Money Matters: Addressing Your Pricing Structure | Groomer to Groomer

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Money Matters: Addressing Your Pricing Structure

“Money isn’t the most important thing in life, but it’s reasonably close to oxygen on the ‘gotta have it’ scale.”  — Zig Ziglar

Most of us did not become groomers because we thought we would get rich, but having a career that can provide financial security is important. Our income determines how we care for ourselves and provide for our families.

That being said, is your income all you want it to be? Are you able to pay your bills, make a comfortable living and put money away for your retirement? 

If the answer is “no,” then you’ve got a problem.

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If you are working as much as you can and still don’t earn enough money, it’s time to examine your pricing structure. What method did you use to set your prices? I hope it wasn’t by calling around to all your competition to ask them what they charge. Your prices must be determined by your operating expenses. It doesn’t matter what anyone else charges.

Begin by writing down your gross monthly business income. Next, add up your monthly expenses such as rent or mobile van payment, insurances, taxes, your salary, utilities, advertising, supplies and all the rest. Then, compare your total income against your total expenses. Did you make or lose money, or just break even? 

If your monthly expenses are $8,400 and you work five days a week, you need to bring in $420 per day to cover your expenses. If you usually do six grooms per day, you need to charge an average of $70 per groom just to break even. But don’t plan to stay in business very long if all you do is break even. You need to bring in at least 20% more to safeguard and protect yourself.

 For instance, do you have an emergency fund? Everyone needs to have three to six months of income set aside in their emergency fund. Suppose your salon is damaged by a hurricane or tornado, your mobile unit is in an accident…or you are closed by a pandemic and you have no income for four weeks. You still have bills and living expenses that must be paid until you are able to resume grooming. 

Are you putting any money away for a vacation or to buy a home? How about saving for your retirement? You won’t be able to groom forever, you know.

One way to bring in that extra 20% is to groom one or two additional pets per day, every day. Do you really want to overload yourself like that? You are not a machine that can work indefinitely. Grooming is a mentally and physically challenging job, and groomer burnout is very real.

So, what is the solution? 

Instead of adding to your workload, raise your grooming prices. 

Now that you know what your expenses are and have calculated how much you need to bring in each day, you can evaluate each pet and estimate how much time it takes to groom. You can then determine how much you need to charge for it. For example, an Akita takes far more time and work than a Beagle, so adjust their prices accordingly.

I know that other professionals, like mechanics and plumbers, don’t usually post a notice when they have an increase in their prices, but most groomers I have talked to prefer to give their clients some advance notice. They feel it is seldom a good idea to just spring a price hike on their customers, especially if there has been a substantial increase. 

If money is a client’s only concern, you may lose some people when you raise their price. However, most clients will not leave a groomer that they are comfortable with. They value the relationship they have built with you and the care you give their precious pets.

A lot of groomers raise their prices in January; it’s the “new year, new price” concept. In reality though, that may not be the best time. January is typically a cold, dark and dreary month. A lot of people overspend during the holidays and have big credit card bills in January. They are already grumpy and a price increase does nothing to help that. Raising your prices later in the spring is often met with little or no resistance. School is ending, and many families are preparing for and enjoying vacations and outdoor fun. The weather has improved and people are happier in general.

I know one enterprising stylist who regularly implements a price increase on her birthday. Happy Birthday to her! The date you choose is yours, but the bottom line is, when you need to raise your prices, raise them.

You are a highly-skilled professional in a career that often involves hard, physical work. It’s high time that you value yourself, be compensated fairly for your effort and talents, and fund your financial future.

Of course you love what you do—and money is not the most important thing in life—but you deserve the security and happiness that financial freedom can provide. That’s why, money matters. ✂️

“If you don’t value your time, neither will others. Stop giving away your time and talents. Value what you know & start charging for it.”  — Kim Garst

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Kathy Hosler

Kathy Hosler opened her shop in 1971 when she was just nineteen years old. She has built a terrific business and is still actively grooming today. Kathy is also a feature writer for Groomer To Groomer and Pet Boarding & Daycare Magazines, and has been nominated twice for the Barkleigh Honors Journalist of the Year Award as well as a Cardinal Crystal Achievement Award for Grooming Journalist.

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