Are you prepared for the holiday rush? (Part Two)
So this week's topic, if preparing for the holiday rush, you might be like, what does that even mean?
And we'll get into that. But this is gonna be the perspective from the employees. I think it's so important to talk about not just being a business owner, but for those of you guys that are employees, or if you are a business owner and you have employees, I want you to think about these things for your employees because building a great culture is so important.
So let's talk first about stocking up. I know we talked about this in the last video, but what's important for an employee to stock up on, depending upon how your business is run, would be make sure your stuff is in good working orders, blades, clippers, make sure your stuff is sharpened. If it isn't sharpened already, make sure that you go out and you order a bunch of new blades.
And you might be like, why? And it's very simple. If you do a ton of once a year shave downs or a dog comes in matted, or you drop your blades, or your fellow coworker drops an entire box of your blades, which has happened to me, you need to have extras. And some shops, you're very blessed and you have coworkers that'll lend you stuff.
The shop may have their very own blades and extra things like that, but not everyone does. Make sure you have everything within working order because you don't wanna be doing all of those grooms with stuff that's not working. Change your blade, drive, send out your clippers if you have a spare clipper, make sure everything that you may need between now and Christmas is done.
Most people will try to send it out after Thanksgiving to get it back the last two weeks before Christmas, and everyone does that so everyone's like, oh, I'll just send it out right after Thanksgiving. It's great. But everyone has that idea. And if you do that and your sharpness backlogged either A, if they're rushing through everyone, they're not gonna do a great job.
Or worse, they may not even get you your stuff back. Make sure you have extras if you have to order them. Don't order them the day before, even if Amazon Prime promises one to two day shipping because they're gonna start getting back love with Christmas crap. If you have only one smock, order another order. Two more. In a perfect world,
your shop will provide you with a smock. If your shop is not one of those shops and you need to provide your own smock, you really need to consider having at least one or two extras, especially if they're on their last thread. What are you gonna do if you have like your zipper rips or like I like the pullover ones and let's say that's starting to come undone.
The same thing with grooming pants. And if it's starting to come undone, it is time to get an extra one. And I would strongly suggest that you keep those either in your car or in a locker, wherever you have it in the shop that you can keep it. Let's be honest, if you get soaked and water, like you know, like those burners that like saturate you,
they shake all over you and you're sopping wet head toe, either that or you get anal glands or a dog poops or pees all over you and then you've got a spare set and that just makes you a holiday way more merry. There's nothing worse than smelling like dog or cat pee all day and not having a spare smock. And speaking of spare clothes,
you know how your shoes are looking. Do they need to be replaced or need to be replaced shortly? If you're thinking they need to be replaced in the next one to two months, I would just go out and buy another pair. I don't care if they're sneakers or dance clothes or whatever it is, you don't wanna be going through this holiday season rushing around in shoes that are falling apart because that is a health hazard and it's really bad for your back and your knees.
You need your back and knees, especially right now. And let's say you order it again with the Christmas season, you know the post office u p s, FedEx, they're at capacity. They may or may not be able to get you your stuff and if they can't get you your stuff, then you might have a hole in your shoe or have the soles coming undone and not being able to get them.
And I would strongly suggest investing in a good pair of shoes. We are on our feet all day, and even those of you guys are lucky enough to have boss that lets you sit to groom. It's still a lot of pressure on our feet and we need good shoes. It's always great to have a backup pair. Don't wear flip flops when you're grooming like I do.
That's bad. I have my, I would say they're, they're in pretty good shape. You know, Dan goes, and then my older pair are not quite dead, so that is my backup pair. And so let's talk about the truth. Okay, is the shop you work for a shit show or is it a sanctuary? I'd really like to invite you guys to have a respectful conversation with your boss,
and these are a few of the topics I want you to talk about. Go ahead and ask them how many dogs or cats they're honestly expecting you to groom. And this comes down to you'll know. You'll know if your shop is the kind of shop, if you've worked there multiple seasons, are they the kind of shop that just buries you and dogs because people keep calling and they don't wanna turn away pets.
And this is especially true if you're working for a salon that is not run by someone who's ever been a groomer, a son has been a groomer. They could be that veteran groomer that's like, oh, I can groom 15 dogs a day. And you're like, well, I'm a six dog person. So you know, have a honest, respectful conversation with them.
And be honest with how many large dogs you can honestly groom before you start to feel hurt, you'll injure yourself. Worst case scenario, your boss doesn't want you to be injured. If you are injured, you can't work and do not work when you are injured. That is a great way to have permanent injuries. I know it sounds really kind of dark and morbid,
but if you pull your back and you keep lifting dogs, your body is cannot maintain that something else is going to give. And you need to have a constitution of boss about large dogs. I find that the holiday season really was our biggest large dog season. That could create a lot of physical pain because not only are you gonna be lifting heavy dogs,
dogs groom once a year are generally not the best behave. They tend to lay down, they tend to lay down on top of you. They tend to buck and act up just because they don't know what the routine is. And doing a lot of brushing is again really bad for our bodies doing a lot of scissoring. If they expect you to hand scissor,
that dog is really bad for your body. So you know your body, you know your limits. If you're a baby groomer and you've never groomed, this is your first holiday season, first of all, welcome baby groomer being a groomer's awesome, you'll love it, you'll stay with us forever. But if you're a baby groomer, I would not do more than one to two large dogs per day.
If you are doing an average of five dogs, which is very normal for a baby groomer doing more than five dogs. So I would say like hops two dogs, like two big dogs and then three little dogs. Without sounding weird to your boss, I would have a very frank conversation reminding them and making sure that there is workers' comp. Not every state requires your employer to have workers' comp.
I'm gonna assume you guys are legal. W two employees. There is almost nowhere where being an independent contractor groomer is legal. If you are a groomer who gets paid under the table, you are really running the risk of getting badly injured and losing your career because you didn't wanna pay, you know, probably 10 to 15% taxes because your boss pays the other half.
Be careful because you know, if you are an independent contractor and not a W two employee, then you need to have disability insurance as well as T B I, which just temporary disability insurance. If you are a legal W two employee, I would have a really respectful but frank conversation with your boss and ask them point blank, do you have workers' comp?
God forbid I ever get hurt. And that's important because your boss really should because if you get a dog that throws your back out the season, if you get bit really bad if you slip and fall because it's just gonna be busier, most places do at least 20% more dogs. And if you work in that salon where they're doing double or triple the amount of dogs,
the likelihood of having an injury, it's just more likely. And you need to make sure you're covered. God forbid this happens because you need to make money if you're injured, you can't live on candy and fairies while you're not working and you really cannot go back to work injured. And a lot of people assume that that's what they'll do and that's a great way to get permanently injured and things not heal well,
I know in our early twenties and even some people their early thirties and I think they'll just bounce back. I will tell you as a groomer over 10 years, you know, I'm in my early thirties and I will tell you like I have carpal tunnel in both my hands. I'm gonna need shoulder surgery at some point. You know, my body hurts and a lot of that is grooming when I should have taken some time and rested.
So go ahead and have a conversation with your boss and be clear on the maximum amount of pets you'll groom and create healthy boundaries with you and your boss. It's so important for you to communicate in a respectful way, but be firm. So I want you to really think about that, be kind and clear and firm. And then the next thing I wanna talk about is don't be bullied by your clients.
You know, make sure you know your shop's policies and know what you are or are not allowed to enforce. And this might sound a little bit weird, we need to know when it's time to call a manager and when it's up to you to deal with it. So if you're the kind of groomer who checks in and out your pets, this is very important.
If you're the kind of groomer that just literally sits in the back and you never have to deal with the client, you don't have to worry about this. But if you're the kind of groomer who is checking in and out your dogs, or at least checking them in to find out what's going on with the groom, I strongly suggest to my business owners that you should not take in flea dogs during the holidays as an employee.
I know you don't wanna deal with flea dogs ever, nevermind during the holiday season. If the shop is a no flea policy and you know this because you've read your policies, how are you supposed to approach that client? And this should be trained already, but I think it's easier to be clear and go through these policies with your boss again in a respectful manner and say to your boss,
okay, so if someone comes in and their pet is mad at and it has fleas, how would you like me to handle that as a business owner? Unless if I've done the scenario multiple times with my employee and trained them, I would rather deal with that, especially during the crazy holiday rush than have my employee and a customer fighting up front because a lot of customers are gonna be like,
my dog is gonna fleas. And you can just see them bouncing off the dog and they're like, yeah, no, that that's, please, I as an employee would rather hand it to the manager or to your boss because simply put, that's their call. And you know, sometimes they're gonna enforce a policy and sometimes they're gonna be like, eh,
this is a really good client and you're not gonna be privy to those things. You're really not. They may have had that client for four years and you just started a year ago, and that client is just such a dynamo client that they're like, this really sucks, but we'll make an exception for you. And so know when they want you to call a manager,
call the boss and what you're supposed to do with it. And when in doubt, remember it's not your business. You can't make business decisions for your shop. And if your boss is pushing you to do that, you need to create again, healthy, respectful boundaries. So if my boss is like, oh, use your best judgment, that's a trap because they're essentially saying,
use your best judgment based upon what I perceive as best judgment. They may be like, well, did you really think that was appropriate? It's Christmas. Do you wanna ruin someone's Christmas because they're using their measuring stick to make that decision. Your measuring stick may be totally different and it's completely inappropriate for them unless if they have taught you where the guardrails are and what they like the business to be,
it makes it impossible. You can't win and you will be thrown under the bus if something bad happens with that client. And I guess that kind of brings me into just don't be bullied by your boss. I know it's easier said than done, but don't let your boss push you around. A great way to do that is go ahead and refresh yourself on what your actual job description is.
Now I know some of you guys are like, I don't have a job description. You should have a written job description from your boss. And if you don't have one, I would really ask your boss, say, Hey, I know right now it's crazy, it's not gonna happen before Thanksgiving, but maybe have a 20, 30 minute meeting again with your boss and say,
let's write down what my job is and what my job is not. And that's really important. And the reason that's important is because you need to know what your responsibilities are and what they're not. And when they make these giant vague blanket statements, like anything I tell you to do, well it's pretty broad because they have to train you on whatever your job description is.
Let's say I'm a groomer and part of my job description is to do towels. Have you been trained how they want towels done? And you would be like, that's really stupid. Anyone can do towels. I should know how do towels? Okay, but are they using bleach or are they using vinegar? Do they double wash them? A lot of shops double wash them.
Do you separate urine, feces, vomit piss, like if they're covered in the towels, like do you do that or do you just throw 'em all in at once? And again, so how your boss wants things done, don't do guesswork. That's a great way to get yelled at and be treated like crap because you are not in your boss's mind to know what they want you to do.
And if you're a boss listening right now, you should be doing all these things. And this is what employee handbook is forced. You can train your staff how you want it done. And again, you can do these things in a very respectful way without coming across like a an unappreciative employee. Go to your boss, go back over how you're paid and find out,
God forbid, if there are any issues, how are you gonna get paid? So for instance, let's say the client is unhappy. Remember we talked about the flea dog client. You guys don't normally do fleas and because you don't normally do fleas, you decide your boss tells you to do this dog with fleas and they didn't charge extra. Well, that's not really fair as an employee,
right? Like isn't there gonna be, there's no flea charge, therefore you get paid the same grooming a dog that's invested with fleas instead of a dog that's not. But again, you can have that conversation in a respectful way. What if the client is unhappy because either you or the client or someone somehow misunderstood the haircut. And this happens a lot more than people like to admit.
This is the reason that my shop had cameras and a microphone. Because if somebody says, well, I mean, let's be honest, it happens a lot with the husband will drop off the dog and then the wife picks up and how many times does a husband say a four and then the wife comes in and she won a three eighth comb or they're like,
oh you know, he keeps getting his ears in the water bowl, why don't we just take them up? And I'd be like, yeah, you wanna take 'em to the leather, like makes your life a lot simpler. And if you do that and they say yes, and then you come back and they're like, no, no, I thought it was gonna be really furry.
Okay, how does that get refunded? So if your boss decides to refund that groom or take a percentage off that groom and you are paid commission, how does that work? And again, your boss may or may not understand a lot of the legalities of being a boss. Your boss can't take money from your paycheck. That's technically a business loss, not an employee's loss.
Your boss can't take money off of your check because they made a business decision to refund a client. And the same thing, what if they completely refund that client? You then get nothing. You get a little bit of money, how much do you get? And these are things again, to ask your boss and a respectful, kind hearted way and you know where you work.
And I just wanna say one thing that I think is so important. Please, please, please, please, please do not let your boss force you to do things that are dangerous. A lot of us have really good hearts and we just wanna please our boss. And we're just really kind people. If it's dangerous and it's not in your job description,
don't do it. I e I am not an electrician. I am not in the middle of a grooming day when there is hair on the floor and it's wet gonna go and fiddle around with my dryer because it's like not working. Like I am not gonna sit there and play with cords. I'm not gonna put lights on things like that. Don't do that.
You're like, oh, stand on your table and change that light bulb. No, because if I fall off my table, that's not my job description. And it's gonna be a lot harder for you to get workers' comp because you're being an idiot climbing on a grooming table. That's what you're, that's what the insurance company's gonna be like. Well that's just people being stupid.
Even if your boss told you, your boss wouldn't tell the insurance company. No, no, no. I totally told her Climb on the table. And the same thing goes for grooming. Don't groom an aggressive dog or a dog too big for you that is gonna damage you or harm you. I am a cat groomer, I'm a certified feeling master groomer.
I don't take cat grooming lately. I find it really easy. But I paid a lot of money and I did a lot of training to make it easy. That's very important to point out, if you don't know anything about cat grooming and your boss has decided during the holidays when you're gonna learn how to groom cats, or if you are in the kind of shop where they don't know what they're doing with cats and they're like,
Hey, just just like hold this cat while we trim the nails. That's up to you. A cat bite can end your career. A cat scratch can put you in the hospital. Don't take cat grooming lightly. They're not willing to invest in learning from a company like the National Cat Grooms Institute on how to properly groom cats. I wouldn't touch it.
It's not worth it. It's not worth a career ending bite for that reason. And the same thing with a very, very large dog. I'm little, I'm really five one. And I remember, you know, I worked at PetSmart and I had a great Dane was doing really, really great and then the dog lost his shit and he jumped out of the tub,
he ripped the tub off the wall and then knocked an entire thing of cage banks on top of me. There was no hope if that dog got upset of me being able to contain that dog by myself. So I encourage you if, especially if you're grooming alone, I wasn't grooming alone alone, but there was no one available if things went south, don't do things that could potentially end your career.
Thankfully that didn't end my career, but it was really eye-opening because we put the dogs in, they can't jump out because the lead's too small. Well that's great except shit happens. You know, the leads half snap, but don't snap all the way. All these awful things can happen that we don't even think about. And just remember, no job is worth the career ending bite.
No job is worth a fractured back or even an emotional breakdown. I mean, if your boss is kind of boss that like berates you and tells you to do things and just shit's all over you, no job's worth that. No job's worth the mental breakdown. If you gotta stick it out through the end of the year, you gotta do what you gotta do.
But take every money you can and get the fuck out because you can't live that way. That's awful. I've been on both sides. I've been the employee who was treated verbally terrible and then I've been the really frustrated boss and I'm not proud to admit it. I used to yell at employees when I first opened my business because I was like, why can't you do this?
And it's 'cause I didn't train them how to do it. Like I had completely unrealistic expectations of 'em and then got super mad at them, you know? But you have to live and learn. And unfortunately I got taught somehow about, I'm like, wow, I can't keep employees. And so I had to learn how to be a good boss to keep my employees and make my employees happy.
But hopefully, you know, little employees here, you can learn that before you open up your own business or just teach your bosses by not letting them completely run over you. Now I will say I don't wanna make this so important. If your boss is awesome, if the shop you work for is awesome, please give them thanks. Be appreciative of your boss and your coworkers,
even if it's not the best place. Coming from a place of gratitude is so important. Be thankful for your boss. Are you guys gonna do anything for the holiday, whether it's Thanksgiving or Christmas? You know, go ahead and ask them how you can help. You know, how can you can show your gratitude for such awesome people around you? And again,
that's not your job as an employee, but what might be your position is, Hey, can I bring the plates? Hey, can I bring a bottle of Sprite and some cups? Doing something a little bit like that will really help your boss know that you appreciate what they're doing. I'm not saying go buy everyone lunch, you don't have to do that.
But just something small. I mean offer to bring the plates. I mean you can get a whole stack at the dollar store and not use it for three years. Trust me, I've been there, done that. And if you have a really awesome boss, seriously consider writing a handwritten note because no one does it anymore. And tell your boss, you know,
maybe how much you appreciate your job and that you appreciate that they gave you your job, you know, and how you're continue to honor their sacrifice into the next year. And I think what's interesting in the grooming industry is we never really talk about our bosses in an appreciative way. A lot of times we forget that our bosses give up a lot to own their own shop.
They really do. And if they're mobile and they have multiple vans, they've given up a lot, they've potentially sacrificed a lot to open up their own business. And sometimes it was really interesting 'cause people would always assume that when I owned my shop that I was like some sort of rich bitch. Like I was like river, like owns her own shop.
She buys like a prima bathing system, which was like two grand. Oh she buys this like she's just spending money. But what was so interesting is like these employees acted like spoiled rats and they didn't understand. They just saw the success, they didn't see the suffering. And it was really hard as a boss to be treated like a piece of shit when I gave up a lot in order to build a business that I then could employ people.
And I think as an employee you really should consider just telling your boss that you appreciate it, even if they're assholes. But knowing that you appreciate that they have sacrificed and now they have this amazing job, it's still better than going out and getting a loan for 20, 30, 50, a hundred thousand dollars to go out on your own to potentially lose money as an employee.
When you go to work, you always make money. That's a blessing. So I appreciate your boss a little bit, even if they're not perfect. 'cause no one's perfect. Another way to get through the holiday rush this year as an employee is to start your plan for 2020. And I'm not talking about getting the details done, I'm not talking about that.
I just want you to think about the big picture for next year. And honestly, the reason for that is, is because it's a lot easier to get through the tough times when you have a goal. When you are looking at what you're gonna be able to do and what you're gonna be able to accomplish next year and looking forward to all that positive stuff right now,
it's probably really hard. You're tired, you're stressed out, you know you need a sandwich or something because you don't even remember the last time you ate when you were at work. You need water or you know, 30 cans of Red Bull, whatever your flavor. So I get it. But start thinking about next year, next year you're gonna start getting serious about opening your own place.
Are you gonna start saving for your grooming van? How about getting your personal finances under control? And don't be afraid to sign up for personal clients on a leash. Are you gonna go to trade show or two? Maybe you're gonna start watching some online classes or webinars. I really enjoy learn to groom dogs.com. I don't groom dogs anymore, but when I did,
I loved that I could have that in the background and I liked hearing all of that. Webinars are great, especially the free ones who doesn't love free shit, go ahead and listen to it, but make the time to do it and say, okay, I'm really gonna start learning more, exploring more, maybe listen to more books. I listen to books,
I listen to audio books, podcasts, or even you know, reading. Maybe this year you're gonna hire a business coach and I know you guys are employees, but if you're going to start a business, I would strongly suggest hiring a business coach. Because if you're gonna start a business, you need to know how to start it right? It's a lot more expensive to hire someone to fix all your problems than it is to hire someone off the bat in order to grow your business.
So if you don't look at the big picture today, it's a lot harder to get through everything. Like we said, I found a lot of times doing this that if I didn't do this, like I just wanna lay down because it's exhausting. The whole season is exhausting. And I will say having the way my business is set up, I'm really not much busier.
Some of my clients want extra baths, but for the most part, my clients are all regular. So it's easy to fit everybody in. I don't miss the chaos of having the shop. And I do think that different business models have different ways of dealing with it. So go ahead and give yourself some grace. Try your best to give everyone else some grace.
And what grace really is, is forgiveness. Without earning it, everyone's probably gonna drive you nuts, but plan for it. Have some sort of affirmation, incantation, you know, however you wanna consider it. And I'm gonna like give you a little bit of a secret. So I always say really mean things in my head because that's who I am.
So what I will generally say in my head, obviously bitch you don't deserve how nice I'm being, but I'll do it anyway. That's what I say to myself because this person, like if it's a client or even your boss, if your boss is like losing their fucking chicken nuggets or like, like they're just being crazy, just stop and think to yourself,
why are they being crazy? They're probably being crazy because they know business is gonna drop off in January and February. They have the pressure of owning a business. They have the pressure of being financially responsible for not just their own life, their own business, but you guys as employees, they're responsible for keeping food on your table. That's a lot of pressure.
So if your boss is going crazy, they're either crazy or they don't know how to handle the pressure of all of that, which is pretty normal because we're only human. And try to smile when you say things like that in your head because then you know, you won't feel yourself biting down hard in your tongue. 'cause you're gonna have days when you just wanna blow your brains out.
But don't, this is why it's important to have something to look forward to create small goals, little rewards, what makes sense, what makes you happy? Go ahead and treat yourself probably something better, like chocolate vin mints or you know, say to yourself, okay, if I do really well, I'm gonna go and take myself out somewhere. Figure out what it is that motivates you.
And then go ahead and add that as little carrot for yourself. Make sure you're doing massages, you're getting to your chiropractor, acupuncture, whatever it is. I really strongly suggest in a perfect world you are booking these on your days off. And that's pretty much because I don't want you to like go to work, go get a massage and then sleep through when you actually feel really good.
So consider doing that on your day off instead of doing it after work. And for those of you guys are like, I can't afford that, this is the time of year for tips. Take your tips, go get a massage. And even if they just sit there and rub your head and tell you you're pretty, it's gonna make you feel better.