Melissa’s Top 4 Tips for Getting Through Your Holidays with Ease

November 26th, 2013 by ificore

flowerIf you live in the United States, you have just gone through the first phase of the grooming marathon for the holiday season: Thanksgiving.

How did it go? Smooth as silk? Or would you like to make improvements as you move into Phase 2 – Christmas and Hanukkah?

Most of us are involved with the pet industry are here because the passion. We simply love working with the pets. However, even the most passionate groomer can feel the pressures of the holidays.

If you are one of those professionals who felt the pressures of the Thanksgiving crunch, take heart. It’s time to review what you did right and focus on the areas that could use some improvement. For many of us, that’s time management in the grooming salon.

Here are My Top 4 Tips for Getting Through Your Day with Ease

  • Mental Control

Stay focused. Pay close attention to what you are doing at all times. You’re working with live animals and sharp instruments. Chatter between your coworkers and pets breaks your focus. You lose time and you make mistakes when you don’t stay focused on the pet.

Always practice the three C’s; stay calm, stay cool, and stay collected. When you’re working with a pet, you want to be friendly but aloof. You want to correct any undesirable action before it becomes a major problem. Frustration and anger have no place in a professional salon setting. If you feel yourself getting frustrated, take a break. Breathe. Step back to the grooming table when you have regained your composure.

Work methodically with all pets. Don’t get flustered. Set an even and steady pace when it comes to handling, bathing, drying, brushing, clipping, and scissoring. Set time goals for every step of the grooming process and strive to achieve them.

  • Invest in Yourself and Your Equipment

What is the condition of your equipment? Are you working with top-quality equipment?

It’s amazing how much time you can save when your equipment is in top condition. Or when you splurge on that new pair of blenders that cut like butter. Or you have a high velocity dryer that has plenty of punch. Oh, and when all of your shears and blades have sharp edges on them, right? There’s nothing more frustrating than working with dull and ineffective equipment when crunch time is on. And right now you’re in crunch time.

  • Organization in the Salon

Do you have a smooth process for client check-in and checkout? If you’re computerized, is it easy to pull up client records in a flash? If you’re still working with a card file, are all the records pulled for the pets that are scheduled for that day?

Most stylists in a salon setting find working a minimum of three or four-hour blocks of time can be highly advantageous to time management. The more you stop to check in or check out clients, the more you lose your focus on the pet that is on the table. By working in blocks of time, you can check multiple pets in and out in tight time windows.

Do you have a method to track all the collars and leads that accompany the pets? This is no time to be looking for that lost collar or lead! Do you have a bright assortment of pre-made bows? Do you have festive bandannas cut and ready to go on the dog?

  • Mental & Nutritional Stamina

When the rush is on, you need to be at your peak — mentally, physically, and nutritionally.

You’re not going to be at your peak if you’re not getting enough sleep. I know, I know – with all the demands between work, family, and holiday festivities, slumber can be hard to come by. Normally, a professional groomer is so physically exhausted that when your head does hit the pillow — sleep comes easily. Just make sure you’re getting enough hours each night so you can perform at high levels the next day.

With the holidays upon us, most salons find themselves overrun with holiday treats from their clients. Be careful with this one. Personally, I learned the hard way you are not going to feel your best if you consume those goodies all day long!

I learned in my early 20’s to pack healthy food options to keep me nourished all day long. I was mobile, so in between every client my reward was to eat. If I had healthy options at my fingertips, it was easy to keep my energy level in high gear. In a salon setting, this might be a little bit more challenging. Still, eating healthy on a regular basis is the best way to keep you both mentally and physically fit.

Pack a nutritional lunch plus snacks. Or do a potluck with your staff. We’ve done this for years at the Paragon School of Pet Grooming with great success. The rule is: healthy, quick food options, only. No sweets. No desserts. Our clients do a great job with that. The potluck is set up so everybody can grab a bite in between dogs quickly and easily.

If you’re not a cook – have a stack of local takeout menus available. If they deliver – BONUS!

The holidays are a great time to really test your skills. You’ll find out quickly just how successful you are. If you have a full book and are struggling to fit just one more pet into each day, you know you have arrived. Be thankful for creating a service that your customers desire. If you take care of them well — they’ll take care of you. That’s what successful customer service is all about!

Happy trimming and happy Thanksgiving!


If you need a brush up on any time management lessons, here are a few titles from that could help you.


Video Title
Building a Grooming Code – the Card Game (Melissa Verplank)

Preparing for the Holiday Rush (Melissa Verplank)

Speed & Efficiency — Monster Sized Dog in 76 Minutes (Lisa Leady)

Speed & Efficiency — Daisy Dog in Less Than 45 Minutes (Suesan Watson)

Speed & Efficiency – Shih Tzu in 45 Minutes (Suesan Watson)

Anything from the ‘queen’ of Gettin’ er Done (Judy Hudson)

Melissa’s Best Time Saving Tips (Melissa Verplank)

Tails from Holidays Past (Suesan Watson, Lisa Leady, Marc Lafleur, Melissa Verplank)

What I Know for Sure – this one will just make you feel good! – (Judy Hudson)