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Charging by the hour

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  • #31
    Originally posted by desertdog View Post
    My problem is I groom just 3 standard poodles. I charge a certain amount, which seems like a lot but I feel like I'm getting ripped. If I can groom a yorkie, or maltese in 45 min to an hr and charge xx amount.. and 2 of the standards take me 2.5 hrs.. for the price I charge, if you break it down, it's less per hr than the price of the yorkie.

    So I don't take on new st poo clients, because it's just not financially beneficial. I also don't groom many dogs over 50 lbs either. I am tired of the big hairy dogs that take way too much time with cleanup in the van. I thought I would change my web page and charge new clients with the st poos and doodles by the hour. Most small dogs I can do in an hr or less anyway so would it be worth posting an hrly rate or would that scare people off?

    What do you all think?
    I was having the same problem about St. Poodles, so I sent letters to all of those clients explaining that 3/4" or less kennel/sport clips would be XX, anything longer than that would be XX for 2 hours of work or XXX for 3 hours of work. The same thing was happening to me where St. Poodles were really hurting me, especially since I have a waiting list of hour dogs wanting appointments.


    • #32
      A few years back at his seminars, John Stazko told us that we should charge what it would take to do the dog on average, by an average groomer. Meaning that if we can do the dog in 45 minutes because we're really fast we still should charge for the hour. If a large, short haired dog takes less time, he said that it still takes the same amount of shampoo, electricity, groomer expertise and skill, etc. If I dematt a dog quickly and painlessly I should charge the rate that reflects an average grooming time.


      • #33
        I work in the shop where receptionist books all of our appointments. I feel comfortable to groom about 8 dogs a day. When I started working there their bath dogs, yorkie, maltese and chi prices were in low 20's and shih tzu and terriers were in mid 30's. Because I was comfortable grooming only 8 dogs a day, I was booked only 8 dogs a day regardless of the breed or what was done to them. There were days when I had 5 yorkies and three baths and did not make as much money as I would if I had other breeds. I could not change anything about the way scheduling was done and I did not know how much it cost a shop to do businees. So, I had to get creative. I figured out how mach time I was spending per dog on average. Turned out that I was spending an hour per dog in 8 hour working day when I had 8 dogs. Then I figured out how much money I wanted to make in a day without sweating too much and not loose money on "easy" dogs. Divided that number by 8 and came up with a number that represents a minimum charge per dog. It became my hourly rate as well.
        The way I apply it is: On small and non time consuming dogs that take me an hour or less I charge for full hour because it is my minimum rate per dog as well. After first hour I charge according to how much time I spend on the dog. In the end I make my goal per day and have some extra money regardless of what kind of dogs i groom.
        So If I have two yorkies that I could finish in 1 1/2 hours they still pay for two dogs because they take two slots on my book.
        I know this is somewhat complicated but given my circumstances it works out great.


        • #34
          ahhhhhh so confusing

          Ok, I have some of the same things as everyone else on my mind about pricing and how to go about it. weight vs. breed vs. hourly

          Well I have thought long and hard about it and decided recently to go by breed with add on for dematting or anything that took extra time, thus not disclosing to my clients how much time I expect to spend on their dog, just my own personal guidline for how much to quote them.

          I want to charge a trip fee plus the cost of each dog. This makes it fair for my multiple dog clients. especially my household of 3 boston terriers. I originally quoted this client for her three bostons XXX$, and she was a little hesitant but said okay, we really want you. I get there groomed all three in 1.5 hours and couldnt bring myself to charge her what I quoted her. So I went in and told her XX for the trip, XX for each dog, comes to XX$. That was fair to me and her, she was very happy, rebooked for 6 weeks, and now I have a regular that I am still making more than I do for 1 shihtzu for the same amount of grooming time.

          so what's that tell you??? I need to change my other grooming prices, or drop them all and take on bath only dogs, LOL!!!

          any th oughts?


          • #35
            I know for me I can do most of my regular 4-6 week dogs in about an hour. That being said my clients consist of maltese, yorkies, mini schnauzers, shihtzus, bichons (all of which are same length all over w/round head), and the little mix breeds.
            I now charge according to breed standard. So if the client has a yorkie that is the correct size according to akc breed profile, I start at my minimum price for the breed.
            Giving that it is a well behaved dog, correct size, and done with an attachment comb, westie or round head, I know I can groom these start to finish in 45 min to an hour. I also use my clipper vac, hv dryer if the dog can stand it and I follow up w/my stand dryer to fluff. Just because it may take me 45 min. I am not going to discount the groom, I will charge the minimum.
            Now if its a 20# yorkie, obviously going to be more, maybe only by $5 but its bigger so its more even if it still only takes me an hour.

            Now if i have a pug or a boston, I still have a minimum, I know about how long these dogs will take me start to finish. But I make sure their folds are clean, I clean ears, deshed, clip and grind nails. The norm. I spend a little extra time towel drying the faces because I do not use cage dryers (even on air) on smashed face breeds. I do use the hv on the body. I know these will take me about 30 ish minutes. I have one pug I bathe that is the correct size and one that is pretty beefed up, lol. So i charge a bit more for the beefy one, he is about twice the size a pug should be.

            I guess this is where it really comes in handy to know the standards.
            Although I will admit I did just read in the akc book that am. eskimos come in 3 sizes, in 20+years I honestly never knew that. Pays to read, lol.

            anyway, after reading crystal's post, I can see why you would alter the price, it seems you have a general charge per hour. and you know you can do the 3 bostons in 1.5, its probably within your average. I am not mobile so my prices are lower, thats why I do stick to my minimums.


            • #36
              Hrly didn't work so well

              Ok, I changed my webpage to reflect hourly charging and my phone literally stopped ringing. I didn't change over my current clients because I wanted to get a feel for it first. I think I scared away potential business. So after a month or so I stopped advertising for hourly and made a price chart like lyttleravyn does. I don't know if it's coincidence or not, but my phone is ringing again and I'm booking 3 to 4 new clients a week again. I'm booked out for the next 2 weeks. I also raised my prices from what they were before the "hourly mistake" lol. I just tell people it's a base price and could be more for matting, behavior..etc.
              Anyway, just thought I would update you on my little pricing experiment.


              • #37
                Thanks for the update.


                • #38
                  hourly only works

                  If you are the ONLY groomer. As different groomers work at different speeds... I have considered going hourly, but I don't think i'm actuallly going to charge for the whole thing...

                  See I LOVE grooming standard poodles, but If i charged hourly they would all go bye bye.. That would make me sad. So I suck it up and don't charge the same for my standard time as I do for my shih tzu time.

                  I figure if I charge per minute of drying/brushing and clipping/trimming time then it should work out. I don't charge for prep work and the bath.

                  If say... $1 per minute of drying, finishing... then a dog who takes about an hour will be worth $45. A standard poodle who gets clean face and feet takes me about 45 minutes to prep and bath. Then and hour and 15 minutes to dry and finish... usually. so that would put the standard at $75... the system seems to work.

                  If you don't want to take a cut on dogs like standards, then don't. You pretty much have to groom them cause you love them. And if the people are willing to pay your hourly rate, then BONUS!!! but you will likely end up grooming mainly small dogs and shorter haired bath and brush dogs. I would get bored without my standards.