Monday, April 2, 2012

Why Does It Cost So Much To Have My Dog Groomed?

This is a question that I have been ask often over my grooming career.
I have found myself having to defend the prices that I charge for pet grooming more often than I would like to admit.

I will admit that it does tend to put a groomer on the defensive.
So many pet owners believe that grooming a dog is not a job but playing with dogs all day.

Pet grooming is a highly skilled job.

Yes, I said skilled.

I am sure that any pet owner out there that has experienced a bad grooming on their dog realizes that not everyone calling themselves a groomer can do a good job.
That is why professional pet grooming is a skill.

Becoming a professional pet groomer, or stylist requires patience, an artistic eye, physical stamina, and a true love for the job.

~Patience to deal with many types of pet personalities, ranging from very sweet, to very nervous, to very nasty and biting.
~An artistic eye to be able to balance out a haircut, and make your pet look beautiful.
~Physical stamina for lifting dogs, bending over a tub all day, and standing on your feet for 8 to 12 hours a day.
~True love for a job that can be dangerous at times, and  unappreciated.

Pet grooming is far from playing with dogs all day.

It is a job.

It is a business.

There are bills to be paid.
Gas & Electric.
Grooming Tools.
Grooming tool maintenance. 
Groomers Salaries.
Health Insurance.
Business Insurance.
These are just some of the overhead that a grooming shop has to cover every month.

Another question that I have been asked is; "why does it cost more to cut my dogs hair than my own hair?"

The answer...
Your stylist is shampooing and cutting only the hair on your head.

Your groomer is....

Bathing your dogs head and body with  high quality shampoos and conditioners.

They may also be spending extra time giving your dog special medicated baths, and, or Hot oil treatments to help your dogs skin.

 A good groomer will take the time to hand dry and fluff your dogs coat to get the best hair cut possible.

 They clip your dogs to the length you desire if the coat is in good shape.

 They can hand scissor your dogs coat into a cute cut if the coat is in good shape.

They can take your dog from looking like this.... looking like this.

 Or this.... this.

 Your groomer also clips your dogs nails.

 Some groomers also offer nail filing as a service if your dog will allow it.

 Your groomer will pluck and clean your dogs ears if needed.

The ears will go from looking like this.... this.

 Your groomer will also remove ticks from your dog.

 Your groomer will alert you to skin conditions that need to be treated by your Veterinarian.

 Your groomer may also find sores under crusty eyes, tumors, rashes, and other things that may need to be seen by your Veterinarian.

Your groomer must also deal with clipping seriously matted dogs.
These matted dogs require professional grooming skills to remove the coat safely.
Removing these coats also require a lot more time than the average grooming.
It is only fair that a groomer charge an extra fee for removing this kind of coat.

 A groomer could groom two to three well taken care of dogs in the time that it would take the groomer to remove this severely matted coat safely.

 Bring a dog once a year to the groomers, to save money, will only cost more money in the long run, do to medical bills for bad skin and other medical conditions caused from letting a dogs coat become this matted.

Many pet owners may not have any idea how dangerous professional pet grooming can be for a groomer.

We all like to think that our dogs are the greatest.
That they would not hurt someone.
Unfortunately, there are dogs that are very mean when it comes to grooming.
Some are not groomed often enough to learn that being groomed is okay.

Some dogs don't care how carefully you are trying to groom them.

They only have one thing on their mind.... 

  ...and that is to draw blood.

 Some dog owners out there think that the groomer must be doing something to the dog to make the dog scratch and bite the groomer.

 Believe me, it is not a groomers goal to get up in the morning and go to work to make a dog bite them.

Your dog is a living thing that has a mind of its own.

Something as simple as having the nails clipped, the ears plucked, or a mat brushed out could trigger a dog to turn and bite.

A dog can bite quickly and with the force to bite down to the bone in seconds.

One well placed bite can end a professional pet groomers career.

Believe me, we do not ask to be bitten!

To sum it up, your groomer does a lot for that price of the grooming.

~ A bath (all over, not just the head)
~A Blow-dried and fluffed coat.
~The coat brushed and mat free.
~Ears cleaned and plucked.
~Nails clipped and filed.
~A full body hair cut. (clipped or hand scissored)

Does your hair stylist do all of that to you?

Pet grooming prices vary greatly across the country.
The larger your dog is, and the more hair that they have, will require more grooming.
The more work that your groomer needs to do on your dog, requires more time, in turn costing more to groom.

Having your dog groomed regularly helps keep the coat in good condition which helps keep your dogs grooming at an average cost.

The average cost, depending where you live, for a small to medium size dog, given a basic haircut, can cost between 40 to 50 dollars.
Depending on how often you get your dog groomed (4, 6, 8 weeks), lets say every 4 weeks (30 days), would cost you anywhere from $1.35 to $1.70 a day.

I am sure that it is worth $2 a day to keep your dog clean, happy and healthy. :)

One last thing....

  Most groomers care very much about their furry customers.

They got into grooming because they love dogs and want to make then feel and look better.

But, they still have families to take care of and bills to pay just like everyone else.

Try to remember that professional groomers do a lot for your dog for that grooming price that you pay.

You are getting your moneys worth. :)

A Note From Your Friendly Groomer, MFF


  1. i tell my groomers about your blog, i am glad that i found you and thank you for letting us know that we arent in this boat alone.

  2. Thank you for this you explained my life as a groomer!! I need to share this with my clients!!!

  3. Yes! This is so well written about my life as a Pet Groomer too!

  4. I would love to share this as well. So very well put. Come follow me and I follow back!
    I would love to chat with you. Thank you :)

  5. I hope it is ok to share on my facebook page. Says it well.

    1. Do she groom

    2. As a professional groomer myself I actually have to explain to certain customers and justify the cost for the grooming of their dog.

    3. As a professional groomer myself I actually have to explain to certain customers and justify the cost for the grooming of their dog.

  6. Having moved to grooming my poodle/bichon mix and 2 English cockers, I understand full well why you charge what you do!!!!

  7. You are the voice of every groomers.. Thanks for the blog.. Well said.. Well said...

  8. Great post!! Sharing on my page. Your before and after photos are great as well.

  9. If you love dogs and want to turn that into some form of career, you may want to consider becoming a dog groomer. Groomers not only brush dogs, they are responsible for their overall health. They bathe, trim, comb, and even brush the dog's teeth.

    Toronto Dog Groomer

  10. If you want to simply play with dogs all day - apply to be the receptionist. (that's ME btw, and love my job) but even THAT has it's risks. We get bit and scratched from the scared, the confused, and the anxiety ridden pooch upon entrance to the lobby just about everyday. We also get to clean up the poop or urine sprinkled walls when you don't take your dog for his morning walk before grooming, or explain once again WHY not brushing your little friend for 3 months will now result in a shorter haircut than the "just trim him up a little" look you anticipated when you made the appointment. A true love for dogs and their care is a must :)

  11. Love this one..... I really appreciate the job of a groomer.... And I do agree that bringing my shihtzu on a regular based to a groomer really the best thing to do compared to: bring him once a year just because I want to save money...

  12. How much is grooming school and is school required to have a license to do this? Is a license required? Do you need to pay renewal fees for the license if so? Are yearly credit hours required to keep your license?

    1. It depends where you live. There is no license required in the United States. And research your grooming school CAREFULLY! Some only teach the basics of how to bathe and shave down a dog. Others teach you ALL aspects of grooming, which includes Breed Standard Conformation, anatomy and muscle structure (around which all good grooming is based), hand stripping, carding, scissor finishes, teaching a dog how to stand quietly for a groom, and Breed Standard Profiles. Grooming is more than just shaving down a dog. It takes years to perfect one's craft, far, FAR beyond even the best of schools.
      Wendy Rodriguez, NCMG

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  15. well giving a training to your dog is some thing different then giving them any healthy diet meals.
    dog food recipes

  16. Great read!! I'll be sharing this for sure! But it may not be a bad thing to add that if you want a mobile groomer the cost could be higher than the normal salon prices... Just a thought. :)

    1. I was thinking the same thing! I want to share this, but I start at $85 (all inclusive mobile). Don't want my clients to think I'm price gouging! Lol

  17. My groomer also does day care and when our dog was dying from a heart condition they took him all day for us and made sure he was taking his pills and giving him the love that we couldn't at that point.

  18. This! So much this! I would love to print this out for my clients to read!

  19. Most groomers also go even further and take Doggie CPR classes to ensure your pets safety even more.

  20. Hi! Can you give me the down low for what is appropriate and if you are suppose to tip your groomer? I never know what the proper thing is to do.

    1. I don't see a response on here. Hope this helps. I am a groomer too :)
      For a $50 groom, I would say a $5 tip is good and a $10 is fabulous.
      For a $70 groom, $10 is good, $15 fabulous, $20 wowza!
      Just looking at those numbers, I think the basic tip is 10% and the fabulous one is 20%.
      Lots of my clients do not tip at all, although I provide amazing service and grooms. Not sure why not. I love my tippers the most; I can't lie. It's just human nature. I had a client 15 years ago who would gush all over me and give me a $2. Sometimes, attitude rules as well.

    2. Tip is always appreciated but never obligatory. If you are happy with the service tip as much as you feel like if not so, don't. :)

    3. I understand why groomers charge so much but if a customer is on a fixed or limited income couldn't you charge a little less? When I had my shitzu I payed an arm and a leg to get her trimmed and I am on a fixed income

    4. I can't speak for everyone but I do try to work with my clients who are on fixed incomes as much as I can but unfortunately one shitzu takes the same amount of my time as someone else's shitzu. It becomes unfair to clients to charge more because they can afford the extra for the same breed.

  21. Hi! Can you give me the down low for what is appropriate and if you are suppose to tip your groomer? I never know what the proper thing is to do.

  22. I had a beautiful Lhasa Apso & while she was alive I took her to many groomers & I never found one in my locality that could cut her hair like a teddy bear !! At first I took her to a lady that had the most beautiful photographs of dogs that had been clipped. When I called to collect her she bought my dog out to me & I said, there's a mistake, that's not my dog & she said yes that's her. She had cut all her hair of to a #1 cut including her ears. She charged me $55 which I had already paid for.. I was so shocked I could hardly talk... After numerous fails I bought my own grooming set & I did a far better job than anyone of the groomers she had been to !!!

    1. As a certified dog groomer, the fact that you called it a #1 cut, despite saying you purchasing your own tools, means you absolutely have no idea what you are talking about because grooming blades don't have the same numbers as human blades do. This whole story is fake or completely blown out of proportion. I always wonder how people who complain about every groomer they've ever been to don't realize that its their dog that is the problem, because legitimately how could all these professionally possibly not know what you wanted, either that or you are one of those unrealistic customers who ask for their chihuahua to be cut like a poodle.

    2. Really your a certified groomer and think this whole story is blown out of proportion? Then you must be making up being a certified groomer.

  23. My husband is out of work and he and I just tried grooming our Yorkie to save money and OH MY GOSH I will never question what the groomer charges again! You all earn EVERY PENNY!

    1. I love it when my clients try and groom their own dogs! I don't blame anyone for trying, as grooming can be so expensive sometimes. But, it is a lot more work than most people realize. I always get bigger tips, from owners who bring me their dogs, after they tried grooming their own dogs! They realize, it's a lot of work.

  24. It seems to be really dangerous, but then nice one, you people can take help from the Pet Grooming Tips to maintain good health of your pets as keeping them healthy and fit is among one of the basic duties of every human being. This will simply make your work more easy and comfortable regarding your pets health.

  25. Thank you for posting this. I am not a groomer but a dog owner. People need to stop and add up what they pay for not only a hair cut but dying, styling, perm's, manicures,pedicure's and all the waxing that most women get. Thank you to all you groomers that care enough to do this job and put up with all the stuff.

    1. This is my husbands site that is why it is under his name. Thanks Cherri

  26. Bravo couldn't have said it better myself.

  27. I'm reading online that some groomers may charge up to $75+. I know you can get what you pay for, but I don't want to get ripped off either. Is this too much?

    For your reference, these are the sites I'm seeing the prices on: here and here


    1. It would depend on the dog. I charge more for thicker coats, huskies....I know, some people think that huskies shouldn't be groomed but I live in Arizona. It's 120 F in the summer time. Those poor dogs are suffering from our miserable heat and the owners want their dogs shaved twice a year. So, yes, the hair grows back, nice and healthy every six months.

  28. Amen! Me too! Nobody listens! If a groomer measures up then all said in this blog is true and supportable. But if your dog is brushed so that you can run s comb through its coat and they agree they are capable of a certain cut and you come to pick the dog up and it's been SHAVED, has lacerations to the skin or razor burns and nicks in the coat then the deal is off!!!

  29. Thank you for this information and thank you for the great job you do on Cici you are awesome

  30. I love this, but you forgot Anal glands. Lol.

  31. The only things I would add to this are, we also brush our hair every day. Probably several times a day for some. Most pets don't get brushed once a week, much less once a day. Grooming is a very physical job. We are stylists, animal behaviorists, and dog whisperers. We have to have knowledge of skin issues, ear issues, and teethe issues. We have to be able to understand canine body language and have quick reflexes to keep from getting bit or scratched. A p rofessional groomer puts hands or eyes on every inch of your dog. Most pet owners pet their dogs but they don't examine them from head, toe to tail. When you bring your pup to a professional groomer, you get a whole lot of knowledge and experience for that average $40-$50. If your groomer goes out of his or her way to fit you in to a busy schedule, does a really good job, or just takes good care of you and your pet, tip them! We, as groomers, are often unappreciated and tips show your appreciation! Thanks for this awesome blog!

  32. Great article. I have a tibetan terrier with a show coat. I could brush her out myself but I know I'd be missing areas as my sight is poor. My girl has a very long coat (to the floor and beyond). Helen sees her groomer 2x a week; total comb out and teeth brushing at first, and a complete groom at the second - teeth, ears, nails, wash and dry, and great interaction with the staff and all her dog friends at the salon. Not only is she treated like the queen she thinks she is, but has a 6 hour socialization session. I wouldn't trade this relationship for the world. Total cost every week? $48.00. WOW! LOVE my groomers!!!

  33. I taught myself to groom my two miniature Schnauzers. With the amount of time it takes to groom both it pays to take them to a professional groomer. I prefer to utilize my free time in other ways. Every groomer I have ever used over the years have definitely earned every penny of their pay!

  34. I pay the groomer happily. I think Dog Grooming must be one of the nastiest jobs on earth. She didn't mention expressing the anal glands, which they also do.

  35. I recently found many useful information in your website especially this blog page. Among the lots of comments on your articles. Thanks for sharing.
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  36. you are the best and so professional and i am glad i found you to groom my furbabies nashari and baliey and the love they get from you and your staff and owning a pet is like having a child would you allow your child to go to school with matted hair or lice or dirty skin and clothes so why would we not want our furbabies to have the same vet care and grooming care we give ourselves and fmaily because my pets our my family see you soon

    1. love ya and all you do liz and christal and our furbabies nashari and bailey

  37. This comment has been removed by the author.

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