(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.