Are Dog Groomers Too Busy to Make Money?Tatiana Manion

Interview with Sydney Groomer Gwen Bard , Walkies With Fun

Interview with New Zealand’s Arlene Hawkyard, Waglands Dog’s HolidayRetreat

Are Dog Groomers Too Busy to Make Money?

When I talk to Groomers, and I ask if they are offering any extras on top ofthe Standard Service, they usually tell me that they are just too busy?

So, I wonder?

Are Groomers too busy to make more money?

Are Groomers too busy to build a customer relationship with their clients?

Most of us believe that if you are busy, you are productive, and if you areproductive, you are making money.

So how can Groomers make more money?

What Groomers must remember is that the purpose of a business is to makemoney, enabling them to live the lifestyle that they so desire, and not tojust work hard and break-even.

So, what to do to create that extra cash for your business?

The answer is simple; create an upsell strategy for when you engage with yourclient.

Think about all the upsells you yourself encounter day-to-day.

When you shop online, via email, at check-out counters, at the drive-through.

How many times do you say “ yes” to an upsell?

When you offer an upsell, you are making a sale with minimal effort.

I have listed a few basics, and easy upsell options to add to your services.These require little time and are also cost-effective.

Deep conditioning treatment

Teeth cleaning

Flea shampoo (bath)

Medicated shampoo

Spa treatment (You can design a package, such as, 3 extra services for theprice of 2)

Worm treatment

Flea Treatment

There are so many extra services you can add. The list is massive, and I haveonly covered a few options.

So, I bet that you are still wondering how you are going to do this withoutbeing perceived as “pushy”.

But, upselling doesn’t have to be that way.

The key to avoiding the pushy factor is to focus on providing real value toyour customers, so focus on a few things when offering an upsell.

Provide real value and help to solve a problem.

One example is – Offering a worm treatment

You can ask your clients if their dog is up to date with their wormingtreatment?

You can explain that dogs need to have a worming treatment every three monthsto prevent infestation.

See how convenient that is for your clients? Now they won’t have to rememberto worm their dogs, as it will automatically come up on the Groomer’s softwareonce every three months as a reminder to the customer.

Most of the grooming software will have reminders for worming treatments thatare due, so you can control and combine it with the dog’s appointment.

You have now created not only an extra profit in that grooming session withminimal effort, but you are also providing great value for your clients.

But wait the upsell doesn’t finish there

Remember that dog that was a little matted, but you know your client likes thedog’s coat longer?

At the checkout, start a conversation and ask the client if they have a brushat home or if they bath the dog at home.

Offering professional brushes, shampoos and detangles and educating yourclient on how to use those tools will also save you grooming time later on,plus, you are creating a beneficial relationship with your client and making aprofit on the products.

And if you are wondering what kind of profit you will be making selling extraservices, here is a basic calculation.

If you sell 3 extra services a day at $10 each over 6 days a week = $30 x 6days = $180/week. The total extra profit in a year is 52 weeks x $180/week =$9,360/year.

How would you feel with this extra cash coming through your business?

(Please note these numbers are very low compared to how much extra profit youcan create by implementing just one effective selling strategy)

If you don’t ask, the answer will always be no.

Interview with Sydney Groomer Gwen Bard , Walkies With Fun

Tell us about you and your business?

My name is Gwen Bard. I am the owner and operator of Walkies With Fun, a onestop shop mobile pet care service in the Sydney Eastern Suburbs.

Services include dog grooming, dog walking and petsitting.

How and when did you start your journey as a Groomer?

I used to work as an executive assistant in the corporate world. Every time myexecutive moved on from the company, I lost my job by default. That is thedownside of being in a corporate admin role. It happened 3 times in 6 yearsand I decided to follow my heart to work with animals instead. It was a slowprocess. I started my business doing dog walking and petsitting in mid 2013whilst doing a number of odd jobs and contract admin roles, thus the businessname Walkies With Fun. I wanted to establish a service that provided a uniqueand fun experience with the animals I cared for. A friend suggested that Iinclude dog grooming in my services and it made good sense to diversify mybusiness with a complementary service. So in 2014 I did a dog grooming courseat TAFE to acquire the basic skills to be a professional dog groomer.

What is one thing you wished you knew before you started grooming?

The amount of resources available and how networking would benefit mylearning. I started with a mindset that the course I was going to do wouldteach me everything I needed to know about grooming. Then I realised thatthere were so many avenues to broaden my skills and experience to become abetter groomer!

As a Mobile Groomer, what was your biggest challenge?

That would be location, location and location! Some locations don’t have on-street or off-street parking available. As much as I want to service morecustomers, I am unable to service locations where parking is unavailable orinadequate.

As a Mobile Groomer you work most of the time by yourself. How do you manageto improve on your skills.?

I firmly believe learning never stops. Ongoing professional development iscrucial to me so I can offer higher quality grooms to customers. I attendgrooming seminars, workshops and regularly participate in groomingcompetitions. I also watch online grooming videos, network with other groomersto gain their insights, as well as seeking guidance from a number of groomingmentors.

What is your favourite breed of dog to groom and why?

Poodle is hands down my favourite breed to groom. I love their affectionatepersonality and how elegant they look. There are so many different breedstyling options for Poodles that I would like to learn to do well. A fewexperienced groomers have told me that’s what makes grooming Poodles quitehard and that if I can groom Poodles to breed standard proficiently, I canpretty much groom any dog to make them pretty! I love to challenge myself andfind that mentally very stimulating.

Do you have any “Guru” within the industry whom you draw your inspirationsfrom?

Judy Doyle Hudson (mobile groomer in the US) is a great inspiration to me. Sheis a very strong person who generously shares her knowledge with fellowgroomers in various aspects such as technical skills, maintaining a work-lifebalance, encouraging and supporting other groomers. I love the way she givesback to our industry and inspires others.

The Pet Grooming industry is rapidly growing, explain the changes you thinkshould be made to improve the Industry.

Our industry is not regulated at present. This gives people the freedom toenter the industry but does not help maintain a standard for grooming. Havinga governing body would help set minimum standards for skills and trainingrequired, and standards for business requirements (e.g. registered business,insurance, OH&S, training and development, etc) to improve service delivery.

I know you have come from the Corporate world. What is one thing you wouldsay to anyone wishing to change careers and become a Dog Groomer?

It is better to have a career doing something you are passionate about thankeeping a job that pays your bills only. Don’t be afraid to take the plungeand challenge yourself. Grooming is physically, mentally and sometimesemotionally demanding. Have a good support network, keep learning and enjoyyour journey! Gwen Bard from Walkies With Fun

Interview with New Zealand’s Arlene Hawkyard, Waglands Dog’s HolidayRetreat

Tell us about you and your business?

I grew up in a dog mad family, particularly active in competitive obedience. Acorporate career in IT and Project Management set me up with the businessskills we needed to build the Waglands dream with my husband Ben. I am alsoone of NZ’s few fully qualified NZ & International Master Groomers, anInternational award winner, and previous NZ GroomTeam member.

How and when did you start your journey as a Groomer?

Our boarding guests often needed technically skilled coat and skin care, andwe aspired to much more than ‘just a wash’ to send them home in beautifulshape.
Once I learned the basics of grooming in 2011 with trimming, the realpotential of my creative side came out opening up another whole personal andbusiness journey.

What is one thing you wished you knew before you started grooming?

Umm… don’t take the credit card to trade shows! Seriously, there are so manyproducts out there and I did rush into buying shiny expensive things thatworked well for my peers, but not so much for me. It took a while to learnwhat tools suited my style and body! Scissors are a classic as they need tosuit your hand style, technique and experience – I ruined a lovely $450 pairof finishing scissors that my skill level just couldn’t use at that time. Soin hindsight the thing I learned was staying with the basics of my set-upuntil my skill and knowledge levels where sufficient to get the best from theinvestment.
There are a few…!

As a business owner for the Pet industry, describe your biggest challenge

Growing a talented and cohesive team is an epic challenge – learning torecruit the right people (based on so much more than skills), integrate,foster, communicate appreciation and tackling under-performance are allcritical aspects.

So many customers base their impressions on prior experience of otherfacilities and worst-case scenarios in the media, often leaping to quitenegative conclusions. Building and maintaining trust in a professionally runand higher priced service in an era of unregulated internet based back yardboarding arrangements is an ongoing challenge.

I know you run a very successful boarding facility.
How many people do you employ? How do you keep yourself and your teammotivated?

We have 14 hardworking people sharing the Waglands passion, and we are soon toemploy more for a new service we are launching (top secret ).
I have recently taken a real interest in going beyond managing, and get a realthrill from Leadership and coaching. I have just finished two great books:“The 5 languages of Appreciation” and “3 Vital Questions” which I would highlyrecommend for any employer. By combining Appreciation and Accountability, theright people in our team are really shining, and contributing to the wholemotivational team ethic we have.
Personally, I am so motivated by hearing about our guests excitement when theyrecognise our road, or seeing them pulling their owner into our recreationspaces! And the team members beautifully engaging with their guests as they goabout their work. And at the end of a long day, covered in everythingpossible, walking home across our paddock enjoying the view – with contentedsilence from our guests after another great day of their holiday.

What is your favourite breed of dog to groom and why?

Such a hard one to answer – I ended up specialising in poodles and bichons,but to be honest any dog with a well-cared for coat makes my heart sing tobring the absolute best out of their individual beauty.

Do you have any “Guru” within the industry whom you draw your inspirationsfrom?

There have been so many people that have given me light bulb moments atconferences and on Facebook groups, sharing successes, failings and ideas forme to learn from.
However most of my inspiration and passion would be from my Father, GrahamHawkyard. 12years following his death, he still holds the most dogs with GrandObedience titles in NZ, and is remembered by so many people he helped on theirjourneys. If he was alive, he would love to be a part of my journey back intothe Pet Industry. He had such a passion and commitment for bringing to lifehis ideas in everything he did – I was so fortunate to learn with him.

The Pet Grooming industry is rapidly growing, explain the changes you thinkshould be made to improve the Industry.

Whether it is Grooming, Boarding, Daycare, or Dog Walking, we all need reallystrong advocacy to promote the customer understanding of superior service,training, hygiene, safety and outcomes they offer, and why they are worthmore.
Strong organisations can also support and help upskill members – but it hasalways been a challenge to fund these beyond a very few people pouringvolunteer time in, which is unsustainable.

I know you have recently taken a break to dedicate your time to yourchildren. What advice would you give a Groomer with young children attemptingto juggle work life and family?

Absolutely – we all keep getting trapped in the incessant mouse wheel ofbusiness, and I was totally pinned down.
I was so stretched between parenting, a busy business spanning 7 day weeks,and the ongoing training and practice of grooming … and able to do none ofthem well as a result.
I really had to figure out my life’s mission statement, “To create anenvironment in Waglands that gives me Joy and allows my family to flourish”.And for now, my grooming practice had to be treated with a little Marie Kondo.
I have learned to look beyond the work to keep sight of the outcomes. Always.The work can shift to meet the outcomes – but the outcomes shouldn’t becompromised.

So my suggestion for all wonderful pet-centric people is to have a clearoutcome and keep asking the question – dose this activity help me towards theoutcome I have set. Life certainly becomes clearer.

Arlene Hawkyard – Waglands Dog’s Holiday Retreat

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