My husband Marc and I just did a private salon lesson on one of our recent road trips. We asked the salon owner what she wanted us to focus on during our time there so we could be better prepared. The request was simple. Speed.
Most of her staff struggled to get even the simplest trims done in under an hour. Bath. Blow dry. Haircut. Even a basic #7F all trim on a smaller drop coated breed was daunting to some of them.
We walked in and saw a well-organized salon. It was bright. It was clean. The layout allowed for efficiency. The equipment was all top-notch. Hmmm, we wondered. Why was turning a small to mid-sized dog such a challenge for them?
Then it hit us. There were hardly any clocks visible. We only spotted one clock in the main room. A smaller digital wall clock set on military time. The owner of the salon was career military gal who is now retired. I understand why she opted for that style of time keeper. (And thank you Lori for your service to your country!) I’m just not so sure that style of time keeping is the right for a staff of non-military groomers. Plus, when I was across the room, I could barely read it clearly. The clock was just too small!
If you want to be a successful groomer that can pay their bills while bringing customers back again and again – you need to embrace time. Watch the time. Track the time. Race against the time. Everything we do with professional pet grooming involves time. You need to be highly aware of every hour, minute and second. Ideally, a professional groomer should be able to turn a small to medium size simple trim in an hour or less. That includes the bath, the dry, and the trim.
The first thing we suggested to this team was; GET CLOCKS! Nothing fancy, they just needed to be large enough to be easily seen across the room. The simpler, the better. Every room in the salon needed one hung on the wall. By having a clock in every room, it makes it easy for the groomers to track their own time with just a quick glance. But clocks aren’t enough. Every person working on the pets needs to have a watch on too.
For those individuals that are really looking to increase their speed, having a timer at their stations can be really beneficial. Before you can start timing yourself, it’s helpful to know what your starting point is.
Break the groom down into sections. Bathing. Drying. Clipping the body. Trimming the feet. Rounding the feet. Scissoring the legs. Styling the head. If you don’t know how long it takes you to do each one of these items, you’ll never be able to improve upon your ‘best time.’
And it’s far easier to break it down into segments than to look at the dog as a whole. After all, who doesn’t want the opportunity to win at even one or two smaller segments than to get frustrated when they don’t hit the time goal with the overall trim?
Once you know how long it takes you to do each segment — now you can set goals and objectives to beat your ‘best time.’ Push yourself. Make a game out of it. The clock will be your score-keeper. Each time you gain even a few seconds, you’ve won a mini victory! But you’ll never be able to do that unless you can easily watch the clock. Even with all the clock watching, always remember, speed and efficiency can never come at the sacrifice of quality or safety.