How to Find the Perfect Grooming Job

August 27th, 2015 by Joelle

We all are looking for the 3P’s. No matter what field you’re in – this is the goal. Life is so much better when you can attain the 3P’s.

1.    Perfect job
2.    Perfect employer
3.    Perfect employee

If you’re going to work 2000+ hours per year, don’t you want to be doing something you are passionate about? In a place you enjoy? To be respected? Treated fairly? Providing a valuable service to clients? Of course you do. That’s what we all want.

But guess what?  Finding that harmony in a workplace can be a challenge.

Finding a mutually beneficial balance between the employer and employee is a two-way street. Both of you are going to invest a lot of time and energy towards each other. You want to make sure the fit works positively for both of you.

When you go in for a job interview, the prospective employer is not only interviewing YOU – you are also interviewing them!

So what do you look for to find that perfect fit when you are job hunting? Here are a few key points that should be on your radar as you go through the interview process.

Salon Appearance

When you first drive up to the salon, is it appealing to you? It doesn’t matter if it’s a large corporate situation or a small salon in an intimate setting. Is it visually attractive? When you step through the door, what do you see? What do you smell? What do you hear?

Salon Personnel

How did they greet you? Was it warm and friendly? Were they smiling? How did they present themselves? As you toured the salon, what was the interaction with pets that were being groomed? Did they look relaxed? Did the stylists look busy but in control or completely frazzled? (Remember that there’s a difference between being busy and freaking out!) What was the inner salon team vibe? Trust your gut on this one.

Goals & Standards

What type of expectations does the salon have of you? How many dogs a day are you expected to groom? What caliber of grooming are they looking for: basic maintenance trims or high quality pet grooming? What about scissoring? Show trimming? Hand stripping? Cat grooming? Will you be doing all the work on the pets (prep, bath, dry, brush out, finished trim) or will you have an assistant at your disposal?

Career Growth

Does the salon offer incentives for career growth? Do they encourage skill advancement? If you invest the time and effort to improve your skills, how will the salon reward you? Do you have the opportunity for employee reviews on a regular basis to discuss your work and your efforts within the team?

Employment Type

Would you be hired in as an employee, a subcontractor, or leasing table space? There are rules and regulations with each one of these hiring scenarios. The IRS is starting to crack down on subcontractors and leasing table space. With any of the these options, make sure you are clear on what is expected of you from both the employer as well as state and federal obligations within each category. (Read my blog: Independent Contractor or Employee – Who Do You Hire?)

Employee Manual

Does the salon have any type of employee manual? Manuals set the expectations of both the employer and the employee. They hold everybody accountable as long as they are enforced.

Pay Package

There are many variables to a comprehensive pay package depending upon your hire status. Hourly, commission, or combinations of the two are common depending upon your role in the company.  If a commission is being paid per pet, the percentages can vary dramatically. Don’t let that alarm you. Your earning potential will directly correlate to your abilities and the average ticket price per pet.

Average Ticket Price

The average ticket price per pet will vary from salon to salon. These variances will stem from their location and their operating costs.  If a job is commission based – don’t think that high commission is the only way to go. There is a big difference when you combine the average ticket price in the commission price per pet.

Who would you rather work for?

Job hunting can be daunting. But it doesn’t have to be.

When you appear for a job interview, make sure you are prepared. Present yourself in a polished and professional way – and not just to the boss. Bring a typed, comprehensive resume. A bunch of information scribbled on scrap paper does not cut it (don’t laugh – I’ve seen it). Supply references. Learn how to “stack” your groomed pets (to see a video on this topic, click here) and take excellent photos of your work for your portfolio to bring along. If you’re a recent graduate from a training program, bring a copy of your final report card with attendance and GPA. If you do any activities to enhance your career, make sure they are listed on your resume. List your animal-related hobbies (dogs, cats, horses, etc.). All of these items will reflect positively on you.

Many salons will also request a “working interview.” Typically, this will be done only after the initial interview, so if you’ve made it that far – congratulations! The next step in the interview process will be to see how well you actually interact with pets. What’s the level of your grooming skills? What type of equipment do you have? How well do you maintain your equipment? How well do you follow directions? How you interact with the rest of the team? Remember, everyone is nervous with this type of interview. That’s OK. Just do what you do best: groom dogs.

When you land on your prospective employer’s doorstep, remember to breathe. If you don’t have a good, firm handshake – start practicing. And smile. Your prospective employer is always going to be looking for a bright, hard-working, and ambitious new hire.

That’s you, right?

Well-trained and comprehensive professional pet groomers and stylists are in demand. With some hard work and a little luck, you’ll find a job that revolves around the 3 P’s…

The perfect job.
The perfect employer.
And you’ll be the perfect employee.

To learn more about employee/subcontractor hiring, check out my video on Learn2GroomDogs.com, click here!

What do you think? Jump over to the Learn2GroomDogs Facebook page and tell us about it.Happy trimming,~Melissa


Paying Pet Groomers & Stylists – How to Create a Payroll System That is Fair to Everyone in Your Grooming Business

August 20th, 2015 by Joelle

Are you giving away your business by paying high commission fees to your groomers and pet stylists?

Been there. Done that. It’s not fun. In fact, it’s downright frustrating!

Years ago I was at the customary 50/50 split with my mobile fleet groomers and stylists. I groomed right beside my entire team in a van. I worked for the same wages, 50% commission of the grooming, just like everyone else. We did charge a separate “house call” charge per stop but that went to the company, not to the groomer.

I had six vans on the road. We were busy. Really busy!

Then my hands started to give me issues. I was forced to stop grooming for a while as they healed. As the business owner. I thought it would be easy to continue to pull a paycheck even though I wasn’t grooming. That’s when I learned how WRONG I was…

After payroll was met, bills paid, and taxes covered, we were only clearing about 1-2%. I didn’t even have an emergency fund if anything went wrong… anything from new tires to new transmissions, or a brake job on any of the vans. If we ran into any bumps in the road, I was close to being sunk. Was there any hope of me pulling a “salary” as the owner? Not a chance. Once we juggled all the bills, there just wasn’t any money left over.

During that time period, I learned quickly how to read a financial statement. Before then, I was racing so hard grooming, maintaining vans, and guiding my staff on proper pet grooming, I didn’t find the time to read my monthly Profit & Loss Statement (or even understand it!). I quickly learned how important that knowledge was! Bottom line: my fleet of vans and groomers provided amazing grooming services. My entire team was earning nice wages. But all I was doing was creating a job for myself… plus I was producing a lot of stress and aggravation for myself.

Sound familiar?

Ultimately, it was easier for me to shut down my mobile business so I could focus on other industry opportunities. As a business owner, you have a right to earn more than your staff. You’re carrying the weight of the business on your shoulders. All the responsibility. You assume all of the risk. You bear the headaches and the frustrations. Being able to make a fair profit is a part of any business owners’ dream.

My guess is many of you are struggling with a similar situation. Guess what? There is a solution to this problem – and we’ll get to that in a minute.

Fast forward to 2007. I opened Whiskers Resort & Pet Spa. I was determined to do a better job with the grooming department there than I had done years earlier with my mobile fleet. This time I opted to go the hourly route for my grooming team. On paper, the numbers worked. In reality, it was a mental and moral nightmare. Holding artistic pet stylists accountable was like wrestling a greased pig. It just wasn’t working! EVERYONE complained about EVERYTHING.

If this grooming department was to survive and thrive, I had to figure out a different way to pay my grooming team.

I looked to other industries to get my inspiration. The beauty industry held the key.

The system I chose automatically sets up ways to promote, reward, and motivate our team. It uses a combination of commission based earning along with hourly wages for bathers. Groomers and stylists are paid commissions on full groom pets ranging from 38% to 48% based on their ability to meet quotas. We have six Tiers altogether with 2% increment jumps between Tiers. Bathers are paid hourly between $8.50 and $12.00 per hour.

Groomers and stylists have daily, monthly, and quarterly goal requirements. We track and measure the number of:

  • New clients
  • Repeat clients
  • Upsells
  • Pre-booked appointments
  • Pets groomed per day
  • Sales revenue

Groomers and stylists can Tier jump if they maintain the goals and targets consistently for three months. They can also be demoted a Tier if they do not maintain their quotas. Plus, for any stylist to go beyond a Tier 3 on our team, they need to be a Certified Master Groomer by one of the three voluntary testing organizations in the United States:

Becoming a Certified Feline Groomer with the National Cat Groomers Institute of America (NCGIA) or any of the first aid organizations is a bonus.

Our team is also paid a 10% commission for add-on services like teeth brushing and spa upgrades.

All of our groomers and stylists can request a bather to assist them. However, if they choose to have an assistant bathe and prep their dogs, they pay half of their hourly wages. This keeps EVERYONE on their toes and accountable.

In order for the system to work well, the secret is not in the commission levels. It’s in the average price per pet. At Whiskers Pet Spa, the average ticket price per groomed pet runs between $65 and $70.

We have been working with the system for over five years. Along the way we have made modifications and adjustments to meet our needs. It’s been working brilliantly.

I’m a strong advocate of hiring employees NOT subcontractors or renting table space. I like the control it gives and benefits I can offer to my staff. I never have to worry if the government is going to come beat down my door for improper hiring practices. I sleep easier at night. I have no problem paying my company’s taxes. It’s a privilege to live in this country – to pay my fair share of the taxes.

However, if you are going to play Uncle Sam’s game, you need to play by the rules. You are going to have to come up with between 13% and 15% extra to cover payroll taxes. Those obligations are:

  • Social Security
  • Medicare
  • Unemployment Taxes
  • Workers Compensation

If you are paying 50% or 60% commission rates to your groomers – you need to tack on the payroll taxes, too. So your commissions are more like 63% – 75%. Ouch!! That just doesn’t leave you much room to run your business OR turn a profit.

If you are struggling with your payroll or running a profitable grooming business, I urge you to review your financial statements. If you struggle with understanding them, get help. The financial numbers do not lie. They are the barometer of your business.

Remember, you didn’t go into business to lose money. You have every right to earn a fair living – just as your staff has the right to fair wages.

Most successful pet grooming businesses charge a higher price for their services. In turn, they can reduce the commission levels while still allowing their groomers and stylist the opportunity to earn a healthy wage.

Last year our full-time stylists annually earned between $28,000 and $54,000 including vacation time. And that doesn’t even include tips! Rarely do we have anyone complaining about too much work or refusing to do more dogs when we are busy.

This system has really helped us promote, reward, and motivate our grooming department almost automatically. Our groomers earn a healthy wage. We can easily pay all our bills. The department is profitable. We all sleep well at night.

To learn more about how to run the financial side of your business, check out two of our videos on Learn2GroomDogs.com. You’ll see me having discussions with my accountant and financial guru in ways that are helpful and easy to understand. Click here!

What do you think? How is your structure different? Jump over to the Learn2GroomDogs Facebook page and tell us about it.

Happy trimming,

~Melissa


Presenting a Professional Image – It’s time to revisit an important topic.

August 14th, 2015 by Joelle

As pet care ambassadors, it’s our job to keep things looking professional. In my opinion, there are plenty of salons and pet businesses that fall far below the realm of professionalism.  I know the saying can be cheesy – but seriously – dress for success. Would you want to get have your personal pet groomed by someone who doesn’t take pride in his or her own personal presentation? Would you feel confident that his grooming shop was clean, sanitary, and safe?

professionalI know it can get tiring to dress up a little every day. However, our clients are entrusting us with the care of their pets. Like it or hate it, you can easily influence their trust factor simply by the way you look when you greet your clients. Think of yourself as your own brand. Don’t you want your product to be consistent and look great? Of course! And your clients are looking for that, too.

A fashionable, well-groomed appearance is essential when it comes to professionalism in this industry. When you are in a salon, kennel, pet resort, veterinarian clinic, or mobile grooming unit, you have to look the part. Come to work each day looking crisp, clean, and pulled together. Blue jeans, sweat pants, and athletic shorts ARE NOT professional attire! Black, white, or khaki slacks work well. Longer skirts are great for women and so are skorts in warmer climates. Conservative shorts or Capri’s may work for your environment, as well. I’ve even seen leggings work when paired with an over-sized, long top or smock. Look for clothing that is not prone to wrinkling or be prepared to learn how to iron!

Today, there are many options for hair-repelling garments. There are all types of tops and bottoms in a wide variety of styles.  If you work in a salon with a dress code, this may be easier. If not, have some fun with the pet styling fashions that are available. It may even be a good idea to keep an extra outfit or smock around the shop as a back-up. If you get drenched or messy, a quick change will instantly boost your comfort level and mood.

Remember, low-cut tops and short-shorts are never professional!  If you have shorts that are too short or a top that is too revealing (especially when you are squatting down to pick up a dog), then you’re not displaying professionalism. Muscle shirts and shirts with the sleeves cut off don’t make the grade, either.

Don’t forget your footwear.  Most pet groomers are on their feet for hours. You are standing, lifting, bending, squatting, and twisting – all day long. Although clients may not be looking at your feet, having solid, supportive footwear will promote comfort for to you. Being comfortable makes it easy for you to be warm and friendly to all your clients. Supportive footwear will also enhance the longevity of your career.  Over the long haul, your feet will take a beating.  Don’t skimp on your footwear. Invest in the best.

Scent is a very powerful sense. When it comes to your perfume, cologne, or fragrance you put on pets, be light-handed with the spray. Many people have allergies and are sensitive to fragrance. Plus, if you have multiple staff members wearing all different scents, it can be unpleasant for all. The same can be said for your makeup and hair color.  You want to appeal to a wide range of clients, so conservative is best in most cases. When in doubt, be a minimalist. Remember, you can always “be yourself” once you leave the shop.

While we are on scent – what about your breath? If you are communicating to others – clients or coworkers – bad breath is down-right offensive. Brush, floss, and use a mouthwash regularly. Not only will it save your teeth, your clients won’t be offended as you discuss what trim will work best on Fluffy today.  Breath mints and gum can be helpful between brushings. Lose the gum quickly once it has done its job. Chewing gum in front of clients is distracting and it is unprofessional in front of clients. It’s no fun to listen to someone chomping away while on the phone, either. The same can be said for eating and drinking on the floor. Keep snack and coffee breaks limited to behind closed doors.

Proper hygiene is crucial. It should go unsaid, but being clean and odor-free is a must. There is nothing more offensive – and embarrassing – than personal body odor. The famous motivational speaker Zig Ziglar, said, “People often say that motivation doesn’t last. Well, neither does bathing – that’s why we recommend it daily.” Nothing could be more true!

Your own hair needs to be clean and simply styled. If your hair is long, get it tied back and away from your face. As your work with clippers or shears, you don’t want to be trimming a lock of your own hair as you scissor that leg. I hate to think of how many people with long hair have caught their tresses in the spinning grinder as they worked. Ouch! Or worse yet, drag it through anal gland expressions, defecation, or urine.

proHaving a touch of jewelry is a nice finishing touch.  Done well, it always reflects positively. However, just like with fragrance – go light. A few simple rings. A durable watch (and you always need to know the time!!). If your ears are pierced – stick with super simple earrings – something a dog can’t accidentally catch in a paw, ripping your ear lobe. If you opt for a necklace, keep it tasteful. Don’t be in love with it. Dogs will catch it in their paws and break it, eventually. The same thing with is true with bracelets.

Having well-groomed fingernails is what I consider a bonus. Working with dirty dogs and trimming toenails lends itself to dirty fingernails – even if you do a lot of bathing. Trimming Poodle feet has a tendency chip fingernails. Personally, I liked to keep my nails painted. Painted fingernails will hide all sorts of flaws. Unfortunately, when you do a lot of bathing, standard nail polish has a tendency to peel off quickly – sometimes in as little as one day.  My solution was to have my fingernails professionally done every two weeks. Both acrylic and shellac nail applications seem hold up well to the abuse groomers put their hands through. Ragged nails on women and men can be easily tidied up. When you give the pet to the owner, their eyes are naturally drawn to your fingers as you hand over the leash. Wouldn’t filed nails make a great impression? Plus, it gives you a little time to pamper your most valuable asset – YOUR HANDS!

Pay attention to the details. Judy Hudson is one our popular Learn2GroomDogs.com Training Partners. In her video, What I Know For Sure she shares this tip: “It doesn’t cost a lot to be clean. It doesn’t cost a lot of money to be neat and tidy. All it takes is a little elbow grease.”

When we become frustrated that no one seems to take us seriously, we need to look objectively at ourselves to see if we are projecting professionalism.  If you have clients who…

  • fail to show up for scheduled appointments,
  • don’t bother to call when they have to cancel an appointment, or
  • constantly haggle with you over grooming prices,

…it’s a sign of a lack of respect for you and your profession. It may be time to be honest about your personal presentation. Your appearance should convey the message, “I’m a professional and I deserve respect.” When you respect yourself, others will, too.

As pet care ambassadors, not only is it our job to groom pets – but it’s also our job to present a professional image for our industry. Can you afford to look like you just rolled out of bed and ran into work? What about trade shows? How does it look when you accept your award at a grooming competition when the pet looks better than you do? How can you command respect from your peers and clients when you don’t look the part? I don’t know any successful person who doesn’t sweat the details. Being impeccable, both personally and in your workspace, shows the client that you care about yourself. The message you are sending out is that you are confident with your skills. You are successful. You respect yourself enough to do the same for them – and for their pet.

What do you think? Do you feel like a professional? Jump over to the Learn2GroomDogs Facebook page and tell us about it.

Happy trimming,

~Melissa


Is it Time for Licensing in the Pet Grooming Industry? – The Time Has Come to Consider Professional Regulation for Pet Grooming in the United States.

August 6th, 2015 by Joelle

When I first opened The Paragon School of Pet Grooming in 1991, I had to be licensed by the Michigan Board of Education. Granted, it was not licensing for pet grooming – it was for ensuring students received consistent training in a safe facility. The licensing was primarily for their protection – not ours.

Was the set-up process challenging? Absolutely! We had to prepare, complete, and comply with all required:

  • forms
  • regulations
  • rules
  • fees
  • documentation
  • inspections

It was daunting, to say the least. To make it even more challenging, we have to renew our license annually. Each year we have to jump through all the hoops again.

I found the entire licensing process tedious. Frustrating. Annoying. Intimidating.

But you know what? In the long run it made us a much stronger business and a better school. It forced us to pay attention to details I might have missed. Those details could have put our pets, students, employees, and clients at risk.

Today, more than ever, I feel licensing is necessary. Regulations and licensing are put in place to protect the health, safety, and well-being of the consumer. They also set acceptable standards in each field.

Today, there are hundreds of occupations and businesses that are either licensed or regulated.

  • accountants and CPAs
  • real estate agents
  • appraisers
  • architects
  • builders
  • carnivals
  • childcare
  • collection agencies
  • cosmologists and barbers
  • engineers
  • funeral directors
  • landscape architects
  • medical doctors
  • chiropractors
  • post-secondary schools
  • ski areas

…and the list goes on and on…

So why should professional pet groomers be any different?

Professional pet grooming is similar to two other industries: cosmetology and childcare. Both are heavily licensed and regulated.

...And for good reason.

Licensing and regulation isn’t needed because things are going well. They happen because problems exist that need to be corrected.

The idea of licensing within the pet grooming industry is not a new one. I still remember the efforts of Gregory Krisp and Kathy Rose 20 years ago. They were backed by the late Sally Liddick and Barkleigh Productions. They formed the Groomer Licensing Founders Committee in 1996. They were on the forefront of the licensing issue in our industry. Unfortunately, they were way ahead of their time. Their efforts fell upon deaf ears.

But some people were listening. Voluntary certification organizations were stepping up to the plate. They created comprehensive education and testing programs for groomers and stylists. Many states had strong professional groups that were hosting educational workshops. Ways to strengthen our profession were being developed from within. Voluntary licensing, testing, and continuing education were building in intensity.

I fully endorse setting mandatory regulations, standards – and ultimately licensing – for the pet grooming industry. But it needs to be on OUR terms, not by well-meaning individuals with no knowledge or understanding of what they are attempting to regulate.

Ideally, pet industry leaders and professionals would work closely with individual states. As they work together, they would create regulation guidelines for professional grooming establishments that are realistic and attainable for any competent professional.

Carelessness has created situations in which dogs have been injured – or worse – in grooming salons around the country. Owners are up in arms… and they should be. If it was my pet – I would. If it was your pet – my guess is you would be, too. Wouldn’t you want to do something about the safety and well-being of pets left in a pet professionals’ care?

The State of California tried to pass licensing for professional groomers. That bill was not written by industry leaders. It would have been devastating if it had passed because it was drafted by people who did not understand our industry. Teri DiMarino and Judy Breton, acting with the newly formed California Professional Pet Groomers Association, Inc., won a Barkleigh Honors Award for their extraordinary work in getting that bill defeated. Texas, New Jersey, New York, and Massachusetts currently have bills in the works. Licensing for professional pet groomers is just around the corner for many states.

Luckily, we have a group on our side. Recently, the Professional Pet Groomers & Stylists Alliance was formed. According to a July 21, 2015 press release, “The PPGSA was created to harness the experience and expertise of the three major national pet styling associations, IPG, ISCC, and NDGAA to develop industry wide best practices.” They are working together with other industry leaders, associations, and major retailers to develop a set of suggested Basic Industry Standards. These standards could be presented to each state as licensing moves forward.

The primary focus of the PPGSA is on pet safety. Subject areas include:

  • animal housing
  • handling
  • equipment
  • products
  • facilities and safe operations
  • attentive animal care

The PPGSA will not offer any form of certification, testing, licensing, or regulations for our industry, but they are our voice. In other words, they have our backs when a bill hits YOUR state. They will be there to guide industry leaders – in each state – as bills are introduced. The Basic Standards will guide future legislation. It has been created to be used by any school, organization, or certification program. It can be enhanced to fit their unique needs and goals.

Regulations and licensing is definitely a challenge for any business. However, the time has come to seriously consider professional regulations for the pet grooming business in the United States.

If a bill is introduced to the State of Michigan to regulate professional pet grooming, I’ll be one of the first people to jump and help craft a workable bill. I hope you have the same attitude when the situation presents itself in your state.

What do you think? Are you prepared, worried? What do you think should be considered?  Jump over to the Learn2GroomDogs Facebook page and tell us how you feel.

Happy trimming,

~Melissa

When Should You Just Say No?

July 30th, 2015 by Joelle

Agressive dogrrGroomers. Pet stylists. We’re in the service industry. We want to help people and their pets. That’s the role of our business. When we do it well, we make people happy.

What if you can’t make them happy? What if you can’t groom the dog safely? What if the dog is highly aggressive? What if it has a serious medical condition? Should you still do it?

If you have been in business for any amount of time, I’m sure you’ve run into this scenario. Even seasoned professionals struggle with this dilemma at times. Should you groom the pet or turn the client away?

The easy answer is to refuse to groom the pet. However, there are many variables. If you feel the situation presents a high risk of danger for the pet or you – simply say no. Do not groom the pet. That’s your right as a business person or a conscientious employee.

Let me explain.

First and foremost, you must put the safety of the pet and yourself in the forefront. Once you have that clearly established in your mind, then you can start analyze the situation.

  • What is the situation that is raising the red flags in your mind?
  • What are your qualifications when it comes to handling a difficult grooming situation?
  • Is this a new client – or a long-standing client?
  • Can the pet be done safely with an assistant?
  • Will the pet cooperate if the owner stayed on premise or assisted the grooming process?

When I think about the above questions, I always play out the worst case scenario. The last thing that I ever want to have to tell an owner is that their pet was injured while in my care. Or that we had to take him to the vet for treatment. Worse yet – that their dog died during the grooming process.

Let’s face it. There are a host of things that could go wrong in any grooming salon even under the best of circumstances. We are working with live animals. Sharp instruments. High tables. Bathtubs. Dryers. Abrasive brushes. Stacked kennels. Slippery floors. The list of dangers working in every grooming salon is massive. Even in the best run salons.

On most days, an experienced trained bather, groomer, or pet stylist takes all these dangers in stride. We know how to avoid accidental injuries to our four-footed clients.

So what do you do when that internal gut instinct kicks in?

You are standing there, looking at a dog (or cat) and listening to a client talk about their precious fur child. Deep down – some type of internal fear grips you. You just have a bad feeling about this particular groom. You know the old saying, “trust your gut instinct?” Well folks, that natural instinct it working in full force. Listen to it.

It’s okay to say “no” to a grooming client. It’s never worth grooming a dog you honestly feel over your level of experience. If it’s more than you can handle – you have a potentially dangerous situation. The pet and you are the ones at risk. Not the owner. I don’t know a pet care specialist alive that ever wants to intentionally harm a pet. As a pet professional, the last thing we ever want to do is hurt an animal.

Yet, if something goes wrong with the groom on that day, whose fault will it be? Yours.

Weigh out the risks. Whenever you need to decline service to a client, it’s an uncomfortable situation. But the alternative is much – much worse. Telling an owner their pet has been seriously hurt or died in your salon it the most difficult task you will have to address. You want to avoid that at all cost – even if it makes the client angry or upset.

If it’s a new client, it’s much easier. There isn’t that emotional tie that comes with repeat or long time clients. It’s much easier to refuse to groom a dog that is too big or too aggressive for you to handle.

It’s the long time clients that are tough. The longer they have been a regular client, the harder it is. If a pet has physical ailments – those are the tough ones. This is when you need to weigh out the risks and look for alternatives to your standard grooming practices. The health and wellness of the pet has to be a top priority.

Here are the questions you need to ask.

  • Could the pet be done safely with an assistant?
  • Would the dog benefit from the owner staying with the dog during the grooming process?
  • Would a different time of day work better for the pet? Maybe a time when you can focus solely on the pet without distraction.
  • If your salon is busy, would a solo stylist or mobile stylist be a better option?
  • Would it be in the best interest of the dog to get the grooming done without stopping? Or break the grooming into sections, letting the dog rest between sessions? That might be over the course of the day or even over several days.

Years of experience has taught me there is not a straightforward answer. Whenever you need to decline services to a client, it’s an uncomfortable situation.

However, if you decline service, do it from the angle of care and compassion for the pet. Be prepared to offer alternatives to the client, even if that means you simply tell them “no,” you cannot groom their dog. List all the reasons WHY you cannot and will not groom their pet. Do it with the confidence of a professional.

In the end, as difficult as it is to say “NO” to clients, you will sleep a lot better at night when you do. Trust me on this one.

I know this has happened to many of you.  Jump over to the Learn2GroomDogs Facebook page and tell us about the time you experienced this in your salon.

Happy trimming,

~Melissa

I Want a “Puppy Cut”

July 23rd, 2015 by Joelle

Don’t you love it when an owner walks into a salon and ask for this trim by name? They actually think this is a universal standard trim that all groomers and pet stylists should know how to do. When we start asking them questions, they get all huffy, thinking we don’t know how to do our jobs. Frustrating!! You and I know there isn’t a consistent right way to do a “puppy cut.” There are many – many variations!

The puppy cut is one of the most popular haircuts. It works well on a wide variety of pets. From Shih Tzus to Doodles. From Pomeranians to Bichons. Almost any breed that grows longer coat can be done in this easy-to-care for style.

Yet, the puppy cut is also the most misunderstood haircut in grooming salons around the country. Why? There are no clear directions of what this trim actually is or how it should be done. It’s left up to individual personal interpretation by owners, groomers, or talented pet stylists.

The puppy cut started out as a trim style for Poodles. The puppy cut is a specific trim used on young Poodles in the dog show world. Once the puppy turns a year-old, they are put into the elaborate adult haircut for the conformation ring.

Today, the term “puppy cut” is used very loosely. It can apply to a wide variety of different breeds. It’s highly adaptable to any size of dog. Coats can be curly, wavy, or straight. Almost any purebred or mixed breed that grows hair looks appealing in a “puppy cut.”

quote 2 Many owners love this style of trim. It can be very cute. It’s easy to care for. It’s highly versatile. That’s a win-win-win for any busy family! The dog does not drag in dirt and debris from outdoors. Their ears do not drag in the food or water dish. The need for brushing between grooming appointments is minimized. And on smaller pets, bathing between grooming appointments is a breeze. When done well, it can be extremely attractive, to boot.

So what is it?

Essentially, the puppy cut is one length all over. The most common length is between 1-2 inches over the body, legs, tail, head, and ears. Typically, it’s done with a clipper fitted with a long guard comb over the blade. There should not be any clipper marks, uneven coat, or sharp edges left in the fur. Next to a powerful clipper, high quality blenders are your best friends when doing this trim. Everything is soft and plush, like a fluffy puppy.

The term “puppy cut” can be tricky. In some circles the puppy cut can also be known as the “teddy bear trim”, “summer cut”, or “kennel cut.” I’ve even seen some salons turn their version of the trim into their “signature haircut.” So the puppy cut becomes “The Posh Pet Special” (brilliant marketing by the way!) Generally, the only things that change between theses trims are the names and the length of coat.

It’s important to keep this in mind, too: one person’s interpretation of a puppy cut might be that of a smooth-coated puppy. Think Boxer, Pug, or Beagle. Another person’s interpretation would be that of a fluffier breed like a Shih Tzu, Bichon, or Poodle. There’s also a big difference between a four-week old puppy and a ten-week old puppy in terms of coat growth.

With all these interpretations, there is a wide variance of what each individual dog will look like and what each owner expects their dog to look like. If an owner is requesting this trim for the first time, be prepared to discuss the trim in detail with the owner. DO NOT ASSUME YOU ARE BOTH ON THE SAME PAGE! Communication is the key to a happy customer.

Here is a great tip to remember when talking with clients: whoever is asking the questions controls the conversation. As groomers and pet stylists, we are problem solvers. Uncover the problems in five simple steps.

  1. Observe the pet as the client walks through the door. Let common sense guide your line of questions.
  2. Find the problem. Ask basic questions like, “Were you thinking of a short and smooth style or something a bit fluffier?” Letting the client talk will help uncover problem areas.
  3. Gather clues from what the client tells you and what you observe.
  4. Offer limited choices as you help the client solve the problem.
  5. Guide the questions in five areas of the pet: overall body – head – ears – legs/feet – tail.

Here is a list of talking points when a new client request a “puppy cut.”

  • In general, what is the look they are hoping for? Something smooth and sleek so it’s easy to care for? Or something that makes the dog look slightly fluffy, plush, and super cute?
  • What is the lifestyle of the dog? Active? Sedentary? City dweller? Enjoys outdoor activities?
  • What is the texture and coat density of the dog? Fine, thin coats will looks shorter than dense coated dogs even with the same length clipper blade.
  • How much length do they want left on the body? What about on the legs? Feet?
  • What type of head style would they prefer?
  • Depending on the pet’s ear set, ear styles can change dramatically (dropped ear or pricked and pointed). How do they want them styled? Long? Short? In-between?
  • Do they want a long coat left on the tail or trimmed down to match the body? Or something in-between?

It’s important to have a thorough conversation with the owner when considering this haircut. There are so many variances with a puppy cut. Simply having the client state they want one is not specific enough.

Advise the client about trim options that would work best for their dog. Based on the condition of the coat and your pet’s body structure, you will be able to offer some valuable suggestions. A skilled pet professional will know how to make minor changes to the trim enhancing the pet’s appeal. Maybe the pet’s coat is too tangled to do the longer trim today. You’ll be able to suggest alternatives on how to modify a trim that works best as you discuss options for future trims.

Educating clients on proper pet hygiene is a valuable service most salon offer for free to their clients. In order to keep the dog looking its best, you can advise the client on how to best maintain this haircut between grooming appointments. At home brushing and bathing can make a big difference in how they look and smell, too. You can also make suggestions on how often the trim should be done based on the pet’s life style and coat texture. Maybe you suggest they get a full haircut every 4-6 weeks. Or maybe a maintenance program would be better suited for the client when you see them for weekly or bi weekly appointments.

Always remember, your clients are the lifeblood of your business. Taking a little extra time up front for a warm and welcoming pet consultation will go a long way toward building a solid relationship with them.

There is a good reason why the “puppy cut” is one of the most popular trims in grooming salons around the country. There are many – many variations!

What is YOUR first thought when you hear this term? How do you address this issue?  Jump over to the Learn2GroomDogs Facebook page and tell us about it!
Happy trimming,

~Melissa

P.S. You can make this and ALL grooming conversations easier and more successful.

This is a great tool tool for getting the conversation started in a way that is easy for you to explain and for the client to understand. The photos and drawings make it even simpler! Try it the next time you talk to your guests. Even better? Use this as a teaching/training tool for your staff so you are all consistent in the ways you speak to your clients. Once everyone on your team knows how to discuss the essential parts of the pet, they’ll sound more knowledgeable, your clients will feel more comfortable, and you’ll waste less time (and possibly profits) correcting “guess work!”

Overspending Your Time Budget

July 16th, 2015 by Joelle

Time-Is-Money-740rrIt’s interesting that some people who are so disciplined and focused regarding their financial budget, think nothing of overspending their time budget.

Let me explain what I mean. There are only so many hours in a day, a set number of days in a week, and a measurable number of days in a year. Those hours and minutes never change. These blocks of time shape our lives. They frame when we work, when we sleep, when we eat, and when we play. Yet, many people treat these blocks like hands full of cash just waiting to be spent. They forget that time is finite and has limits.

Many of us know, whether we create definite schedules or just have a rough idea, how our days, weeks, and months will be shaped. Others schedule their whole lives down to the last detail. I’ll bet you know:

  • what time you’ll get up each day.
  • what days you’ll work.
  • when you’ll leave work and go home.
  • what time you hope to go to bed.
  • your plans for the weekend.
  • when you’d like to take a vacation.

Given those facts, you also know:

  • roughly how many hours you’ll work this week.
  • how many hours of sleep you’ll get tonight.
  • how much time you have left to sleep if you wake up in the middle of the night.

Our lives are all about time. We think about it constantly, whether we realize it or not. Tapping your foot because someone is late? You’re thinking about time. Honking your horn because the car in front of you didn’t go when the light changed? You’re thinking about time. How many times did you glance at your watch, clock, or phone today? It’s all about time.

So now that you realize you’re thinking about it, let’s talk about spending it. Time is like money – when you have it, life seems more in control. So why do so many of us spend time like it’s a limitless resource?

Time is the same for all of us. We all have the same amount of time in our “wallets.” We all have the same numbers of seconds, minutes, hours, and days. Yet, I see people who overspend their time budgets everywhere I go.

Have you ever thought about what mismanaged time is doing to you and those around you? Let’s start with your health. Are you eating right or just grazing on whatever you can find? Are you sleeping well or enough? Is your body reacting to the stress with pain, skin issues, or illness? What about your relationships with others? Are your irritable, impatient, and withdrawn? Are you missing out on family events? How much time do you get to spend with your friends? For that matter, when did you last take any time for yourself?

If the answers to those questions are negative ones, it’s time to make some changes before you lose your mental and physical health, relationships, or job. There are ways to stop that flood of overspending, but like anything else, you have to be honest with yourself and assert some discipline.

Know your limits

You need to eat and sleep. To nurture your relationships, you need to set time aside for those you love. You need to pick your kids up from school. You need to set time to take care of yourself. That means you need a reasonable schedule and you need to stick to it. That doesn’t mean you have to be inflexible, but if you’re in time trouble, you need to be as ruthless with your time spending as you would your cash if you were deep in debt. You need to retrain yourself and that means that at first, there is no bending of the rules you set for yourself. Eventually, with practice, you may be able to lighten up on the reins, but until then, stick to the plan. How will you know when you’ve achieved the proper balance? Simple. Ask your doctor, family, and co-workers. When they give you the thumbs up, you can ease up a bit.

Create an emergency fund

Setting a schedule or framework builds in the gift of time. When you set time goals and stick to them, you suddenly have time available at the end of your day. No, that doesn’t mean you can start spending it like a $10.00 bill you discovered in your jacket pocket. That time is emergency money, like a credit card that you use only for dire straits. Use that time to get other scheduled tasks done ahead of schedule, so if something urgent comes up (and it will), like a family emergency – you can handle it with limited effect to those who are depending on you.

Become a master of efficiency

Doing things the same old way has gotten you into this mess. Are you using your time properly? Just because it’s the “way you’ve always done it” doesn’t mean it’s the best way. Finding better ways to do tasks reduces their power over you. Sometimes you do a task the most efficient way, but at the wrong time of day, and it eats up valuable minutes.

Do you always put that phone call off because you’re uncomfortable? Do it first and get it out of the way so you don’t spend the rest of your day dreading it. Some tasks can be made easier with technology. Look for better ways to do things and you’ll be surprised how those moments, like pennies, begin to add up.

Eliminate procrastination from your vocabulary

Maybe you’ve heard the saying, “I can’t wait to procrastina…” I love that joke, but it’s also so true. Think of all the time we waste by putting things off. We waste time just thinking of ways to avoid a task. We waste even more by trying to think up ways to justify it to ourselves. Some things are just always going to test your nerve, your resolve, or your patience. Just do them and get them over with, then move on to the good stuff as a reward.

Accept that sometimes the answer is, “No.”

I remember asking my mom for something when I was little. I can’t remember what it was, or even why I wanted it (which shows how important it was, right?). What I do remember is what she told me when I asked why I couldn’t have it. She simply (and not unkindly) said, “Honey, sometimes the answer is ‘no.’”

It was an important lesson then and it still matters now. Sometime you have to say “no.” When you make a promise you can’t keep, it’s more than an inconvenience – it’s a breach of trust. Keep it up and your word is worthless. Be realistic with your expectations and abilities. Know when to say that more time or help is needed – or even the reality that you can’t do it. Give the other person a chance to pursue other options. They won’t look down upon you for being honest – they’ll be glad you didn’t leave them high and dry when you couldn’t keep your promise.

Know when to ask for help

This goes hand in hand with the previous point. Maybe you can’t do a task alone, but with the right help…? You still have worth and value even if you need assistance. Knowing that you need help lets others know that you understand the problem and have a plan.

Asking for help can actually save time. Two people carrying in all those grocery bags will get the job done a lot quicker, right? Just because you can do something alone doesn’t necessarily mean you should.

Be present

Being present means you are paying attention to the task at hand, not the next thing you’re worrying about. With proper planning, you will be able to compartmentalize tasks a little easier. That means that you can get things done in the time allotted. Being present also means understanding that loved ones need you just as much as those tasks you are trying to get done. When you can’t remember the last time you tucked your child in at night or thought to give your spouse a kiss goodnight, things need to change.

Respect boundaries

This is a big one. Know your limits AND those of others. Do you have deadlines? Meet them especially if you’re part of a chain of events. If you’re late, they will be, too. If they can’t make up the time downstream, the end result will be late. People who plan can often help those who don’t, but they won’t for long.

Poor planning on your part does not necessitate an emergency on theirs

If you overspent your time, it creates a ripple effect on others involved. If you created an emergency because of poor planning and execution, don’t always expect others to bail you out. Mutual respect breeds trust and a solid team. When we all work together, everyone wins.

Time can be a beautiful thing. When you have it, you can appreciate the loveliness of the world around you. You can enjoy time spent with others. You can actually be present with those who matter most. When you are a slave to time because you failed to control your misspending of this finite resource, you create a prison for yourself. Luckily, there is a key… YOU!

Do you sometimes struggle with time management?  Jump over to the Learn2GroomDogs Facebook page and tell us about it!

Guest blogger

~Joelle Asmondy


Correcting Behavior During Grooming – Learn the 4 Keys to Successful Pet Handling

July 9th, 2015 by Joelle

blog image12If you are a long time pet professional, you’ve probably mastered today’s topic. If you are fresh to the industry, you are probably struggling with it. How do you handle the dog that does not want to cooperate with the grooming procedure?

You’ve heard me say this about dogs before – but let’s do a quick review.

  • They are hard-wired to think like a dog.
  • They are a predatory pack animal.
  • They are silent communicators.
  • They read body language.
  • They respond to energy.
The most over used word in a dog’s vocabulary is “no.” It’s a common enough word, but it means nothing to them. Why? They hear it all the time. How often is that word spoken every day? Pet owners are constantly “crying wolf” around the dog.

It’s typical. Dog owners overuse the “no” word, yet never back it up. They don’t project the energy necessary to stop the behavior. Thus, they do not convey a strong pack leader presence. The issue they are trying to correct continues unchecked. Many dogs are not trained to understand basic rules and boundaries within their own family pack.

Dogs that are unruly, wiggly, or mildly aggressive on your grooming table have not had consistent training at home. You see it in your shops, salons, and mobile units don’t you?

It’s painful to watch someone who does not understand how to project authority work with these dogs. They think they can win the dog over by using high-pitched baby talk. First, they coo to the dog. Next, they try to reason with it. Not only are THEY getting more and more frustrated… so is the dog. Plus, any staff members within earshot of this ineffective banter are about to lose their minds!

The dog continues to be unruly… wiggly… mildly aggressive. The groomers’ frustration builds. Next, you hear:

“No!”

“Stop it”

“Quit it!”

“No!   NO!!  NO!!!”

As they spew out the words, their breathing is becoming short and rapid. Their energy is weak. They are losing control of the dog. Someone is going to get hurt – either the dog or the groomer.

So how do you stop this acceleration of bad behavior?  

#1. Stop using the word “NO.”

#2. Remember the 3 C’s – stay Calm, Cool, and Collected.

#3. Correct undesirable behaviors before they manifest into an action from the dog.

#4. Be consistent, consistent, consistent.

First, you need to have the proper equipment. Always have control over the dog with a kennel lead or grooming safety loop. The leads and loops need to be adjusted high on the neck, right behind the ears.

On leash, keep mild tension on the lead. Not so much that you are choking the dog, but enough so that you can control the pet. Once you know the pet, you will probably be able to relax the lead tension if they are mild-mannered and well-behaved. Adjust the tension of the grooming loop so that there is a very slight amount of slack when the dog is standing comfortably.

Here’s a trick for working with new dogs that I learned ages ago. I teach them what MY sound is for correcting an undesirable action. I use a sound – not an actual word. It comes from low in my gut, coming out sounding more like sharp grunt. While I use the sound, my breathing is deep and slow. My eyes are steady on the dog. I’m giving the dog eye contact that means business (women, you know what I’m talking about! We all have ‘the look.”). I gently, but firmly, redirect the dog as I wish them to behave.

As soon as the dog cooperates, I soften my eyes and my hands. I might give a calm, single word of praise combined with a gentle, reassuring stroke.

The SECOND the dog makes a move to repeat the undesirable action, I repeat the correction. I am consistent in the training. I never step out of the 3 C’s mental zone: Calm, Cool, and Collected

My 10 Rules When It Comes to Dealing with Challenging Pets

  1. Never work on a pet that you feel is dangerous to itself or to you.
  2. Always maintain the 3 C’s: Calm, Cool, and Collected.
  3. Remember that dogs are silent communicators that respond to energy.
  4. Never take an unfamiliar pet from the owner’s arms.
  5. Always maintain some form of physical control.
  6. Become a lifelong learner of canine psychology and body language.
  7. Remember that not all pets are candidates for all professional grooming settings.
  8. If the eyes glow red or green – DO NOT GROOM THE DOG.
  9. Humanity always comes before vanity.
  10. Your hands are your livelihood – always protect them.

We will constantly be faced with less than cooperative pets in our careers. It is always better for you to win the trust and cooperation of a pet for the grooming process. Most of the time, this translates into becoming a highly effective dog trainer.

Dogs are hardwired to think like dogs. We love them, even treat them like children, but we need to remember that they are not humans. They are dogs. The more experience you can have handling dogs, combined with actively studying their language, their psychology, the more effective you will become.

Remember these four important rules. Do not use the word “no.” Always abide by the Three C’s: Calm, Cool, and Collected. Correct undesirable actions before they become an issue. Finally, be super consistent in everything you do with a dog.

What techniques do you use to redirect challenging behaviors?  Jump over to the Learn2GroomDogs Facebook page and tell us about it!

Happy trimming!

~Melissa


The Top Pet Handling Secrets for Aspiring Pet Professionals – Learn the Main Techniques Used to Win the Trust and Cooperation of a Pet

July 2nd, 2015 by Joelle

imagerrIn my years of teaching beginners, I’ve seen hundreds of dogs take advantage of a new students. Dogs pull. They squirm. They whine. They snarl. They nip. They bite. I’ve seen many students frustrated to the point of tears.

Then a miracle happens.

An instructor walks over to the pet and gently takes over for the student. The dog instantly turns into a perfect angel. The students’ jaw drops. A moment passes before the student exclaims, “How did that happen?!?” The answer is simple.

Energy.

Dogs have keen senses that pick up on our energy and our confidence. Dogs have an uncanny ability to read body energy. They read us clearly even when we don’t think we are connecting to them. In the example above, the dog picked up on the instructor’s energy without a word having to be said.

Dogs are primarily nonverbal communicators. They have a language of their own. They are very clear in the messages that they give us. It is up to us to be able to interpret that language.

The #1 rule when working with pets is to remember the three C’s. As a professional you must remain: Calm, Cool, and Collected. In ALL circumstances. The second you step out of this energy mode, the dog pet will know it instantly.

Dogs are hardwired to think like dogs. They need a pack leader. If you do not exude the three C’s, dog language translates that to mean, “poor leader.” They will not follow you. They will not cooperate with you.

So how do you gain the upper edge on the situation? Simple. It all starts with your BREATHING.

I know it sounds far-fetched. It’s so elementary. We do it every day. We don’t even think about it. Breathing.

However, when you need to create a calm, cool, and collected energy, your breaths need to be deep and saturating. Simply breathe in slowly and deeply through your nose. Draw in the air and feel it fill your lungs. Now exhale slowly through your mouth. The most important part of deep breathing is to regulate your breaths. Three to four seconds in. Three to four seconds out.

Try it. You can feel the oxygen saturating your body.

Deep breathing can release stress and provide other noticeable health benefits. You will likely feel calmer after performing deep breathing exercises, and may trade feelings of anger or fear for a focused, relaxed state of mind. Most dogs will totally gravitate to this energy in a very positive way.

I firmly believe that 98% of all dog bites are preventable by reading the animal correctly and taking the appropriate precautions to protect yourself while gaining humane control over the pet. Your hands are your livelihood. You must take utmost care not to let your hands become injured.

Every pet is an individual with different physical and emotional characteristics. Some dogs receive clear directions and boundaries at home, making them very easy to work on in a professional setting. Other pets will not have the skills necessary to be well-mannered candidates in a professional grooming setting.

The personality quirks that you’ll experience while working professionally with pets will range from dogs that are perfect angels, to dogs that are mildly annoying, to dogs that could be potentially dangerous to work on for both the handler and to the pet itself.

Whenever working with pets it is always critical to remember the 3 Cs. As a professional you must remain calm, cool, and collected in all circumstances. And BREATHE.

Whenever you have a dog on a table or in your grooming facility, you must use humane, respectful, and consistent training messages. The more you can learn about dog psychology and combine it with actual experience, winning the control and the respect over the dogs will become second nature.

Always remember that dogs are primarily silent communicators. Excessive talking or giving of commands is not necessary to effectively communicate with them. Much of your control can come from maintaining the Three C’s – Always remain Calm, Cool, and Collected while working with any animal.

Any time you feel you are losing control of the three C’s, it’s time to step away from the grooming table and take a break. Breathe. Only when you can totally regain your composure is it time to step back and begin your work again.

There are many videos on Pet Handling in the Learn2GroomDogs library. Also my blog on Rating Dog Personalities is very helpful when determining how to rate personality and behavior in dogs.

What techniques do you use to stay calm, cool, and collected?  Jump over to the Learn2GroomDogs Facebook page and tell us about it!

Happy trimming!

~Melissa


8 Ways to Understand Your Boss

June 25th, 2015 by Joelle

I love hearing success stories. I especially love it when they are grooming salon success stories!

Over the years I have met thousands of groomers. Some are solo stylists. Others have small teams that make their businesses flourish. Others have large teams or are part of a larger corporation. Not all are business owners or managers. Many groomers and stylists I meet are simply a part of a very successful team – and love their jobs.Almost every one of them, no matter where they started, started with a dream:

  • A dream of grooming pets professionally.
  • A dream of finding a rewarding career.
  • A dream of starting a business.
  • A dream of growing that business.

Nothing makes me happier than hearing about a grooming business that is knocking it out of the park. They have a handle on their work load… their finances… their management skills. Their grooming skills just keep getting better with time. They have strong customer service skills. If they face a challenge – they tackle it – and fix it or improve it.

I can guarantee every successful grooming business owner fully understands this quote:

This statement could not be more true. Your true boss is not yourself. It’s not your manager. It’s not the person who signs your paycheck. None of them created the funds fueling payroll.

Customers do.

A grooming business provides something of value to the customer in exchange for payment. If you don’t provide the type of grooming the customer expects, they will go somewhere else – plain and simple.

Principles to Learn

Your customers are the most important aspect of developing grooming business.

  • Customers = job security
  • Customers = income
  • Customers = advancement
  • Customers = continuing education
  • Customers = opportunities
    • The customer ultimately determines whether or not you have a job.
    • Many people think the company is the source of their job security. They are wrong. It’s based on whether customers keep coming back. Repeat customers create job security.
    • Customers provide the money that you receive on a regular basis.
    • Building strong relationships with customers is the fastest path for career advancement.
    • Customers provide an opportunity for you to grow your grooming skills every time you groom and style their pet.

Here are 8 things you can do right now to build a positive relationship.

Impress your “boss customers” when they walk through the door with their beloved pooches.

  1. Smile. Smile. Smile.
  2. Call your customers by name – and know their pet’s names, too. People love to feel known and welcome. Use their names – don’t be shy!
  3. Recognize repeat customers and their pets instantly. The best way to do this is to keep accurate DETAILED customer service records. Having the client’s essential information in one place makes client management easy. Creating a trim history record of each haircut is particularly helpful. This history allows you to easily refer back to it during future appointments.
  4. Go out of your way to address the needs of your customers and their pets. Customer education is at the heart of this. Talk to them. Teach them. Provide handouts or visuals to hone your message.
  5. Try to impress your customer, like you were angling for a raise from your boss. Never skimp on quality grooming. Always do something a little above and beyond what they expect – but make sure it’s something they will appreciate.
  6. Think about your paycheck every time you talk with a customer.
  7. Be reliable. Keeping your promises builds integrity, trust, and customer loyalty.
  8. Always look for ways to advance and boost your skills. The best groomers and stylists are always looking for ways to improve their performances. Always look for ways to enhance your service edge.

Think about it. If we dealt with all customers like they were “the boss,” I bet customers would be treated very differently.

This is a key concept highly successful grooming establishments understand. The customer controls our paychecks.

Not yourself.

Not your manager.

Not the salon owner.

Sam Walton was right. The customer IS the boss. They can fire anybody – at any time – simply by spending their money elsewhere.

Every successful grooming establishment I know applies this principle to every customer interaction they have. Do you?

Do you treat your customers like they are “your boss?” What do you do to cement that relationship?  Jump over to the Learn2GroomDogs Facebook page and tell us about it!

Happy trimming!

~Melissa


 
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