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Creating value through consultation grooms

This was a great question. So the question was, I love the first consultation groom. I would appreciate tips on how to better explain the value.

Sometimes I think I don't explain it well and wanna communicate it better with them. So this is a great question. So for those of you guys that are not maybe not entirely familiar with the savvy groomer, I teach what's called a consultation groom. So in a consultation groom, let's talk consultation groom. So what are consultation groom? So consultation grooms are essentially the first time you're going to groom a dog or a cat,

let's be honest here. So unlike a regular consultation where you're not going to be, you know, manipulating the pet, touching them, grooming them, et cetera, a consultation groom is saying, I'm gonna block off a specific amount of time for you. We're going to work, work through your goals. Like as an owner, what are your goals for this pet's hair?

I'm gonna get to know this pet better and I'm gonna be able to evaluate them as an individual. So I really love consultation groups because I think it puts the power back on us and it forces people to understand that no, this is just not like a walk-in service. This is not a service that you can just kind of use and abuse and kind of disappear,

right? Consultation room sets the boundary of, hey, you have to interview to be my client, and I have to decide if we're going to have a long-term relationship. So a consultation room is kind of like a first date. It's a lot of getting to know you, you getting to know me, and then us deciding if we wanna pursue anything.

So when we're talking about the value, we really wanna focus on what the goal is. So the goal is to create a long-term relationship with that client and with that pet. So I think the easiest way to explain this too, right, to the average pet owner is to say, you know, here at example grooming, we work really hard to make sure that your pet is treated as an individual.

We wanna get to know them, you know, and and learn what is the best services for them. And by doing that, we're going to take our time, especially the first groom, because we don't know what your pet likes, what your pet doesn't like. We don't know how your pet's hair is going to react to being groomed, right? And especially with all of these mixed breeds,

it's not like I'm gonna h you, you know, a purebred dog and it's gonna be easy. And even then a lot of these purebred dogs don't, it was so nice. Gonna super zoom, like all the well-bred dogs, like, ugh, like a bichon. That looks like a bichon. It was so nice, you know? So again,

this is our opportunity to go, hmm, maybe I wanna get to know you. So again, if there's different ways of creating value during this. So what some people do, one of my students does, she has a very high consultation, so she's going to charge her her normal rate for a bath and blow dry is a hundred dollars. Her haircuts go for 150 to $200.

So her consultation groom is 300. However, that 300 includes a haircut and then a bath within four weeks. So if they come in for the groom, then she's going to include a bath and load dry within four weeks. And the reason she does that is so that way she can, it's already included and it's already telling you if that person sees value in regular maintenance grooming.

And so you could do things where you can say, okay, you're basically prepaying for two haircuts, right? Because in the first consultation room, you don't really know what you're, you're getting into. It also sets a clear divide between regular maintenance clients and you having to re reapply and come back through the process of applying to be my client, right?

So essentially what can happen there is by me doing a consultation group, I'm really holding space for that pet. I like to see you guys have consultation groom, you know, no more than one, right? A day, ideally the last groom of the day. That way, you know, it's the last appointment. If they don't show up, you're not mad.

You get to go home early. If you don't have any new clients, you've basically built in time, right? You're not gonna have to reshuffle clients. Like again, if you have a new client, they take a little longer than expected, you're not gonna have to shuffle around other clients. You know? And obviously I'm assuming that you guys are staying on time,

you're not running behind that day. But even if you are right, that's where ideally you would have a buffer and that dog should be done. A consultation groom in a perfect world should be done straight through, or a straight through is possible. And it's probably gonna be a two hour appointment. If you normally groom dogs in an hour, I would block off two hours,

right? That that might be a situation. Everyone does. Their consultation groom's different. Some of my students who are like really holistic, what they're going to do is they're gonna wait till everyone is out of the building, right? At the end of the day, everything's cleaned up and they're going to have this one pet and they're gonna lock the door,

the pet's gonna be allowed to sniff and kind wander, maybe have a L mat, right? Just like really kind of relax and chill out while the owner and the groomer are communicating and getting to know, okay, what are your goals? What is this? What is that? Letting the pet just kind of settle, sniff around, you know, if they have a tub area that's there,

the pet can wander there. And again, everyone is so different. If you don't have a safe environment for pets to wander, don't do that. But in this case, that's what they do. And again, it's more about, you know, once the pet is calm, then they can say, okay, owner, you can leave. It should take me about an hour and a half.

Obviously the owner leaves wherever the owner leaves, you might send 'em to a coffee shop. I love giving clients like $5 little coffee shop gift cards. They can go wander there, you know? And then you have un then you have time to really get to know that pet and give them really the undivided attention. Because in a perfect world, if we took this,

if we took this seriously, if we took this in a professional way, we would require people to apply to be our clientele. We would make people prove to us, right? 'cause the goal is a long-term committed relationship with these pets, right? I don't really want to groom a dog that everyone is grooming in town. I don't like it when I'm grooming a dog.

And the next thing I know that dog is also being groomed by somebody else down the street and now I've gotta fix that haircut. Or maybe they didn't get all the mats out, or maybe they used Dawn. And now the co you know, the dog is either smelly or they didn't. If it's a deisha dog, they didn't pull that code out.

So I'm saying, listen, I am willing to commit to you or are you willing to commit to me? So I think it's mainly depending upon how you're branded in the way that you're going to explain the consultation group. Let's say if you're really highend and you're really luxurious, you would explain that you're an exclusive salon. If you're a membership model, you might say that you're members only and they need to apply for membership.

If you're a more relaxed, what I call a dunking donut style grooming business, you may instead opt for more of a casual thing and be like, look, you know, pet, you know, your pet is an individual and they need to be treated like an individual. We wanna make sure your pet has the most positive experience that they possibly can.

And so in order to do that, I need to block off this time. I'm not willing to have a dog come into a strange environment and kind of get thrown into the mix. All the other dogs here are so used to this grooming salon. They're used to the people here. I mean, we really wanna set your pet up for success. And the person who just wants a haircut,

they're probably not your soulmate client. And a lot of us kind of have to decide what kind of clients we want. It's funny, 'cause I hear so people saying like, oh, I don't wanna lose clients, I don't wanna do this, I don't wanna do that. But on the flip side, they also have a never ending wait list, or they have a never ending phone calls and people calling you.

You know, the average groomer right now is grooming about a hundred dogs a month. So it's 20. If you have five days a week, let's say five dogs, and that's a mix of big and small, probably, right? So five dogs, five days a week, that's 25 a week. Four days a week. Even if you're like,

well I'm grooming eight. Well let's do that math. I think that's 40 a week. So 40, it's eight. So that's one 60. Even then, that's not a lot of people, if you really think about a Starbucks serves more coffees than that in the morning, right? If you think about how many people go to Starbucks for coffee, you only need a hundred to 160,

depending upon how many dogs are grooming per day. Committed people. That's not a lot of people, right? So what the consultation groom does is it forces people, again, if they go over a certain amount of weeks, if you're in every four weeks salon, I would have, if you're over six weeks, if you're over six weeks, you have to reapply to be a regular customer.

And again, that shows that you are setting boundaries. And the reason having those boundaries is so good is because, again, if I'm a customer, and I know that if I go over six weeks, I have to go back through that expensive consultation room, right? And again, it's like, nope, we're gonna, it's been too long. We're going to reintroduce them because we put their mental,

physical, and emotional health above that, right? And I honestly believe that, you know, we had a, a really busy salon when I had my grooming salon, we were grooming about 40 dogs a day between five people. We had bathers and, and groomers, but all the dogs were incredibly well adjusted because we did things the same way. They knew everyone.

We made sure they felt incredibly comfortable. We were hustle bustling. So we weren't always the best. But a lot of that came down to just, you know, quirky personalities with dogs. Like we had this one Aussie who literally just like happy barked at everything. And so he was groomed first thing in the morning and I was like, get him out.

Right? But you know, it wasn't ever a thing where dogs were stressed out and if they were right, we worked on that. So, but going back to consultation rooms, you know, I just think it's a win-win. And so it can be a bit, little bit difficult for us to explain that to clients, but that's only because we're not used to setting boundaries.

We're not used to communicating our needs, right? It's so interesting 'cause we're, we know we're not desperate, right? We know we're not desperate for clients. We know we have way more pets that could be groomed, right? Versus the amount of pets that are actually around, right? So if you think about it again, if that groomer needs a hundred to 160 tops,

right? Most of us are not grooming more than eight dogs a day, five days a week. There are definitely some power groomers. And again, I'm talking about one groomer, right? I'm not talking about a bather and a groom, I'm talking about one groomer. So I only need a hundred to 160 people to commit to me monthly. That's not a lot of people.

And it seems like a lot of people till you break down, right? That there are 365 days. So I would really consider the fact that having consultation groom allows you to really break that down.