You’ve got your certification in hand, your grooming kit built, and you’re ready to take the professional scene by storm! People are interested in your grooming services and you can’t wait to put your skills to use. There’s only one problem: you haven’t priced your services!
Many new professionals feel nervous about pricing their services and building service packages. It’s a fine balance between charging enough to make a living, but not so much that clients take their business elsewhere. Your packages should offer a full range of services without including ‘extras’ that clients don’t need.
Putting time and effort into building great pet grooming packages and pricing them well is one of the most important steps to start your career as a dog groomer off on the right foot! Check out these key steps for doing just that!
Step 1: Define your services
Dissect your talents and figure out what you actually have to offer your clients. Are you an expert nail clipper or shampooer? Do you fare best when it’s all about the haircut? What extra services—such as teeth brushing or de-skunking—have you been trained to do? Lay your skills on the table and analyze exactly what you have to offer your clients.
Step 2: Create appealing combinations
Now that you see what you’re capable of, assess how you should market each service. Choose combinations of services that go well together and build packages based on which combinations might interest your target clients most.
For example, you can have different packages such as a standard bath package (brushing and bathing), a more advanced option that also includes nail clipping and ear cleaning, and a third “full-service” option that also includes a full haircut.
You should also consider the size and breed of the dogs when creating your packages. Larger dogs would typically be charged more than smaller dogs for the same grooming combinations because it would likely take more time, (sometimes) more hands, and more work. Same goes for difficult dogs, or dogs with special needs who might require more time or a different approach altogether.
Don’t forget the Add-Ons
Be sure to include a list of à-la carte services in case, for example, you’re de-matting a dog and you find fleas. When something unexpected pops up, you can contact the dog’s owner to let them know about the issue. Add-ons like flea baths let owners address surprise grooming situations, while you still earn a fair wage for your extra work.
It’s never a good idea to become a “bargain” business (more on that later), but consider coming up with some meaningful discounts that are valuable to your loyal client base. Maybe you can offer:
- A discount for clients with multiple dogs. Since you didn’t have to advertise to get the second dog, you can offer your client a slight (maybe 5%) discount on a groom for their second pooch.
- A client referral program. Why not turn your clients into your marketers! Consider a program that rewards clients for sending more business your way. Maybe you offer them a free nail trim if they refer a friend for a full groom?
- Extra flourishes. Bows or finishing sprays can cost you next to nothing, but if you offer them as “free upgrades” with certain packages, they’ll catch your customer’s eye. People love free stuff!
Here’s where it gets fun: You’ll want to name your packages in a way that grabs clients’ attention while still being informative. Take the three grooming packages we mentioned above, for example. You could call them:
- Brush, Bath, and Save!
- The Standard Spa
- The Deluxe Salon Package
Ideally, the more expensive combinations will sound prestigious, while the less expensive ones will have names that make them sound more basic.
Step 3: Research your local industry
Once your packages are built, it’s time to think about pricing. Your prices should be competitive, meaning that they’re similar to the “going rate” or the standard price in your area. Pricing competitively benefits both you and the rest of your local community.
Research other pet groomers with packages similar to yours and compare their prices to find the average rate in your area.
Step 4: Consider your level of experience
Pet groomers charging the “going rate” in your area might have been working professionally for many years. You want to charge a price that gives your skills credit, but acknowledges your level of experience.
There’s no shame in being a beginner, but you’ll also lose clients if you charge the same price as the seasoned professionals even though you’re not quite on their level in terms of skill. You might charge just below the going rate when you’re first starting out, or just above the rate if you’re very experienced and in demand.
Step 5: Stick to your guns
Once you’ve established your pricing, have confidence in the value of your packages! Offering the occasional discount or the option to bundle packages can be a great marketing tool, but don’t haggle or bargain. Your price is your price, and that’s that!
If people learn that your price can be knocked down with a little persuasion, you might find many clients trying to short-change you and you won’t be making what you’re worth as a result. Respectfully decline bargaining attempts, restate your price, and remain confident in what your skills are worth.
It’s about balance!
There’s no one-package-fits-all, but you can have fun with it! Think about what kind of packages you’d most like to purchase if you were the client, and combine your skills to offer a really great service. Stick close to the going rate, respect your local industry, and respect yourself as a professional!
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You have options when starting your dog grooming business!
Casey Bechard of Off The Leash Pet Grooming is a QC Pet Studies graduate. Read all about her favorite breeds and pet haircuts as a certified groomer!
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