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3 Tips That Made a Difference in My Own Pet Business

3-5 minute read

Are you running a business and it feels like your business is actually
running you? 

Hi, I’m River Lee of the Savvy Groomer, a business coach for the busy
pet professional and all I need is 3-5 minutes of your time to show you 3
tips that made a difference in my own pet business.

Tip 1- Basket It!
I know it seems weird but I’m telling you, organizing your loose items
into containers or baskets will make a huge difference. Consider what
your desk or shop currently looks like, having things put away will melt
away stress. The saying “a place for everything and everything in its
place” has a lot of merits. I personally have a place to place my keys
when I get home, otherwise, I will spend a few hours a day looking for
my keys. What do you often lose? What could you put away in a
basket that would allow you to find it quickly?

Tip 2- Prime Your Day By Setting Expectations
You don’t have to be a morning person to prime your day for success. I

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What is a Starter Safety Net?

Safety Net:  a safeguard against possible hardship or adversity.

In the Savvy Groomer's Roadmap to Financial Success step two is to have a starter safety net.  This is a small amount of liquid money you have available to you in the case of something unexpected happens.  You can put this money in a savings account, an envelope in your sock drawer, a safe, anywhere that works for you.

How much should I set said?

$500 - $1000 as an employee

$1000 - $2000 as self employed / employers

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The Importance of a Written Budget

Blah Blah Blah, write your budget budget down, blah blah blah.

I find myself sounding like a broken record talking to groomers about the importance of writing a budget down.  I feel like the grooming instructor mentioning how your grooming is only as good as your bathing.  The truth of the matter is when I write down my budget, and I honestly do every month, I am signing a contract with myself.  I am holding my word of honor and integrity to myself.  I am agreeing that not spend more than what I've written down... by that same token I've also agreed to not make myself feel guilty for spending that money either.  


Your budget gives you permission to spend money. -Rachel Cruze

The grooming salon is a place of chaos, things are always changing, it is a dance between having a system and acknowledging that the system only works with flexibility... it's the same with your budget.  Let's assume you've decided you will only spend $200 this month on...

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Not your Piggy Bank

We've all done it... we are all guilty of it.

The company card in hand, at the gas station, out to dinner or at the store.  Is this really a business expense?  Probably not but we tell ourselves "this is part of being a business owner, the business paying for things".  It starts with a tank of gas, then it's towels that are actually for the house but you can always give the old ones to the shop... A laptop "for work".  You slowly start embezzling from your own company without realizing.  Some it's an occasional thing, some it becomes a way of life.  You've turned your business into your personal piggy bank which does not allow it to function as needed.

Is it because you are a bad person?  Obviously not.  Is it because you're lazy or dumb?  Of coarse not!  It's just so easy because there isn't someone to tell you no or to stop you.  If you were a manager of "Your Shop Inc" would you handle your business finances the way you do?...

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Irregular Income

Making commission is a double edge sword, you can make as much money as you can gorom but it also means when there are no pets to groom, there is no money in your pocket.  Irregular income (income that changes from week to week) is the norm in the grooming industry. Most groomers earn commission and they get a set portion of the services they perform.  Not knowing how much you make week to week or month to month can create some roadblocks if you aren’t prepared for them.


Different climates have different seasons, not just weather wise but also financially. Depending on where you live you may see a massive increase around November and December (Thanksgiving and Christmas) only to turn around to a ‘dead season’ in January and February due to snow.  Maybe you live in warmer weather where winter is full of extra snowbird clients, instead of summer where everyone is too hot to do anything.


Creating a written budget with irregular income...

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Appointment Book for your Finances

When talking about budgeting I see groomers cringe or wrinkle their nose.  We hear the word budget and we think of restrictions, what we are going to have to give up... instead of thinking about what we are gaining.

When I look at my budget I look at what it ALLOWS me to buy.  Does my budget this month say pb&j sandwiches or does it say filet mignon?  Does my budget say I can buy a third bravura or is it telling me I should probably wait a few months?

If you were to run a grooming salon without an appointment book, it would be pure chaos.  Can you imagine an appointment book where you know who is coming in today but sure when they're coming in and exactly what they're getting?  That is what happens when you make a "list" of bills and pay them as they come in vs actually doing a budget!  When you make an appointment book you say "I can do this many grooms in this many hours, if I want to take on a larger groom I need to plan more of my...

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Blah Blah Blah, write your budget budget down, blah blah blah.

Have you ever seen the movie "Up"?  Doug the talking Golden Retriever is my spirit animal as I walk though trade shows or even when I'm at my local Target.  Shiny-object syndrome is a real thing and can cause groomers to overspend on tools and items they don’t need and won’t use.  How many times have you picked something up you had never heard of until that moment and now could not live without it?  

What would happen if you forced yourself to not buy that item for 24 hours, would you come back to buy it?  By creating a decision-making system ahead of time, you’ll be less likely to waste money on things you don’t need.

Take a quick look through your grooming drawers. How many clippers, scissors and extra blades did you buy over the years but have never used?  How about that hand stripping knife you bought but never got around to going to a class to...

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Break Old Money Habits

I have always hated the saying "old dog's can't learn new tricks".  We all know that's not true...  The old dog simply knows eventually you'll give up and probably give him the treat anyway.  You have trained your brain to avoid doing a budget!  Let's start by first making a conscious decision that you will take firm control of your personal finances first.  Business finances and implementing an accounting process can take a back seat for 90 days while you tackle your personal bills.  This may seem crazy but it's like learning to groom- if you don't understand the bath you have no hope of ever creating a perfect groom. Before starting your day, look at your appointment book, not just the breeds and haircuts but how much the grooms are, are there any upsells, are they being charged based on time?  Spend a few minutes each morning to make a note of your balances, your debt, and if you use the envelope system how much is in each envelope. The...

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Change your Denial Mindset

If you have ever had a toddler in your house, then you know the game of “if I close my eyes then I disappear.”  This is called Object Permanence in the world of Developmental Psychology; the kids don’t understand that the world around them still exists even if they can’t see it. That's why dogs are smarter than babies, they know that ball hidden behind your back is still there...  Cats are even smarter because they just don't care.

Now think about that once a year doodle, most often they've chosen to completely ignore their dog being slowly mummified in matts.  Somehow they assume we will have a magic wand to just wave to make it all better, but sadly we don't.  

What about your own financial feelings?  How do you act when you think about your personal budget or your business budget for your grooming salon?  If you don’t print out bank statements, reports or look at your financial statements, does that mean you're not...

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Budgets are Sexy

Think of the word “sexy” and what’s the first thing that comes to mind?

Maybe that's garter belts and lingerie, a bottle of wine and candles...  I often find myself fantasizing about a juicy double bacon cheeseburger that I indulge in while wearing pj pants binging on Netflix...  I have no doubt in my mind that a personal budget and/or  money reports for your business were NOT at the top of that sexy list! LOL

That’s true for most people. Ask nearly any groomer and they’ll all tell you they hate budgets and bookkeeping. No one hates burgers, even vegans have plant based burger alternatives. Think about how you feel right before biting into a burger, your mouth waters, you close your eyes, it's like the pottery scene in Ghost.  (if you don't know what I'm talking about, google that)  If that's not sexy I don't know what is...  You can train your brain to create that same sense of pleasure when you do your...

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