Grooming Business Costs; Parts and Labor

It’s always been important to know how much consumable supplies cost a business. Not only does it keep a good record of expenses, but to be sure the profit margin is where it should be. These days with price increases on shampoo and other goods it’s time to look at a different aspect of consumable costs – in exactly what way should we be passing this cost on to customers Because we absolutely should be passing it on. Most businesses raise prices when expenses go up to cover the increased cost. A lot of groomers have increased their prices by a few dollars, perhaps even doing it 2 or 3 times since Covid hit us, but is that enough? And is it fair to the business and the client?

Almost any car repair shop will bill in two separate sections – parts and labor. There may well be a markup on the parts and the labor is a per hour charge. If tire prices double (and they have) that is passed on to the consumer. If a car is more complicated to repair taking more time, that is charged under labor.

Groomers might consider doing the same. Most price by breed which means a Standard Poodle will cost a great deal more than a Doberman despite their similar size. Extra complications like behavior or matting are charged accordingly so that’s all fine. But that Doberman takes a lot less shampoo, conditioner, and other products than the Poodle does. If you know what shampoos you use on coated breeds and you know how much of those shampoos you go through in a month, you can figure out the average shampoo cost per dog and then adjust it by size. Say you do around 90 coated dogs a month. If that type of shampoo costs you $60 per gallon and you use three gallons a month, that’s $180 a month or $2 per dog. Call it about $1.35 for a big dog, $0.65 for a small one. Do the same for average use on all the other products you use; conditioner, sprays, ear cleaner etc. Have a list of what each breed costs you in consumables, mark it up a bit and charge the customer both for that, and for the labor and skill and time needed for the bathing, drying and styling as you already do. If prices go up 20% on your goods, increase that charge by 20%. Let your customers know that you are making sure that they are not overcharged for the actual cost of grooming their dog by doing it this way. They may well take it better than having the price increased a few dollars at a time a couple of times a year and your business will not take a hit if prices continue to increase. Food for thought.


By Carol Visser, Journalist, Master Pet Groomer, Certified Dog Trainer, Pet Product Expert