Grooming Price & Industrialization

Price goes down as industrialization goes up.

What’s industrialization?

It’s efficiencies created by use of machinery.

The goal is lower cost, higher volume.

I think this is the model that grooming salons are attempting to follow.

Walk into a busy multi-groomer salon. Close your eyes. You may feel you’ve entered a small factory.

Unless they’ve made an effort to separate the drying area from the grooming area, it’s harshly noisy.

Instead of grooming 4 pets a day, they can groom 7 pets.

Are they doing it with love and care? Yes, I’d say most groomers truly care. Yet the atmosphere is rough on pets.

There’s always a trade-off between industrialization and personal experience.

Factory farming is efficient. It brings food to millions of people.  It’s a solution. At the same time, the hierarchy of factory farming places an animal’s experience at a lower level than efficiency & volume.

I don’t use high-velocity dryers. I don’t think NYC cat owners want an industrial experience.

F:DPF\Thursday NewsAlbum Calf & Cats # 831 Oct 20 2011The calves and the cats have a special relationship at the Hytone Farm in Coventry.Al Malpa





Dr. Fox Prefers Housecall Cat Grooming

Dr. Fox (veterinarian, author, PhD in medicine and a DSc in ethology/animal behavior from the University of London) was kind enough to reply to my email about house call cat grooming. (Italics & capitalization are mine)

“Many cat owners will appreciate your letter and need for in-home cat grooming services. This may be an incentive for other experienced groomers to offer house-visits rather than having cats come to them which can be very stressful for some cats while others cannot even be put into a carrier without prior habituation. Either way there is no excuse for cats becoming so matted from lack of regular grooming that they must be sedated and carefully clipped at a veterinary hospital, extreme stress and expenses which could be avoided by routine effective grooming by the owners or professionals such as yourself.

Dr. Fox is a long-time advocate for animals and has an extensive education in science.  I am so happy that he sees the value of house call cat grooming.


My credentials as a cat groomer

Cat grooming is a specialty. Many groomers are afraid to groom cats. Others think that cat grooming consists only of shaving matted cats, when in fact cat grooming can include claw trims, de-shedding, de-matting, combing and sanitary fur trims.  As a cat owner as well as a groomer, I suggest asking prospective groomers why they began to groom cats. Ask groomers about their training and experience.  Cats are not the same as dogs. Their skin, anatomy and behavior differ markedly from canines.

Experience and education

Graduated from grooming school.
House call veterinary nurse administering medications and fluids to diabetic cats and others.
Managed progressive animal shelter.
Emergency animal rescue supervisor in Chapel Hill, NC.
Internship with “big cats” and other animals at The Bronx Zoo.
Post-baccalaureate science honors program at CUNY.
Hundreds of hours of volunteer service at animal shelters.
Lived with cats for 18 years.  Currently live with a senior cat.

Should you use Yelp to choose a groomer?

I have a few reviews on Yelp.  The reviews help clients to trust me.  Yelp reviews can make a business successful. Reviews are  a high-stakes game.  Should you use Yelp reviews to choose a groomer?

Yes and no.

I read reviews to get a feel for a business.  I don’t trust reviews 100%.

What do you get when you hire a groomer who has tons of positive reviews?  You get a groomer who actively promotes their business on social media.  You get a PR-savvy groomer.  Are they better than other groomers with no presence on Yelp? No.

Why? People get other people to write fake reviews. Friends and family are called into service to write up the business. Clients are “encouraged” with freebies or discounts.

I know excellent, caring dog groomers who have zero Yelp presence. People who depend on Yelp instead of doing independent research will never find them.  They’ll find groomers who are “Yelp”-savvy.

This article describes massive fraud among Amazon’s reviews.  My bet is that Yelp is just as susceptible to fraud. I’m writing this as someone with good reviews.  I just believe that websites and conversations are more important than Yelp reviews when it comes to finding a groomer.