The Tip Jar

Pet Grooming falls into the category of “service industry,” like human hair stylists and barbers.  However, many customers are a little confused when it comes to the topic of tipping. Most grooming experts will agree that we should structure our fees so that we are still happy with the money we earn if the customer does not leave a gratuity. But if you want to encourage tipping, one way to help clear up their confusion is by placing a tip jar near where they check out.

There are a variety of ways to gently draw attention to that jar. A clear container works best because people can clearly see the cash collection. Start the workday out by “seeding” your jar with some bills. A ten or twenty-dollar bill peeking out sets the tone nicely.

Some people put a note on the jar, and things can get creative. A simple “Thank you” in an attractive font is always in good taste. I have also seen memorable messages such as “Tips are never anticipated but always appreciated” and “Small business, big dreams.” Some people go for a humorous approach.  One shop had a sign on their jar that quipped, “Every time you don’t tip, a dog gets a bad haircut.” I’ve also seen one that quipped, “Even the Titanic tipped!”

A recent trend has been to put two tip jars side by side and let people “vote” on a question by adding their money to the jar they prefer. For instance, if a big sporting event is coming up, label each jar with the name of the opposing teams, and customers can choose their pick by adding cash to their favorite. Pet loving customers might enjoy voting between “Mixed Breeds” and “Pure Breds,” or “Buy” and “Adopt.”

Collecting tips for a cause is also popular. A sign on the jar stating that collected gratuities will be donated to the local animal rescue organization (or any other charity near and dear to your heart) on a particular day, week, or month might encourage customers to drop some cash into the jar, hopefully creating a generous new habit!  Some groomers will earmark tips for continuing education by posting information about an upcoming trade show they plan to attend to let customers know that their contributions will help their groomer to polish their skills.

Providing exceptional service should be the accepted way we operate, and there is nothing wrong with nudging customers to reward that service with a tip.


By Daryl Conner, MPS, MCG 

Daryl Conner has been devoted to making dogs and cats more comfortable and beautiful for almost 40 years.  You can find her happily working at FairWinds Grooming Studio with her daughter and infant granddaughter, or typing away at her latest grooming-related article. Daryl was awarded both a Cardinal Crystal Award and Barkleigh Honors Award for journalism.  She shares her meadow-hugged antique Maine farmhouse with her practically perfect husband and too many animals