Hi, My Name is Erinn!
I am the owner of a grooming studio in Williamsburg, VA called Doggo Den and I just celebrated my first year open in May. Before becoming a business owner I worked in corporate grooming for 8 years. In 2012, I had a lot happening in my life between finishing school and working three jobs. You see I have a bachelor’s in computer science, weird right? Well one of my jobs around this time was a bather, just to make some extra cash and I thought I’d get to play with dogs, I was so naïve. Given the opportunity to learn more I decided I would rather continue improving my grooming skills then work with computers. Fast forward I became a Salon Leader and really loved my job, but I was ready for more. In 2021, I opened and have never looked back.
How Much to Tip:
Pet Grooming is a service and therefore should be tipped as any other service would. Groomers are professionals who have had training to know how to properly groom pets. We spend tons of money on educational courses, tools, and extra supplies to make doggos dapper. So how much is considered an appropriate tip? Well when a client asks me this I usually say “Whatever you feel comfortable with” but I would say from experience with my clients it's usually 15-20% of their total bill.
How To Recognize and Reward Great Service:
Tipping is definitely kept in mind when it comes to situations regarding specific clients. I have clients who tend to be pickier, have more complex requests, or sometimes need me to accommodate a schedule change. When I do and I am given an additional tip for going out of my way it makes me feel good to know that they appreciate my effort. I am grateful for my loyal clients that respect my time and understand the value of my services.
What Happens if I Get Bad Service?
Now sometimes things don’t go as planned and the service is not up to the client’s expectations. Clients should be sure to communicate to their groomer that they are not happy and see if there's a way their pet can be adjusted to make them happy. Not everything is fixable, but I think if the groomer is open and honest with the client, and they put time and effort into their work they should still receive a tip. As a business owner my budget revolves around my sales and overhead so any extra tips I receive helps me with future goals as extra spending money. Groomers who are employees appreciate tips as added income since most work on commission and therefore they only receive a portion of the ticket price.
What if I Can’t Afford Tips and Gifts?
If a client cannot afford to tip their groomer, that's alright too. But make sure to express to your groomer how much you appreciate them in other ways. Start by simply saying to them how good the dog looks and staying on a routine. Additionally, referring the groomer to friends and family or leaving reviews on social media is a great way to escalate their business. Lastly, I always prefer food over cash, and I love when a client brings me homemade baked goods or snacks.
I’m a Groomer. How Can I Earn More Tips?
Here are some things I do that I believe helps me receive tips from clients.
Leave an impression by adding a nice cologne, bow, or bandanna to their dog. Also clients love when I offer a small dog treat goodie bag to go.
Remember the details about clients and their dogs and bring it up into conversation. The client will appreciate that you remembered such and such, to do so it’s helpful to keep detailed notes.
At pickup and checkout make sure to have some way of mentioning tipping while they are paying. Have a tip jar nearby and you can even add a cute sign for clients to see. When I started my business, I set up my Point-of-Sale system to automatically ask if they would like to tip when they ran their credit card. And most systems can be adjusted to set the options from 10, 15, 20, 25 percent. Clients are accustomed to just selecting one, so I realized when I opened, that simply offering a bigger tip percentage option increased how much some of my regulars started tipping compared to my old salon. For salons with multiple groomers I had a trick I would use with my co-workers that might be helpful. If you see your co-worker checking out a client, walk up to them and say “Hey, Bella’s mom left you a $10 and I put it on your station.” Sometimes clients do not realize that you should tip your dog groomer and simply saying that will make them be like “Oh yeah, I need to tip them.”
How Groomers Utilize Tips and How They Help a Business:
For me my tips are that extra spending money that I can put back into my continued education, self-care, and traveling to grooming trade shows to socialize and meet industry leaders and influencers. The money that my business makes in sales helps me pay my bills and makes it so that I can make a living wage. My tips are what feeds my passion in this industry and keeps me from burning out. I try to attend 1-2 trade shows a year so that I can learn any new techniques or pick up any new tools. My tips help pay for my food, gas, and travel to other states. In between I continue to take webinars which can cost anywhere between $50-400 depending on the course. Because grooming is a demanding job on the body, I take time for self-care by going to the chiropractor and getting massages. This all helps me function and take care of my business needs as well as investing in my skills to consistently take care of clients and their dogs' individual needs.
When we talk about tipping, I immediately think of my favorite dogs and their owners. While yes, it's great to have the added income but I also enjoy the joy in it. These are the clients that I appreciate the most, I love their dog just as much as they do and have built a great relationship with me. This is the part of grooming that requires a little customer service but in a good way. Stay open and honest with clients, put out positive energy and the appreciative clients will come! Be sure to follow Erinn & Doggo Den on Facebook and Instagram to learn more or to schedule an appointment!