For the last month or so we have been getting a lot of calls from people being referred to us by another groomer that will be having a baby soon.
This other groomer grooms at a Veterinarian Clinic about 6 or 8 miles away.
I have only a passing acquaintance with this groomer.
Over the past few years she has sent some dogs to me, and I had come to the conclusion that she was sending me dogs she didn't want to groom, or owners she didn't want to deal with. lol
That was okay, I didn't mind.
Unfortunately, she did not contact me and ask if I had room, or time for her customers.
I have already groomed about half a dozen of them.
Most of them are just looking for me to groom them until the other groomer comes back from having her baby.
So what is the problem?
At first it was just a few people calling here and there.
This week the phone has been ringing off the hook with her customers.
They are taking up all of my customers appointment spots.
I didn't have that many appointments open to begin with.
I have about a dozen left in October.
A few in November.
And, no appointments left in December.
I am a little torn.
I don't mind helping out a fellow groomer, although I wish she had called and asked if I had room to groom her dogs.
The problem is, I have already had a few say they liked the way we groomed their dogs, and want to have us be their groomers from now on.
Also, as I said before, her customers are taking appointments away from my customers.
I have no desire for this groomer to get angry at me if some of her customers don't go back to her.
I am not trying in any way to take customers away from her, I have plenty.
Today was the icing on the cake.
We had had a number of the other groomers customers calling all morning.
We had to start putting some of them on a waiting list.
Then the lady with two Portuguese Water dogs called.
The funny thing was, I was in the middle of HVing the only Portuguese Water Dog that I groom when she called.
I had also groomed another Portuguese Water Dog yesterday that was one of her customers.
She was a very sweet dog, but she was a pelted, filthy dirty mess.
Anyway, back to the lady on the phone with the two PWDs.
When my husband answered the phone, she went right into telling him that her groomer was pregnant, and that her groomer had recommended us to groom her dogs just one time till she was back from having the baby.
My husband found two appointments on the same day in November.
She was okay with that.
So far, so good, right?
Then my husband came in and said that she wanted to know how much I was going to charge her.
Now, I do not give exact prices over the phone.
Actually, I try really hard not to give any prices over the phone.
Even if you give a ballpark figure, which is what I do, they only hear the lower price.
I have been burned way too many times by listening to owners descriptions of their dogs and their dogs coats, giving them a price, only to have something totally opposite of what they told me walk in the door.
This woman insisted on having a price for her dogs, sight unseen, before she came in.
Let me just say, my prices are very fair.
I price by the work I do on the dog, not by the breed.
You can line up 5 Goldens, or 5 Cockers next to each other and they all have different coat lengths, or thickness, or coat conditions.
I don't think that it is fair to charge every Golden owner the same price when one Golden may be on the smaller side and have a thin, sparse coat, and another Golden comes in as big as a bear and is packed with undercoat.
That is why I price by the dog.
I also quote high on the phone.
If the dog turns out to be really easy, I will charge them a lower price than I quoted, and the owner will be pleasantly surprised.
I don't want to quote low, and have to explain why the price is higher than
Okay, once again back to the lady on the phone.
Because I had no idea what these dogs looked like, how she wanted them groomed, how much hair they had on them, or what kind of temperament they had, I quoted her between 60 to 70 beans.
"My groomer only charges me 50 beans." she said angrily.
My husband; "I don't know what to tell you ma'am, that is what we charge."
"I am only going to come to you once, why can't you charge me what my groomer charges me? she argued.
"I will pay you 10% more", she suggested.
"Our prices are what they are to meet our overhead ma'am, and for the work involved in grooming the dogs," my husband said, struggling to keep his cool.
"Why are your prices higher when you are located in Parkville ( a middle class neighborhood) and my groomer is in Timonium? (slightly higher income neighborhood) she said very insultingly.
"I will not be coming to you!" ... Click..., she hung up.
Thank you to the powers that be that we avoided grooming that woman's dogs.
I have read on the boards before about customers that haggle over prices, but in 27 years, I have never had someone haggle a price with me.
Make comments about the price... yes, they have.
Want to know why the price was what I charged...yes, they have.
Ask me if I would give a discount for multiple dogs...yes, they have.
Try to tell me what they would pay...nope, never had that one before.
The more I thought about it, the more I have come to the conclusion that this groomer may be taking the opportunity of her pregnancy to either get rid of certain customers, or send some of her low paying customers to me to find out how good they have it with her.
I have some of those kind of customers.
I wish they would call around to find out that someone else would charge them more than what I do.
You know, the ones that you don't know what the heck you were thinking when you charged them the price you charge to do their dog.
Please don't tell me that I am the only groomer out there that has dogs like that!
I think the other groomer is sorry that she only charges this woman 50 beans to groom her two Portuguese Water Dogs.
They are big jobs, even if they are only clipped down short.
To end the story.
My husband called the Veterinary Hospital and told them thank you for the referrals, but we were very booked, and most likely would be turning a lot of their customers away, so it was up to them whether they wanted to still refer us.
We will see how many more calls we get.
My husband said that the receptionist seemed to be surprised that we were not just sitting around waiting for customers to call.
They did not seem to take into account that we also have a clientele to give appointments to.
Okay, rant over.
That woman really got under my skin.
I had to get it out.
I feel better now. :)
Happy Grooming, MFF