...of having to justify my prices and my price increases.
We raised our prices at the beginning of this year.
It is the first time in a little over 2 years.
I did not raise them last year because of the economy and trying to help my customers out.
I had to raise them this year.
No one gave me a break on my bills last year.
My rent went up.
The price of shampoos have been creeping up.
I don't even want to talk about the electric bill.
I increased my prices by $1 to $2 on small to medium size dogs.
Three dollars on medium/large dogs.
Five dollars on large dogs.
Most of my long time large dogs are very under priced.
(I've gotten better with the new large dog customers.)
With every price increase we seem to have a few people fuss about it, that's normal.
But, this time it has been constant fussing.
They are not nice comments either.
I know that it is hard on a lot of people out there, but I am not rolling in dough.
It costs me over a hundred dollars every week for gas, because of the 40 mile round trip to work everyday.
Gas only cost a dollar something 14 years ago when we moved so far from the shop.
I have kept my shop where I am now for my customers.
I really care about the dogs that I groom.
They are my guys, I know them.
If I moved my shop closer to home, those dogs would have to go to someone who doesn't know all of their little quirks.
I know, I am not talking like a business woman.
Grooming is very personal for me.
Not a good thing when you are trying to run a business.
I know that some of my customers would pay any price to stay with me, because they know I really care about their dogs.
That sounded conceded didn't it?
I didn't say it to be conceded.
I just mean that they know that their dogs are in good hands when they are with us, and they appreciate it.
Then there are the customers that wouldn't think twice about finding someone else to groom their dog if the cost was cheaper.
That is still not coming out right.
I can't seem to explain it right.
How is it that a pet owner thinks nothing of sinking 25 dollars on a collar, 60 dollars on a dog bed, 30 dollars on a fancy corduroy winter coat, and 30 to 50 dollars a week on a quality dog food, but around 40 dollars every 4 to 8 weeks, to keep their dogs clean and healthy, seems to be highway robbery.
The hair dresser takes one look at my long, thick hair and wants 35 to 40 dollars just to cut my head.
I don't give her a hard time.
I even tip 5 to 10 dollars.
One of my worst complainers last week was an owner of a Bichon that we groom every 5 months.
She not only complained about the 2 dollar increase, but argued that she was paying 40 last year instead of the 43 she was actually paying.
Her dog averages about 2 grooms a year, and is a mess when it comes in, requiring more work.
Come on people!
We groomers did not tell you to buy high maintenance dogs.
It is not our fault that a lot of dogs require regular grooming.
It is not our fault when a dog is matted.
Give us a break.
We brush your dog.
We bathe it.
We hand fluff dry it.
We clean ears.
We express anals.
We clip and file nails.
We clip and scissor the entire body, not just the head.
If a person was to go to their hairdresser and ask for a haircut (30 more if you want a blowdry), wax (15 just for lip and eyebrows), manicure (15), and pedicure (25).
That along adds up to 80.
You have to go to the doctor to have your ears cleaned out. $$$
You have to go to a spa for a scented bath. $$$
Thankfully we don't have anal glands. :/
I am sorry I seem to be ranting again.
I am not really.
I am just tired.
If you really want to hear me rant, ask me about pre-written checks.
I don't complain to the cashier at the food store every week when I see that the frozen french fries that I used to buy for $1.69 (store brand) are now $ 2.89.
I don't give the person at the gas station a hard time because $20 barley gives me a quarter tank of gas now.
(Although the local news has had some reports about people attacking gas station workers because of rising gas prices.)
Actually, people have always complained about grooming prices, ever since I started grooming.
For 28 years I have had to listen to people fuss about the price of grooming their dog.
There seems to be a mentality out there that the price of a dogs grooming should stay the same for the lifetime of the dog.
I just want someone to explain to me why the pet industry is a billion dollar business, but groomers seem to be the low man on the totem poll.
Oh well, all of the complaining and snide comments have made me do something that I don't normally do.
I made a sign.
I don't have many signs in my shop.
It has been my experience that people do not read signs.
Even when they are right under their noses.
I made one anyway.
It is a temporary sign right now.
I will be designing a permanent one with Vistaprint.
I sent a letter out about the price increase back in October with my scheduling letter.
I have come to the conclusion that no one reads the letters either, or they like to pretend that they didn't read it.
Here is my temporary sign that will be going on my counter tomorrow.
Will this help?
Probably not. :(
But I am going to try it anyway.
Happy Grooming, MFF