Going into 2022 as a Dog Groomer, you could be questioning what 2021 gave you and how you are going to learn from what was another strange year thanks to the pandemic and your customers.
Moving into 2022 provides you with a fresh start, a new set of business goals that includes your workload, dealing with customers and your own mental welfare. Its a time to tighten up on no-shows, pricing, rude customers and giving you the time to enjoy what you do.
So how do you approach the following?
Dealing with rude customers Customer service is the cornerstone of every successful business. Providing a niche service in an ever growing industry comes down to providing an excellent service. Customers have a choice in where and whom they spend their money with and pet owners are no exception.
Dealing with rude customers starts with the way you provide your services and the way you offer those services. If you want your business to grow and have a good reputation you have to stay calm and smile on sometimes. It's knowing when you are right and then when the customer is right. In the good old days a compliant was dealt with immediately face to face. However, in today's world customers can slate you through your review page and social media.
Should this scare you? Certainly not.... you have to have policies and stick by them. You can't win every battle, sometimes you have to kindly say "I'm not the groomer for you and I suggest you look elsewhere" You can never win every battle, stay calm and groom on!
No-shows can be damaging to your business. Not only does it disrupt your working schedule, it also costs you money. There are a few steps that you can implement to help prevent no-shows.
Make use of automated reminders. Using an automated reminder offers two things. It tells your customer you are in control of your business, that you care about your customer and hopefully it works towards a stronger relationship between you both. Secondly it improves punctuality; studies have shown that if a reminder is received it decreases tardiness.
Give a pre-paid option. The only thing most people are concerned about is money. Getting your customer to prepay is a great way to ensure your customer turns up on every appointment. It's also helpful to provide them with a small reward for booking in advance.
Show appreciation. A simple "Thank you" is often all it takes to let your customers know you appreciate them. Get in the habit of thanking those who keep their appointment and arrive on time.
Invest in customer relationships. Building customer relationships is important for any business. Small things go along way, the older generation like a birthday card where the younger generation prefer newsletters and blog posts.
Charging what you are worth When competing on price, you have to understand that if you are cheap you will have to groom double the amount of dogs to achieve a good outcome. No body needs to be a busy fool!
If your goal is quality and you charge accordingly, then you can do fewer dogs to earn the same amount. If you charge a high price and you don't produce a good quality groom, your customers will eventually take their pet elsewhere.
It is really important to establish whether you want to be a high-volume/low price salon, or you want to be a quality/high price groomer that is proud of their work and standards.
Remember you can get quality for cheap, but you can get poor quality at a high price!!
Addressing your prices
If you are working all the hours god gave you and you are struggling to make the numbers work, then it is time to address your pricing structure. Your prices are determined by your operating expenses and it doesn't mater what the competition is charging down the road.
Begin by writing down your over heads, to include rent, light, electricity. as well as outgoings to include shampoo, sharpening and general business costs.
Then write down your monthly takings. Compare the two, did you make a profit, a loss or you stood still?
If your monthly expenses are £8,500 and you work 5 days a week, you need to earn £420 per day to cover your expenses. If you groom 6 dogs per day, then you need to charge an average of £70 per dog just to break even. If this is the case you need to bring in at least another 20% to stay in business and to protect yourself.
On top of all that are you saving for a holiday, are you saving for those days when you are sick and you saving for your retirement? These are the questions you need to ask yourself?
Instead of adding to your workload, increase your grooming prices.
Now that you know what your overheads are, and you have calculated what you need to bring in every day, you can evaluate each pet and set your pricing structure. Evaluate how long it would take you to groom a Husky over a Labrador.
A lot of groomers raise their prices in January- new year, new prices. However this may not be the right time to increase your prices as your customers are just getting over Christmas, the weather is miserable and the credit card bills are coming in. If you can hold off until Easter when the weather is warmer and people generally feel better about themselves.
Creating a fun working environment. Well-being in the workplace should be high up on your list for 2022. Dog groomers can have crazy days and their day doesn't stop until they reach home. Then when you get home, you have to be a mum, a wife, a dad, a social worker, and it goes on and on...
Whether you work alone or with colleagues, you need to put some balance into your workspace. To bring calm and positivity to your energy , here are a few tips for you going forward.
Make your grooming salon, car or mobile van your own personal space. Plug in a room defuser with your favourite aroma. Lavender is great for calming, or a citrus blend for the morning to wake and invigorate.
Be conscious of your breathing patten. Wear a watch like the Garmin. Garmin Health offers devices that monitor your wellbeing, when to take rest, how many steps you have taken, and you're breathing. It is water resistant, so no worries about taking it off when you are bathing dogs, and it has an incredible battery life. So when you get home, you can check your status and make a plan or the following day.
Connect with other local groomers.
Meeting up with other groomers is a great way to network for advice, a sense of community, and industry tips and hints. They're loads of groups on the internet that you can join here and abroad. One great source of networking groups is Pocket Suite. Click here to see the many groups available.
Always remember you love the job that you do and don't allow it to become too serious. Let us know in the comments what you have learnt in 2021?