Groomer’s Lung Symptoms & Prevention

Dog grooming is a gratifying profession that allows individuals to follow their passion for working with dogs while enhancing their well-being. Yet, beneath the joy of grooming lies a concealed threat that many groomers remain unaware of – “Groomer’s Lung.” This occupational health concern can lead to serious respiratory problems if groomers do not adopt proper safeguards. In this article, we’ll delve into what Groomer’s Lung is, its symptoms, the associated risks, and essential precautions to protect your respiratory health.

Groomer’s Lung, also known as “Hairy Lung,” refers to the health issues arising from inhaling airborne particles commonly found in grooming environments. These minuscule particles encompass pet hair, dander, nail dust, and a range of allergens, all of which become suspended in the air during the grooming process. Over time, continuous exposure to these particles can trigger a spectrum of respiratory issues, including:

Symptoms of Groomer’s Lung:

  1. Allergies: Groomers may experience allergic reactions like frequent sneezing, a persistent runny nose, itchy eyes, and skin rashes, due to repeated exposure to pet dander and other allergens.

  2. Asthma Flare-ups: Prolonged inhalation of airborne particles can exacerbate asthma symptoms or even induce asthma in previously unaffected individuals. Symptoms may include wheezing, chest tightness, and shortness of breath.

  3. Chronic Bronchitis: Inhaling irritants from the grooming environment can lead to chronic bronchitis, characterized by a persistent cough, excessive mucus production, and breathing difficulties.

  4. Hypersensitivity Pneumonitis: This severe condition results from an immune response to inhaled allergens, potentially causing scarring of lung tissue and irreversible damage if not addressed.

  5. Reduced Lung Function: Over time, Groomer’s Lung can diminish lung function, making everyday activities challenging and compromising one’s overall quality of life.

The good news is that you can take proactive measures to prevent Groomer’s Lung and protect your respiratory well-being. Here are some essential steps to consider:

  1. Invest in Protective Gear: Acquire high-quality face masks like this one, ideally N95 respirators, to effectively filter out airborne particles. Ensure a secure fit to maximize protection.

  2. Prioritize Ventilation: Maintain well-ventilated grooming areas by using fans, opening windows, and deploying air purifiers equipped with HEPA filters to minimize airborne particle concentration. Also make sure you are switching or cleaning your A/C filters regularly.

  3. Adopt Proper Grooming Techniques: Implement grooming techniques that minimize the release of particles into the air. For instance, do as much de-shedding as you can in the bath to release the dead hair before doing the blow-out to reduce airborne hair.

  4. Frequent Cleaning: Regularly clean and vacuum your grooming workspace to eliminate accumulated hair and dander. Clean grooming tools and equipment routinely to prevent allergen buildup.

  5. Don Protective Clothing: Wear grooming smocks or aprons to prevent hair and particles from adhering to your clothing and change into fresh attire after work to prevent taking allergens home. 

  6. Regular Health Check-ups: Schedule routine check-ups with your healthcare provider to monitor your lung health. If you experience any respiratory symptoms, seek medical attention promptly.

As a dedicated dog groomer, safeguarding your lung health should be paramount to ensure a long and thriving career. Groomer’s Lung is a genuine occupational hazard that can pose serious risks if underestimated. By embracing precautionary measures and remaining informed about its symptoms, you can continue to enjoy your work while preserving your respiratory health. Remember, your well-being is as vital as the pets you care for, so take action today to shield your lungs from this hidden threat.

Pricing Dog Grooming Services: All-Inclusive vs. Add-ons

When it comes to pricing their services, dog grooming business owners have two main options: all-inclusive pricing and base pricing with add-ons. Both models have their pros and cons, and it’s important to understand the differences between them so you can choose the one that’s right for your business.

ALL-INCLUSIVE PRICING

Under this model, a single price is charged for the entire grooming service, which includes all of the standard services and any additional services or special products needed. For example, a dog that comes in needing a special conditioning treatment or sensitive skin products will be charged the same as a dog that does not. 

PROs:

  • Simplicity: All-inclusive pricing is straightforward and easy for clients to understand. 
  • No surprises: With all-inclusive pricing, clients don’t have to worry about unexpected charges or add-ons, which can be a turn-off for some clients. They know exactly what they’re paying for and can budget accordingly.
  • Increased customer loyalty: Clients appreciate the transparency and simplicity of all-inclusive pricing as well as the idea that they “get it all” no matter what, which can lead to increased loyalty.
  • Higher profit margins: If priced properly, the “extra” time and products used on certain dogs will lead to higher profit margins.

CONs:

  • Lower profit margins: If not priced properly, the “extra time and products used on certain dogs can lead to lower profit margins on those particular grooms. 
  • Price hagglers: You may have to deal with clients who will try to haggle down your pricing because “they don’t need” any extra services.
All-inclusive dog grooming pricing is a great way to make sure that every dog that comes to you is getting exactly what they need on that day and is a great “luxury” service structure for pricing. This method of pricing can still be variable based on their breed, size, and coat type/condition, but there are no “add-ons” for special treatments or services. You may still want to implement fees for certain things like extreme matting, special handling for aggressive dogs, and late pick-ups or no-shows. Specialty services like hair dye, creative grooming, and nail polish should always be a separate charge.

Base Price with Add-ons

Under this model, a base price is charged for the standard grooming services (whatever you decide those to be), and clients can then choose to add additional services, such as nail buffing, teeth cleaning, or a flea or deep conditioning treatment, for an additional fee.

PROs:

  • No surprises: By charging for additional services, you know that any additional time or products used will be accounted for.
  • Customizable services: Clients can choose the services that they want, which can lead to increased client satisfaction.
  • Special offers: With paid add-ons you can advertise specials on particular days or times of the year where you offer the add-on for free to push for more client appointments. This is also a great way to advertise the service as once they see the difference in the add-on you are giving them, they will be more inclined to ask for it on the next visit. 

CONs:

  • Confusing for clients: Clients may find it confusing to understand which services are included in the base price and which are additional services that they need to pay for. Be as clear as possible when displaying pricing and services and explain to them exactly what they can expect and what you recommend to add-on as needed.
  • Unpredictable revenue: With base pricing, it can be difficult to predict how much revenue you will generate, as clients may choose to opt for different services each time they visit.
Base prices with add-ons for dog grooming services can be more straightforward when it comes to calculating your profit margins, but also less predictable. If you decide on offering add-ons, it is best to highlight them as much as possible, and “upsell” your clients when they come in every time based on what you recommend for their dog. If you are not selling the add-ons, you clients may not be aware of them or think to ask. 

 

CONCLUSION

Ultimately, the choice between all-inclusive pricing and base pricing with add-ons for your dog grooming business comes down to what works best for you and your customers. If you want to offer a simple, straightforward pricing model that allows your more flexibility and freedom in what you can do for the dogs, all-inclusive pricing may be the way to go. On the other hand, if you want more control over your pricing and profit margin and the ability to offer special deals, base pricing with add-ons may be the better choice.

If you are torn on HOW and WHAT to price your dog grooming services at, read more on pricing here.

 

If you are a Groom Haüs Member, you can utilize our handy-dandy Pricing Calculators in your Business Tools library on your Member Dashboard to quickly and easily determine your minimum per hour pricing, average per pet pricing, as well as how many total regular clients you will need to meet those minimums. Not a Member yet? Click here to learn more about member perks and sign up today.

How To Determine Pricing For Your Dog Grooming Business

If you are thinking about starting your own dog grooming salon or mobile grooming business one of the hardest things to determine is how much you should be charging for your grooming services. Determining HOW to price and how MUCH to price is part math, part preference. 

HOW to Price

Before you even think about how MUCH you should be pricing your services, you have to decide HOW you are going to price them. Many groomers opt to leave off any public pricing of their services as they prefer to quote each new client based on a better understanding of all the factors that go into figuring out the price of a grooming service. 

In order to do this, you have to evaluate each new client first (either over the phone, through text/DM with photos, or a form on your website) then base the price off how long you think it will take to complete the groom and multiply that by your hourly rate. Estimating how long you think it will take to complete a groom is just that – an estimate. So always be sure to communicate this to the client and let them know if during the groom it seems like it may take longer than you originally anticipated (i.e. the coat is much more matted than you thought, or the dog is being difficult).

If you decide you would like to have more of a menu of services that list your “starting at” prices (never lock yourself into a set price with grooming services) you will most likely be charging based on size (i.e. toy, small, medium, large, giant). Charging based on size leaves things a bit up to interpretation for the pet parent, so you may come into issues where they get upset because they consider their dog small when it is really medium-sized. You can list weight ranges under the sizes to better define them, but to keep people honest you will have to invest in a scale and weigh the dog before each visit. 

The issue with charging by weight/size is that dogs come in many shapes and coat types. One 50lb dog breed (let’s say a Bulldog) may require much less time to groom than another 50lb dog breed (let’s just go with a Doodle 🙃). On the same note, a 10lb dog (Shih-tzu in full coat) may require far more time to groom than a 50lb dog (that same Bulldog). Unfortunately, there is no easy way to determine pricing based on weight/size so you may have to adjust your pricing and add disclaimers as needed.

Whatever you decide, you want to make sure it is as simple as possible and easy to understand for a pet parent. It is also good to note visibly by your menu of services (whether it has pricing or not) that: “Pricing is determined by your pet’s coat condition, temperament, time since last groom, and other factors and can change from appointment to appointment.” Every pricing structure for dog grooming has its pros and cons. You must determine what will work best for you and your grooming business and adjust accordingly and regularly.

How MUCH to Price

Now that you have decided HOW you will price (hourly/per-pet vs. size/weight) you now have to figure out the actual prices. What you charge should be based on multiple factors including your cost to operate, your salary, how many days per week you plan to work, how many hours/dogs per day, your experience level, your business structure, the area you are servicing, and more. The same groomer working out of Podunk, Mississippi is going to be charging much less than if they were working out of Boca Raton, FL. On the same note, that same groomer working out of a mobile van is going to charge more than if they were working out of a salon in the same area.

Pricing is largely subjective, but luckily there are ways to figure out at least the minimum of what you should be charging. To start – total up ALL of your business expenses (or projected expenses) and round up. Think long and hard about every little expense you have including rent, insurance, utilities, and supplies, and don’t forget about taxes and write-offs like continued education and sharpening! Knowing your total monthly business expenses gives you a minimum goal of what you should be bringing in each month. 

Now take the # of days you plan to work each week and multiply by 4.5 (average # of weeks per month) to figure out about how many days per month you will be working. Do you ever plan to take a day off? (You should, you deserve it.) Think about how often you may need to take off or vacations you may want to plan throughout the year and come up with a certain amount of days per month you will be “taking off” even if you don’t take them off each month, they will accrue over time.

Once you have your adjusted “working days per month” multiply that by how many hours per day you plan to work to get your total working hours per month. Take your total expenses and divide that by your monthly working hours to calculate your minimum per hour rate. If you are in an affluent area, raise that amount. If you are very experienced/skilled, raise it even more. If you are a mobile groomer or have a high-end all-inclusive salon…you guessed it – raise it more! If that still doesn’t feel right, raise it until it does. The idea here is to make sure you are not underpricing yourself. 

If you are a Groom Haüs Member, you can utilize our handy-dandy Pricing Calculators in your Business Tools library on the Member Dashboard to quickly and easily determine your minimum per hour pricing, average per pet pricing, as well as how many total regular clients you will need to meet those minimums. Not a Member yet? Click here to learn more about member perks and sign up today.