Lets get it right out of the way. Yes you should tip your pet groomer!! There are new first time dog owners every day, which means that there are constantly people (and doggies) going to the groomer for the first time. Going to the dog groomer can be a very stressful experience for the first time. It can go a lot smoother if both owner and groomer are on the same page regarding their expectations. We will cover how much you should tip, when you shouldn’t tip, and the situations where you should tip above and beyond.
What a Client Should Expect From the Groomer
- You should expect your dog to be treated like family. When you leave your dog in the care of another human being, you shouldn’t have to worry about how they are treated. This isn’t just about the way they are handled while being groomed (which is typically customer facing), but how they are treated while they are waiting for the next step in their grooming process. They should be put in their own kennel and not piled on top of other dogs.
- You should expect them to clean and sanitize their equipment. There really is no difference between the level of hygiene that you would receive at a salon, and what you should expect for your dog.
- You should expect the job to be done in a reasonable time. When you book the appointment, you should ask how long they think that it will take. They’ll give you an estimated time to pick the dog up, and then you can expect a call when the work has been completed.
- You should expect a job well done. If you get a dog that wasn’t groomed to your satisfaction say something! Often groomers get busy and there may have been an oversight. But, if they did a terrible job, clearly you should adjust the amount that they receive in tip. Since they usually receive a 40% to 50% commission of the money you are paying for the job, the tip is really just the icing on the cake.
Should you tip a dog groomer if they haven’t done these things? If you feel like the the job was not performed to your satisfaction, than don’t tip. A tip is not earned in advance. You should tip a dog groomer only if it is deserved!
What a Groomer Should Expect From a Client
- A groomer should expect to be told up front all potential behavioral issues explained up front. This doesn’t just mean a propensity to bite (although that is crazy important). It also means letting them know about any sensitive parts of the body. For instance, I have a lab that is just a sweetie pie, but she has a really sensitive paw from a previous injury. The owner told me when doing her nails to not get to aggressive with grinding that paw.
- Your rabies/distemper should be up to date. The chain stores will ask for this automatically. The smaller grooming salons should, but not all of them do. If you can’t produce this information, you’l be in a whole lot of trouble if your dog bites the groomer. Don’t even risk it. Don’t put the groomer in the position of wondering if they should go get rabies treatment just to stay on the safe side.
- A doggie that has been treated for fleas. You’ll really not want to go in if you haven’t been doing this. A lot of people live in seclusion and can get away with this, but if you bring a dog to a place where dogs congregate, such as a park or groomer, the odds are very strong that they’ll pick them up for the first time. Also, you’ll have a much better time with ticks if you’ve treated your hound.
Maybe it’s not exactly applicable to discuss what the groomer should expect, but it is important. A groomer that feels comfortable around your dog is going to go the extra mile. In a way that is like them tipping you! Do everything that you can to establish a relationship with a good groomer. They’ll be happy to see you, and go the extra mile. They will be very grateful for the steady business and tip. You’ll be treated as a priority. Everybody wins!
How Much Should You Tip?
I believe that a good rule of thumb is to just tip a groomer as you would your waiter/waitress. Fifteen to twenty percent for a job well done is more than reasonable. I’ve always felt that if you bring your dog in to get his nails done, that you should tip a flat twenty percent. Not everybody tips. The groomer will remember you and do a great job for you in the future.
There are certainly special situations where more than the normal amount should be tipped.
- When the dog has an extreme amount of shedding or matting. A groomer can find themselves fighting these matts all day. Or if it’s a really badly shedding dog, they can be brushing until their arms feel like they want to fall off. Sure they have some tricks up their sleeve to get the hair off more efficiently than you can, but when it comes down to it elbow grease is still what is going to be what gets the job done. If you pity your groomer when you drop the dog off, you probably already know that a strong tip is in order.
- If the dog has bitten the groomer and they plugged along and finished the job, you should tip as generously as you can. They may literally carry scars around from this appointment for the rest of their lives. Just consider yourself lucky that they were cool.
You could just follow this fantastic guide to tipping etiquette!
Should you tip a dog groomer at Petsmart?
Petsmart and Petco groomers are still groomers. They work in a big box store. That does not mean that they shouldn’t be tipped. At Petco when you bring your dog in they’ll hand you a ticket to bring to the cash register. This removes the paying aspect from the grooming salon section. This confuses a lot of people. But, you should still tip them.