Annual Price Increase...

Many years ago I was at a John Stazko seminar, and he advised us to raise our grooming rates a small amount each year. He said if you wait several years between rate hikes, you have to bump them up a substantial amount, and people will complain.

Like most groomers, I dislike implementing rate hikes. It's awkward. It's difficult. People don't like it. Last year I raised my rates $3. A few customers complained. I may have lost a few more because of it. Mostly it was fine. I currently charge a small amount more than the local competition, so I was tempted to not do a rate increase this year. But Mr. Stazko's voice was echoing in my ear. 

I waited until summer, when business was booming, and I raised my prices $1.00.  My book keeper, who is also a customer, said, "That's dumb, you should raise it more than that, make it a round number." But I stuck to my guns. And you know what? Almost every single customer has laughed when I informed them of the change. 

DollarIt has gone something like this, "How much do I owe you today?" I smile and say, "Today is $--. We have implemented a one dollar increase." Customer looks at me quizzically, then chuckles.  I chuckle with them.  Sometimes they say something like, "I think I can handle that." It's all good. 

Thank you, Mr. Stazko, for sharing this wisdom. I will repeat this process next summer. I like making customers laugh. 



Remedial Grooming

Sometimes we have to get a little creative to fix an "oops." The problem we need to correct may have been "self inflicted," such as when we pick up a clipper that we think has a comb attachment on it, and take a swipe of coat to the skin because really it's just a #30 blade. Other times we are correcting a haircut done by someone else.  That someone might be the pets owner, a veterinary technician that got a little clipper-happy when preparing for surgery, or another groomer whose artistry differs from our own.  

I encountered this grooming on the tail of an ancient miniature poodle last week. I see tails like this quite often, and you might, too. We call them "palm tree" tails. They happen when a groomer makes the tail band, much, MUCH too long, leaving a silly little fluff of hair on the end of the tail. It's not a good look, and there is really no way to completely fix it, because a lot of growing needs to happen before the tail pom can look the way it should. In this case, not only was the band too wide, I think they forgot to scissor the hair they did leave.

IMG_7674 (2)

I find in cases like this, the best results come by taking the hair shorter all over, and blending as best as I can with scissors, chunkers, or thinners to try to make the best of a bad situation. In this case, I will only groom this dog one time while they vacation near me, then he will go back to the groomer that created this tail in the first place, so there was not a lot of sense in me trying to put a proper tail band on and work on growing a pom. So I trimmed the band area of the tail the same length as the body coat, and left just a suggestion of a pom on the end. This will leave the next groomer a little something to work with, and for the time being looks halfway decent.

IMG_7676 (2)When you are working with a leg that has been shaved for a medical procedure, usually the best bet is just to blend in the sharp edges, shorten the entire area a little, and wait for regrowth. 

Some "oops," can't really be fixed, and we have to be patient until enough hair grows to fill it in, but getting creative with shorter styles and blending can mask the area until enough time passes that we can really make things right.