Once A Year, I Don't Think So
So let's go ahead and get into today's topic today. We're gonna be talking about Once a year.
I don't think so. So really quickly, I wanted to touch on what a once a year or a twice a year client is. Sometimes in the form you'll see O a Y or T a Y. So a once a year or twice a year. Client is generally a client who literally comes in to be groomed once a year, generally around the holidays or for their summer shave.
Or you're gonna see that person that comes in twice a year. You know, my family growing up, we were not religious, but we had family members that were religious and it was like the Catholics that went to church Easter and Christmas, but not the rest of the year. Right now with pet grooming, I want you to think about it this way.
We want them to come on a regular schedule. It's a lot easier to have them be groomed on a regular schedule because their behavior is better. They are emotionally more prepared for it. It's not something I always, I like the phrase someone said it and I'm not sure who, I wish I could give them credit. If you guys know who said it,
please let me know that a pet that's groomed once a month, it's a part of life, a pet that get grooms once a year. It's a punishment. And from a pet's perspective, the best way someone ever explained it to me. So if a dog year, I'm sorry, if every seven dog years is one human year, that means that every eight weeks is emotionally one dog year.
And considering the fact that very often people only bring the pet in once a human year, that means that is emotionally seven dog years. If I hadn't gone to the dentist in seven years, I would forget everything that I have to do now. I personally like to see a pet on every four weeks. The reason I think it's better for the groomer,
I think it's better for the pet. I think it's better for everyone overall. So to me, the best option is for the pet to come every four weeks. Now you guys might say, well I'm perfectly happy for my clients to come in every six or every eight, and that is a very personal choice. It's between you and your clients, you and your business.
So moving forward, why do we not want once a year pets? So again, you guys might be wondering exactly what is going on in this industry that we have so many once a year clients. And the truth is that it's don't get mad at me, it's our fault. Now what happens a lot of times is that instead of us just saying,
I don't think so, or No, we get them in anyway, whether it is that some are shaved down, that once a year flea infested farm dog that has decided to randomly come in, or the bichon that gets shaved, I'm sorry. They always want them, not only do they want you to demat them, right? It's like a bichon that comes in the week of Thanksgiving and they want you to demat the dog because they can't be embarrassed in front of their mother-in-law.
They want the dog to look good. And if you shave the dog well then you are the problem. It's your fault, right? And I have no patience for that. It is not my responsibility to make sure that your pet is taken care of unless if you bring that pet to me every month, it is not my responsibility. So in your business,
and again, your business is your business. I had a lot of ones your clients in the beginning. Why? Because I unintentionally encouraged it, right? Because what would I do? I would send a mass email before the holidays and be like, oh, does your pet need to get groomed before the holiday? Do you need this? Do you need that?
And of course he'd be like, oh yeah, I forgot. I better get fluffy groomed. Now that marketing there is not actually helping me get regular monthly clients because by me also encouraging them to focus on coming in during the holidays, I am not encouraging people to make it a regular part of life. Again, it's like a nail salon that wants people to come for holidays.
Like they're like, oh, come get snowmen or Christmas trees on your nails and before Easter, do this nail art, right? Instead of being like, Nope, just come every two weeks. It's maintenance. Is your business maintenance or is your business pampering? And again, a lot of our marketing, it is about pampering. It is about spa,
which is great, but that means that unless of the client regularly gets themselves pampered on a monthly basis, and there are lots of clients that do, right? I'm the kind of person who I'm generally getting my nails done every two weeks. You know, I'm generally getting my eyelashes every two weeks. I'm generally in the hair salon at least once a month.
You know, I'm generally that kind of person who gets a massage every two to four weeks. And I see that as maintenance, not as pampering, but as maintenance. So ask yourself, are you accidentally encouraging once a year if a once a year calls? Are you taking them? And what do you wanna do about that? Now there's absolutely no wrong answer.
We always ask ourselves questions because it's an exploratory process, right? Because you might be like, you know what? I really find those once a year, Husky D sheds super satisfying. And on some level I have to agree there's nothing more satisfying. I think shepherd more so than Husky. 'cause I don't like that Huskies talk back. A lot of shepherds talk back too.
So maybe labs, let's go at labs or Bernice Mountain dogs. If I were to do just a bath and blow dry, but I wanna do a lot of 'em, I just wanna do like one. But there's so satisfying, it's so satisfying to take this big, burly, furry dog and make him beautiful. It's absolutely satisfying. That said, they're way more work.
They don't know the rhythm, they don't understand what's happening to them. And there are a bunch of them that are really well behaved. Their clients, their, I should say their owners are not, they don't appreciate us the same way we would like them to, right? Because what do they do? They expect to get in. They're the kind of person that will pre-book the week of Thanksgiving,
the week of Christmas, and that's it, right? And where our every four week client is so used to just coming in every month, they're probably not booking out for the entire year. Even if they book out two or three months at a time, they're probably not booking the month of November or December until they get closer. So then we give up all those perfect spots to those once year clients.
And how does that make our every four week clients feel? And that really stinks. You know, there's different policies you can put in place. It really depends upon what it is that you wanna do in your business. I really love the idea of, so what I did in my shop, and again, my shop was not as strict as my mobile is that if I did not see you in.
So there's lots of different ways of doing it. One way that I used to do it was that I actually would tell them, if I don't see you in October, I don't see, well, I would tell 'em if I don't see you, you in September, I don't see you in November. If I don't see you in October, I don't see you in December.
So I know we've talked about many times charging more for non monthly clients. I used the example of poor Ashley because it was just a perfect example and she's perfectly fine with me telling you guys about it. So what we ended up doing is we used the example of what she did. So we were doing a price increase for her business. She's mobile and only does dogs under 20, 20, 25 pounds.
So what we ended up saying is like, okay, here is a four week malt teeth. If you come in every four weeks, it's a hundred dollars. And then my suggestion was, okay, so it's four weeks, it's a hundred at six weeks, it's one 50, and then at eight weeks it's 200. And then anything beyond that would be a consultation groom.
And it's a a separate charge, right? 'cause you're basically a new client. If I haven't seen you in two months, which is pretty true, you know, I mean if you're only coming in my establishment at best six times a year versus the four week is coming 13 times, that's, that's a huge difference. That client is coming in less than half.
So that was my suggestion. A hundred, 1 50, 200. Now some of us are like, that's outrageous, that's ridiculous, that's not fair. B blah blah, blah, blah. Well, a lot of times our pricing needs to create behavior. If I want everyone on a four week schedule, I need to make it palatable to go on a four week schedule.
So what did she do? She said, I can't do that. I'm not, I don't feel good. I can't do that. I said, okay, so what would you like to do? She's like, well, I'd like to do a hundred, 1 20, 1 50. So it's a hundred dollars for four weeks, one 20 for six and one 50 for eight.
Well what do you guys think? Everybody went on, everyone ended up on a six week schedule because a six week schedule saved them money. Right? So what did that do? Then she had to call everyone and get them say, I'm so sorry, I had a typing error. It's actually one 50 for six weeks. Then all of a sudden everyone went up for weeks.
So that's on the lower level. On the higher level, you can do things a little more simply. So a good example would be is let's say matting in my mobile. What I did was, and for those of you guys that don't know, I owned a feeling exclusive mobile business. And what I ended up doing is I ended up charged. So my bath price for a cat was a hundred dollars a comb cut,
which is what I preferred to do, was 1 45. And that was a comb cut with a bath, a lion cut and, and we would call it an elective lion cut, which means you choose to get that lion cut was 200 and then a matted line cut started at 300. Now why did I do this? Because at 300 versus a hundred,
that's again, it's 50% more and it's $200 more than just getting your cat bathed. Now if that's not enough to deter them, the next thing we do is if your cat comes back and it's matted again, then I am going to charge you double. So the first time we're gonna give you benefit of the doubt. You didn't understand matting, you didn't understand what was going on.
I'm gonna let that go, right? I, I'm gonna give you the benefit of the doubt 'cause that's what I would want, right? I still have to charge you because it's more dangerous for me, it's more dangerous for the cat. Takes more time and more skill. So unfortunately I have to charge you more. However, the next time it comes,
it's double. So instead of 300, 600, why? Because you knew better and you are now willfully neglecting your pet. And then it happens a third time. Now it is $900. And believe it or not, I've had several people do the 600 and the $900 groom and a lot of 'em think that I'm faking it. And I tell them flat out,
go to somebody else. If you want me to do it, I will do it. But then they realize they could have had nine months worth of bath and blow dry for that one appointment. And it's not worth it to them either they go and find somebody else who's going to be willing to engage in willful neglect, which I am not. Or they're gonna get on a regular schedule and eventually I had everyone on a regular schedule.
So it doesn't even matter in the end, right guys? I mean, it makes sense to me. Listen, my dad used to call it stupid tax. He owned a appliance repair business. And if people, now he didn't like dogs ironically, but like if people would let the dogs, like when he is in your dishwasher, come over and like jump all over him or sniff his crotch,
he would add tacks to that. He would add tacks for people that would ask stupid questions. Not like reasonable questions, but just like really rude questions. Like, oh, like did you like drop outta college and this is why you're doing things like that. Like just rude questions. And so he would just, he'd be like, yep, there's like that.
I think what's interesting is that we're so worried about being fair to the people that are not our ideal clients. For those of you guys that this is your first time listening to the Savvy Groomer, we wanna make sure that we are treating the people that deserve our kindness the best. Because we're so worried about being fair to the eight week people that we don't think about what's fair to the four week people,
right? If I'm a four week person, I'm the one that keeps your business going. You know, I'm coming to your business 12 to 13 times a year. I'm the person probably tipping you around Christmas. I'm the person telling my friends and family, and I'm telling my friends and family that I think would actually honor and respect you, right? Because I don't wanna have you,
if I am coming in every month, then I value my pet being clean. I value those things. And so as I'm moving forward, I'm not gonna have my friend with the like matted, flee infested doodle coming to the shop. 'cause I would be embarrassed to have that client, right? That's how I would feel. So how can we support every four weeks that way these once a year people,
we can say, I don't think so going back to our once a year pets, we set the limits. We tell them yes or no, right? If you think somebody is going to not a long term asset to your business, you have every right to say no. I want you guys to think of it like this. We use the example of the soulmate clients.
We have three levels. We have the soulmate client when they meet you, they're like, oh my God, yes, I've been looking for someone just like you. Someone with your skillset, somebody who you know says the right things, does the right things. Like when people met me as a cat groomer, like, oh my God. Finally someone who understands cat behavior and grooms them and does all of that.
You know, it makes so much sense. So you know, that's where we've got all that, that we have a soulmate client. And then next we have our ideal client. And the way I would explain it is like, it's the kind of person you date, but you don't know if you wanna marry, right? If you were a soulmate person that you met,
it's love at first sight and everything is perfect, and you're like, yes, this person is exactly who I want. It's everything I wanted. And then ideal is like, you go on a date and you're like, wow, they have a lot of the qualities I would like, I don't know if they're the one, but we like the same music and we like the same things and I really enjoy their time.
So for me, a soulmate client is somebody who wants to be groomed every four weeks and they're happy to pay my prices. My ideal client might be somebody who needs to be, you know, al groomed, if you will, taught how to become that soulmate client. So they might need leverage to then make the right decision. If you've been dating,
and I've been single now for three years, it's kinda like a situation where you would be, how do I explain this? It's like if you go on a date with somebody and like I'm boujee, those that love me, know me and know I'm boujee. And if they were like, I would like to take you to McDonald's, and I'd be like,
I don't even take me to McDonald's. Maybe a Chick-fil-A but not McDonald's. So I wanna go to a nice restaurant. I wanna go to a restaurant that I wanna go to. And then I would be happy to see you. And if they don't wanna do that, then, and I've had this happen, and again, it sounds really bougie, it sounds really unreasonable,
but it's a boundary issue. 'cause I'm not willing to lower my standards for somebody because I want them to have the same standards as me. And we do this with our clients as well, right? So it would be like your client saying, I really need a Saturday. And you say, well, I don't offer Saturdays. And they might say,
but I really need a Saturday. And then you set the boundary again and I can do Friday at four. And that's one of your regular times. And then they have a choice of either going with you and and doing what you need them to do or not. And we do this again all the time in relationships, you know? And it's all about finding that healthy boundary in between.
And then we have our fling clients. And these are our once a year, twice a year clients, right? These once a year, twice a year clients. And these clients are the kind of people that you meet. And they are the McDonald's guys. They are what I call the hot pocket guys. The guys that you know you don't wanna date.
If you are feeling bad about yourself and you want someone to tell you you're pretty, you might go on a date with them. And every time you go on a date with them, you're like, why did I do this? That's the same person that calls at noon on a Saturday and asks for a bath. They come in and it's a pelted dog or a dog with fleas or God knows what,
and they don't tip, right? That's the same person. So I want you to consider who this person is in your business. For me, being a higher end business, my business, I only wanted soulmate clients. 'cause I had a very finite amount of spaces. I really want a hundred spaces to do this. So I can't waste my time on a,
on even a lot of ideals or, and I have no time for flings. When I had my shop, because I had five employees and we did 40 dogs a day, we had lots of soulmate clients, we had lots of ideal clients. And it took me a long time to realize that these fling clients were no good for me. And taking that time really allows it to change that.
And so if that's it, defining those soulmate clients and not accepting these once a year. So yeah, that was what today's topic is all about once a year. I don't think so. And remember, no is a complete sentence. Referring them to Petcos or PetSmart is not a bad idea. Telling them that, you know, you only have space for clients that commit to a maintenance schedule and you define a maintenance schedule schedule as X.
That's what I would tell people. I'd be like, just so you're aware, we only take on new clients that are willing to commit to a maintenance schedule. We define a maintenance schedule as four weeks or less. And you, and that's where I like consultation, groom a consultation groom is the most expensive groom they will have. And then from there,
it's almost like, hey, it's gonna cost you, let's say a hundred dollars for this groom, but the next time you come in, in four weeks, we're gonna only charge you 85. Right? So it's a little bit higher. And if they say, no, I'm happy to go every eight weeks, then you know that you've gotta shift your money.
And I'm a big fan of being like, if you're not willing to commit to the four week schedule and having my prices high enough, I like that business model. There are lots of business model, those guys. We talk about the Starbucks, the Dunking Donuts, and the McDonald's coffee, right? A dollar coffee is the Walmart of the grooming industry.
You may even be a good groomer, but you do a lot of, and you're not worried about quality. If someone were to come in and say, Hey, I didn't like this haircut. Be like, just be grateful your dog was even groomed or really lousy customer service. You know? Or you're just doing so much, so much quantity that you just don't have time to deal with people.
And we have our Dunking Donuts where they're like, they're still doing a lot of volume, but you know, if you come back, they're not gonna be happy, but they're gonna fix the haircut. Or you know, they're gonna have regulars. Most shops that are like six or eight week shops tend to be that more Dunkin donut style coffee grooming shop.
And you got your Starbucks. Your Starbucks people are religiously people. For me, you know, I waited in line over an hour during the pandemic to get my Starbucks. There were two Dunking Donuts I passed that had no line, and yet I still drove 20 minutes outta the way for the only Starbucks open and waited in line for an hour. Why?
Because that's the type of loyalty that people have. And that's the kind of people that are in my business. I mean, if you talk to people like Quincy, you know, she has her clients book out for a year. She literally posts, Hey, we have to book everyone for the year, and most people within 24 hours go ahead and book for the entire year.
So there are ways of building those businesses. It's about building that business around what you want, right? What do you want in your business? How do you want this to look? How do you want this to be?