How Much Should You Tip Your Dog Groomer?

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Grooming By Ben Team 5 min read April 2, 2019 13 Comments

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Tipping is a subject that elicits strong opinions.

Some people tend to tip freely, and hand over a few bucks to cable installers, mail carriers, hair stylists and everyone in between; others tip only when the social pressures compel them to do so.

People also differ in the amounts they tip. Some will get up from a restaurant, toss a few coins on the table and walk out with a clear conscience. Others throw down a small stack of folding money and are happy to do so.

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There is no central authority for tipping etiquette, so most of the “rules” are actually better described as “suggestions.” There’s plenty of articles on the subject scattered around the internet, but most that I found were authored by groomers. And you can guess where they come down on the issue.

We’re not groomers though, so today we’ll objectively discuss your options when it comes to tipping your dog groomer and the ramifications of your choices.

Yea or Nay: Should You Tip Your Dog Groomer?

In short: Yeah, you should probably tip your groomer, but failing to do so won’t result in the same type of social scorn that stiffing your delivery driver or hairstylist does.

Let’s begin exploring the issue by looking at the kinds of jobs that society has generally decided are deserving of tips:

  • Wait staff
  • Cooks
  • Bartenders
  • Delivery drivers
  • Barbers and hairstylists
  • Massage therapists
  • Child entertainers
  • Strippers

Each of these has a few things in common with your groomer’s job. They are all jobs that require a fair amount of personal attention, and the customer’s satisfaction is strongly correlated with the worker’s performance.

For example, the guy who comes to juggle at your child’s birthday party is going to be giving the kids plenty of personalized attention, and his juggling chops and entertainment skills are going to determine how much fun the kids have. So, it makes perfect sense to reach into your pocket and show some gratitude for a job well done.

Groomers certainly meet the same criteria: They give your pup their more-or-less undivided attention and their skills and effort level will largely determine the outcome.

Further, a groomer’s job involves a bit of risk (as do most jobs involving dog care). Servers – one should hope – rarely suffer bites from their clientele during the work day; groomers get bit all the time. And no matter how rowdy the bar, most bartenders get through the night without getting peed upon by their patrons. Groomers, on the other hand, routinely find themselves being used as a tinkle target.

Still not convinced? Consider this: You entrust your groomer with your pup’s life, safety, and well-being. Don’t you want anyone charged with such responsibilities happy? Don’t you want them looking forward to your business?

That’s what I thought.

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How Much Should You Tip Your Groomer?

Determining the proper amount to tip your groomer is not easy. The simple answer is 15%-25%, just like you would tip wait staff or delivery drivers. This is probably appropriate in most circumstances, and it is certainly fair to vary the tip amount slightly based on the results.

If you pick up your dog and notice the groomer did a good, if not spectacular job, or she took a little longer than initially promised, perhaps you adjust the tip toward the 15% end of the spectrum. Conversely, you may want to pony up 25% of the bill or more if you find your dog sporting the best-looking haircut he’s ever received.

It is also important to consider your dog’s contribution to the grooming session. If your dog makes things especially difficult on the groomer, it is probably best to juice up that tip a little bit. For example, if your dog nips or pees on the groomer, that’s probably worth an extra ten bucks or so – perhaps much more if the bite was serious at all.

Older and fatter dogs also present special problems, as do breeds who require elaborate grooming, such as bichon frises or poodles. If your dog’s doo is especially elaborate, it’s probably only fair to add a bit of extra cash.

Also, you want to think about the challenges you bring to the table.

Did you need the groomer come in early or stay late to accommodate your schedule? Your tip should reflect that. Similarly, if you show up with your dog looking like a filthy mess, your groomer is going to have to go above and beyond to get him looking his best, which probably earns him or her a bit more cash.

tipping-your-groomer

Any freebies your groomer throws your way should probably be reflected in the tip as well. However, it is important to walk the fine line between showing the groomer gratitude for doing something quick and simple for free, and essentially engaging in theft — extra fees are not always the groomers to waive.

How Do You Go About Tipping Your Dog Groomer?

You want to make sure that your tip actually goes in the groomer’s pocket, and it isn’t intercepted by sticky or unscrupulous fingers along the way. This means you should always try to put the tip directly in the hand of the groomer.

Usually, the groomer who tended to your pooch will bring out your dog to meet you, and this is the time to do it. Just make sure you show up with tipping cash in hand to ensure it goes smoothly.

Keep in mind, some companies prohibit their employees from accepting tips. You don’t want to put the groomer in an uncomfortable position, but you can do one of three things in such cases:

  • You can offer the tip anyway. It’s the groomer’s decision to accept or decline.
  • Skip the tip to comply with the rules.
  • Slip them the tip like a spy handing a microfilm to a contact. Be cool, man. Be cool.

The first option is probably the most prudent, but I usually go with the third option. I understand why some companies enact no-tip policies, but it just seems mean-spirited in the case of groomers. Plus, it is super fun to be sneaky for a benevolent cause.

Of course, you don’t necessarily have to tip your groomer every visit – especially if you always use the same one. Instead, you could tip them periodically. You’ll still want to tip the same rough amount as you would normally, but you’ll just do so in fewer, larger chunks.

What about you? How do you feel about tipping your dog groomer? How much do you usually cough up? Let us know your thoughts on the issue in the comments below. I’m really interested to see the varying opinions on the matter.

But for now, I need to start on my next article: Should you tip your favorite writer?

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Ben Team

Ben is the senior content editor for K9 of Mine and has spent most of his adult life working as a wildlife educator and animal-care professional. Ben’s had the chance to work with hundreds of different species, but his favorite animals have always been dogs. He currently lives in Atlanta, GA with his spoiled-rotten Rottweiler named J.B. Chances are, she’s currently giving him the eyes and begging to go to the park.

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14 Comments

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Jess

You always tip your groomer. Most groomers only make 50% commission so when you pay say $50 for your groom they are only making $25 now take out taxes now they r making about $17 don’t forget about the up keep on their equipment. Sizzler sharpening blade sharpening replacing blades replacing combs brushes. Shampoos conditioners handkerchiefs etc…Most groomers don’t get benefits working at a commission rate either. Not to mention the the struggle to keep your dog calm and safe during the grooming process. 95% of dogs do not sit still during a grooming. We trim their faces with sharp objects clean their feet brush their hair remove matting remove bugs clean poop off their butts. We get bit scratched drooled on pooped on hair in our lungs wet from bathing in grown hair in our skin. I personally let my grooming dogs play give them water blankets and loads of attention. Hair dressers for women get an average $20 tip for just cutting coloring and styling your hair! We have to pay to go to school too and we need to have so many more tools than a hair dresser. So the next time you think about not tipping your groomer Yay tip your groomer

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Kim cantey

I recently changed my 2 toy poodles groomer. She had lost my number and I gave her an extra hour before I went to pick them up at the estimated time she had given me. Needless to say I was slightly concerned about my boys but I was very calm about it and paid the amount she asked for but did not add any tip. I am normally an over tipper. I feel it better to over tip my groomer than anyone else really. After all they are my loved ones and I want kind hands only to touch them! I’m torn about wheather I did the right thing or not. I even thought about bringing her a card with a little money before they need to go back to her. She was really nice and did a great job! I want to continue using her services. I don’t want her to think I’m a non tipper but just that I’m not a complete pushover! After all what would she have done in the end if I hadn’t shown up for them. She had lost my number. What should I do??

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Yasmin

Great comments! Many pet owners regular tip amount is 15-20%

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Russell Delacruz

Thanks for sharing this. I was confused about this thing earlier.

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MAE

My hubby and I were just talking about this yesterday. I have mixed feelings bc food servers make so little so they need to receive tips to come close to making a livable wage. Why tip everyone the same we tip them? We pay about $50 for our dog grooming. The groomer is probably making $25 to groom our dog along with other dogs, rotating them out to dry. She is probably getting an average of 6 dogs done in 4 hours. Unless I’m mistaken, she is making over $25 an hour. There are a lot of very hard working people who’s work makes our lives easier not making that much money. The lifeguard at the pool, child care, EMT’s…….. the list goes on.

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Linda Hamilton

I think a tip would partially depend on what the groomer is charging in the first place. There is quite a variation from shop to shop. I have a yorkie-poo and I have taken her to groomers who charge $48 to groomers who charge $65. If I feel like I am getting a bit ripped off in the first place, the tip will be lower.

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Ryry

I typically tip waitstaff and those who are paid below minimum wage 15 to 20 percent. Groomers I usually tip a flat $5 because they are paid much better than waitstaff.

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Rosemary Savage

I had many clients that would save the tips all year and place them in a Christmas card so no one was wiser.

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Pica

Always tip the dog grooming people. There is a thing about do not tip the owner if they do your dog. But tip and put it in their hands. My dog is my baby. So I always over tip. You can tell when you get your dog if they were happy or not.
I had a mobile groomer with truck do my dog. When I went in the truck my dog flew to me like get me out of here. He was NOT HAPPY I’ve had dog’s groomed for 40 years there is a difference. The bad mobile groomer gave him a bad cut the business gave me a refund. If you have a great groomer keep them.

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Sarah

I am taking my cat to a groomer for the first time. She doesn’t clean herself well enough so her fur is getting pretty gross. I work at the place I’m taking her so I’ll definitely tip just to avoid the awkwardness but also because she’s got claws so I’m prepared to get the call saying she scratched up the groomer.

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Yasmin

Awesome page! Most pet owners tip between 15-20% some also give us water or fruits!

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Liz Blackmon

As someone who worked in the animal care field for nearly 20 years (including filling in as needed for basic grooming), I am always shocked to see how much decent groomers walk away with at the end of the day.

I’m all for tipping, and I do it myself every time I get my own pets groomed, but these days having a basic bath and cut runs somewhere between $50-75. I’m sorry, but I know they are already getting half the sum (before taxes of course), I don’t really feel the time they spend on my dog warrants $25 PLUS a 20% tip of $10. That’s $35 for the low end ($10 of which doesn’t get declared and taxed), and they more than likely get 5+ dogs done in a day. Minimum $125 in taxable income, and $50 not.

I struggle with this. I completely understand the idea AND the appropriate financial appreciation. But, isn’t doing a good job… Their JOB? I mean, $5 to cover their lunch seems plenty to show them thanks.

I guess that’s just me though.

(I’ll note, I feel the same about hairdressers).

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Debbie Gooch

I just want to know a fair tip for 1hr 15min grooming on my yorkie poo who usually has an good many Matt’s on her legs

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jen

Are you kidding me? This article is really offensive to the grooming profession! We do not get “bitten all the time”. Do you think we have special skin that allows for bites that are never life threatening? And we certainly do not get peed on all the time. What kind of dogs just randomly pee on a person? I don’t know what kind of animal handling “skills” you have but groomers have incredible animal handling skills and believe me, we are giving a very personalized grooming session to the pup we are in charge of grooming, while balancing the needs of safely and humanely grooming the pup with the owners desire for a particular hairstyle or service.

We are grateful for all tips that are afforded to us, and the majority of the public recognize us as being tipped for providing an incredibly important, skilled service to them and their precious pups. And by the way – some times there is a delay in grooming due to accomodating and training a brand new wiggly puppy, or tending to a senior dog who needs a tremendous amount of extra care and time, or a very nervous dog who needs special handling and breaks. And regarding tipping in general, while the few comments I’ve read seem to revolve around the groomers earning 50% or whatnot – do you people know that most groomers who earn commision are 1099’d and are responsible for all of their taxes, almost never offered insurance/retirement/vacation/paid leave, etc? AND we furnish all of our own equipment, which cost more than most of your standard trade tools.
And yes, waiters/waitressess make less but service many more tables than groomers do dogs. They can often walk out at the end of the night with a pocketful of cash. In any event, I find it so odd that the public is evaluating the concept of tipping by what they think we deserve to “make”. Tip or not, whatever works for you!
We, as a profession, are individuals and each of us has our own opinion on it. We are closer to hairstylists in that regard, being tipped for the time we spend with your animal, to ensure special service.

Truly, the few articles I’ve read on this website regarding grooming are wildly offensive and clearly written by people who haven’t acquired any training for the profession. Readers please, take care in considering these articles!
– A Groomer

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