Where Have All The Groomers Gone?

image(Yes, I took this picture as a funny for the owner but truth be told after 5 hours on this one dog, it portrayed exactly how I felt!)

 

I keep hearing lately, my groomer closed, my groomer sold her place, my groomer moved, my groomer doesn’t groom anymore. Where are all the groomers going and why? Let me give you a little insight on our struggle to make a living at what we love to do.
Groomers, for the most part are animal lovers by nature. Animal lovers, by nature, are very compassionate, often soft hearted people. We often feel deeper and think deeper than the average person. Unfortunately, this puts us in a compromising position when it comes to business. Often times we are taken advantage of and under appreciated because of the way we are or because we are “just dog groomers! Playing with dogs all day.”
A past client of mine said to my father recently, “must be some money in dog grooming!” My Dad laughed and said, “why would you say that?” “Well it is $60 to get my dog groomed.” My father didn’t waste a second telling this man everything that went into getting his dog groomed. The time it takes, the skill involved, the physical labour, the patience and compassion. After all, if it was that easy, wouldn’t you save your money and just do it yourself?
What upsets me most about the misconception of the Pet Grooming industry is that people treat it more like a hobby. We raise our prices and it causes such an uproar often times groomers avoid it until it is a painful necessity. Gas goes up, food goes up, insurance, taxes … But a groomer raises their price on your dog groom and the heavens open and the thunder rolls! How dare they!
Let me ask you this! Do you expect to get a raise? I thought so, so do we. We have families to feed, we have bills to pay. As much as we love our job, the truth is, it is a business! We are just so lucky we get to make a business out of our passion.
Let me tell you what happens when a groomer doesn’t keep prices high enough to cover all the expenses of running a small business. We have to do more dogs to meet our bottom line. (Yes, we have one! You know that magic number that you have to meet in order to keep the lights on and food on your table. For the average person it is called their weekly pay check!) With more dogs comes more stress, more physical strain on our bodies, a shorter career. Burn out! Groomers burning out is the number one reason you loose your groomer. When their passion becomes a curse. Their bodies give out, their lungs fill with dog hair and dander, their spark dies out… But lucky for you, they kept their prices low. Should I even bring up the fact most of us are self employed. No benefits, no pension plan, no paid vacation and until the changes in recent years, no maternity leave! But then again, with the cost of living these days who can pay more to have their dog groomed, right?
Let me also take a moment to let you in on a little secret; your groomer is not responsible for the tax you have to pay on goods and services. If the price to groom your dog is $60, the other $9 you pay… Go call the government and complain! We constantly get the “PLUS TAX?!?!?” comment. It is frustrating to say the least. You don’t pick up something at the convenience store for $5.99 and then get to the cash and say “PLUS TAX?!?!?”
When I stared grooming in 2004, the starting price for a dog grooming was $40. Let’s put that in perspective, shall we? That was 12 years ago. Think about how much things cost 12 years ago? There are groomers around now still charging $40/$45 dollars. Afraid to adjust their prices, afraid they will loose business. Instead they go on struggling. There are only so many hours in a day and only so many dogs one person can groom and groom well.
Next time you wonder why this groomer closed or stopped grooming perhaps give some thought to just how hard a job it was and just how many times they probably heard “that’s so expensive.” or “did the price go up?” Please remember, we pay the same as you for gas, utilities, food, all the necessities of life. If everything is going up, chances are we need to adjust accordingly or we could wind up in big trouble.
Be kind to your groomer, show them some love. They take care of your beloved pets and they work very hard.

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64 thoughts on “Where Have All The Groomers Gone?

    1. MY GROOMER CHERYL IS A MASTER GROOMER.SHE WORKS HARD AND DOES A GREAT JOB ON MY DOGS,THEY ARE A COATED BREED THAT NEEDS TO BE HAND DRYED. MY DOGS ARE EXCELLENT FOR HER AS THEYARE SHOW DOGS AND GET HANDLED ALL THE TIME. I HAVE SEEN DOGS GROWLING AND TRYING TO BITE CAUSE THEY DO’NT WANT TO BE GROOMED. SHE HAS THE PATIENCE OF A SAINT AND SHE IS ONE OF THE THINGS I DO APPRECIATE . MY DOGS LOVE HER AND SO DO I. WHAT EVER SHEWANTS I AMFINE WITH THAT BECAUSE SHE IS WORTH IT

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I always do, $10 per dog for a shampoo and “blow out”, $15 per dog when they get their specialty cuts, I have 2 poms that get groomed regularly.

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  1. definitely understand this struggle. I am a certified pet groomer. I rarely get any clients now at all because I now live at my dad’s. My dad will not allow any other dogs here and I really can’t afford to go to other people’s houses unless i walk …. ugh ….

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  2. you forgot to mention a bunch of details such as a person bringing in their dog to groom that they said is groomed by them daily to find that the top half may be serviceable but the bottom of the dog is so matted and filthy you have to spend an additional hour or two grooming it up, don’t forget we also get to deal with dogs who have met a skunk, anal glands which need to be expressed, and if you don’t know what that’s like be very, very happy as it is a stinky objectionable task. We get bit, scratched, get soaked by dogs who shake when wet, have to deal with dogs who won’t stand still or won’t let you touch their feet, who carry so much manure caked in their backsides that it would be easier to shave them to the skin than to try and remove it, dogs so matted that you don’t even know where to begin to groom them, dogs so filthy that it takes sever washes to remove the dirt, mud, whatever, you have to deal with people who want their double coated dogs :shaved to the skin” whom you inform this is not healthy for them but have to do it anyway, then you have to deal with the dogs who poop in their cage or throw up and you have to start over, then the owners quibble over price, want extras all for free, of course, some who bring dogs in that cry or whine the whole time, some whom hate to get into or out of the bath, who try anything and everything to prevent getting groomed. You have people that want a show quality groom on their pet quality dog and don’t know why you can’t work miracles. Just to mention atypical day for the groomer, not to mention the back strain from lifting overweight dogs onto the table or into the tub, being wet, cold, hungry, sweaty and covered in hair or other things, having to clean dog who have rolled in something you would rather not know what and so much more. Typical for a dog groomer, then you get little satisfaction from a kind word from a customer or even a tip. A beautician gets tips all the time and have much less work to do and much less stressful work to do and get much higher tips than a pet groomer.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Amen.It is 35 years for me.Vet tech 28 .Which I have used that knowledge in grooming for health and looks.After having groomed from 12-15 a day for many years,I am down to maybe 8-10 a week.I live in daily pain.I wouldn’t have done anything else but I have no pension etc.But we are JUST the dog groomer.
      We are using SHARP tools on moving biting,licking jumpy babies.
      But we r JUST dog groomers.
      I must say I do have respect from my extended family and all the vets around.But there is so much more involed.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. Spot on, it is a very hard job, half the time not enjoyable, after all, who likes to fight with a matted fi;lthy dog, whos owner swears that it has been grromed every day, then you check your records and see that this poor animal has not been for a bath in the last 12 months etc etc……….owners are many times too much to handle…………. Poor dogs are not to blame, but I now refuse to spend hours dragging out matts which are very very painful, and leave the skin irritated which owner feels s our fault, I could go on and on, but you get the message right !!!!!!!!!!!!

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  3. You did not mention all the dog hair that sticks in the groomers nose, the ticks that jump off your dog on to the groomer…the number of times a groomer gets bit! It is a hard job. I will confess that I did it for a few years… I would never do it again! I respect and admire the young lady that grooms my dog. I know what you have to put up with. OMG I just thought about the Anal gland that needed cleaned on most little dogs! Yuck! I LOVE MY GROOMER .

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  4. The best groomer in my area is closing on 4/23 mainly due to inconsiderate people who didn’t show up for their appointments on time, or at all. Several of the offenders wouldn’t even offer to pay her anyway after missing an appointment. Many weeks she was hundreds of dollars in the hole from this kind of thing. They think this is a hobby, not someone’s livelihood. The one’s showing up very late for appointments often lost their spots and then would be irate. The day for her was booked far in advance and working 7 am until 7pm nearly every day is long enough. I don’t blame her at all.

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    1. That’s y I am mobile groomer….. I finnnddd themmmm. Lol and if they r not there and they want to reach they have to pay a coming out fee or I drop them. Love it….I got the best customers!!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Ain’t that the truth? I lasted exactly one year in business as a professional groomer before a repetitive strain injury made it so I couldn’t even lift a six-pound Shih Tzu with my left hand (the final straw was a dog that went berserk in the tub and cranked my wrist so hard I ended up in physio therapy). But in that year, I had people complain about prices, miss appointments frequently (I estimate one in four just didn’t show up), make some bizarre assumptions about my job, bring dogs in that were so matted I spent most of the day just trying to safely shave their hair off and insist their dogs only needed to be groomed once a year (spring and summer were particularly busy, but throughout the rest of the year, grooming simply wasn’t viable as a full-time business).

    And now people wonder why there’s no groomer in town.

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  6. I have been on both sides of the issue. I am allergic to alot of the products, especially tick and flea dips.
    I had some wonderful customers but more ungrateful ones.
    I take my dog to a groomer and I am grateful to have a good one. I treat her well and am very happy to have her groom my dog . She takes great care to make sure he has a good experience and I am more than happy to pay her fee PLUS tip. I find it amusing that people will go to a beautician and pay the price without question. Doesn’t your pet deserve the same?
    Thank You groomers…I know what you go through I have been there too!!

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  7. Besides what the original article mentions, most people think the price we get for each groom goes right into our pocket! They don’t seem to realize we pay rent, electric, water, gas and phone. We have to actually buy the shampoo and products we use! I pay taxes as my groomers are employees. I pay for workmans comp insurance. I have to pay quarterly taxes on my income. We have to replace equipment Because we hand dry, I pay a bather every day. There is a lot that comes out of your charge before it gets to me! People will ask for my qualifications then bring me a dog they haven’t touched with a brush for 2 months (or longer) and expect me to groom the dog in 1.5 hours. I’ve been peed on, pooped on, and bit more times than I can count. My arms are full of scars from being scratched doing nails clips. It’s been 6 mos, princess needs her nails done. Oh, and she doesn’t like it! My body is broken from trying to accommodate old dogs, fat dogs that won’t stand, and from trying to keep your unruly dog on the table. I spend $40 every week at the chiro so I can walk and keep working. Yep, there is no discount line at the grocery or gas station for groomers. I need to work. I do love what I do and have kept coming back for 27 yrs. Good groomers are getting harder than ever to find. You better take care of the one you have!

    Liked by 2 people

  8. I was a groomer for a few years, it’s just not worth the money for the work that goes into it. No wonder they are disappearing. Good article, thanks for the read.

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  9. Thanks for sharing your frustrations of being a groomer. I have a wonderful groomer and know that she works hard. I let her know that I appreciate her, and I tip her well.

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  10. Incredible article and equally incredible comments. I can’t add much except to add my name to the list of groomers who’ve read and loved this. I’ve been at it for 16 years now and I’ve been thru the ringer with everything you’ve mentioned. I luckily work for an incredible business owner now who tries to accommodate my challenging school schedule, and meet my financial needs as well as running a booming business with a very full life of her own to manage outside of the salon. If you use a groomer, make sure tell her (or him) how much you appreciate the work they do. (Verbal tips are awesome but monetary tips spend better! πŸ˜€ The job is not easy and we’re only here because your animals are our passion.

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  11. And this is why our shop is closing. If we can’t take them the morning they call, they leave and go to the pet store that grooms. Usually 4 to 5 no shows a week. Our rent is astronomical. we paid more for rent than we made this year. Plus insurance, utilities, supplies. Very sad, but we tried.

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  12. I have two toy poodles and have them clipped every 6weeks and l have witnessed some dogs that come all knots and never been brushed this alone is very time consuming.
    When they come in to be bathed then clipped they still should come in knot free.
    Thanks Joan & Karen

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  13. I was a groomer for 20+ years and I am no longer grooming due to back, knee, shoulder,and most the joints are damaged due to the overuse of my body I loved every bit of grooming and miss loved this article Good Job !

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  14. After reading your article, I wonder if there are still any groomers out there that actually enjoy the profession! I have been grooming full time since 1970 ( that is 46 years ) and to this day I still enjoy what I do. I realize that any job with animals has its down falls, but the good feelings and gratifaction that I feel each and every day is worth so much more than my few grumbles. If a person makes the decision to be in business for yourself, the taxes and such are simply part of the price to be a business owner, no matter what type of business you choose……I still love my job, I also still hand dry each dog or cat and sissor finish each one of them. It may come down to the fact you are in it for simply the money. As for tips, even at the age of seventy I cannot believe the tips I still receive. So for those of you that are so unhappy in the grooming business, there is still McDonalds and Walmart or many others places where you might seek employment . As for me I still will be grooming until I simply cannot physically do so..

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Judy,
      If you got the idea that I do not like my job from what I wrote you are obviously in the wrong mindset. I simply am stating while I LOVE what I do, it is still a job that I need to feed my family. Everything seems to be affected by inflation but the general public (NOT ALL, but a lot, as you can see from various comments from all over the world) seem to feel their grooming price shouldn’t be.
      Congrats on 46 years, that is an amazing accomplishment! Wishing you many more!

      Like

  15. Well said! After 12 years I burned out and left and went back to college. I’m still in college but after 8 months, I missed grooming so bad that I went back and work 1-2 Saturday’s a month(for the last couple years now) as well as show my standard poodle. But now I get to enjoy it as a passion again and I am very strict to not take on too many dogs or put my clients before myself. For 12 years I put my clients before myself and my family, and it nearly killed me.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Well said. It took me a long time to learn I am the boss, not the client. I do what I can with the matted dogs, but I won’t rip and tear on a dog for the sake of a groom. They get shaved and I teach the owner about care. If they don’t come back, oh well. I am in this for two reasons; I love animals and I love helping them feel better. The humans are just a part I have to deal with. However, they can be trained. It takes time and patience, just like grooming. I have been at it for 26 + years and still love going to work everyday. I am a service industry and I try hard to remember this and my customers pay me back with love, money and loyalty . No job or career is perfect everyday. Most importantly I am honest with my clients…. Best of luck to all of you.

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  16. I absolutely love my groomer, Kathy! She treats all of her furry visitors like they’re her own!bebethb I bring my cat to Kathy approximately 2-3 times a year because George is a Turkish Van and has long hair. I greatly appreciate everything Kathy does to make George feels comfortable. I’m happy to see that everyone loves their groomer, but that was not always the case with me. I previously brought George to a local groomer. Sadly, Ashley, who calls herself a groomer, cut off 90% of George’s whiskers!! My sweet rescue, who was so sociable, hid for days, and wouldn’t eat for days. When the owner was confronted by the state animal control officer, she said I did it to my cat!! Made me sick and angry! The state animal control officer believed her! So much for supporting us!! Oh…and she is a former groomer! Since this horrible incident 8 months ago, I now know what questions to ask. I thought all groomers were licensed in our state. NOT TRUE. For your sake, you should be licensed because you have a lot of Ashley’s out there giving you a bad name. I also know whiskers have several nerve endings. I couldn’t pet George for months because it was too painful. He would cringe. My veterinarian also told me the reason why he wouldn’t eat was because cats use their whiskers to smell their food. He didn’t HAVE any whiskers! I cried for weeks! I’ll never forget it! You could see the pain he was in. Yet…this ‘groomer’ is still open and doing great! I don’t understand it! πŸ’”πŸ˜“

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    1. The day I have to pay to be a “licensed ” groomer is the day I quit. I’ve been a groomer for over 20 years, license or no license, do your homework. A piece of paper issued by a bureacrat is no guarantee of a good groomer

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  17. I am okay with paying whatever necessary for my dogs…but what I don’t understand is why it costs the same amount at my groomer to cut my standard poodle as it does to shave my mutt. Any insight is appreciated! As it stands my poodle will continue to go to our groomer and I will have to find somewhere else to take the other pooch!

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    1. Why don’t you ask your groomer ? Could be she’s not charging enough for the standard just like I used to do many years ago.

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    2. Most likely the St Poodle is being undercharged. They are a labor intensive breed that the vast majority of groomers don’t charge for the time they spend on them. Same with all the doodles
      On the flip side, if your mixed breed is double coated, the groomer has to remove as much undercoat as possible to give a good haircut, again labor intensive.

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    3. Is your “mutt” the same size as your standard poodle? Is your “mutt” as cooperative as your Standard poodle? Have you inquired as to why with your groomer? I may be misunderstanding your comment or question..but, it seems that you are willing to pay more for your purebred dog than you are for your “mutt”? As a groomer, I am always willing to answer any questions or concerns from my customers. I’m sure there is a reasonable explanation for the price.

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    4. when you go to a carwash it cost the same to wash a VW as it does a Maserati. It takes two washes to wash your dog, about a half hour, then trim nails, clean ears, express anal glands, trim coat, feet, ears, etc. Short coated dogs a little less work but the same stuff goes into grooming your mutt as it does to groom you poodle. I am sure your dogs are not getting a show groom, double the price for this type of groom, then you might need conditioner, is your dog a senior, or puppy, extra care has to be done on it, does it have any wounds, injuries, or tumors, they have to be carefully groomed around. Is your dog excitable, does it stand on the grooming table, or does it fight, bite, squirm etc. does it poop in the crate so the groomer has a clean up and maybe has to rewash the dog. All of these things and much more come into play, is your mutt a big dog, small dog, size counts too, big dogs cost more to groom as more time is involved, is it matted, does it have long or short hair, long hair costs more too. So much is involved in the price you pay such as the type of shampoo, does it need conditioner, special shampoo for tender skin, medicated shampoo to help with a coat issue. So you see, you may not know why the price is what it is but there are many reasons that indicate what price the groomer needs to charge to groom your dog.

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  18. Just today I had a client who made the comment that I had raised my prices. And indeed I had…for the first time in 6 years!
    I live in the ‘redneck Riviera’, otherwise known as the Florida Panhandle. I can only charge what the market will bear even though I am one of maybe 2 groomers in this town that even knows which end of a dog to feed. I’ve never seen such amazingly bad grooming before! But I can’t charge much more than they do. And I deal with everything mentioned in this post constantly. I’ve been grooming now for almost 40 years, and I don’t see retirement anywhere in my future! I have Groomer’s Lung, a torn rotator cuff, and half my right thumb gone from a cat bite! And yes, people think it takes 20 minutes to perform miracles! Having said all that, I couldn’t imagine doing anything else all these years, and I have a college degree. Sorry-can’t sit at a desk all day! I will say, the older I get, the less tolerance I have for the no shows, the anal retentives, and the overly demanding clients. They don’t have enough money for me to torture their dog trying to brush out their lack of care.
    I would love to post this article in the local paper on the editorial page!!!

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  19. Let me start out saying that my new groomer is really sweet! I went somewhere else with my schnauzers for over 20 yrs. Then I heard about her screaming at & striking a dog in a client’s presence. It all made sense when I realized that my pups were growing increasing unmanageable every time we went there! They were trying so hard to let me know they didn’t want to be there! I never went back. I found a spectacular groomer. Even tho they still fuss when going there, they are learning that it’s ok now. Each trip down there gets a little better.
    But the reason for my post is that I would never think of just not showing up for an appt. ever! How rude & thoughtless. & the tip is always there too with extra for the holidays. Anyone who has the patience to work with our precious furbabies is worth respect & appreciation! Ok, rant over, lol. Appreciate your groomer bcs they are priceless. ❀

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  20. I am interested in going to grooming school, but am finding it hard to find a school close by in Western NC. I don’t want to do a correspondence course (because how can you learn to cut hair online?). What would you all suggest for proper training?

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  21. Here here! I would love for this article to get as many views as possible! While I agree that you can’t include everything that is difficult about being a dog groomer in one concise article, you have captured a spirit of pride and self worth in what we do with your words. I might add that as a groomer who has had pets, worked professionally with animals for 23 years, and has seen a lot, there is a level of expertise and knowledge that goes way beyond the haircut. I spend a good bit of time with my customers answering questions, giving advice, listening to their stories, etc. Many will call me before calling their vet if they have a question about their pet. So each time they pay for a grooming, they are also paying for my services as a pet consultant. Not to mention, the influence I have on their dog each visit: the love, affection, training, guidance, and genuine care they get for 2 hours, every six weeks. There is so much value in what we do, we’ll beyond baths and clips. Quality customers will recognize this and pay whatever you ask. Since going into business for myself, I have made it my goal to only work with quality customers.

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  22. Well written article and applause
    Me too have been grooming for a decade….
    We groomers usually have not much respect from customers. They feel that is a dirty job and we are earning big money. They always feel grooming fee is expensive. We spend 2 hours on a small dog and charge around $65. Prices of shampoo, equipment, electricity bill, water, rental etc everything has increase tremendously over the decade. If is an old and difficult dog that does not co-operate (head fidget like a milkshake)… more time is needed and the risk is higher and also responsibility. If a dog came in badly matted and pet owner still request for nice cute looking 1″ puppy cut

    1 day 8 hours and per dog grooming is around $65, do your math and see how many dogs can we groom per day? To cover, overhead, shampoo, equipment, power bill etc etc….
    We groomer don’t take back a lot

    God doesn’t groom dog, so don’t expect groomers are magician. We are human after all….
    Hopefully dog owners will understand and feel more for pet groomer and to kind to them, like how they are kind to your fur babies.

    We don’t ask for more, just show more respect to us, by coming on time and book in advance for appointment

    Writing from Singapore,
    Chan

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  23. VERY WELL SAID! I know many groomers including my self who work with Carpal Tunnel in pain in hands and back all the time! I have had to change my clientele to only small dogs because after one big hairy one my pain level is off the charts. I know that there are several groomers around here and I always seem to get the ones who no one else will groom because of behavior issues. I try to work with these dogs and yes I have been bitten but hey lets face it if this animal was treated cruelly by another groomer or was never taught that a brush or comb is anything but a weapon. They are going to be terrified! I work with these dogs and sometimes it takes 2 or 3 visits to get them to trust me. Do I not deserve extra compensation? A TIP maybe. Then when I raise my price they take the dog elsewhere only to bring them back to me when they again have issues. I always say my prices start at $40 and go up from there. I can not groom 2 biting, wiggling, screaming, matted shih tzus in the same amount of time that it take to do 4 calm sweet brushed shih tzus! So YES you are going to pay more. Yes the amount of attitude you give me could effect your price and YES I DO charge $5 per bleeding bite! I try to teach my clients about grooming their dogs at home to keep the matting down. I also hear “I don’t even pay that to get MY hair cut!” Well you all know we do alot more than any beauty shop out there so I won’t make the list. Thanks for the place to vent!!!

    DOG GROOMERS ROCK!!!!!!!!!

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  24. The one thing my husband and I do appreciate are the people who provide our “animal services”. We always tip the groomer well for doing our dogs – although our’s are good, and not a lot of work (basic bathe and brush, nails, no custom trims or work) we understand that costs have gone up, that there are issues to deal with (like lifting a heavy, obese or elderly dog), and that standing on one’s feet all day isn’t easy in any event. We appreciate our groomers tremendously – thank you for all you do for us!

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  25. Very well written. It was right to the point.
    I will tell anyone who will listen to read it; clients, groomers…..
    Can’t wait for the cancelation blog.
    πŸ‘

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  26. I have groomed for 37 years…I am now 68…I am grooming part time now, not takeing any new customers and booked up 10-12 weeks in advance…I love grooming but my body is rebelling…the small town I live in is in desperate need of a full time groomer…the other two work part time also…

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