Amen, Barb! I've been doing hourly pricing since I opened. Yes, I'm sorry but if I work on your SP for 2 hours, I AM charging you $150.
i look at some of the pricing on groomers websites and it makes no sense! Breeds that I know take longer are charged the same just because they're the same size! For my most common breeds, I don't watch the clock. I know how long a Maltese, Shoh Tzu. Bichon, yorkie, etc. take me. If I feel the groom is more difficult or taking me longer, I will time the overtime. To strip off matting, I time how long the extra strip takes and add that to the standard groom.
Clients understand hourly pricing and when you tell them Poofie took 15 minutes longer than usual because she hasn't been here in 4 months, they don't balk when I charge them $18.75 more. They get it. Time = money.
I've never understood why groomer swould charge any differently. How do you know if you're charging correctly and making a profit? You have to know what your overhead is, what salary you want to make, how many hours you will work in a day and then charge by how long it takes to groom a dog. Taking a stab in the dark or charging "roughly" what other shops in the area charge makes no business sense. I have never checked my competition. My busimess was set up based on the math it needed to survive. I;ve made no secret about the difficulties in my area. My business has survived because I know down to the penny what it needs to make it.
Barb, when your clients learn that you charge by the hour, you will have a much easier time with add on charges. And if I want to give a client some leeway, I will tell them "Poofie took me 10 mintues longer than usual because of matting but I'm waiving the extra $10.50 this time because he's usually in perfect shape!"To which I get, "OMG, yes, I had to leave him with a friend, thank you." Or, for a non regular, "poofie is an extra $10.50 this time because he took me longer to get the mats out, his normal rpice would be....". To which I get, "Oh I know, he was way overdue this time."
All professional service trades charge labor by the hour. People get it. What's up with groomers????