Many thanks to Jackie Grimmett who inspired this article

Calculate your annual expenses

This is not an exhaustive list by any means and you will have to add or delete some of your own personal items. It is intended as an aide-memoir (to jog your memory!).

Electric, gas, business insurance, building insurance, business rates, building maintenance, solicitors fees, shampoo, conditioning sprays, scents, ear cleaner, flea prevention, bows, bling, dyes, elastic bands, nail polish, rent or lease, new equipment and maintenance of old equipment, blade wash, blade sharpening, scissor sharpening, printing, advertising, ink cartridges, office supplies, computer, website hosting, telephone, internet, competition fees, fuel, car/van maintenance, road tax, car/van insurance, breakdown cover, bank charges, credit card terminal charges, forum fees, symposium fees, ongoing training fees, membership to professional body fees, uniform, laundry, etc.

Then calculate your own personal expenses:

Mortgage or rent, utilities, council tax, holiday, personal car use, child care, etc.

Now add these two figures together. You may need to sit down and have a stiff drink when you see this figure.

It's what you need to earn to survive the year.

Calculate your working hours

You can't work 7 days a week 52 weeks a year. (Unless you're a mum, but that's another article...)

So, take 3 weeks off for holidays and 1 week off for miscellaneous events which, even with the best planning, sometimes simply do happen.

So, we now have 48 weeks left.

Are you working 5 days a week? If so you have 240 days to play with, minus the bank holidays - so take that down to 235.

How many hours a day will you work? Do you have kids? What time must you finish if you have to pick them up from the paid child care?

I work 9ish to 4.30ish so that's 7 1/2 hours a day.

Now multiply that by the number of days in a year you can work.

So in my case, that's 1762.5 hours that need to be paid for.

Divide the survival figure by the hours available and you have the minimum wage you could possibly work for if you were working flat out with no breaks, had zero "no-shows" and not a single last minute un-fillable cancellation ever.

...And we all know that is not going to happen, is it?

Calculate your survival strategy...

The Survival Wage is what many groomers attempt to live off. Naturally, they burn-out and go bust pretty rapidly which is why we see so many start up and disappear within a year.

The Survival Wage is Pot 1, but you'll need to earn at least 3 equally sized pots.

The Rainy Day Pot is Pot 2 (your pension fund) & the Tax Pot is Pot 3.

So you need to multiply that Survival Wage figure you arrived at by 3 (yes, three) at least to have a Living Wage and you'll need that if you're intending to still be here in ten years time or more.

So, how do I price a dog?

I only ever know how long it will take me to do a dog once it is on the table in front of me. So I never, ever, quote new customers over the phone.

With the dog in front of me on the table, the price for the groom is calculated thus:

Survival Wage x 3 (Remember = Living Wage) x no of hours or part hours to do the job.

If it's a shavedown due to neglect x 2

= £ Cost Of Groom


This is why "No Show" clients must ALWAYS be charged 100% of the fee they had booked.  


If this is too much faff for you, you can buy the Hourly Rate Calculator here (which will do it all for you).

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