Why does it cost so much for dog grooming?

Pricing Dog Local Dog Groomers

You just called up a few local grooming shops trying to find the best price. It may have been a frustrating process because they only could give you an “estimated” price.

Local Dog Grooming Services

Cost of Dog Grooming

Whether your dog got skunked or your just need a regular grooming, this article will explain exactly why a groomer would typically give a range vs. an exact price.

Average Grooming Costs

Though it is hard to give a firm estimation of costs for your dog due to many variables, small Dogs can expect to price from $30-60 and large breed dogs sit in the $60 to $120 range, with medium dogs somewhere in the middle. Also, were you live has an impact on the pricing – dog grooming costs more in cities because shop rent is more expensive.

Exact Price of Dog Grooming

Some of the corporate stores may give you an exact price because their pricing is mostly done by breed only.

Just know that doesn’t mean that’s what the price will be. Once you are in the store you may realize a lot of things are not included and will cost extra like tooth brushing, special shampoo, conditioner, or nail filing. So it is important when calling around to ask what the grooming price includes, so you can compare apples to apples. Some places automatically use whatever shampoo and/or conditioner is best for your dog and that is included in the price vs. another shop that would charge $5-10 extra.

Factors of Price – Size, Type, Condition

The main factors a groomer considers when pricing a pet are size, coat type and condition, style of haircut, and temperament. It all depends on the time spent to groom the pet. A dog that gets groomed every 4-6 weeks is typically in good condition and will not need as much prep work, if any, before the bath. Where as a dog that hasn’t been in, in awhile could take a good half hour to an hour to brush out or shave off mats (knots).

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Size Matters – How Big is Your Dog?

The size factor of a pet is pretty self explanatory, but please understand that just because you have said “I have a Shih Tzu”  doesn’t really help. I’ve groomed 3 pound Imperial Shih Tzu and I have groomed overweight 25 pound Shih Tzu. Also, with mixed breeds or “designer breeds” the size variations is even larger.

The larger the dog the longer it can take a groomer to shave it because of more surface area, but the smaller the dog doesn’t necessarily mean easier either. When dogs are really small it can take some extra time too because it is very hard to get the big clipper in their tiny areas, like armpits and paw pads.

Shaving Dog Hair - Matting
This dog’s haircut would have an additional charge because it has to get shaved before it is bathed due to the severe matting. This happens when a dog is not on a regular schedule and/or not brushed at home between groomings.
How to Brush Your Dog Out

Condition, Coat Type and Style

Coat type and condition on a cat or dog is pertaining to short haired like a beagle, or long haired like a Maltese. Short haired dogs are typically cheaper because they will only need to be brushed out after the bath rather than getting a hair cut like a long haired dog. Please be aware that some shorter haired dogs may have a double coat  or excessive shedding which also affects the price. The longer it takes to remove all the dead hair the more expensive it will be.

If a pet goes to the groomer on a consistent bases and the coat is free of knots there is no extra charge.  Pre-shaving or de-matting knots on long haired dogs, can result in an extra charge. The amount of the extra charge will all depend on the time it takes. Usually there is a set amount. For example, $5.00-6.00 for every 15 minutes extra it takes to eliminate the knots.

Style of haircut affects the price because certain styles take longer than others. A dog that always gets shaved down to a short length will come back and the coat will still be on the shorter side, if it’s been coming consistently. Now, even a dog that is getting groomed consistently, but is left longer, there is a lot more hair to wash, dry, and brush.  Plus, the hand-scissoring technique used to create a longer look takes more time.

For example, in order to get the big fluffy round Bichon head the groomer needs to fluff dry it and hand scissor it, which is more time consuming compared to a Bichon who gets the head and ears shaved all one length. This also pertains to dogs that get groomed like the  breed standard and are in a “pattern cut” with a skirt or longer hand scissored legs compared to dogs that are shaved one length all over.

Poodle Cut
A Poodle in a pet version continental clip. This takes significantly longer to do then just shaving her down to the same length all over.

Bad Dogs Cost More

Temperament is a big factor that a groomer needs to consider. It is also a factor that they won’t fully know until they’ve started working with the pet. By temperament I don’t only mean aggressive. There are many nervous or shy pets that do best when groomed slowly, so a trusting relationship can be built. A dog with a very playful personality is great, but is very hard to groom if they are excited and wiggly about everything!

If it is an aggressive dog and has to be muzzled or requires more than one groomer the client needs to understand it takes longer and is more difficult, which makes the price increase.

The Price Quoted is Just an Estimate

It is good to call around to get prices, but always remember to ask what the price includes and please understand if it is an “estimated” price. I know everyone wants the best bang for their buck, but sometimes you get what you pay for.

Personally, I would want to visit the grooming salons in person, so I know my pet will get the right care it needs. You will be able to see where your dog will be during the grooming process, meet the groomers, and see how they interact with the dogs they are grooming.

The best way to keep the price as low as possible is to get on a schedule for every 4-8 weeks, brush in between groomings, and start them young, so they are accustomed to being groomed and behave well.

If you are a pet groomer too please comment below anything you feel I should add and please share this with your clients to spread the knowledge! Thanks for reading.

This Article was written by Erica Nicole, an experienced dog groomer with her own salon. Edited by Robert Tanguay of New England Marketing & Efficiency.

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