Yes- but let’s discuss what you did to get to this point first!
I don’t want to burst anyone’s bubble today, but yes. Your groomer can fire you. So can your veterinarian, your dentist, your accountant, and your hair stylist. Anyone who owns their own business that provides a service to you can theoretically decide that you are no longer worth the effort. It’s one of the glorious things about being self-employed. You can tell difficult people to take a hike. That being said, it has never been something that’s been taken lightly at any of our jobs. We recently had to make the difficult decision yet again, and were reminded of all the instances in the past when we fired a client.
When we were veterinary technicians, occasionally our interactions with a client would be so excruciating and outrageous that the veterinarian would write them a formal letter and send it to their home, along with a copy of their medical records, asking them to go somewhere else (literal walking papers). This was usually precipitated by an argument about the level of care, the costs, or a genuine distrust by the client. Usually the anger was directed at the support staff, but the veterinarians were smart enough to know which clients had legitimate complaints and which ones were off their rockers. There would usually be an informal lunch meeting regarding the potential firing, we would all weigh in with our own experiences with the client, and a decision would be agreed upon. It was a rather democratic, and might I say fair process (besides the fact that the client wasn’t there to defend their behavior).
It wasn’t something that was done often- I mean word-of-mouth was everything back when we were technicians, and still means an enormous amount to the grooming industry today. We probably fired three to four people a year, TOPS. You didn’t get fired because you were annoying. You didn’t get fired because you always walked in and never made an appointment. You didn’t get fired because your pet was difficult. You didn’t even get fired if you were schizophrenic and sent paranoid letters to the clinic on the reg (true story). What would get you banned for life?? Extreme and unsolicited rudeness on more than one occasion was the deal breaker. Everyone is allowed the occasional breakdown. Especially when a sick pet is involved. Repeat offenders were told to hit the road and don’t you come back no more. Go find another clinic to scream at!
We’ve had a much better track record working as groomers. Not really surprising since their are less emotions involved. For the most part, pets aren’t sick and dying, and costs are understood beforehand. There have only been three to four people fired, total, in the past few years! That’s not bad, people. Not bad at all. Some of you might remember that earlier this year we fired someone because they lied about their pet’s health. Long story short. We were concerned about how that cat was breathing when it was being groomed. He was also thin and dehydrated. We told the owner we wouldn’t consider grooming him again until a veterinarian examined him and gave the okay. Owner told us that bloodwork was normal and the vet said grooming was a go. Only when we called to verify, the staff told us that the owner no-showed for the appointment. “EXCUSE ME, WHAAAT??” That was my exact response. Complete disbelief that he had lied in order to get his cat groomed. Needless to say, he received a letter in the mail. We felt bad because we liked the cat, but come on- someone who will lie to you about something like that would also have no qualms about suing you if something were to happen. Comprende? The moral of the story here is don’t lie to your groomer.
More recently, we fired someone because they decided to use a different groomer. Not only did they use a different groomer, but they posted a glowing recommendation about it on social media afterwards. Over a year ago we informed the owner that the cats were aging out of lion cuts, and she needed to think about keeping in them in full coat or opting for a plush cut. When we didn’t hear from her for months, then saw her post on social media singing the praises of another groomer, we assumed she found someone who agreed to lion cut her cats despite their age. To be honest, we weren’t exactly heartbroken about it since, A- they weren’t the easiest cats to groom, and B- she wasn’t the easiest client to deal with. Fast forward a year and who do we get a call from? You guessed it. She acted as if she had never started going somewhere else! She still wanted lion cuts, and refused to own up to her own social media post. When I told her she wasn’t welcome back, she FLIPPED HER SHIT. Literally. Screamed to the top of her lungs that we were liars, blah blah blah. We had never seen her act like this, but we weren’t surprised either! We were sooooo glad we fired her. Can you imagine how she would have acted if something had happened to one of the cats during a groom? I promise you, it would not have been good. The lesson here? Trust your gut.
Maybe you understand where we are coming from, and maybe you don’t (If you don’t- YOU ARE THE PROBLEM! ha ha). It’s a great big world out there with a lot of different personalities. It just makes sense that sometimes, a relationship is doomed from the beginning. If you, as a client, feel you aren’t being heard or respected, you should absolutely start asking your friends for another recommendation. And if you, as a business owner and service provider, feel like you are being lied to, used, or not trusted, you should FIRE the client! It doesn’t have to be a disastrous parting. We’ve constructed what we feel to be the perfect parting letter, and are happy to share it with anyone who would like a copy!
Let’s recap; Don’t be Rude. Don’t lie. Don’t flip flop from groomer to groomer. Now, that wasn’t that hard, was it? The good news? We don’t ever fire anyone because of their cat’s behavior! We work with the client and their veterinarian to find the perfect pharmaceutical cocktail for their cat. The even better news? We saved 30% on our car insurance this month by switching to Geico.
Shannon & Whitney