Linda C. Claflin-Phelps
Let’s face it, many salon owners aren’t charging as much as they feel they should. Local competition and price-sensitive clients are two strong reasons why. In some cases, grooming rates are already as high as considered possible without losing customers.
In most service-based businesses, payroll is the highest expense. A typical grooming business pays out more than 50% to 60% in payroll, alone. When salons are paying out those percentages, raises are rare.
We’ve talked to lots of groomers. It’s no surprise that one of the main complaints with their jobs is not making enough money. It’s not all about the money but having fair compensation for the work we do is not unreasonable!
When people come to me and ask how they can earn more, I always remind them that time is money – regardless of how you are paid. The faster you can get through a pet safely, the more money you will ultimately make.
5 Easy Ways to Give Yourself a Raise
Use Guard Combs
Guard combs are one of the easiest ways to speed up your grooming. They allow you to set consistent length over the dog quickly. With the variety of lengths, it’s easy to customize the haircut just by switching out the guard comb. When working with guard combs you don’t need the time it takes to get a beautiful scissor finish. This is a much safer option that also minimizes the stress large amounts of hand scissoring can cause.
Invest in Chunkers
This scissor style is taking the industry by storm. Chunkers are oversized thinning shears or blending shears with wider teeth. In some cases, they can be used for the entire groom. Chunkers give a beautiful natural finish in no time.
Some stylists choose to use them in conjunction with scissor or guard comb work. When used in this manner, they dust the top of the coat, removing any imperfections swiftly. There are plenty of styles to choose from with a wide price point based on the quality of the shear. Talk to other pet stylists before you invest in a pair. Find out which chunkers are their favorites and then try them out before you buy them.
Pet parents are spending more on their dogs. Many clients love a little bling – and it doesn’t always have to be shiny! It’s easy to upsell special accessories:
- special bows
- feather extensions
- nail wraps
- temporary color
- pup tattoos
- jeweled neckwear
- bow ties and ties
- temporary body bling
- feather eyelashes
There is no limit to the creativity you can have – as long as it is safe for the pet. It’s a fun way to add a little extra revenue and get people talking!
Up-Grade Specialized Shampoos or Services
Every salon has its favorite economical go-to shampoo. But what if your clients had a choice? For some clients, nothing is too good for their pets. Many spa lines of pet shampoo do a fabulous job getting the dog clean and smelling fabulous. There are many specialty shampoos that treat special skin and coat conditions. Most of the time they cost a little bit more than your everyday shampoo. There’s no reason to charge the same. Some specialty shampoos need to sit on the pet a little bit longer to be effective (if it takes extra time it should also add a little more cost). Consider these liquid tool gold mines:
- blueberry facials
- anti-itch shampoos
- odor neutralizing treatments
- skin and coat remoisturizing treatments
- deshedding shampoos
Try a paw-i-cure instead of just trimming the nails. This type of service is a package deal. It includes:
- filing nails with a Dremel to get them smooth and short
- trimming the coat between the pads
- sometimes a skin soothing ointment is even included for rough foot pads.
Many of these upsells don’t take any more time to do yet add more income to you or the business.
Don’t get distracted. Most small to medium-sized basic grooms should take about an hour to do. If someone else is bathing for you, the finish trimming should only take between 20 to 30 minutes for the same sized basic groom. Minimize the idle chitchat with your coworkers. Put your cell phone on silent and deal with it when YOU have time. Keep your station highly organized. Create a routine for everything you do from start to finish. The more dogs crossing your table translates into more money going into your pocket. Sometimes it’s in the form of a paycheck, sometimes it’s in the form of tips.
It doesn’t matter if you are commission or hourly. The efforts you put out will create faster grooms, higher-quality trims, delighted customers, and repeat business. Applying these five tips can help you groom dogs better in less time while providing great service for your customers – while adding cash to your pocket!
What are some ways that you’ve tried? What works for you? Go to our Facebook page and chat with your Melissa Verplank family!
My husband, Marc and I are back from a four-week working road trip. For the past few years, we’ve traveled for almost the entire month of March. After all – who wants to be in Michigan in March? Each Spring, we’ve loaded up our bikes, kayaks, dogs, and filming gear and hit the road.
The trip this year started out with the Atlanta Pet Fair before heading south to Florida. Our itinerary included lots of work but also plenty of downtime. We kayaked with the manatees in Crystal Springs and enjoyed the unbelievable clarity of the Rainbow River. On one of the rivers we kayaked, we came a bit too close to a large alligator sunning himself on the bank. I swear it looked like an old tire sitting on the river bank – until it MOVED! We paddled away very quickly!
We attended the Live Oaks International Horse Show where we watched show jumping and the exhilarating marathon driving event. The show jumping took me back to my younger years when I showed hunters and jumpers. With each stride and jump, I was right there with the rider.
I had never seen a marathon driving event before – what a blast! Top carriage drivers maneuvered their horse(s) through a complex pattern of VERY solid obstacles in the quickest time possible. It was thrilling to watch these skilled teams flying through the obstacles.
Soon we were headed to the west side of South Florida where we spent some great quality time with Marc’s family.
Then the work started.
We had multiple Learn2GroomDogs.com film shoots with some amazing people. We filmed with Randi Sands, Irina (Pina) Pinkusevich, and Joshua Morales. We then toured Kathy Rose’s new salon, Pets of Perfection. From there, we drove to Orlando to film with Lindsey Dicken. As soon as we finished, we drove to see Angela Kumpe for some creative grooming just outside Little Rock, Arkansas.
Filming and learning with these talented stylists was amazing. One thing really stood out: the increased use of thinning shears. They’re being used more often and the variety of thinners and blenders is growing. It seems they are becoming as important to everyone’s collections as smooth bladed shears.
Finally, it was time to return to Michigan, but we had one more stop to make. As we made our way home, we stopped at new St. Louis office to visit our newest team member, Joe Zuccarello, and meet his family for the first time.
We made it home just in time for the last gasp of Winter. Being on the road was a wonderful experience. It was an amazing trip filled with a nice balance of work and down time.
Share photos of YOUR trip or stay-cation on our Facebook page with your Melissa Verplank family!