We all know these shops. The chop shops. The "sure you can come in now, or later, or whenever" shops. The area's "oh God tell me you didn't pay someone to do that to your dog" shop. Now, if this is your business model please remember it is not realistically a sustainable model.
McDonalds can sell a cup of coffee for $1 because they're trying to get you to buy other things. Their $1 cup of coffee is called a "loss lead" which means they lose money on one item to get you in to hopefully buy more items. If grooming is your main service, having a loss lead grooming operation is never going to last. When you're grooming 2-3 dogs compared to Dunkin Donut's and Starbuck's one dog, you are burnt out waiting to happen.
Petco and Petsmart use their grooming as a loss lead to sell their dog training, food and other retail. That's how they can afford $10 - $15 bath specials. The ONLY way this works is if the groomer is a Hobby...
Starbucks. Dunkin Donuts. Mcdonalds.
They all sell coffee
The product is the same. The branding, ideal client and price point is totally different.
Known for its high-end brand, elaborate lattes and particular customers. Standing in line the orders are for extra wet, no foam, red eye, breve, with soy or hold the whip lattes.
Focusing on everyday people getting their coffee and getting to work. Medium Iced Regular, Large Hot Extra Extra, Double chocolate doughnut, Bacon Egg and Cheese on a Croissant. While recently they've added lattes; their main focus is the daily commuter getting their coffee and breakfast.
McDonald's coffee is known as "surprisingly good" for it's price point and the fact that it's, well, McDonalds. Hungry commuters or weary travelers can get a cup of coffee, a breakfast sandwich...
I knew when I was running my dog grooming salon I was becoming burnt out. I was working 60-80 hours a week, I had 5 employees that were finally amazing but needed a lot of guidance. I was trying to take time off to spend time with my young son, so I decided to take off my first Christmas eve off since owning my salon, which turned into a disaster when I came back:
I'm sure you can relate!
I felt exhausted all the time, I had worked so hard to build this life with my son so we could do better... I wasn’t happy. I felt like something had to give. I wished someone had talked to me about groomer burn out because it is so real.
Re-evaluate your life and business
Is your business style or current employment right for you?
Mobile? In-home? House call? Salon? Salon with employees? Are your co-workers super catty assholes? Do they do a LOT of big dogs? What is your ideal client / ideal situation? Are you there now? Can you work towards or change your current...
I knew when I was running my dog grooming salon I was becoming burnt out. I was working 60-80 hours a week, I had 5 employees that were finally amazing but needed a lot of guidance. I had opened my salon 4 days before my son was born, I lived in that salon with a newborn baby (which is completely illegal!) till he was 6 months old. Going from being so broke that I used to eat ketchup sandwiches to having a large paycheck in less than 5 years made my finances get completely out of whack. At this point I was making great money but I spent SO much money on crap that I didn't need or really want. I would spend my money on things to make my life easier. I averaged $1200/month on quick easy food because I was too tired to cook. I felt like I deserved a home cooked meal after sacrificing for so long. I paid for a laundry service even though I could have simply had an employee use our washer/dryer but I was too crispy fried to argue...
I knew when I was running my dog grooming salon I was becoming burnt out. I was working 60-80 hours a week, I had 5 employees that were finally amazing but needed a lot of guidance. I was physically feeling awful. My body HURT which was terrifying considering I was in my mid-20s. I got to the shop around 7 am and sometimes I didn't get home till 9 pm. If I was lucky I could send one of my employees for a lunch run, but it was more likely to be a coffee run. I was running off sugar, caffeine, and I could feel my body aching... I would spend my days off trying to catch up on some much-needed sleep. When I dragged my lazy butt out of bed I ended up laying on the couch waiting for my lower back to stop throbbing.
I'm sure you can relate!
I felt exhausted all the time, I had worked so hard to build this life with my son so we could do better... I wasn’t happy. I felt like something had to give. I wished someone had talked...
Thanksgiving is a time of families and food, it’s a time for people to pull out their big cooking pots and cook books that they only use once a year… It’s turkey time! As someone who burns water I decided to cater our family dinner from my favorite Italian restaurant. I knew the food would be amazing, well seasoned, fresh, made from scratch, just delicious quality! Taking a huge bite into his mashed potatoes my grandfather smiles and exclaims,
“This is delicious! They must have expensive pots!”
“Oh yes!” my mother agrees “and they must have top-notch ovens!”
“Probably really invested a lot in the blenders to make these potatoes creamy!”
OK, so maybe that conversation didn’t happen.
My family instead commented on how amazing the food was.
Delicious, great value.
Everyone complimented the chef on the quality of their skill, at no point did they assume the chef used their tools...
Grooming Appointment / Client information Software
This is a great tool to store information about client names, addresses, phone numbers, pet grooming/behavioral notes, price, and my favorite, how much they tip! Client cards and appointment books may be a time waster for the average professional groomer.
Book Keeper OR Book Keeping Software
Choosing to use a book keeper or to do book keeping by themselves is a decision all professional groomers should make early on, otherwise the Memory Gnomes will bring their squirrel army to eat through all the envelopes you've saved with receipts all year.
Calendar / Online Calendar / Online Project Manager
As people who are working a hard physical job all day, trying to cram in life, family and maybe a nap it's important to start planning out our days beyond "dear God make it stop". I am a pen and paper kind of girl for my day to day "must...
Employers, figure out EXACTLY what you and do not expect of your employee. Take that time, makes it clear in your mind what those expectations are, and if they’re reasonable. Would your “ideal employee” be your bather with those expectations? Would they learn to groom and still want to stay at your shop, or move to greener pastures? When hiring a groomer what are you offering? Would you as a groomer consider the hours and money worth it? What is flexible and what is concrete?
Assuming you have read through employees and written a list of your own "ideal employee" traits, what's next?
Create an employee handbook to make sure your employees know your policies and can easily reference them
If you haven't already please read
To be Unclear is to Unkind
Not an employee? Read
Consider sitting down with a cup of coffee and write down what you expect of your ideal position. Think about your “ideal boss” and what they would offer you. Write what you NEED and what you WANT. As your best self what would you have to offer your future "ideal boss"? Why would you be the BEST employee ever and be a true asset to their business?
If you are an employee, employer, co-worker or client the importance of knowing what you want and communicating clearly is priceless. How many times do you want to rip your hair out when a client says "short but not shaved", or "I want his hair 'this short' but I don't want a haircut". A lack of communication creates disasters in business and in professional relationships. Did you set realistic expectations of you, the client, your boss, your employee? Or did you hope they were going to read between the lines.
Every business is run differently and the needs of the staff are different than others. Often it is easier to take the easy way out and share half-formed ideas with each other, trying to jam it into our business.