Thursday, September 1, 2011

Tipping: Behind the Scenes at the Grooming Salon

  • Do you tip your groomer?

  • The Mirriam-Webster Unabridged Dictionary defines the term TIP as "a gift or a usually small sum of money tendered in payment or often in excess of prescibed or suitable payment of a service performed or anticipated". In some situations, a tip can almost be expected: at a restaurant or retrieving your car from the valet, for example. Most people tip their hair stylists without thinking twice about it but do you tip your DOG'S hair stylist, the groomer? I talked to a small sampling of groomers at a few salons
    recently, and found that most clients do tip. Around the San Diego area in the salons I spoke to, the gratuity seems to fall between $5 - $10. The current economy has affected the rate of tipping, just as it has affected the frequency of the grooming visits. The concensus among the groomers interviewed is that they would rather see you bring your dog in on a regular basis and scale back on the tip. Keeping your dog's coat in a good, healthy, unmatted condition is best for your pet, and makes future salon visits easier on both dog and groomer! But if you can't tip, do take a moment to let your groomer know - a simple "Fifi looks wonderful, I do wish I was in a position to tip you this visit!" offers the compliment and the regrets to your groomer, instead of just picking up your dog and racing out the door without a word. Take a couple of business cards with you and pass them out at the dog park, on walks, whenever you get that compliment on how good your pet looks - a referral to your favorite groomer, especially in these trying economic times, is the ultimate compliment you can give. If you find that extra $8 hard to come by at your next appointment, find out your groomer's favorite drink or treat - pick up a bottle of her preferred tea or soda - at the end of a hot summer day of grooming, that will always be welcome!

    Why should you tip your groomer? Some people will think that the groomer did exactly what was asked for and didn't do anything over and beyond in any way. Why tip for what you are already paying for? This is a valid point ... in theory. If you have a well-behaved dog that has regularly scheduled appointments and who is brushed between salon visits, go ahead and show your appreciation with a $1-$3 tip. Those regular clients are the ones that keep your favorite salon in business. And remember: your groomer likely isn't only bathing, brushing and clipping your dog ... expressing the anal glands is not an enjoyable experience - that alone calls for a tip in my book! If your dog is difficult in any way (he shows up with three or more fleas/ticks on him, is a three month old that has never seen the groomer, is a senior dog that won't stand up for grooming, is a spaniel that screams when someone even thinks about touching his paws, is a dog that goes to the groomer only twice a year, is a biter, is a dog that has been "fired" from one or more salons already, the examples could go on!) then please think about handing over that $10 or $20 bill in your pocket in appreciation for the extra effort.

    Holiday time is pretty much a no-brainer. A small gift, a plate of cookies, a fruit basket, or a card with extra cash. Gift giving is rampant at the Holidays. Don't forget your pet's groomer at this time of year. Even if you don't have an appointment, stop by and wish a Merry Holiday to the staff.

    A good groomer is personable and she cares. If trusting your pet's groomer and appreciating her skill isn’t enough of a reason to tip I don’t know what is!

  • Cabrillo Kennel Club

  • September 3rd and 4th is right around the corner and that means it's almost time for the Cabrillo Kennel Club All Breed shows at Bates Nut Farm. This is a great venue for ringside candids - the grass is actually GREEN at Bates Nut Farm! I am taking Ringside Requests now - email me at Dogbreedz (at) to have me keep an eye open for your dog in the ring. Priority Ringside Requests are $35 and Regular Ringside Requests are FREE! Get your requests in before the show weekend. For a look at what each option entails, take a look at my photo shoot pricing page for details. From an earlier show at this venue, this is one of my favorite parti cockers: Parti Cocker Spaniel #10: GCH Dal Mar's Pea Pickin Heart (call name Emily). Mt Palomar Kennel Club All Breed Show. May 21, 2011 in Valley Center, California. Owned by Brenda McManigle PhD and Stephanie McAliser-Hermann. Bred by Johnny Downing and Donna Harrington. Handled by Stephanie McAlister-Hermann.

  • Shop and Save!

  • Been wanting to get a DogBreedz calendar, greeting card or other fun goodies? Now is the time with these current specials!
    ***** DogBreedz 2012 Wall Calendars at Lulu: Purchase 2012 Merry Cocker Spaniel Calendar or any other title with 15% off with coupon code SEPTSAVE305. Hurry ... offer ends this Friday.
    ***** DogBreedz Greeting Cards at Greeting Card Universe: FREE SHIPPING when you order 10+ cards - use code 2011HOLSHIP10 - Ends Sept. 1st (U.S. only).

    If you have one of the following breeds and would like a complimentary session at my Santee studio before September 10, please do contact me. Your dog might appear in a national magazine or a calendar! I'm currently looking for:
  • Siberian Husky

  • Basenji

  • Komondor

  • They must conform to breed standards, but they don't have to be show dogs - purebred pets and rescues are available for this offer as well. Contact me at DogBreedz (at) yahoo (dot) com to arrange your private sitting. If you are in the San Diego area and have a great house/yard to photograph in, then I may be able to come to you for the shoot. I would also love to do "lifestyle" shots and include the owner, if you are up to it. Does your dog do a job or fun activity? That is a possible shoot, as well. I look forward to hearing from you!

    •Ongoing: Studio Portraits in Santee; •Through September 30: Smile For A Cure reduced price private shoots, benefiting National Canine Cancer Foundation; •September 3 & 4: Ringside Candids at Cabrillo Kennel Club at Bates Nut Farm in Valley Center, CA; •September 10 & 11: Ringside Candids at San Diego Poodle Club Specialty in Oceanside, CA; •September 24 & 25: Ringside Candids at Santa Ana Kennel Club in Cerritos, CA; •October 5: Fundraiser Portraits at Camp Bow Wow in El Cajon, CA; •October 8: Studio Portraits at The Blessing of the Animals in Balboa Park, San Diego, CA. Contact me if you would like me to capture your dog showing in the ring, for a private photo shoot or to participate in a mini-session in Santee. The full shooting schedule can be seen on my main website, or just take a look over in the right sidebar of this blog. I'll see you through the lens - because EVERY moment matters!


    1. Thanks for all of the info Peggy I hope people read this and can go by it. I have several regulars that used to tip nicely but, due to their financial circumstances can't. Believe me, I can understand that. The way we gauge the economy is by how many boxes of See's Candy we get at Christmas. 10 years ago we would get 5-10; 5 years ago, we would get 2-6; last year, we received one! Obviously, people are feeling the pinch. Our customers that used to come in every four weeks are now every six weeks etc. We still appreciate that we have customers and, if you can't come in as often or tip as much as usual; THAT IS OKAY!!! We still get to see the dogs that have become our families.
      My biggest "bitch" is the ones that just don't show up after so many years!! If you have moved...LET US KNOW! If our friend has passed, LET US KNOW!!! We have been grooming your dog for 10 years at every eight weeks - they are our buds by now and, it is disconserting if we don't know. If you were unhappy with something we did, please let us know ... we are not perfect! Jeri xxxxx

    2. Peggy this is wonderful of you to bring up...I'm sure a lot of people do not know to tip or not to tip. When I had my Shih Tzu, Baby, I would bring her to get her "Doo" and bows, nails painted..they really dolled her up. My husband found her under a car at his workplace, it took two days for him to coax her to him, she was matted and neglected, I weighted her she was 10 pounds...took her to get cleaned and primped..I did not recognize her when she came out..I thought she was a different dog, weighed her again...she was only 3 lbs. Named her Miss Babs after that because was always primped and pretty. Dog stylist must love their jobs..but they do deserve a nice tip.
      Always love your posts! Janet Lee

    3. Thank you, Jeri and Janet, for posting with your points of view. Today at my groomer I walked in on a sweet overgrown pet schnauzer in the morning (with eyebrows cut off at home). In the afternoon when I popped back by, I really thought she had a different schnauzer on the table! With the breed cut, the eyebrows didn't look cut so short any more - LOL!

    4. The dog groomer at my vet is always busy - she also deals with several Persian cats who are known to be "naughty". All I can say is - groomers are pretty brave at times and certainly deserve a tip for a job well done!



    5. I'm in agreement, Rosanne. The human stylists may get yelled at and verbally abused at times (which I don't believe in ... service providers should be respected even if you are telling them why you will never ever set foot in their salon again) but they don't get peed/poohed on, scratched or bitten!

    6. Your blog is wonderful, Peggy-I love your beautiful photos! thanks so much for featuring one of my cards too :)

      Blessing Art Animals

    7. You are welcome, Sharon. I've been a fan of yours for YEARS - love your work! And thank you for the kind words on my blog.