How Much Should You Tip Your Dog Groomer?

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Dogs require regular grooming to keep their coat in tip top condition. But more than this, professional grooming improves your dog’s health and keeps him looking his very best. Since grooming is a profession that falls within the category of the service industry, many people wonder if they are obligated to provide a tip in addition to their payment for services rendered. Grooming is considered to fall under the same etiquette as other service-related businesses such as hairdressers and restaurants. As such, a tip is not required, but it is considered to be proper and correct. If you agree that your dog groomer should be tipped, you may be wondering—how much should I tip my dog groomer?

Why Should Dog Groomers be Tipped?

A lot of people are confused about whether or not they should be tipping their dog groomers. Confused as to what is the right thing to do, some opt to give a tip while others do not. The truth is that yes, dog groomers should be tipped. There are a number of reasons why this is so.

Here are just a couple of reasons why dog groomers should be tipped for their services:

  • Dog groomers only receive approximately 40 percent of the fee they charge.

Many dog groomers also own their own shops, meaning they are responsible for the costs of all overhead. Any grooming salon has high operational expenses for everything from equipment maintenance to shampoos and conditioners and even basic things like light, heat, and snow removal in the winter. These things readily eat into a groomer’s pocket, greatly reducing the amount of money they earn per groom.

However, large shops with employees often have even greater expenses to pay that negatively impact the bottom line. Employee payroll taxes, employment insurances, etc, all take a piece of each grooming fee. More employees also leads to greater productivity, but greater productivity means even higher costs for equipment maintenance and product replacement.

A tip helps your groomer to continue to provide top notch services and to receive a little extra something to put back into their household finances. It is a small gesture that shows great appreciation.

  • Dog grooming is a difficult job.

Dog grooming is a very difficult job. It takes a physical toll on the groomer’s body often leading to pain and even injury. A job that truly is borne out of a passion for animals, dog groomers give their all to make the experience pleasurable for your pet even if it means sacrificing their own comfort and health to do so.

But let’s face it, pets don’t always behave. Since most dogs don’t enjoy grooming, the groomer is faced with trying to provide an excellent grooming while still making the experience as enjoyable as possible for your dog, even if they don’t want to cooperate. In the process, they may be peed on, wrestled with, and on occasion, even bitten. These are all risks your groomer willingly assumes, but they are also things they should be rewarded for. Their job is not easy.

What Does a Dog Groomer Do?
Deciding whether or not to tip a groomer and how much becomes clearer when you have a thorough understanding of just what it is that your groomer does.

Here are just a few things your groomer takes care of for you during each appointment with your dog:

  • General health evaluation

Groomers take the time to thoroughly go over your dog not only to determine the quality of the dog’s coat but also to note any abnormalities that could impact a grooming or require veterinary care. Many groomers have informed owners of their concerns and requested veterinary follow ups, and these visits have saved dogs’ lives. They are important frontline workers invested in your dog’s overall health.

  • Bathing and blow drying

Dogs need to be bathed and dried prior to a groom. However, this is only the beginning of the work a groomer must do to get your dog in tip top form. Styling can take up many hours of your groomer’s time, particularly if your dog isn’t a fan of being groomed. Some areas the groomer must address are not comfortable for the dog, and the dog may resist. Also, the difficulty of the desired style may require extra expertise and time.

  • Cleaning difficult areas

Groomers are often tasked with cleaning places that can be hard to reach or even unpleasant. These can include ears, eyes, and bums. Some groomers have been trained by veterinary personnel to properly express anal glands, a highly unpleasant task. If your groomer handles anal gland expressions for you, they are definitely deserving of a generous tip!

  • Trimming nails

Though many people enjoy a trip to the spa for a manicure, most dogs do not. However, regular nail trims are an important part of canine health and foot maintenance. Your groomer has been trained to do this both efficiently and in a manner that causes no pain to your dog.

What is the Correct Amount to Tip Your Groomer?

Generally speaking, groomers should be tipped the same amount you would tip any service personnel—15 to 25 percent. However, the amount within that range is at your own discretion. If your groomer has gone above and beyond the call of duty, you should aim for the top end of that amount or even higher if you can afford it and feel it is warranted.

What should you do if you are not happy with your dog’s groom?

Since tips are an expression of a gratitude for a job well done; if you are unhappy with a groom, you should not provide a tip. However, common courtesy dictates that you should politely discuss with your groomer what you would like to see done differently the next time. Remember that groomers are human too and treat them with respect and kindness. When communicating what you expect, it is always helpful to bring in pictures of the cut you are looking for. But you must also be prepared to be realistic. If you are not prepared to spend hours at home meticulously combing through Doodle coat to keep it mat-free, that teddy bear cut you want may not be a good idea. It is not your groomer’s fault for pointing this out to you. Likewise, bringing in a photo of a Poodle in full show coat when your dog barely has only a light covering of curly hair sets both you and your groomer up to fail. Coat type and length is required to achieve certain styles. Your groomer will accommodate you as best they can and provide educated advice for you, but not everything you hope to have in a haircut may be possible for your dog.

How Do I Handle Tipping for Out of the Ordinary Circumstances?

Life is messy, and sometimes, that messiness spills over into grooming appointments. If something goes awry during a grooming, what is the proper etiquette regarding tipping?

Here are some extenuating circumstances that are definitely deserving of a little extra tip:

  • If the groomer is bitten by your dog
  • If the groomer cannot complete a groom due to an injury inflicted by your dog
  • If your dog arrives at the appointment matted
  • If your dog arrives at the appointment with feces stuck to its hind end
  • If your dog sheds excessively
  • If your dog is severely overweight, requires additional care, or refuses to stand during grooming

What About Holidays?

While it is considered polite to tip your groomer, many cannot afford it. If you can’t, that’s okay. However, holidays are a particularly busy time for dog groomers, and on these special occasions, they deserve a little something extra for the service and care they provide for your dog. If you cannot afford a tip, a gift is equally as thoughtful and appreciated. Take note of the things your groomer is interested in as little hints as to what you can purchase or make for a gift during the holiday season.

How much should you tip your dog groomer? Experts agree with an average of 15-25 percent on top of the cost of the groom with a little something extra at the holidays. Can’t afford a tip? Consider giving your groomer a little homemade treat to show your appreciation for a job well done. They will thank you for it!

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