Is a Groom Just a Commodity?
Let's be honest, as a dog groomer I obviously want a long list of regular customers that bring their dogs to me every 6 weeks. I have built a lovely grooming studio, use the latest tools and continuously further my knowledge by training with some of the best groomers in the world. But fundamentally, what I offer is much the same as ever other groomer in the local area - nails cut, ears cleaned, a trim, teeth cleaning etc. So, why not shop around, move from one groomer to another, seek out the best price and dates that suit you?
Well, as you may have realised when phoning to get an appointment, dog groomers are very in demand. We only have one pair of hands and that means there's an absolute limit to the number of appointments available, so it's always best to arrange your next appointment before you leave.
This reason pales into insignificance when you understand the importance of trust and routine in your dog's life. Whenever we take on a new dog that's been to other groomers, we know that it'll take at least 3-4 appointments before the pup will begin to trust us. We haven't groomed this dog from a puppy, it doesn't know our routines and more importantly we don't know its history. Have accidents happened previously? Perhaps a quick cut whilst it's nails were trimmed, was it left terrified by the dryers because time wasn't spent gently introducing them to the speed and noise. During the first appointment, not only are they wary, but so is the groomer, creating an environment of heightened anxiety for all concerned.
So, if you do treat grooming like a commodity, chopping and changing groomer each time your dog is due for a trim, imagine how this heightened anxiety builds and is reinforced time after time, month after month and year after year.
Compound this with the fact that the person who's not in charge of your dog has no idea what your lifestyle is like, they don't know your likes/dislikes. They aren't mind readers, they haven't had time to learn what "short but not too short" means to you. So when it comes to collection and it's not 100% to your liking, your dog (that only wants to please you) is going to feel like its let you down...further reinforcing the feeling that the groomers is a bad experience.
And finally, if that isn't bad enough, it's very unlikely that a random previous groomer has taught you how to brush your dog properly, so there's a significant risk it will be matted.
This leaves the groomer between a rock and a hard place - do I brush this out to keep this potential new customer happy, or do I shave it off and risk a bad facebook review.
So, on the face of it, yes we are a commodity service, and of course if we're not delivering what we promise we expect to lose customers. But work with us, let us understand what you're looking for, give us time to get it right and you and your dog will reap the rewards for years to come.