Quoting grooming prices is a very difficult thing. Though our receptionists have a price list to guide them, prices always vary, and when possible they have us speak with the prospective new client. We always ask lots of questions, and still by the end of the conversation we give a "range". We don't dare set it in stone, as we never quite know if what the pet owner tells us is the truth.
For example, you might tell me your Lab mix is around 75 pounds and has "pretty short" hair. Surprise, surprise, your Lab mix hasn't been weighed since it was 6 months old, and I'm pretty sure it's Dad was a St. Bernard. People tend to leave minor details out all the time. The biggest problem we have is with people that say their dog is "not matted at all". Yeah. Right.
We give people a price range, then tell them we won't know for sure of the price until we see their dog. Quoting high is usually best, as it can be a nice surprise if the groom is cheaper.
Today, I fielded this call:
Client: I have a 18 lb Cockapoo. I usually get him groomed somewhere else, but it's pretty far to drive. We were hoping to find a more local groomer.
Me: We would probably charge $42-$45 for the type of haircut you are describing (I'm not going to subject you to all the boring questions I asked).
Client: Oh. Well, see the problem is that where I usually go they only charge me $37.00. If you could guarantee me that the cost would be $42.00 I would come to you, but I can't do $45.00.
Really??? $3.00 is the deal breaker here?? I'm never sure what they expect me to say. "Oh..I'm sorry, you are right, that is way too expensive, I will match your groomer's price". ??? I don't think so.
I know, some people are probably thinking..in this economy, she should be grateful for ANY new client. I actually am. However, I've had people tell me the "groomer in Florida" only charges me $20 for my Standard Poodle. People lie.
We do our best to quote a fair price. This week a person brought in her two "Collie Mixes". She was WAY over quoted, as when she came in for her appointment, she had two small Cattle Dog mixes with extremely short hair. Nice surprise for her.
I know it's frustrating, as everyone's budgets are tight, and you'd like to know exactly what kind of cash you need to bring. I suggested the Cockapoo owner bring her dog in before she made an appointment so I could give her a better idea of cost. She said she'd do that today. She never showed up. I'm guessing her phone shopping found her someone willing to charge less than $42.00. We'll have to wait and see.