your day off. I do not think customers expect businesses to lose money on a job and they may actually be able to find a groomer who can do that job quicker somewhere or not but they wont be looking if you dont tell them the truth. If you said the person sucks or the dogs suck becuase of some trivial reason then you might want to make up some reasonable story.
        You dont need a story, it's just not working out and she should try another groomer who may be better adapted to the dogs needs.
        She may even ask how much it would cost to keep you so have a number in your head to respond with.


        • #5
          I think that's a tough one. I stopped doing big dogs several months ago due to back issues. But it's easy to let someone go when you have a health reason. The thing is I feel SO MUCH better without them. I had to let go of some great dogs and owners but the truth is I've been happier because of it. I didn't even realize how much I dreaded all that work. Too much time and energy for not enough pay. Even charging high wasn't worth it most times because of all the extra effort in lifting and reaching. I know I didn't help solve your problem (sorry), but I really think I'd tell her truth.

          We once had a stinky dog coming to daycare. The owner was letting him swim in a stagnant pond. We couldn't figure out how they tolerated him in their house. We finally told them that he couldn't come any more because he smelled so bad. They decided to not let him in the filthy water any more so he could still come to daycare. My point is that we put up with it for longer than we needed to...should of just been honest right at the start!!!


          • #6
            Maybe you could raise the prices and tell her you can only do 2 dogs one day and you will have to come back and do the other one on a different day. I just started doing housecall grooming so water is not an issue, but it is much harder to do 2 or more dogs in a reasonable amount of time. I like to be able to put a clean wet dog in a cage and let it air dry for a few minutes while I bathe the other dog, then get the first dog out and dry it. But when the client doesn't have a crate, it is harder two do 2 all the way through.


            • #7
              When I have multiple dogs, I wash them both at the same time or 3 if they are little, towel dry them both blast the big water off them in the tub then put one on the table and dry that one. When the first is dry, I put the dryer hose in the clamp and aim it at the dog in the tub. by the time I am done with the first hair cut, the second dog is almost dry. If your gene or inverter can handle it, run 2 dryers at the same time with one on a clamp. This cuts the time down. What kind of dogs are these GP's? 3 dogs should not use all your water.
              If your dog is fat, you are not getting enough exercise!


              • #8
                I would actually schedule 1 dog a day. This gives you time to refill your tank somewhere if needed, and catch a break. What kind of dogs are they? I agree with the general, by all means be honest. You could come prepared with a higher fee and a list of potential other groomers who might better accomodate them. Or, you could require she hose them down with just water ahead of time to get rid of some of the dirt. Could you bathe them in HER house?? Just some last minute ideas...maybe not so good, LOL!


                • #9
                  One thing I have been recently doing with these labor intensive dogs (cockers and goldens for me) is explain to the owner that these dogs needs to be done every 4 weeks instead of every 6 weeks. If they feel the cost is too high with more frequent grooming they can go somewhere else. You totally understand. No hard feelings. And they need to understand what it takes to groom a dog like that in the van. It's a killer. Some of these owners stayed, some went elsewhere. But the one's that stayed are a lot less work and I am able to make money instead of lose money. Lot less wear on me too.


                  • #10
                    This is easy, it seems hard but it isn't.

                    If no amount of money is worth it, just tell them that you will no longer be able to groom their dogs and give them the name and number of a salon. If they ask why, tell them it is too labor intensive for you working alone in the van. When people call me with big dogs I just tell them I don't do dogs over 50 lbs..sometimes they indignantly ask why and I just tell them that i work alone, am over 40 and can't physically do it. Even if these aren't large dogs, they must be terribly a lot of work to take so long, and you can easily play the working alone-too much of a physical strain card.

                    If you would groom them at a higher price, tell them that your price is going to increase to XXX effective immediately. If they walk, GREAT...if they don't...well, you get the money. Just be sure it is enough that while you still may dread the work, you look forward to the pay. Like, don't BARELY make the price what you would tolerate...make it enough to be juicy. Also make it clear that this price is only good if they are on a regular schedule of at least X weeks. That way, they can't be smart and just call less often.

                    I got rid of a standard poodle this way. I just charged them a whole lot more and told them that even if they booked more often, the price would be the same. The dog was a beating. My standard poodle is the ONLY standard poodle I will ever groom in my van again.


                    • #11
                      I have the same problem with a client that has multiple dogs. I posted recently about them. 2 Old english, 1 Standard poodle, 1 chow, 1 cocker, 1 akita, 1 westie. They are a job, believe me.

                      The 2 old english and the Standard are young, under 1 year. They live mostly outdoors during the day and have their own rooms to sleep in at night. But they run and dig, and run and dig. They are so dirty, It took me over 8 hours to groom the 2 OES and I was mad. I had to refill my water after the first OES. Those dogs were the reason I had a drain clog I think because their coat was full of stickers and twigs which were going down my drain.

                      The standard they like in an all over hand scissored clip which ends up being almost 4 hours total because he is filthy. It took 2 hours to bath and dry him.

                      The CHOW is the easiest and the fastest one for me to groom, believe it or not.

                      SO this is my theory, if you groom these dogs and it takes all of your water because they are that dirty, you can't possibly fit in other appointments without going home and refilling your water, which takes time, which takes money. So you should figure out what you make per day and increase this customer to make the right profit.

                      If you think you can't handle the table paster/fetal position dog than maybe you should consider dropping them due to the physical strain it costs you. Recommend they find another mobiler or shop who can handle them.

                      It should be more simple that it seems to you. I personally have restricted my weight to 50 pounds and I've been dropping any clients that I already have that is over the weight that I have a hard time handling.

                      The bottom line is: lifting and maneuvering heavy dogs who are scared of everything is a risk to your safety and their own. I once had a doberman who became frightened while I was transferring her from tub to table, her twisting and resistance to the move made us both fall. No one was hurt, except I really hurt my funny bone on the table. But it could've been bad, I would've been out of business and out of work possibly, or I could've hurt the dog.

                      I decided that for me to stay in business and be happy, I must limit myself. We are not super humans just because we can handle dogs. We have no one to impress, and we have no reason to put our body through such torture.


                      • #12

                        You are all so awesome I will use your advice and tell her the truth these are the soft coated wheatons with 8-10 inches of hair that stay ouside all the time. Friday I was able to use the E comb on them but I still had to brush them out first. The owner had her house keeper ask me if I still wanted to do the dogs I said yes then but that was before I got to Daah-kota. I think the only way I would be happy grooming these dogs is to run a 4 blade all over them, I know she would never agree to that. Thank you for your input I do appreciate it.


                        • #13
                          I tell every client with a long haired mop, that we keep them short and neat. This helps to keep them mat free, skin healthy, no maggots, and other things. Most owners that use me don't have time to brush themselves let alone the dog.


                          • #14
                            If a dog is larger and does the "fetal position" thingy, I send them home. I physically can't handle that. I am 5'2" and 125 lbs. My back is bad from years of gymnastics, 2 car crashes, and sitting on the floors while living in Korea, with bad posture, lol. I cannot sit very long and I certainly can't be lifting dogs that do that in the tub.

                            From your description, the dogs sound like they aren't groomed very often (8-10 inches of hair, plus the fetal position thing is a scaredy dog position---usually dogs that aren't groomed regularly).

                            LET THEM GO, it's not worth it. Just politely tell them it is physically too much work for you, you are only doing dogs under 5 lbs (LOL) and that you will refer her to _____________ (fill in blank with your arch rival groomer in town, lol).

                            DON'T KILL YOURSELF, YOUR BACK, OR YOUR STANDARD OF LIVING over a dog's hair do! It's just not worth it. Just close your eyes and imagine your life without these dogs? Did you smile?

                            Tammy in Utah
                            Groomers Helper Affiliate


                            • #15
                              Im not in the mobile biz my self but I have a friend that she rates charges for each appointment goes as followed she has a flat rate fee for the appointment it self(show up fee this covers her time and gas to get there) then she charges additional fees by the hr not by the dog.example
                              appointment fee $35.00 ,$35 per hr there after
                              charge for your time spent at each appointment this will make it worth your time