This is your chance to catch up on previous comments and questions.
just found this magazine by accident and read the wonderful article from Kim's Canine Cuts on her trip to INTERGROOM, 2000. I really enjoyed reading it.
I was wondering if Exness you would like to offer a prize from INTERGROOM in your next issue. I could give full admittance for two for the complete Educational Package, etc, with also two Awards Banquet Tickets for the winner and a friend to come to INTERGROOM 2002, "The Odyssey Continues" - This is valued at almost $300.00 (for the two). We would also announce these winners at the Banquet.
Please let me hear from you by email regarding your thoughts on this. The "contest" could be anything you might like.
Show Organizer, INTERGROOM, INC.
This letter prompted the following competition. So, get your pencils at the ready to win this great prize. NG
SEND US YOUR funniest
grooming related story
AND YOU COULD Win 2 tickets to
"THE ODYSSEY CONTINUES"
April 27th, 28th & 29th 2002
Garden State Exhibit Center
Somerset, NEW JERSEY
Tickets include full educational package and invitations to the Awards Dinner
Closing date for stories is 1st march 2002.
Send you entries by post or email to:
Tricia McGuire, Northern Groomers (Address on pg1)
Well what a nice surprise! I have just Exness Login Indonesia caught up with this Internet and email malarkey. So I thought I'd experiment a bit and get into your www.northerngroomers.co.uk website. Up came a heading "Memoirs" and I thought "that looks interesting" and plumbed into it! Well I never, it was ME, or rather my letter to you of a while ago. So there I was on the net, and never knew! So thanks for that. Trouble is I now expect to find myself on ALL the web sites I get into! Keep up the good work.
Jenny Tyler, Happy Tails, Leigh-On-Sea
I have copied this from the G-TNT egroup with permission. Thought you might enjoy it.
Sheepdog + Rose = A collie-flower
Poodle + Cheetah = poochee, chases cars and catches them.
Bird dog + Telephone = golden receiver.
Cocker Spaniel + Poodle + Rooster = Cockerpoodledoo
Great Pyrenees + Dachshund = Pyra-dachs, a puzzling breed.
Curly Coated Retriever + Labrador Retriever = lab-coat retriever, a favourite with research scientists.
Pointer + Setter = Poinsetter, a traditional Christmas pet
Kerry Blue Terrier + Skye Terrier = Blue Skye
Pekingnese + Lhasa Apso = Peekasso, an abstract dog
Newfoundland + Basset Hound = Newfound Asset Hound, a dog for financial advisors.
Terrier + Bulldog = Terribull, a dog prone to awful mistakes.
Bloodhound + Labrador = Blabador, a dog that barks incessantly.
Collie + Malamute = Commute, a dog that travels to work.
Deerhound + Terrier = Derriere, a dog that's true to the end.
Bull Terrier + Shitzu = Bullshitz, a gregarious but unreliable breed.
The liquid on the INside of a fire hydrant is H2O. The liquid on the OUTside of a fire hydrant is K9P.
Louisa Tandy, Gravesend, Kent
This is a word for exness.my.id word transcript from a call recorded on my answering machine (I can't turn it off if I use the portable phone). Now I've stopped banging my head against the wall I have to laugh at it:
"Hello - d'you cut dogs?"
"I try not to - but I do groom them. What dog have you got?"
"Well, how much is it then?"
"I can't give a price unless I know what work is involved. What sort of dog is it?"
"It's me Mum's dog. I think its a Yorkie."
"You think it's a Yorkie? What colour is it please?"
"Black & white"
"It doesn't sound like a Yorkie, but I can give you a rough idea of the price anyway - about £15 -£20 ish depending on it's coat and manners. If it's nasty or in a state, it'll take longer and cost more. That's for a small dog. How big is it?
"Well it's Mum were a Jack Russell"
"A Russell will come in the same price range"
"Have you got one of them head straps coz it bites the vet?"
"Yes, I've got muzzles if I need them but I prefer the owner to stay with a new dog."
"You'll have to fetch it. I can't drive"
"Ok where are you?"
"I'm in Selston but me Mum's in Nottingham" (I'm based in Selston - Nottingham takes 30-45 minutes each way)
"I'm sorry I can't collect from that far away -it means over 2 hours driving"
"But it only takes 1/2 an hour by taxi"
"Thats one way. If I collect and then take it home it's two round trips. Why doesn't your Mum bring it when she visits you? She could get her dog done then and it won't have to be left at home"
"She lives in Nottingham, its a long way for the dog to travel"
"It might be easier to find a Groomer nearer her home"
"The last one won't do it any more since she got bit"
"I'm sorry -I can't spend 2 hours transporting one dog. There must be other people closer who can take it on, why don't you work through the yellow pages?
"Can you do it if I bring it?"
"Yes, I can make an appointment for you."
"It'll have to be this Sunday morning coz thats when she's coming"
"Sorry, I can't fit it in before Tuesday 22nd"
"Well, why have you wasted my time! <click>
Do we all get customers like this or is it just me?
Sue Boswell, Hillbank Kennels, Selston, Notts.
Thanks for the magazine, is it really free? In reply to a letter in the Summer 2001 issue about cat muzzles. I obtained one, but unfortunately wouldnt recommend them. The first time I used it the poor cat was so freaked out it went wild. In trying to remove the muzzle itself, it ripped its ear with its claws, distressing itself even more. Therefore it went straight in the bin (the muzzle, not the cat!) never to be used again. We now use calming techniques or wrapping the sharp bits in a towel. I would also never consider doing a cat by myself, theyre slippery little suckers! Julie Harris, Smartpets, Eastbourne
After winning Groomer of the Year 2002, I was invited to appear on a special programme of BBCs Weakest Link. Filming took place on 13th December 2001, to be broadcast on Boxing Day. There was a variety of different Champions from sports to tiddlywinks! I did myself and Groomers proud by getting to the final two, but unfortunately lost on the final question. That just proves that Groomers have brains as well as practical talent!
Joanne Angus, Look North Grooming, Keighley
Hope you all saw Joanne on TV didnt she do well! NG
The following topic was discussed on Northern Groomers egroup. It is something that we will all encounter in the near future.
Has anyone had this happen to them? Today I received a letter from the local Water Authority stating that they are doing spot checks on peoples' water connections for hygiene reasons, under the new water regulations rule of 1999. Does anyone know what they need to check or what they are looking for, etc.
To conform to the 1999 Regulations you must have an air break in your supply system, just the non return valves are not acceptable. It meant us having a separate water tank big enough for our needs and a pump to supply the water to the showers. Our tank is in the cellar, but you would have to find a place that was suitable. Your water authority should be able to supply all the specs for the systems needed to comply. We were given zero time to get the work done. Best of luck!
We also received a telephone call from a distressed Groomer who had no facilities to install a water tank. This is a problem many of us will encounter. But this Groomer has found a solution.
I got in touch with the Water Regulations Advisory Scheme who advised that all I would need is a DC Devise (pipe interrupter). This can be obtained from a company called Brownall Narbic in Manchester, 0161 872 6941. It costs £19.50 plus £7.50 post and package.
Bronwin Turton, Furdressers, Yorkshire
Thanks also to Canine Cut & Care, Huddersfield who sent us information about the Water Regulations.
If anyone requires more information or advice contact:
Water Regulations Advisory Scheme
Fern Close, Pen-Y-Fan Industrial Estate
Oakdale, Gwent, NP11 3EH
Tel: 01495 248454
It was the year 2000 and Intergroom was set in Garden State Expo Center, New Jersey. "Shall we go?" said Netty Top Dogs from Neston. "I dont know" I said, "Ive never been away on my own before and I have never been to America". "Oh go on, be a devil" replied Netty. Her friend moved to America several years ago and was now a successful Groomer over there. She agreed to meet us there and arranged our stay at the Marriot Hotel.
Intergroom was on from the 29th April until 1st May 2000. There were all sorts of seminars. We attended quite a few. The one I liked was held by an Italian gentleman who told us about the set up of his shop. The customers were served tea or coffee and made to feel as though it was a hairdressers. Uniforms were worn by the staff and the shop smelled of flowers which he burned regularly, as I do now in my shop.
There were over 140 booths and stalls. The competitors came from all over the world i.e. Italy, Russia, Germany, Spain, France. My favourite Groomers were the Russians. Their work was magnificent. Two contestants, Roman Fomine, who trimmed a Miniature Poodle and Natalia Fomitcheva, who did a fabulous Kerry Blue, were both positioned in the finals.
I could not get over how cheap things were over there. I couldnt carry my suitcase for grooming sprays, collars, you name it. They all went into that case! At the end of the tournament, all the dog grooming tables were sold off for a third of the price. Linda, the Groomer we met over there, bought one. I hadnt met her before and it was as if I had known her for years. She made me feel so welcome. She had the right idea, when I was moaning (as we all do) about badly matted dogs. She said they are the best dogs to do, just get them in, get it off and get them out! No styling involved, the dogs and owners are glad the coat is off and they pay. So, I dont moan now, I just think of what she said.
Americans do everything big out there and the event will stick in my mind for years to come. At the end of the finals, hundreds of balloons were let go. They were green and silver with dollar signs on them. There was an evening gala at night, where the trophies were on display for everyone to admire. Mobile grooming is big business in America and their vans are out of this world, you could easily live in one!
Id like to thank Netty and Linda who organized this adventure as it will stay with me for the rest of my life.
Thank you for your magazine, it makes very enjoyable reading.
I was most interested in the letter from Joan Kent of Worksop. I own 'Head to Tail' Grooming Salon in Leicester, and am annoyed with myself that I too have been taken in by a company, which I feel sure is the same company Joan speaks of. I have lost over £350.00, which was paid for advertising on Vets appointment cards. I also know another local Groomer has lost over £600.00. It was the last straw for her and she has given up grooming.
I have telephoned the company and been fobbed off. Ive written letters sent recorded delivery, with no reply. From what I understand the police are investigating them and so is trading standards. The company is quite obviously deliberately obtaining money by deceit, which translates to only one thing, FRAUD. When something like this happens you feel so stupid and then anger takes over. I will carry on trying to recover my hard earned money.
If there is anyone else who has been conned by these people, perhaps it would be an idea for us to make contact. Together we may have a louder voice, perhaps BBC Watchdog might be worth contacting.
Dee Milligan, Head to Tail, Leicester
With regard to the letter that you published in your Spring Edition from Joan Kent, Rovers Return, I too would like to warn Groomers about the dangers of advertising through marketing companies.
In November of last year I was visited by a representative of a marketing company and asked if I would like to advertise on the back of a local vet appointment card. I was a little bit reluctant as I am a sole trader and only work on a part time basis. But I was convinced by the rep who told me that the vet had asked for me personally. I duly signed a cheque for a third of the amount and signed a contract to take the rest out of my bank account over two months. I never thought any more about it until the Spring edition of your magazine arrived when I read Joan Kent's letter. Immediately alarm bells began to ring and I rang the vet in question to ask about the cards. She explained that, yes the cards had been printed, but that she had sent them all back as she didn't want my advert on the card as she didn't know me personally and couldn't recommend someone she didn't know. I thought that was fair enough, so I contacted the marketing company to find out what was happening to the cards. I rang on numerous occasions and eventually got to speak to the manager who told me that he didn't have any knowledge of the cards being sent back. He told me that he would look into it and phone me back. I waited for a week then decided to telephone him. Every time I rang he was either out at lunch or in a meeting, by the third day of ringing I spoke to him and asked him what was happening. He told me that there had been a mix up with the vet and offered to put me on someone else's cards. I told him that I would rather have a full refund to which he promised that a cheque would be with me by the following Friday. I waited for a further two weeks and still the cheque did not arrive so I rang back and demanded that I be paid back in full to which I am still waiting.
I would like to pass on this information to other Groomers so that they can be on their guard. I have always done my own advertising and the only reason that I signed up with this company is because the rep told me that the vet had asked for me personally. In hindsight I should have checked with the vet first but at the time I never thought and if I had not received a copy of your excellent magazine I would never have known.
So many thanks to yourselves for publishing such an informative magazine and thanks also to Joan Kent for bringing this problem to the attention of other Groomers.
Michelle Wild, A Klip in Style, Rochdale
If you are thinking of advertising through a marketing agency, check them out first. There are some genuine companies out there, but how do you know them from the conmen? Check with the Vet they are supposedly working for. A simple telephone call could save you a lot of money and wasted time.
Thank you for sending me the Northern Groomers Magazine. I am a 3rd year student and have a little salon in a boarding kennels. I work as a kennel hand, but started grooming because customers were asking to have their dogs bathed before going home. So, I signed up for grooming at a local college and have not looked back since.
Things keep getting better. First I discovered the wonders of grooming. Then I heard about the Northern Groomers website, then the email list, then the magazine and other grooming websites. Just when I think I am catching up, something else always crops up.
Please pass on my thanks to everyone I have received information from. The email list and websites are very useful.
Elizabeth Todd, Micklefield, Leeds
At last I have had a minute or two to put pen to paper and congratulate you on your wonderful magazine. Its so full of information and handy tips. The scrunchie has saved me pounds in shampoo (Handy Hints, Autumn 2000 issue). I have also found a super sharpening man through your adverts.
I would like to pass on a little tip. I have a shampoo brush I bought from Dezynadog for about a pound. I would not be without it. It is super on dogs with undercoats and gets out loads, while shampooing. It also gives a good massage at the same time.
Keep up the good work, I am always looking forward to the next issue.
Joan Turner, Canine Cut & Care, Huddersfield
Thank you very much for the Northern Groomers Magazine. I find it very useful, particularly the article on Cat Grooming.
Can you please tell me where I can buy a cat muzzle (Mikki Brand)? I have tried several places that stock Mikki equipment and have been told a cat muzzle does not exist. If you can ask for help through your magazine I would be very grateful.
Chris Overton, Greenacre Grooming, Oxon
You will get a Mikki cat muzzle from Dezynadog, telephone 01553 816400. They stock two sizes of cat muzzles.
I thought that this might interest the readers of Northern Groomers Magazine because, although indirectly connected with our grooming business, it could affect all animal, reptile or bird owners.
This year, the Government proposed that it will stop allowing Vets to dispense medicines from their surgeries. They have proposed that it will only permit the supply of veterinary medicines from Pharmacists. Vets will only be allowed to supply a prescription. Pharmacists will require a separate license and qualification if they wish to sell Prescription Only Veterinary Medicines. In addition they will have to hold the stock separately from human medicine. Who will be prepared or qualified for this event?
Following a Veterinary consultation, should your pet require prescription medication you will have to undertake a second journey to whichever Pharmacy is carrying the drug prescribed. You will be charged a consultation and prescription fee by your vet and a dispensing fee and drug cost by your Pharmacist.
I have discussed this matter with my dog Vet and he says that if this goes through all vet bills will increase by 50% straight away. We also have hawks and my hawk Vet from Stroud says that the problem will be for the out of hours calls, when drugs are needed quickly to save lives. I also worry for the elderly who cant just jump into a car and drive round looking for a pharmacist that might stock what they need.
I have written to my MP and emailed Dog World, but received no answers as yet, though my MP is a dog man and is looking into this matter. I really think that we Groomers should advise our customers of this matter and tell them to write to their MPs and to any animal press in the area.
If you doubt me, please ask you own Vet. This seems to have been all hushed up and before we know it we will find it is law and that it is too late!
Email from Val Smith
Id like to issue a word of warning to other "Home Groomers". Let me explain.
I have been grooming from an outbuilding, at the back of my Mums house, since 1984. When I first decided to set up my Grooming Parlour, I approached our Insurance Rep, who was also a local Councillor, and asked him about Planning Permission. I was told that I did not need it, so, I set up my business.
I continued working as a sole Groomer for 16 years untroubled. First, I worked as a full time Groomer, 5 days a week, grooming 5-6 dogs a day. I became part-time after my daughter was born. I then reduced my work to three mornings a week, to fit round school trips, I groom 3 dogs a day now.
In September 2000, I had a visit from a Councillor, who was following up a complaint about dogs in and out of my Mums house. I was told that I needed Planning Permission to run my business!
I have had to prove that Ive been grooming from the property for more than 10 years. This has meant photocopying invoices from equipment and shampoo suppliers, letters from longstanding clients and Ive had to pay the Council £190 for a "certificate of authorisation". I have now been warned that I could have to pay business rates, which is a big worry, as my turnover is not enough to cover these charges. I hope I will be able to continue grooming in the future, as I do enjoy my work, it can be very self satisfying and rewarding.
So, a warning to all "Home Groomers" do check with the Council. Be 100% sure about planning regulations, because there is always someone out there waiting to kick you in the teeth. No matter how good a job you do.
Wendy Mills, Canine Creations, 4 Wellesley Road, Clacton On Sea, Essex, CO15 3PP.
I have just been reading the latest copy of Northern Groomers Magazine and find the "Handy Hints" really useful. Perhaps someone out there has a tip about removing the odour of urine from dogs coats, whether they are incontinent or have just come from boarding kennels. Even after 2 shampoos they still smell when the coat is wet. When the coat is dry, it seems OK (or perhaps I have just got used to it), but I am sure when they get wet again the odour will return. Any ideas?
(Unfortunately we have not had any suggestions for the Handy Hints page this issue but perhaps this will get some pens in motion lets have some ideas for the next issue! NG)
Secondly, and most importantly, I wanted to warn Groomers of a potentially serious problem I recently encountered over an advert. It started with a visit from a marketing company who said they were printing some appointment cards for a local Vet and would I like to advertise on the card? After agreeing to the advert, I signed a contract and paid a third of the bill by cheque. Three days later, I was warned by another grooming parlour not to touch this company. I immediately called the Vet in question they were NOT having cards printed and had NEVER heard of this company. Fortunately, I was able to cancel my cheque in time. I then wrote to the company explaining why I was cancelling the contract and why I had stopped my cheque. I sent it recorded delivery, but my letter was ignored. I then received notification from my bank that a standing order had been forged, (probably scanned from my cheque!). I was able to stop the Standing Order and have lost nothing. However, the aforementioned Groomers and a local Boarding Kennel have both lost money to this company. Finally, this company has threatened court action. I am waiting to see if they follow up their threat as I am prepared to go to court over this. I have also put this matter in the hands of the police and from them, I understand that complaints about this company are countrywide. Hopefully this warning may stop other Groomers from getting caught, as I was.
Joan Kent, Rovers Return, Worksop.
I would just like to say how much I enjoy the magazine. I am not in contact with any groomers locally here and I have found it a useful reference point and have had many of my pondering discussed! I subscribed to a similar publication when I first started grooming, but sadly it disbanded, I missed the contact. Having been an editor of several (cat) club magazines, I know how time consuming it all is and I do appreciate how much effort is put in by this band of innovative individuals. Keep up the good work.
Email from Sarah Johnson, Gone to the Dogs, Surrey.
I am a groomer, about to sit my City & Guilds, and who takes pride in turning out the best dogs that I can.
What drives me mad are these Small Animal Care Courses. I have had several work experience students in from these colleges, great kids, but they are nearing the end of their course, which supposedly includes grooming, and they are taught only the very basics. They go out thinking they can groom really, they can hack and thats about it!
No disrespect to the students, I just feel that grooming is treated almost flippantly by these colleges, when, as we all know, it takes years and hard work to become a good groomer.
I think that the industry as a whole suffers from a huge image problem. People use the words "Poodle Parlour" almost as an insult. They see the job as "people playing with pink poodles and bows all day" (if only they knew anal glands, fleas, matts .)! I know Ive laughed several times at customers who have "flymoed" their pets, thinking that grooming is easy. Brain surgery it is not, but it is a skill, and a profession that I am proud to be a part of!
Summer Mitchell, Warwickshire
I would like to say how I enjoy reading your magazine from cover to cover. The odd thing is, I am not a Groomer. However, I do own a Grooming Salon. This started just over 10 years ago, when with a 10 week old baby and another shortly on the way, I acquired a Pet Shop business (which is another story!). The Pet Shop did okay but, we had space upstairs not doing anything. It would be a good idea to have a Grooming Salon, my husband and I thought.
So, we kitted out the room and rented the space for a number of years. The Groomer then left, which left us with a salon and customers, but no Groomer! We advertised and found someone to run it, although 5 years ago there were not many groomers to choose from. Things ticked along happily, I made my Groomer a partner, thinking this would encourage her to put more effort into the business and in return get more out of it. This did not work at all. To my amazement she left, taking all the regular customers, and to rub salt into the wounds, all this happened 500 yards up the road!
So, then I had a fully equipped salon, no customers and no Groomer. But, I had a lot more knowledge about the business. I advertised and got a tremendous response. I believe I chose the right person. Now, 9 months on, we are building a better business together. With the help of your magazine and the Pet Care Trust I have learned a lot and my staff are now City and Guilds qualified (me next!).
I have also come up with ideas to improve the business. Having spent a lot on advertising this year, I found the best way to promote the business was to come up with an interesting story for the local newspapers. They will fall over backwards to take photos and write editorials all about your business, and all for next to nothing. If another paper is short of news, then they too will print your story. One idea was a competition, and another was helping out our local RSPCA.
We also went along to the Groomer of the Year Competition and found it very good and handy for us, being just up the road. My daughter is now 10 years old and keen on animals and insects! Since going to the competition she has spent most of her time helping out in our salon. She wants to be the youngest competitor in the Groomer of the Year competition. So, look out for Alison Reid!
If anyone is wishing to take their City and Guilds exam in dog grooming and lives in our area we would like to hear from them. I am trying to arrange something with our local college so that in the future, we do not have to travel such long distances with our dogs in order to take an exam.
Why wait until the Groomer of the Year competition for Alisons début? Northern Groomers competition on 25th February 2001 has a special Under 16s Trophy. Hope well see you there. NG
Over the last ten years or so we have given free training to students from local schools, colleges and other establishments. In all this time we have been accident free with the exception of the last student in July of this year.
The student came from a local school for two weeks work experience. All students are told, and shown, all safety and good housekeeping at the first meeting. And continually during their stay. On the fifth day around 3:45pm there were only the two of us in the room. The student washed and put the dog in the drying cabinet and then went to get the lead for the dog I had just finished grooming. On hearing a bump, I looked round to see the student rising from a sitting position on the floor. I asked if the student was hurt, the reply was "I am OK".
The Student came in on the Monday and worked all day. The next morning I noticed that she was holding her shoulder and when asked if she had been to the doctors she said she had not. I sent her home with instructions to see a doctor. The next day we got a phone call to say the doctor had said she had hurt her collarbone and a ligament in her arm. I said she should not come in but stay home and get herself better.
That was the last we heard from her until a solicitors letter came in September from a firm in Birmingham. This leads us to believe that this is a "No Win No Fee" firm. In the letter, the student claimed she had slipped on the wet floor. Stating that my husband washed the dog and made the floor wet. As he was out delivering dogs to their homes at the time of the accident, it is impossible that he washed the dog. In our business, we have experience of first aid of over 25 years and as a trainer in industry and first aid. While we accept that an accident on our property could be partly our responsibility, there are proper channels to take. This student had not even informed the school of the incident and they are looking into the matter.
We are awaiting the results of the insurance investigation. No doubt with an increase on our insurance policy. Other groomers be aware and make sure you are fully covered by insurance, as this could happen to you.
We have decided, because of the above, not to take any more students on work experience. This is a shame for students who would like to get hands on experience of the job, but we can do without the hassle.
June & Mike Rose, K9 Beauty Parlour, Leeds
It has been very interesting reading your magazine and the different experiences of groomers around the country. I would just like to tell you how things have changed since I started grooming 41 years ago.
I began grooming in a pet shop and, believe it or not, there were up to 4 of us trimming 8 dogs a day. We thought we were really hard done by if we were asked to do an extra dog! The equipment we used was nothing like that available to the dog groomer today. We only had Horstmann dog clippers and, for the larger breeds, large horse clippers. Both of which were very unreliable in every way. We also only had a very basic dryer. At that time, it was mainly Poodles that came in and we used to practise on the Pet Shop owners own dogs. The owner, Mrs Collins, always expected a high standard of clipping, especially scissoring, which has always held me in good stead since then. When I left there, like so many other groomers, I started working from a shed in the back garden of my family home, which I did for many years. The, about 16 years ago, I took on a shop which, until July of this year, I ran on my own with only occasional help. That may seem impossible to some groomers but, the Time Survey by Diana North asked "how long does to take to groom a dog?", I was managing 6-8 dogs a day, depending on their size and condition. And, I hardly ever sheared off a dog. Now I have sold my shop in Ilford, Essex and have semi-retired to the Essex coast near Frinton-On-Sea.
This brings me to the question of prices. It was 25/- (£1.25) in 1959 to have a Toy/Miniature Poodle clipped and shampooed. It has taken all this time to bring the charges up to a reasonable level. This year I finally managed to get my prices up to a level that I felt was right for the skill and experience that I possess, e.g. £18 for Toy/Miniature Poodles, £25-30 for Standard Poodles, £18-20 for Bichons and Lhasas, etc. And this is for a one-to-one service. Having arrived at my new address, I find that local groomers are charging very low prices indeed, e.g. £10 for Yorkies, which I feel can not be good for the trade. When you compare this to what I was charging in Ilford, or even with such things as alternative health therapies Reflexology for £20-25 for, quite often, under an hour or a manicure/facial for around the same price it belittles our trade which still has the "little girl around the corner" image about it. Done correctly, our job required the skill of a very high order, which brings me to my final point, training and the teaching of dog grooming.
From my experience, many girls go on these very expensive courses and come back not knowing how to clip Poodles and have trouble combing out dogs well. But, they still advertise themselves as "qualified" dog groomers. It is clear that better, more wide-ranging and more affordable training is needed on a variety of dogs, before a trainee can start grooming dogs in the actual workplace, where the real breadth of experience is acquired. As I worked alone, I built up a good relationship with my customers and their dogs, such that I never had to retrain my dogs as they knew my every move and that they would not be standing up for long. And of course, I got to know their personalities well. In my opinion, this relationship is the key to a successful business.
Wendy Drake, Frinton-On-Sea
I read with interest the article by Bob Murphy on blade care in the Autumn 2000 edition of the splendid magazine "Northern Groomers". I too have problems with No 7 blades, much like Martin of Top N Tails. Although I agree that blade care is of utmost importance, I find that problems occur directly after re-sharpening. Sometimes they work and other times they do not. Yes, I clean off the gunge that some sharpeners put onto the blades, before I use them. The problem is not confined to No 7 blades but they seem to be more prone. I think the cause is poor quality sharpening. I previously used Allbrooks who used a German company to sharpen blades and I never had any trouble. I have been doing the rounds with other sharpeners since. Some are better than others but I have yet to find a really good company. If there is anyone out there who knows a good sharpener please tell. (Peter, have you tried the 2 companies who advertise in the mag, we have had good reports about them. NG
Can I just put my twopennyworth in on the subject of qualifications. They are totally meaningless without experience. However, what we do not want is to have to become members of an "Institute of Groomers" in order to ply our trade. As an ex-professional engineer, with some experience of institutes, I can tell you that all the institutes do is take money off you just to put your name on a list and will restrict the activities of anyone who wont join their club regardless of their ability.
Email from Peter Stott, Garth Maelog Pet Centre
Groomers in Northern Ireland have no need to feel isolated (Christina Jones, Dashin' Hounds, Belfast, Write to Reply, Autumn 2000) while we are not known for getting together much in person there is another forum of communication available. We do have our own Internet group for groomers who have email and want to make contact with other groomers. Our group is informal, we do all the usual stuff, discuss grooming equipment, chat about our jobs, breed specific grooming information, job vacancies, etc. If someone has equipment failure, there may be another group member willing to lend clippers or a dryer at short notice until the crisis is over. We are able to alert each other about customers passing bad cheques, persistent no show customers and dangerous dogs. At the end of a busy day there is always someone there to talk to, share a story with or listen to your bad day. We all need a place where we can meet, and for now that place is sitting right there in your house - your computer! There are groomers to meet and friendships to be made, if you are feeling isolated come and join us. To join Groomers Ireland go to
http://www.egroups.com/group/GroomersIreland or email us at GroomersIreland@egroups.com.
Wendy McClatchey, Canine Curls, Carrickfergus
Eventually, after receiving copies of your Northern Groomers mag we have had the chance to write and say how wonderful it is to share the trials and tribulations of the dog grooming industry. We are not alone! My husband Nigel is the groomer in our business. I assist as well by carrying out many other tasks involved to enable the business to run smoothly. We decided to start up grooming 2 years ago. It has taken off really well. It supplements our cattery business and also adds a string to our bow. The majority of our customers return to us on a regular basis. This is partly due to our appointment system which encourages regular visits. An appointment card is issued when a new customer visits, with a recommended appointment date to return. This depends on the breed, which determines the frequency of visits i.e. Westies every 12 weeks. A reminder phone call a week before the appointment is due also helps to give an idea of your work load for that week. Regular visits also help to keep customers costs down and we stress this on their visit. The longer the dog is left between appointments the more work is involved. TIME IS MONEY. Our logo is REGULAR APPOINTMENTS MAKE SENSE!! I am sure we would all agree it is much more pleasant to groom a dog that visits regularly. We feel that grooming is as important as diet and exercise, as well as spotting those minor ailments that could be the start of something big if allowed to go unnoticed. There are so many other reasons that make grooming so important and make the job worthwhile. So heres to all the groomers out there hard work, its all worth it to send our canine friends away happy and healthy.
Nigel & Julie Eagland, Fourfurns Groomers, Cheshire
I have just been reading the latest issue of the magazine and I think it is fab. I have been grooming in Cheshire for the last 13 years and I still love the job. It is good to see the groomer of the year competition is still going. I stopped entering when I moved from Leicester.
I would like to make a comment about clippers. I use at least 2 sets of clippers at one time. One Wahl KM1, to clip of thick coats before bathing and a set of Andis for all the finishing off. The KM1 runs for ages without getting hot and you can clip off the thickest, matted OES in about 20 minutes, without changing your blade. To keep the blades clean while in use, try Wahl blade disinfectant spray, it cools, cleans and does not leave oily smears on the coat.
Email from Carole, K-Nine Care
I was most interested in the "Handy Hints" by Margaret Simpson in the last issue. Although I have been grooming dogs for 38 years, I am still learning. Two of these hints have proved very useful to me! Firstly, the use of the "skrunchy" for shampooing the dogs. It certainly does create a super lather and really massages the skin and coats very well, whilst saving on the amount of shampoo needed. (Why have I never thought of that?). Secondly, the use of the humble Tomato Sauce to get rid of the pungent, lingering fox deposits that a lot of our canine friends just love to roll in! Shortly after reading this bizarre advice, I was approached by a new client whos beautiful Weimaraner had well and truly got its neck and face covered in the offending foxy poo! I duly applied the Tomato Sauce, in between two thorough shampoos (taking extreme care of the eyes, nose, mouth and ears) and Bingo all smell had gone. Some bright firm should analyse the ingredient in Tomato Sauce that has this magic side effect and market it in a fancy container, in an attractive colour of course. I am sure they would make a fortune!
The Time Survey 2000 by Diana North provided interesting reading also. Yes, we do charge more per hour for large dogs, but I feel that this is only fair. After all they are generally much harder work both to handle and to actually work on. Some may require two groomers to hold and control them (not to mention the lifting, because I am sure that not all of you have adjustable baths and hydraulic tables, Ive not!). There is also the factor of wear and tear on the equipment and the Groomer! Admittedly, some large dogs are a delight. They are friendly, clean, well groomed and a pleasure to work on. But if not, they can be a real backbreaking, tiring, stressful task. This is true of all breeds and types of dogs of course, but does apply to larger ones more.
It is difficult to balance the price of dog grooming fairly. You cannot charge Mrs A (who owns a Yorkie) one price, and Mrs B (who owns a Yorkie of similar size) a vastly different price. Mrs As Yorkie is a sweet, friendly, well groomed, easy to handle, quiet and clean little dog, belonging to a really nice, caring, co-operative owner. Mrs Bs Yorkie is a snappy aggressive, matted, difficult, noisy and dirty little beast, belonging to a very awkward, money pinching owner, who is also a bad timekeeper! These two examples are rather extreme, of course, but you get the picture? Even if you try to explain to Mrs B why you have to charge another £2 or £3 she will not like it. And if you are firm or more drastically, rude to her to get rid of her, she could do your reputation a great deal of harm. The price has to be pretty much the same, but difference in time, effort, stress and skill of the groomer is considerable. We all know that sinking feeling when Mrs B phones for an appointment and the pleasant feeling when Mrs A is due to bring her dog in. It is all part of our daily work of course, not easily explained to our more "difficult" clients who all think that their dogs are more special (and of course all dogs are special, but some are more special than others!)
One more completely different topic has anyone got any clever ideas on how we can cash in on the current craze of these "CYBER DOGS"?
Jenny Tyler, Happy Tails, Leigh on Sea
Dear Tricia, it has just dawned on me that I DO have e-mail and so I CAN join your e-group. So I just have. My friend and fellow groomer in Milton Keynes, Lou Hayward, gave you my address and I have subsequently enjoyed reading you superb magazine. I am letting my own mobile business run itself down now by not replacing lost dogs (I lose them through old age now, not lack of support) but I am still interested in other groomers and the industry as a whole. This spring I organised a 'Groomers Do' where 8 or so of the main groomers in the Milton Keynes area got together. We were not scared of each other and it was very, very interesting talking to those people that you only hear about through clients and other 3rd parties. We had 3 new groomers with us and the strongest feeling that came from them, which was echoed by us 'oldies' was the lack of 'support' and/or communication that dog groomers have or give to one another. I hear and read this sentiment all the time, I see a change slowly occurring as more and more relationships are born but it will take time. Your magazine, I think, should act as a continual prompt, or catalyst. The more people that read other groomers opinions, problems and most importantly successes the better they will feel about plucking up the courage to contact others on their own. So, in light of that I say "Keep up the sterling work" and I have taken the liberty of sending you the names and addresses of the groomers that got together earlier this year, and if they are not all ready on your mailing list, you might like to add them. Thank you for being there!
Sarah Hesketh, The Grooming Club, Milton Keynes
I strongly believe that it is wrong to allow any grooming business to belong to the Pet Care Trust without it being checked for quality and professionalism. The logo and membership is used as a marketing tool and wrongly suggests the automatic quality of the business. We have been told in the past that it is up to other members to report any miss doings, as the Trust can not possibly check up on everyone. Talking from experience, this does not work. My complaint seemed to evoke the feeling of rivalry, rather than genuine concern. Could the issue of "vetting" the businesses be discussed and perhaps the "code of practice" within the industry.
Hannah Ford, The Dog House, South Wales
Obviously, we can not reply on behalf of the Pet Care Trust. However, we do see your point, Hannah. In an ideal world all members of the Pet Care Trust would be monitored. However, we would probably find that our membership fees would increase substantially to fund this exercise. If that were the case you would probably find that many people would not renew their membership to the Pet Care Trust. Perhaps what you are looking for is some sort of Licensing to be implemented? As anyone who has logged onto our website will see, this is an extremely touchy subject with many groomers!
I would like to say how much I enjoy reading all the articles in your magazine. I was interested on the Breed Profile of the Lucas Terrier, as I have had two to groom regularly for 6 or 7 years. Then in February this year, I had another to handstrip! I am looking forward to your next issue.
Sarah Russell, Anitapet Dog Grooming, Dorset.
Could you please advise me of the Secretary of the Lucas Terrier Associations tel no./address? I have a customer who is really keen to own one and I cant find any info anywhere. Lovely lady owns a big mansion with large grounds an ideal owner!
Fay Fitch, The Grooming Parlour, Harleston
The Breed Profile of the Lucas Terrier certainly interested a lot of people. The address of their associations Secretary is:
Pam Harrow, Lucas Terrier Club, Townhead Cottages, Wanlockhead, Biggar, ML12 6UR
I have been grooming for 30+ years and have no qualifications, except experience. But, I dont know if I am good enough for City & Guilds.
Marjorie, Groomwell Dog Parlour, Co Durham
The only way to find out is to get someone to have a look at your work. The Pet Care Trust have a list of training centres. Most places will run individually suited courses. You may find you only need a day or twos training to touch up on certain points. Also, try to get to seminars that are showing the C & G trims. Good Luck.
I am proud to belong to the Groomers Association but I think that each salon joining the organisation should be thoroughly checked out upon application. At the moment even bad groomers can apply and become members, giving themselves credibility. I also would like to take the City & Guilds exam but feel very intimidated.
Louisa Tandy, Kent
Hope the reply's to Hannah and Marjories letters have helped. NG
Although I have a very good little business, I am soon going to be moving (only ½ a mile away) to bigger premises, together with boarding kennels. I would like to know, how many dogs most groomers do in a day and how long each one takes etc.
Angie Slade, Paddys Parlour, Bucks
This is a difficult question to answer, as everyone has different circumstances in their grooming salons, i.e. staff, equipment, grooming methods.
As a rough guide a Groomer, working alone, should be able to do 5-6 dogs per day. This is assuming that the dogs are in reasonable condition when brought into the salon and that there are a mixture of different breeds. For example, you could groom more than 6 Yorkies, but not 2 OES and 4 Standard Poodles in one day (unless you work 12 or more hours per day!)
You should also take into consideration how many dogs per day you need to do to cover your costs. This can sometimes be the deciding factor!
Samantha Baker, Mucky Pups, Somerset
P.S. I have a German Standard Pinscher that I show. This is a rare and lovely breed that needs more publicity. If you would like any information on this breed for the Breed Profile I would be very happy to do so. The only thing is that being smooth coated, it doesnt really tie in with a grooming mag.
We would be happy for you to send in a Breed Profile of the Pinscher, we have had a lot of requests for details about unusual breeds.
I would like more information about clippers & blades, also the care of the equipment and what to do if something goes wrong with them e.g. I sometimes find I cant get blades to work properly when they have been sharpened.
Olwen Thomas, Cornwall
Look out for our article on that subject in the next issue of the magazine. In the meantime, try a new blade sharpening service, you should not have these problems if the blades are sharpened correctly.
Thanks for printing my last letter in your mag, asking if you knew of anywhere that I could borrow grooming videos. I would like to thank Val Beven from Vals Dog Grooming in Cwmbran for very kindly sending her videos to watch. It was very nice of you. Also I loved the poem written by Diane Fowler. It really brought a tear to my eye. Im sure it would to anyone who has ever
lost a pet. Thanks again for your brilliant mag as it has been very useful to me already.
Amy Kirkpatrick, Amys Posh Pooches, Cardiff
The Pet Care Trust issue a register of "Groomers". I think it would be advantageous to know of "qualified" groomers to C & G standards, as anyone can actually register
Carolyn Jones, The Dog House, Hants
The Pet Care Trust produce a Year Book annually, listing their current members. The criteria for joining PCT/BDGA is that the applicants have a business up and running and agree to abide by a strict Code of Practice.
However, not all C & G qualified Groomers are members of the PCT and they are unable to keep track of them if they move. It would be advantageous if the PCT indicated which of their members was C & G qualified as we all have clients who move to different parts of the country and ask our advice about finding a new Groomer.
We passed these comments to the PCT and they agree that this is a good idea. Unfortunately, it is too late for this years book. However, when they request details for next years book a question about whether or not you are C & G qualified will be included. If your clients are looking for a new Groomer in a different location, the PCT recommend you use your Year Book to refer the customer to a current BDGA member.
What a shock I got when I found I had been awarded with the star letter. Not only that but I also received a lovely pair of scissors from Groomers. THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU. It certainly is nice that someone is listening to what I say. And boy thats a lot!
There are two points Id like to make in one story: The other day, a man came into my salon with an Irish Terrier at about 1pm. The dog was about 6 months old. He didnt have a clue what he wanted doing to it. But, the hair was getting too long. At a glance I knew it had a beautiful handstrip coat. We were very busy, with dogs coming out of our ears. So, I explained all about the handstripping procedure and how it would benefit his dog. I took the dog in, but not to work on, just to sit and get used to the surroundings. The owner picked the dog up 2 hours later and I re-booked him for the next day. The dog was pleased to come back and sat through handstripping very calmly. He went home unstressed and with a beautiful red undercoat showing off.
Whats the moral of this story you may ask? I advise an owner on the best method of hair removal for his dog, even if I send him to another Groomer. And now, as a matter of course, let new dogs and especially puppies sit for at least an hour to get used to their surroundings before I start the grooming process. Try it, it makes a big difference. Heidi Anderton, Absolutely Animals
I read with interest, for the first time, Northern Groomers and had to smile. It has been at the back of my mind for some time, that there is a serious gap in the market for this kind of publication. It was only a matter of time before someone finally filled it congratulations! I received my copy from Eurogroom and read it from cover to cover that evening marvellous. One suggestion I think would be worth while including in the publication is a guide to grooming specific breeds. I realise there are already quite a few books relating to this, however, many of them seem to originate from the States. A pool of groomers could perhaps give advice on how they achieve a particular finish/look for various breeds. Any tips to improve that overall professional look would always be gratefully received. I have been grooming now for some 10 years, off and on, and know that I am still learning. I really hope this publication goes from strength to strength and if you ever need any help typing or perhaps providing reports on southern based shows or interviews with groomers, then I would be interested to perhaps help in some way.
Helen Palmer, email@example.com
When we started the magazine we did not intend to print breed trimming guides. Although it was our intention to make the mag educational, we did not start it so we could teach people to groom. We feel that to learn this one needs hands on training. However, we have had a lot of requests for trimming guides and we will be including some from now on. But readers must remember, that trimming guides are just that - "guides". They are only one persons suggestion on trimming a particular breed. There are no rules set in stone. So, keep an open mind and dont be too critical!
I wrote a comment following your first issue, that it would be good to communicate with Groomers working in the same district. I am pleased to say that Diane Campbell of Canine Beauticians, Bedworth, Nuneaton phoned me to discuss pricing and cancellation charges.
With regard to Wendy Mills letter and her comment about clients not keeping appointments. I have a notice displayed, advising that failure to keep an appointment without 24hrs notice will result in a cancellation charge of £10! One client failed to turn up on 3 separate occasions. So, when she phoned to book in again (I wasnt bothered if I never saw her again), I gritted my teeth and said, I was very sorry I could not accept the booking as she had not kept previous appointments and that she incurred a cancellation charge. She has returned with her Poodle on the correct day and the right time and paid the £10! So, it goes to show that it works having a charge.
I agree wholeheartedly with Heidi Andertons letter, in Groomers not under-estimating their own work. Clients should be made to realise that you only get what you pay for. How much would they pay a Vet for advice on skin problems, shampoo, feeding, plus nails and ears?! "They dont charge for nail clipping" one client informed me. I then asked, "Did you pay for a consultation?" To which they replied, "Oh yes, £18"! Expensive nails!
I would like to know if anyone knows who would do a seminar/course on problem skin/coat. I read about one where you got a certificate at the end of it, but unfortunately the paper got lost!
Pam Ward, A Cut Above, Nuneaton.
Anita Bax announced at Eurogroom that Oster would be having one day seminars, on this subject, throughout the country. We have not been informed of these dates and venues yet. NG
Congratulations on the launch of your magazine! What a relief having, for the first time, other Groomers to communicate with! Ive not the slightest doubt you will do very, very well and I would certainly pay for your mag if need be.
I am looking forward to your next issue and the results of your price survey. I find it very difficult to put prices on certain dogs, even though I feel people are beginning to realise the amount of work involved and, if a job is done well, dont mind paying a decent price. I lost a couple of clients when I put my prices up. They returned a year later, after having their dogs ruined by other (cheaper) Groomers.
It was nice to read Wendy Mills letter and find I am not alone at being let down and messed about! I also work alone, from home. It seems people feel as I live here, they can arrive and collect their dogs whenever they wish! It messes up my whole day, as every second is accounted for. I recently put a notice in my window, warning people there will be a charge of £2 for every fifteen minutes if they fail to arrive or collect their dogs on time. (I now just have to put it in practice!) If people fail to turn up at all I let them know I am not pleased, but let them off once. If they let me down again, I put their name in "a little black book" and never do their dog again! Any better ideas, please let me know as I feel it is an on going problem. There are a lot of people out there without manners!!
Amanda Lancaster, Mannequin Mutts, Oxton
P.S. I thought the name "Clip Joint" was excellent! Wish Id thought of that nice one Pamela!
Groomers are kindly sponsoring a Star Letter for every issue of the magazine.
This time their free pair of scissors goes to:
Pam Royston-Airey, Waterside Dog Care, Argosy, 29 Fairview Drive, Hythe, Hants, SO45 5GX
I really enjoy the magazine - Sorry I didnt respond to the earlier mailings, but non-dog-orientated life took over at the time! I find the communications from other Groomers fascinating, sharing as I do their sense of isolation. My only close contact is a lady I trained some years ago, who operates part time, as I do, a few miles away from me. I would like to make some comments to add to some of the letters.
Grooming Charges July 1999
(first increase since 1995!)
Yorkshire Terrier, Dachshund, Jack Russell £15.00
Poodle, WHWT, Welsh/Scottish/Cairn £17.00
Terrier, King Charles, Shih Tzu, Lhasa Apso
Small or light-coated Springer or Cocker £20.00
Large or heavy-coated Springer or Cocker £23.00
Labrador, Retriever, Airedale, OES clip-off £27.00
Heavy-coated GSD, Newfoundland, OES, £30.00
Many thanks for and good luck with the magazine I enjoy receiving it.
When one of my clients has sadly lost their dog. I send them this poem with a nice card, to make them feel a little better. We all know how painful it is to lose you best friend.
Joanne Shillington, Joannes Dog Grooming Salon, Portobello
I Thought Id write and let you know what a brilliant job we think you are all doing!!! This magazine is just what I needed. I groom in Northern Ireland and I feel very isolated in my profession here. It seems that groomers seem to think there is something to fear. I think your magazine is just what we need to bring us all together to work towards similar goals in getting our profession noticed. I dont think we should worry about whos grooming in the next town. But we should get to know them and work together to help ourselves and to get the recognition we deserve.
A lot of my customers dont realise the amount of work, time and effort that goes into grooming their dogs. We need to make them aware of this and to feel proud of the work that we do. We need to concentrate on the good comments from our customers and build on those!!
I found the pricing survey very informative. Unfortunately, I started out with my prices too low and have had to learn the hard way. I charge for extra work and products used. After all, most customers wouldnt bat an eyelid if their hairdresser charged them extra for a conditioning treatment, etc.
Christina Jones, Dashin Hounds, Belfast
In reply to Louisa Tandys letter in the last issue of the Northern Groomers "Write to Reply" feature. I suspect any bad groomers, who happen to be members of the Pet Care Trust, are few and far between and would probably find it difficult to maintain a successful business if competing with other PCT members who follow the PCTs strict Code of Practice. From my own experience, the PCT asked for evidence of my having formal training from a recognised training centre and two signatures from authorised PCT members to substantiate this, before accepting me into their membership.
Brenda Theobald, Elegant Pets, Hertfordshire.
Many thanks for printing my contribution as your Star Letter, and for my unexpected super pair of scissors! I shall use them with pride! I have forwarded your price survey to two other local groomers who I am sure would appreciate a copy of the magazine. Ive moved from being the only groomer on the Waterside to one of five. But, we still seem to find enough doggies to share between us! Pam Royston-Airey, Waterside Dog Care
Thank you so much for this wonderful magazine. At last we are able to communicate to fellow groomers. A few months ago a new groomer opened up a few miles away from me. I know how frightened I was and scared of going alone when I started. So, I phone him up and wished him well. He thought I might have seen him as a threat, but I told him I was made up as there were more than enough dogs. I now send all my big dogs to him and he sends dogs to me if they are closer to me. We warn each other of nasty dogs and compare prices. Too many groomers ring other shops for prices and withhold their number. Next time, try and introduce yourself and who knows, you might make a friend!
P.S. I shed a tear over Joanne Shillingtons poem, it was lovely.
Kim, Canine Cuts, Wallesey
All too often I see groomers spending hours dematting/wrestling dogs for the same charge as a well groomed dog which comes in every 8-10 weeks. Where is the justice in this?
I read that you had not received any results from Northern Ireland so I thought I would write in and give all those Irish Groomers an idea of charges. I strongly believe though, that if you offer a good service you should charge for it. After 10 years grooming and C & G qualified I dont worry any more about over/under charging. My clients return and I am now at the stage where I can pick and choose my clients. Those boisterous, fidgety, nasty dogs suddenly find we have no appointments for 6-8 weeks.
I hope my price guide will give others an insight into price structure. I have also found a grooming contract as a permanent record for all customers an invaluable asset. Customers cannot complain about you clipping their dog short as you have their written permission. This is a great possession for those husband and wife disagreements which Im sure weve all had from time to time. The husband says "clip it off" the wife phones, totally annoyed that youve clipped off the dogs hair! Theres no questions of whose fault it is if you have it in writing. It is also a valuable tool if you find a customer trying to sue you after youve done something they asked for but then dont like it!
N Smith, Smartpets, Bangor
P.S. I thought you might like to know about a way to improve your business income. Micro chipping - it can be done by a suitably trained person. I have been doing it for the past year and my income has increased
GROOMERS are kindly sponsoring a Star Letter for every issue of the magazine. This time their free pair of scissors goes to: Debbie James, Puppy Love, 6 Harts Close, Bushey, Herts, WD23 2BL
I have been grooming for the last 20yrs I started at a well known groomers more or less straight from school, learnt an awful lot, and then decided to open my own parlour. I did this in 1987 in my Mums back garden, in a very nice Swiss Chalet type of shed, which has now been greatly extended twice, thanks to firstly my Dad and then my Husband!
Then we decided it would be really nice if we had a shop, so we bought one, worst mistake of our lives! Well sort of. You forget that you have overheads to pay in a shop, and there is only a certain amount of dogs one person can do in a day, so then comes staff and all the problems they entail. After suffering the next 10yrs of all these problems (not all as bad as I make out but you know what I mean, you just seem to be working for everyone else but yourself) we had a very large client list, and did many, many dogs but the costs always won! So in the end we let it all go and went back to Mums.
We now have a smaller client list, but enough to pay a mortgage, bills, and one member of staff, who has been with me on and off for 10yrs.
When we moved from shop to shed, we did not change our prices or our way of running the business, because we still need to live! Our prices are not cheap because we are very good groomers. We are qualified both with credit and have been placed in a number of grooming comps. We take our time with each dog and the time is well spent as the results are often much better. Our prices range from Yorkies @ £18 - £20 to puppy trim OESD @ £55. We no longer do Newfoundlands, too much effort for too little reward, also having a very bad back I find them too difficult. We also no longer do handstripping for the same reasons - why handstrip 1 dog when you can clip 2 in the same time and earn double the money? Handstripping never earned double the cost of clipping, and it hurts too. Hands, wrists and backs suffer, what is the point?
We also charge a fee for missed appointments, you can usually tell from the customers reply on the phone as to the reason they have not come in. Their first reaction is usually the real reason i.e.'' Oh no I forgot, can I make it another day please? ". We then say "of course you can, but there is a cancellation fee of 50% to pay", you will be surprised how many then can come in. If we feel that they have a genuine reason for not coming in, i.e. broken down car (this is one you can't prove anyway) we remind them that we usually charge a cancellation fee, but we won't charge it this time. Then we mark their card, date it and say they were told about fee. Then, if they do it again we charge, because they have been told and not charged before. We think this is quite a fair way of dealing with unreliable clients, it seems to work. The very unreliable clients who let you down a lot either pay up each time or go elsewhere, leaving the appointment free for a client that will turn up each time. Most of my customers are very good and understand why we have to charge a fee. This Saturday we had a client who let us down with a puppy trim OESD, last week they offered us the £25 fee and without us even having to ask for it! I like that sort of customer, why cant they all be as understanding?
On to another subject, I think that all groomers should try to take the C+G exam. I know there are some of you out there that say '' my customers would come to me whether I had the qualifications or not, they like my work", I know this because my best friend is one, Karen take your exam!! But it really would weed out the awful grooming that does go on out there. We really do still need to up the standards of our profession and prove to people that it is actually worth paying a decent fee for a decent job. Not a cheap fee for a cheap job!! Also inexperienced groomers, those who have not worked in large busy parlours or under the supervision of a qualified or long established good groomer, qualified with experience, can be quite dangerous to the dogs and to themselves. Inexperience leads to accidents. I have heard a great many stories of this sort of thing happening.
I have been a member of the PTIA (as I still refer to it, old habits die hard) for many years now. I was there at its birth and at the birth of the C+G exams.
Oh I remember it all so well, oh ok not so well these days, its all the hard work and stress of being a groomer fuddles the mind you know!!
Many thanks for reading this very long, awfully boring letter, I'll try not to send you too many!!
Not boring at all Debbie. Keep sending your letters. That goes for everyone else out there we love hearing your stories. NG