I have been thinking about posting about this topic for a long time.
I always seem to back off in the end.
It is such a touchy subject, even for me.
Let me begin by saying that I am an excellent tipper.
I usually tip a little more then 20%.
More if I think that the service was great.
That being said, I hate tipping.
I wish that there was no such thing as tipping.
I always feel like I have to tip when I go out to eat.
No matter how bad the service was.
Mainly for the simple reason that I know the servers depend on tips as part of their salary.
For this reason, and this reason only, I tip even when I get bad service, it just is not as much as I would have tipped if the service had been good.
As a business owner, it pisses me off that restaurants get away with paying such a low minimum wage, and expect their customers tips to make up the difference.
If you search tipping on the internet, it is fascinating reading all of the comments and strong opinions that people have about tipping.
There are some great arguments on both sides.
I was fascinated to find that there is no tipping in several countries, such as Australia, Germany, China, Italy, Japan, and New Zealand.
In a few countries tipping is even illegal.
On several different websites I found different suggestion charts for who you should tip and how much.
Only one even mentioned Dog Groomers.
It was funny how some of the people that they suggested never crossed my mind to tip.
~The Garbage man. We have to pay to have our trash picked up. It is not included in our taxes. Our trash cans and lids are always all over the place and beat to heck. I have honestly never thought about tipping the Garbage man at the Holidays either.
~The Mailman. Really?! Maybe if he/she had to deliver a lot of heavy packages to us everyday.
I have to say that this next one totally blew me away.
~The Mechanic! The suggestion was to tip your Mechanic $10-20 or more for any jobs over $500!!!
I am speechless.
I am just lucky if I can come up with the $500 or more for a car repair bill.
I did find one website that talked about Dog Groomers.
The suggestion for Holiday tipping was the cost of one groom.
The suggestion for tipping for regular grooming sessions was 15-20% of the groom.
So, back to what I said earlier.
I wish there was no such thing as tipping.
I do not like the mixed feelings that it gives me, as either the tipper, or as the one being tipped.
Now, before I start my little rant here, these are just my own personal feelings.
I have found from reading grooming forums that groomers have many different opinions when it comes to receiving tips.
I have mixed feelings.
For the first couple of years that I groomed, I never got tips.
My only guess is that the shop owner was keeping the tips, because both places that I worked I was not allowed to talk to the customers.
At my third grooming job there was a tip jar on the counter that I always thought was a form of begging.
I still feel like it is a form of begging.
Sorry, that is just how I feel when I see a tip jar on any counter anywhere.
The tip jar generated very little tips.
It was not until my fourth grooming job at a small pet shop that I started getting tips.
One to two dollars, here and there, but they were certainly appreciated.
Then I opened my own grooming shop.
The tips did not get any better, as a matter of fact, they were few and far between.
One pet owner who used to tip me when I groomed her dog at the pet shop actually told me that she would not be tipping me anymore, because I was the shop owner now and made all the profit.
I was shocked, I felt like saying, "I am a new, struggling small business owner 'what profit?!'"
Another thing was, the girl who used to cut my hair opened her Hair Salon at the same time that I opened my Grooming Shop.
At one vistit shortly after she opened, she was cutting my hair and I could not help but notice a large mound of ones, fives, and some tens sitting on the corner of her mirror table.
I say mound because that is exactly what it was.
A mound of bills that went half way up the mirror on her wall.
I remember thinking; "good grief, are they all her tips just from today?"
When she was finished cutting my hair, I followed her up to the main desk to pay.
When I tried to hand her her tip, she waved her hand and said; "just put it over there on my table with the rest of my tips."
I really liked this girl, but I was so turned off by the nonchalant way that she accepted my gratuity.
Not to mention how tacky I thought that it was that she left that mound of money sitting on her table as if to say; 'Look! Everyone tips me, you better too!'
Oh boy, I sound very peevish don't I?
I told you tipping bothers me.
I don't like feeling this way.
I best time that I was ever tipped was when I was Mobile grooming.
Customers who had never tipped before were tipping me.
I think that that was because Mobile grooming is much more one on one, and feels much more personalized.
Or, maybe it just the fact that you come to them.
When the economy was good, the tipping was pretty good.
Lately, tipping has fallen off big time.
Some people can barely afford the grooming, much less extra for a tip.
Unfortunately, tipping has a way of playing with your emotions.
I have customers whose dogs I have been grooming for years who have never ever tipped, even at the Holidays.
I honestly think that some of them don't even realize that tipping a groomer is acceptable.
I don't even care that some customers don't tip, because they are wonderful customers who always book ahead, always show for their appointments and never complain about anything.
Best of all their dogs are great and easy to groom.
All of those things are a tip in and of itself for me.
Then there are the customers who are late dropping off or picking up.
The customers who miss appointments and then get upset that you can't fit them back in right away.
Or, their dog is always in bad shape and, or hard to groom.
You very keenly notice when those customers do not tip, because you feel like you had to put up with so much that you deserve a tip.
Even a little tip would help to make you feel like your hard work was appreciated.
I have a customer that has to be one of the grumpiest customers I have.
Almost always 20 minutes or more late for appointments.
Never cracks a smile.
Never has nice thing to say.
Never tells you that the dog looks nice, or that you did a nice job.
And, always wants the two dollars back in change.
I love this persons dog.
The dog is so sweet.
Has a great coat.
Is easy to groom.
To be honest, the best tip from this owner would be a smile, and a "hey he looks great."
Showing up on time for the appointment would be appreciated also. :)
Believe me, I like a monetary tip just as much as the next person, but if there was no tipping I would not have all of these mixed feelings.
I have read about groomers that keep track of which customers tip and who doesn't.
They have said that their service depends on how the customer tips.
I personally don't agree with this type of thinking.
Every dog that we groom is treated the same way, with gentle loving care.
It is not the dogs fault if their owner doesn't tip, can't afford to tip, or doesn't know that they can tip.
A groomer should not base the way they groom, or treat a dog on the kind, or amount of tip that they receive, or do not receive for that dog.
I once had a groomer work for me (for a very short time) who would ask me how much I was charging for the groom that he was doing before he even started grooming the dog.
After a few days of this I asked him why he wanted to know before he started grooming.
He told me that the price I charged would determine how he groomed the dog.
If he didn't think that I was charging enough he would do a sub-par groom.
If he thought that I was charging enough he would do his best groom.
I was blown away.
Needless to say, we were not a good fit.
I was always touching up his dogs.
First of all, every dog that you groom and walks out of your shop is a walking billboard for your work.
Work that you should be proud of.
Your grooms should always be the best that you can do.
You should be able to look at all of your grooms with pride, and be able to say; "yes, I groomed that dog!"
I give excellent service to all of my customers.
I groom all of the dogs the same.
I treat all of the dogs the same.
Even the customers that never tip, or can be a pain in my a**.
I go above and beyond for most of my customers.
I will admit that if you treat me meanly, or are rude to me, I will still groom and treat your dog like I do all of my furry customers, but do not expect me to go out of my way for you, or fit you in for an appointment.
Oh, you will still get an appointment.
You will just have to wait for a regular opening.
Tipping can also backfire.
I once had a customer that gave me a very large unexpected tip.
I had done this customer a favor, and remember thinking that the tip was a little over the top for the favor.
I quickly found out that that tip came with strings.
I was expected to be on call at all times.
I was expected to fit the dog in whenever the owner wanted, or needed, no matter what.
Did I mention that I don't like tipping?
Tips used to be a bonus or reward for a service well done.
Many people seem to think that tips are mandatory now for many services.
Feelings are hurt if not tipped, or not tipped what the person doing the service thinks is enough.
Then there are the times when a customer that used to tip no longer tips, or tips less than they used to.
Leaving you to wonder if it is just because they can no longer afford to tip, or are they unhappy with your work now?
I can't imagine why I don't like tipping.
I try not to expect a tip, but they are definitely welcomed and appreciated.
Tips do make you feel good, and feel like the owner noticed the hard work that you did.
Try not to let tipping rule how you groom.
It can be hard sometimes.
That is why I always tell myself that the reason I groom is for the dog.
Not the owner.
I learned to groom because I want to help make dogs feel and look good.
If I make the owner happy too, that is an extra bonus.
If the owner wants to show their thanks by tipping, that is great, but try not to expect it.
Tipping can make you happy, but it can also bring you down.
You may not agree with how I feel about tipping, just don't let it rule how you groom.
Okay, go ahead and tell me how you feel about tipping. :)
Happy Grooming, MFF