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How to create better client boundaries

o let's go ahead and start talking about today's topic, how to create better client boundaries. So I'm gonna talk to you about five different things.

So the number one thing I want you to start talk thinking about when you have client boundary issues is, are they your ideal client? I talk all the time about what I call the solem mate client. And what happens with you guys a lot of times is that you just take anyone with money. Anyone who has a wallet is a customer. And I want you guys to start changing that.

I want you, when you have a client issue to consider, is this person even worth it? Now, I know that sounds like a dick thing to say, right? That sounds like a really mean thing to say, but a lot of times when you are clashing with a customer, it's simply because you and them are not compatible. Think about to yourself,

what is it that they're upset about? Is it something that doesn't make sense for your business model? For instance, you guys know that I require every four weeks for my clients. If I have an issue with a client who wants six weeks, eight weeks, 12 weeks, won't get on a regular schedule, then I'm trying to create a boundary with somebody who's not my ideal client.

And it's a waste of time and energy. And I know that sounds super harsh, but a lot of times you guys have to stop chasing the wrong people. It's kinda like if you guys ever known one of your friends who's in a terrible relationship and you're like, why don't you just break up with them and they're trying to save this terrible relationship. That's what happens when I'm watching you guys with these clients that you can tell.

It's not that they're, they're bad clients, they're just not the one for you. And too often you guys, if I ask you what's your ideal client, you'll tell me basically anyone who's willing to pay your prices, it has to be more focused than that. Lynn Paleo did a great class on finding your ideal client. You'll find a lot of these issues melting away when you create better boundaries.

But part of that is going to be making sure that they are the correct client for you. So number two, how often do we put ourselves in our client's shoes? I find more often than not, what happens with you guys is that you're not actually putting yourself in their shoes. And I understand you're like, how? What does that to do with boundaries?

If you create a boundary that isn't sustainable, that's just me. It's not, it's not sustainable. For instance, I see a lot of people that require the person to pick up their pet 30 minutes after giving a phone call. But what happens is that you have a four hour window to get the dog done, and then you expect the owner to come when you call within 30 minutes.

And most of the time you guys want busy professionals, and it's a little unrealistic. You cannot create that boundary if it does not make sense to the client. All you're going to do is have someone become more resentful and rebellious. For instance, if I drop off my dog and I ask you, when will my dog be done? I have a standard poodle.

And you say, well, it could be anywhere between two and four hours. Let's a two hour window. And I say, okay, I live about 30 minutes away. I'm gonna run some errands. If you could give me an hour warning, that would be great. And you say, okay. And then when you call, you say, okay,

you know, Rory, my dog is done. And you know, you have 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, you are going to be charged one. I'm sitting there going, why am I gonna be charged when I let you know for an hour and two, you feel like in this instance that you set a boundary of being able to be picked up in 30 minutes,

but you didn't put yourself in that person's shoes. And consider how many of us can honestly drive 15, 25 minutes to go pick up our pet with only five or 10 minutes notice. The reason I'm saying consider that is because a lot of you guys are creating boundaries and then you don't understand why people aren't living up to your expectations. And a lot of times it's because it's just not fair to the client as you're not pitting yourself in their shoes.

And that's a healthy boundary. It's, this is my standard, this is my expectation. If you don't meet it, then that's fine. And that's something too, Stephanie, we talked about, are they your ideal client? If your boundary is every four weeks, there's no point in being upset with a client who's a once a year or twice a year pet,

because they're not gonna get on a four week schedule because there's nothing you're going to do to get that client on the schedule. So your boundary irrelevant. All you're doing is frustrating yourself. So my next tip for you guys for better client boundaries, number three is going to be clear communication. I love the quote, to be unclear is to be unkind.

Often we think that giving them a four page policies, you know, procedures, that they're gonna read through all that. You know, as somebody who's been an apple connoisseur forever, I have yet to ever read the terms and conditions of my apple, you know, my watch, anything like that. So make sure that your boundaries are clear and they're easily understood.

For instance, if my boundary going back is the pet to be picked up within 30 minutes, then I have to set the clear expectation to the client. You know, one way I did that in my business is that we had a three hour window for bath dogs and a four hour window for groom dogs. We could definitely call you between two and four hours for groom dogs and two to three hours for bath dogs.

That said, they knew no matter what, that dog would be done if it was a bath dog at three hours, if it was a groom dog at four hours. So they did not need to wait for a phone call that was able to set a precedent that they had a 30 minute window past the four hours. So they knew the latest they could pick up was this and they could schedule the rest of their day.

So I set the boundary of we're not gonna sit here and watch a goddamn dog all day, but we were able to clearly communicate that in a way that we put ourselves in the client's shoes and able to help them, whatever it's gonna be. And you know, I'm assuming that the, these people are your ideal clients and they understand. I think that's perfect.

I think setting those boundaries and making sure that those boundaries are, you know, I hate to say it, but make sure they make sense. A lot of times you guys want these more high-end clients or want these clients that come in regularly and then there's a little, little hiccups where there's inconsistency and things like that. Not you, but just in the general sense,

make sure that it makes sense. So with the clear communication, make sure you guys have heard me before talking about client onboarding, right? And a client flow. So with my clients, not now 'cause we're full, but before we were full, what we would do is we would have them go to the website, they would fill out a contact form and we would go through the contact form,

you know, and it would state things like, we only do pets every four weeks, what breed, et cetera. And so basically we had the form at that point, we would then call them to make sure basically so I could smell the crazy and book them in their first appointment and then go ahead and you know, explain the policies, explain how we do things,

that way they understand how we work. So for instance, right now in my mobile business, I don't go to people's doors. They bring the pet to me. And for me that's a clear boundary because I don't go in people's homes. Why? Because I'm avoiding having them ask me to chase their cat. I can't tell you how many people are like,

it's stuck in the bathroom. And I'm like, that's perfectly fine. We're happy to charge you the $50 travel fee, go to the next pet and come back if we have to. You know? And again, that is a boundary, that is a clear communication. This client knew that we had a window and we come to have the pet ready.

And if you don't, that's fine, then we're going to have certain fees or anything like that. And those, a lot of times, fees are a great way to create better boundaries, you know, as long as they're fair. That's the thing is what's good for the goose, it's good for the gander generally, you know, I try to make sure my expectations of the client are reasonable,

are something that that person can do. Again, making sure they're my ideal client. You know, if you have somebody, if your ideal client has, you know, is a young family, you've gotta think about somebody with three little kids is far less likely to be able to pick something up right on time because they're gonna have to strap three kids in the minivan.

Alright, so let's talk about number four. Document, document, document. So things in writing are your best friends before, during, and after. Photos, video, audio, everything is documented in this business. And in my previous business, everything was documented. Every cat I grew, my do it before, a during and an after. Now,

most of my current clients don't need a during. They might if we're doing a line cut and if their skin's a little, you know, red or anything like that. But it's important to have video and or audio, especially if you have employees. I will say, when I had my shop, the best thing, well one of the best things I ever did was install in the front,

in the reception area, a audio and a camera. That way if I explained to the client, Hey, we're going to do, you know, this pet's matted, you can see the matting again, clear communication, right? And then I set my boundary, which was, it's either gonna be a very expensive shave down, you can go home and brush the dog,

you know, or you know, depending upon the case, they might, I might be willing to do small incremental like a, you know, some D matting depending upon how mad at the pet is. And that's a clear boundary. You know, another example of a boundary would be if a dog comes in that needs a D, she, if I see the pet needs a D,

she and it is what it is, then guess what? They're getting a D. She. If they don't want a D, she, I set my boundary and I say, if you don't like that, then you're welcome to go elsewhere. Does that suck? Sometimes financially, yes. But if I don't set that boundary and I'm not willing to clearly stand behind it,

then it's like little kids. I mean, we all children and Labradors, right? If you don't set black and white standards, then you're gonna get caught up in the gray. You know, it's like the dog that sometimes can jump on the couch, sometimes it can't. When it does that, you can't be mad at it. So when you have clients that you sometimes follow your policies,

but sometimes you don't. And this is a policy, but I've never actually mentioned it to you. So I'm hoping that you remember that thing you signed three years ago, which no one does. Let's be hon, let's be very, very fair. Unless if you have them sign it and go through your policies and remind them of your policies every single time,

they're not going to remember. I could honestly not tell you my hairdresser's policies, nor the woman who does my eyelashes, or the woman who does my nails, or the woman that waxes me. I have four different places I go. And I couldn't tell you a single policy, no idea. I couldn't tell you if they have a re-booking policy. I wouldn't tell.

I wouldn't know if they have anything. Honestly. I just know this is the person I go to. I book with them, I go in for my service. You know, I'm not the kind of client who ever cancels, but if I did cancel, you know, I wouldn't know what the policies were, you know? And it would be very difficult to find that out the hard way.

So I would probably call if there was an emergency and find out the hard way. So, you know, and that's, that's again, but if that's a good way to set a boundary. So for instance, if I called Rose who does my nails, and I said, Hey, I have to pick up my son at school at two o'clock.

We have an appointment at one o'clock. There's no way I'm gonna be able to get my nails done and pick him up on time. Can I move my appointment to four? Now if she says to me, absolutely, but you've gotta pay for that missed appointment, then I have to make a decision as a client. That's a boundary. And it's up to us as the business owners to decide where we are going to create that line.

And I think that there is too much of the pendulum swinging. We have people that swing one way where basically they hate their customers. Their customers are rotten, they're like little children who need to be trained and need to be taught, and they're terrible people. Or the other way where they're complete doormats. And I think we can just find ourselves somewhere in the middle.

I think we can find something in the middle where we're not doormats. Like I don't want any of you guys to be doormats and to be taken advantage of. But I also don't want you guys to be told authoritarian, you know, Nazis. Like there's no reason to be unkind. People who are just trying to live their lives. And most of the time they don't understand what we do for a living.

When they bathe their dog in the tub, it doesn't take nearly the amount of time they don't understand what we do. If they did, they'd probably be nicer. That's one reason I love cat grooming. 'cause anyone who's ever tried to bath the cat is like, hmm, thank you. They just literally just do this like, oh, thank you.

And this also leads me into my final point. I know I've said this before and some people get a little offended by it, but I want you guys, which is number five, to stop having unhealthy codependent tendencies. Now, before you freak out, and I, again, I don't pretend to be a medical professional, I'm not diagnosing anybody, but I want you guys to just hear some common codependent behaviors.

An exaggerated sense of responsibilities for the actions of others. How many times do groomers feel they're responsible to take care of a pet that's not theirs? Even though that that owner is the one who met, who didn't brush the dog and it got mad at a tendency to confuse love and pity with the tendency of love for people that can pity or rescue. I can't count how many times you guys talk about how you wanna save not just the dog,

but this customer. Like you'll have a customer who has financial issues and you take that on your own. You know, I can't tell you, and I think a lot of times you guys confuse that pity and that love feeling. And there's also a tendency to do more than their share all the time. I always tell everyone who's not in the pet industry say,

groomers are my people. They're my people. Because they will give you the shirt off their back. They will do anything for you. Now I want you guys to be kind and good, but I don't want you guys to again, be taken advantage of. So finding that in between is again, the goal. A tendency to become hurt when people don't recognize their efforts.

How many of you guys, and I love you, but it's a little toxic, you almost get so excited when like I'm in all these memes. Like when someone says, I'll pay you full price for your art. You know, you, you guys will get really excited about that. But how many times do you guys, you know, get almost offended when someone mentions the bow when the dog is,

they're like, the dog walks out instead of being like, oh my God, Fluffy's so cute. They're like, oh my god, Fluffy's bow is so cute. And you're like, bitch, did you see how a scis with this dog? Do you see how beautiful it is? A lot of you guys get hurt because someone doesn't recognize what you did for a,

like, didn't specifically applaud your effort. An unhealthy dependence on relationships. The codependent will do anything to hold onto a relationship to avoid the feeling of abandonment. How many of you guys refuse to increase a dog's price by $5? 'cause you're afraid they're going to leave you, which is bananas. Bananas guys. An extreme need for approval and recognition. Again,

I love you guys. A lot of you guys are almost crying out for someone to recognize how good you are at grooming. And I understand that sometimes we have a very thankless job, but when you feel good at what you do, you don't need others to pat you on the back. A sense of guilt when asserting themselves. Again, I love you guys.

How many times when you guys step up and create these boundaries, do you almost feel guilty? You feel guilty reminding clients what their, what your policy is and enforcing it. A compelling need to control others. And again, this is not necessarily you guys, but that's another common one. A lack of trust in self and or others. I mean,

groomers can be a little bit untrusting, not intentionally a fear of abandonment or being alone. Again, a lot of you guys will try to hold onto these toxic clients that do you no good. And you will tell me it's because of money, but here's the lie, you'll tell me it's because you don't have enough money. But then when I ask you how much money you need to earn,

you don't know. So you can't have it both ways. You can't say, I don't have enough money. And then I always say, well, how much money is enough? And you don't know. It's just something you're telling yourself instead of actually dealing with the the other problems. Difficulty identifying feelings. I've worked a lot with this with my clients.

Again, I am that person. I have very codependent tendencies that I have been working on personally. I didn't, I always tell people I, I used to think my feelings. You, if you asked me what I felt, I would tell you what I thought. And getting in touch with your feelings is really terrible, but it's ultimately makes you a lot happier.

Which sounds really crazy as I say that as I'm drinking. Yeah, difficulty adjusting to change. Yeah, every groomer ever that refuses to give up their appointment book their paper appointment, book their paper index cards and yeah, problems with intimacy and boundaries and other things can be chronic anger. Most groomers are not like this, but there are, we all have worked with somebody who would just lose their chicken nuggets and start screaming at the dogs and screaming at you over nothing.

Lying in dishonesty. Yeah, I've been a grooming business owner long enough to know there are plenty of groomers who are liars or dishonest mostly to get out of something. I always tell the story of the groomer that, you know, snipped up a dog's ear. And after they did that, they basically lied to me while the dog's ear is in ribbons,

poor communication and difficulty making decisions. Now that can just be anybody. But I want you guys to hear these tendencies. And I find now, I'm not saying groomers are codependent as a group, but what I'm saying is we have a lot of codependent behaviors that manifest themselves in our business. And by, by accepting that and by working through them, instead of just 'cause like we know,

we know what we should be doing. It's not the tactics, it's actually implementing them that we have trouble. I can give you guys scripts all day, but it's that fear of conflict, that fear of stepping up to somebody and setting our boundaries and you know, creating that. That's what a lot of us really struggle with. This is a perfect example.

You knew this client was toxic, you did everything possible. You did it even in a professional manner. And then there's that unhealthy feeling of guilt. Now, not a psychologist, not gonna pretend to be. What I would do is just do a little bit of mind mapping and write down the feeling and kind of explore why you feel that way. You know,

is it that you feel like the dog is not gonna have anybody else take care of it as well? Do you feel like you should not have instilled your boundaries? And sometimes these feelings can be not wrong, but they can be confusing. You know, I realized I had really unhealthy feelings around money and I had no idea. I thought, no,

I like money. If you ask me, I'd be like, no, I love money. Gimme some money. And then when I realized that increasing my prices felt wrong to me because I felt like I was stealing from people, that's when I realized that it wasn't healthy. And it wasn't that I didn't feel like I was worth it, it just felt like it was too much.

But then again, what is too much? And this is where we get into these spirals, and I talk a lot, way more now than I did two years ago about our emotional wellbeing. Primarily because a lot of you guys have all the right tools. You are just not implementing them, or you have all that potential and possibility. You're just getting stuck.

And these emotional roadblocks, and the more I learned about my emotional roadblocks, the better I was. You know, you guys, I almost wasn't here doing grow wealthy grooming and doing savvy groomer. If I listen to my toxic self, my toxic self tells me all the time, nobody wants to hear you. No one cares. No one wants to listen to you talk.

Who are you? But if I listen to that voice, I know I can't help the people that I'm meant to help. So, yeah, and I, I think that by taking these tools, it's not just going to create boundaries, it's gonna create better boundaries for you guys.