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Being the employer as a pet grooming salon business owner

So what today's River Rant is about is that I was actually on, I was just in Facebook, you know, me, just troll, not trolling, Facebook like strolling through Facebook rather. And there was a comment talking about animal behavior college. Now, as you guys may or may not know, I've done a whole video on animal behavior college, not really saying if it's a good program or a bad program, but if it works for you as a potential employer.


And I think there's just so much misunderstanding about being an employer and what does that mean? I feel like so often the industry just says things like, just be an employer. Like just hire a bather. Like it's so easy, right? Like you should just be able to magically just be able to go out there and hire someone willy-nilly. And what I noticed is that there's all these common threads that people are posting when it comes to saying like, what makes 'em a good employer, right? Because there's only two ways to get an employee, right? It's either build your own from scratch, right? Or bribe someone enough that they're gonna come over to your side of the table. And that's not easy, right? It's not easy to have somebody come over, right? 


Because if they're happy in their job, if they're stable in their job, they like the clientele, right? They're pretty cozy. And if they're really cozy, why would they then turn around? Right? And for better or for worse, leave their comfy cozy job and come to yours. There has to be something better on the other side. The grass has to be greener. Now, what Gen Z and millennials want is generally not more money.


It's not. There's this huge lie that, you know, they only want money. I I can't offer them enough money. No. First of all, you can't, because if you offer someone more money, they will just go somewhere and get more money, right? I remember having an employee tell me they were gonna leave me over a dollar an hour.


And I said, you'd let me know I would give the $8 an hour. And they were very right. They said, well, if you were gonna gimme more than another dollar an hour, you should just given it to me. And so that's when I realized that it doesn't matter how much more you give people for dollar amounts, they'll always want more.


Some of that is lack of budgeting. Some of that is just for better, for worse, right? Having people that really aren't, you know, they always want more, right? So it's the groomer mentality. So let's talk about that, right? Let's talk about employees and what we can do about that. So I got in the mail and I wanted to do this grant anyway,


So this said head start is hiring. So I got this randomly in the mail. It literally says, postal customer, it's not even addressed to me. They have no idea who I am. It's literally bought a bunch of addresses and sent it to me, right? So they said, headstart is hiring a thousand dollars sign-on bonus offered teacher, teacher assistance, family advocate, therapeutic integration, specialist substitutes. So send your resume, go hire, write. This is Headstart. Join our team. Start your rewarding career path with East Bay Community Action Programs. Head Start. We're seeking passionate individuals who want to make a difference in child children's lives. You'll be part of supportive work environment with competitive ways, tuition reimbursement, and a competitive benefit packages. So they deal with children from birth to age five. Now, when we think about it, right? When we think about when, when we're offering things to people, our jobs are not sig, they're more skilled, I would agree, but they're not harder than taking care of infant children.


So this company's offering a thousand dollars sign-on bonus tuition reimbursement, right? And benefits. That's a lot. That's a lot to compete with, with somebody who is not right? They're not invested. If they're not invested in a grooming career, we can't compete with them. Also, chick-fil-A, chick-fil-A recently was in the drive-through. 'cause I'm bad. They're offering their key holders where I'm at, not managers key holders, $30 an hour, right? Plus benefits. And they offer all these other things, right? We are now competing with McDonald's, with Chick-fil-A with other places. You know, the higher minimum wage goes up, the harder it is for us to compete, right?


Because for better or for worse, when you look at this, you realize that this used to be considered a shit job, right? You'd be like, I don't wanna be a daycare worker. They make no money, there's no benefits, there's no this, there's no that. And now they're doing that, right? The reason nobody wanted to work at McDonald's is because it was a terrible pay. There was no benefits, right? And now they're getting those things. And we're a skilled labor.


We are a skilled trade, and we need to be treated as such. And what I'm finding is that a lot of employers almost wanna hire McDonald's workers. They wanna hire Chick-fil-A workers, right? And they wanna treat them as such and, and then they're wondering why they can't find them. Now, I'm not saying they're treating them poorly. I'm not saying they're intentionally doing these things.


So give you, in my silly dating analogy, forgive me as somebody who's been s slogging myself through the dating pool. And first of all, I'm not everyone's soulmate either. I'm perfectly fine, perfectly fine not being everyone's soulmate. But what was really interesting was that I found that a lot of the things that men were saying really didn't resonate with me.


Right? So they would be like things like, oh, I have a car. I'm like, well, if you're in your thirties, forties, or fifties, I hope you have your own car. We're in an area where having a car's fairly normal, I have a job. Okay? So you have a job and you have transportation to have a job.


It is not uncommon for somebody who's 30, 40 or 50 in my area to live at home or have roommates. So they'd be like, I have my own place. It's like, okay, but do you own that place? Or do you, you know, do you rent that place? And you know, are you spending a lower amount of your money in order to save up and buy your own place?


Right? So basically they're like, I'm nice, I have a car, I have a job. And it's like, okay, is that it? And they're like, well, yeah. Like I, I, I have a car, I have a job. And so I deserve you as my girlfriend. And it's just so interesting. 'cause again, it's not about the money, right? It's not about having someone be rich, right? So again, in this analogy, you as an employer, you're saying, you know, I pay W two, I have nice clients. I'm, I'm a nice employer, you should just come work for me. It's like, okay, well so does everyone else.


And you might be like, well, no, there's lots of 10 99. And that's like that guy saying, well, no, there's lots of really crappy men out there. It's like, okay, but I'm not looking, you know, you are not competing with the crepe if you are a good employer, right? And I mean, good as in standard, right? The standard as an industry should be, you pay W two, you pay a livable wage, you're kind to your employees, right? These should be normal standardized things. And as Gen Z is coming up into the grooming industry, they're not used to all of the potential problems that a lot of us millennials, our Gen X or our boomers dealt with, right? You can't verbally abuse your employees anymore. Like I remember it was very common 15 years ago that your employer would basically verbally abuse you, right? That's not so common anymore. And people aren't gonna stand for it. They're gonna leave 'cause they have options. So when you're, you know, standard and you're pointing down to what we would consider below standards, that doesn't make me more likely to wanna work with you, it makes me go, well, yeah, this is what I deserve. And so if your job is either to build a groomer, if you're gonna have employees, you're gonna need to build a groomer or basically bribe them away from somebody else, right? So if you think about that, right?


It's basically like you either need to take someone who's single and tell them all the reasons that you're wonderful and why they should consider investing in this. Or you need to have somebody who's already in a relationship and basically be so amazing they break up with their current employer and leave them for you. Now, there's some wackiness when it comes to the relationship analogy.


So, you know, I apologize, I'm not saying be a homewrecker, et cetera, but a lot of you guys don't realize when you are bribing these groomers away from their employers, you essentially are an employer homewrecker. And that's okay. You know why? Because again, maybe that wasn't the right working relationship for them. Maybe they are gonna be significantly happier with you.


But that said, you have to be prepared to do that. And if you can't, if you're just a standard kind of grooming business, then you have to get really good at something now as someone who's been really, you know, single for a long time. And a lot of that honestly is by choice at this point, just because the dating pool is very difficult.


The same as the employment market. And it's been really nice to get to know me, right? And I almost feel like I wish a lot of you guys as an employers would really take a step back and get to know you as a business, as a, as a boss, right? As a leader. Who are you as a leader? What do you want in these relationships, both with your clients and then with that, you need to grow, right? A lot of us get stuck in the scenario where we start by having a relationship with our clients, right? This very one-on-one relationship. When we bring in this other groomer and we're now an employer, we have to have the clients attached to the business, right? They can't be attached to me, the boss, me, the groomer owner. I need them to be attached to the business that way they know anyone who comes into the business, you can trust. Doggy daycares do this very, very well, right? You know, you can meet the, the daycare owner, you can trust them, you can like them, but you know anyone who watches your dog you trust, right? So this is again, right where you also notice, right, that that per right, that person in that doggy daycare, you know any, they're gonna have other people handling your dog and you're not gonna meet them all. And that's perfectly normal as a grooming industry, we need to shift towards that. The way that we do hiring ads is just ridiculous as an industry.


They're either like super, super sticky, cutesy, like, you see corporate doing this. It's almost defensive the way that a lot of corporates talk about our industry. It's like, haven't you always wanted to make poodles runway ready? It's like, hmm, we're a skilled trade that deserves respect. Or it's like, yo, we're hiring. I mean, again, right? We wanna create a a d, you know, a basically a dating profile, right? And those are hard too, because some people wanna know a lot of information, but some people just wanna know the highlights. It gets really tricky. But that's a whole nother conversation. But I agree. I think that when we're creating these hire, if you notice too, and the reason I use this is 'cause this is actually really good. This is, this was, someone was paid to create this. And you could tell the copy on this is really solid.


'cause if you notice, when you look at the average grooming for hire post, we wanna list out everything they have to do. It's like, how do you feel like picking up poop? How do you feel about being bitten? Like, you know, like we're almost talking them out of being in our industry. And I also see that same weird dynamic in general. I see so often that groomers will complain about how awful and miserable grooming is, and then be like, why can't I hire anyone?


It's like, well, which is it? Is this a grueling, difficult, awful job that no one should ever join? Or is it a rewarding career? You can't live in both worlds. Now you can say it's a like, okay, like being a mom, like a human mom, right? My sister has an almost two year old. That kid is just a lot.


You know? Yes, it is difficult, but if you notice the way you frame it, you're gonna scare people away. Like if you listen to people, and again, no, no disrespect you do you, if you listen to people that do not want children that talk about why they don't want kids, it's the same or similar language, then somebody who is talking, you know about the grooming industry, right? And the people that are saying they don't want kids, they don't want kids, right? They're talking, they're explaining why they don't want kids. And they're almost trying to convince others of why they shouldn't maybe want kids. And I think too often the way we talk about our industry, and it is a di it is a weird dynamic, right? Because it is really hard. It is really this, okay, well if it's all those things, then why would you want someone to come into this industry not get benefits and make the same as somebody managing a Chick-fil-A or not even managing, just being a key holder at Chick-fil-A. Why would you do that? So you have to be very careful, right? You have to find that balance. And it's not easy because again, over and over and over again, we keep creating these scenarios that bite ourself in the foot. So in this ad, it talks about all the benefits, right? Of working for the company, not why you shouldn't or what disqualifies you, right? And we do get a lot of people interested in becoming a groomer and they don't understand.


But that's again, where we can use certain tools to our advantage. Things like animal behavior college. Now, I don't particularly love the program and I don't know enough about the program to give an honest review of it, but I will say this is that you get over a hundred hours for free trying someone out, you get to train them your way,


you get to bring them into the fold as a recipe groomer. And then if it doesn't work out, you don't have to hire them. And I think I've done, I've done the math before, but really quickly. So I wanna say, and I'm hoping I'm not lying here, I believe it's 150 hours worth of grooming. So at 150 hours, right? And my state is $13 an hour minimum wage. So if I were to pay someone 150 hours at $13 an hour, that is $1,950. So I get to try somebody out for $1,950. And if they don't work out, I don't have to hire them. Otherwise I even at minimum wage, I would've had to hire them. I would've still paid that money, right? I would've still paid that money. So this gives us an opportunity to do that. And on the flip side, right, we get to be able to try out being a teacher and being an employer. I think a lot of us are very confused on our long-term goals with hiring and managing a staff. I think it's never been a better time to consider solo entrepreneurship, at least until you really get your clientele down. Whether that's in a membership model, whether that is building a clientele that trusts you, you know, as in the business. Like I trust the business, not necessarily personally you. I think that's a great opportunity. So in that analogy, right, of the dating, it's kind of like if you had your parents meet every person you dated, and if you guys that did not magically meet the love of your life when you were 15, I'm unfortunately one of those people, you know, you did have to date a lot of people to find the right person, right? You have to. So for every 10 dates, right? 10 dates, I'm gonna get one person, right? Who I wanna go on a second or a third date.


And sometimes it's less, but that's because I've invested a lot of time in the beginning of it, right? And that's your hiring process. You know, if, if I match someone on a dating app and I spend two months talking to them, right? And then we go on a first date, that first date has significantly higher likelihood of having a second or third date.


Absolutely. But I've also invested all of that time, right? So that's where the savvy groomer, we teach you guys a lot of hiring techniques in the higher masterclass we already teach you. You know, you should have, there's, there's a four step process. You need to have a 15 minute phone call. Do you actually like this person? We need to have an in-person neutral territory.


We need to have a, a skill assessment, and then we need to have a working interview. And when you go through all of that, yes, you'll have significantly less turnover. Why? Because you've invested a lot of time in hiring that person. So if you want less turnover, you'll have to invest a lot of time and energy into the hiring process.


And I think a lot of you guys are like, but I don't wanna do all that. It's like, okay, well then you gotta hire them and find out the hard way, right? There's just too many ways of how to deal with that. One thing I had mentioned to this person is, you know, being, doing exit interview. So if you're gonna do an exit interview, what happened there? What was that conversation? You know, why did they leave? Did they leave you over more money? Did they leave you over the grooming industry? Just wasn't for them. Did they leave? Because, you know, maybe the perfect clientele that you have is not their soulmate clients, right? I remember, you know, many moons ago, and it's not legal obviously, but I worked for a woman for free for six months after grooming school. 'cause I needed to gain some skillset. And all she did was poodles and schnauzers. That's all she did. She did poodles in, in, you know, English saddle cuts and continentals, and she hated schnauzer cuts, not schnauzer. She did schnauzer hand strip planks.


So I got really good at hand stripping, and I got really good at following grooming patterns and I hated it. I'm like, I just wanna zone out, do one length all over, not sit there and go, okay, how high should I put this line? Where does this, what's the dog's confirmation? I didn't like it at all. It was not for me, right? So it had nothing to do with her. It had everything to do with me in that I wasn't the right fit for that business. Right? And again, sometimes it takes time to find that out. It's like dating, you might not find out for six months that this person is not the right person for you. So when we go on an exit interview, was it just I didn't ask the right questions during the interview? Was it that they changed and they grew and they learned something different? Right? And that can happen a thousand percent. I think one thing we have to remember is that it takes two years to build a solid groomer who can be by themselves and we can trust them, right? With not anything, but most things, like most things, depending upon how much you've invested in them, but it, they leave after five. The average person in our industry leaves after five years. Now, I don't know if that is from the time of bathing or if that's the time of finished grooming, but that's the statistic that I found. Also. 70% of the grooming industry is under the age of 40.


I'm gonna say that again. 70% of the grooming industry is under the age of 40. How many of you guys think that 30% is a majority of grooming business owners? 30% of our industries over the age of 40? Which means that, you know, and again, I don't have the stat of how many of those people are business owners, but what I will tell you is that I, if it's, if it's less than half, I would be shocked. Most of the people I know that are over 40, and they are still grooming, either do it as a hobby or they own their own business. I don't meet a ton of women over 40 who don't want to be business owners in the sense that they're like, listen, if I am getting older and I don't wanna groom as much, I'm not gonna make as much, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera. So they open their own shop. So if your goal is to have low turnover, well, okay, well, unless if you catch someone when they're 18, 19, 20, right? The reality is that you're not gonna have them forever. You might have them for five years if they decide to stay in the industry.


Or maybe you'll have them for 10 years before they decide to go out on their own. Maybe after three years they go decide to go out on their own.