Growing Your Business? Make Room for New Customers!

September 21st, 2017 by Kara Adams

Growing your business starts with two simple equations:

Marketing Amy

If you want your business to thrive in any economy, you need insurance – and repeat business is your insurance plan.

During my recent lecture about client management at a large trade show, an audience member said something so amazing I knew I had to share it with you. I wish I had caught her name so I could give her full credit for her brilliant idea.

Professional groomers are always busy when the weather is warm. Most of us are booking out two to three weeks (or more) in advance. When the weather is toasty, people always want their pets groomed. The dogs are hot, dirty, and stinky. Even the once or twice per year clients start calling.

Where are those clients during the slower times when your appointment book needs filling? Those are the times when you wish you had more regular clients that book consistently every few weeks.

BLOGThose regular clients are your bread-and-butter. They keep your bills paid and food on your table. They are the ones you can count on. Any successful grooming salon wants a roster full of regular customers and the time to look for them is not when you’re slow. You need to get them while you’re at your busiest.

It’s not as crazy or as impossible as it sounds.

Remember that brilliant audience member? She said she always leaves at least one opening per day to accommodate walk-ins and new clients.

Some of you are shaking your heads. Why would you leave an appointment slot empty when you can fill it with a regular client? You’re probably thinking that you’re losing easy money.

Here’s where that insurance plan idea kicks in. The problem isn’t being booked out when the weather is nice. The problem is that you need to be booked no matter what kind of weather you’re having. You do that by adding clients – and when are new clients calling? The same time as everyone else.

A new client will not wait 2 or 3 weeks to book an appointment with you. They will just move on to the next groomer who set that time aside, just waiting for that client to call.

If you’ve nurtured a relationship with your regulars, they will wait for you. They love you. Their pets love you. Making sure to pre-book their next appointment ensures they get premier treatment and the best appointment times. The long-term investment you’ve made in keeping these customers happy will now start to pay off.

Setting aside those five slots a week is how that lady in the audience maintains a constant stream of new clients. These walk-ins become customers that she can educate and count on during the slower times of the year. As she builds up her regular clientele, she can eliminate the once or twice a year dogs. After all, wouldn’t you rather work on a super regular client instead of a twice a year outdoor farm dog?

Quote In A Circle$100 for a once a year farm dog seems like a lot of money – but is it?

Let’s say you have a 6-week regular client who pays $50 per visit. That’s half of the once a year farm dog. You are going to see that client eight to nine times a year. On an annual basis, you’re going to earn between $400 and $450 for that single client.

The farm dog? You will earn $100. $100 you can’t count on next month or next year.

Which would you rather do?

If you do not make time in your schedule to take on new customers, you might miss out on adding a valuable client that will keep your bills paid when it’s slow. This client could make the difference between working or being sent home because you don’t have any dogs to groom.

Which salon would you rather work at?

As a bonus, making room in an already packed schedule allows you some wiggle room. Maybe you don’t have a walk-in on that day. Or maybe you don’t have a new customer calling to book an appointment. That open slot allows you a little breathing room. Probably at a time when you most need it.

Do you have to take every first-time appointment or walk-in coming through your doors? Absolutely not.

I would ask for some critical information before you get too far into the conversation. Of course, the customer will want to know the price. That gives you the opportunity to learn the breed, the age, the size, the coat condition, and how long it’s been since his last professional grooming. These questions will help you determine whether you should book the appointment. Trust your gut with what the client says. It’s your appointment book.

When you do make room for a new client, make sure you also take the time to educate them. Most clients don’t know how frequently they should have their dogs (or cats) groomed. Talk to them about their lifestyle and how much maintenance they’re willing to do between appointments. Talk about what you can do for them as well their limitations based on the condition of the pet. Custom create a regular schedule that will suit their needs and keep their pet looking and feeling its best.

Will you get it right every time? No. But if you don’t make room for prospective new customers during your busiest times, you won’t have regular clients to carry you through when it’s slow.

Happy trimming!

Melissa

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Spotlight Session for June 13, 2017

June 12th, 2017 by Kara Adams

Do I Need More Clients?

April 6th, 2017 by Kara Adams

dog in curlersHave you ever sat down and thought about what your clients are worth to you?

Go beyond each individual appointment.

Sure, the individual price for the grooming is important. If you are doing six pets a day at $50 a groom, it starts to add up. $300 in sales not including tips – that’s not bad! Bump it up to eight dogs or more a day and it gets even better. Or raise the price a little bit higher than $50 per groom. Both scenarios raise your bottom line.

But let me ask you this…

  • Can you consistently maintain 6 or 8 dogs a day?
  • Do you know what it costs you to get a new client?
  • Do you enjoy working with dogs that aren’t in the best condition?
  • Do you always know how much time to set aside for each new pet?

Bottom line – constantly working with new clients can be trying, time-consuming – and expensive.

There is a better way.

Instead of looking for more clients, why not concentrate on getting more out of the clients you already have? It all starts with having a great conversation on the importance of proper pet hygiene.

Back It Up with Stats

There are an estimated 183.9 million dogs and cats in the United States. Over 68% (107 million!) of all households have at least one pet. In 2017, about $6.1 billion will be spent on services like grooming and boarding.*

Over 62% of owners consider their pets family. At one time, dogs had a purpose to make our lives easier. They kept our livestock safe. They brought the flocks in to the barnyard. They helped us hunt and retrieve game for a table. They guarded our property. They were on varmint patrol. Most of these dogs spent much of their time outdoors. They were not the pampered house pet of today.

830253d559a127d1869e9486a317b56aAs their roles changed, so did their grooming needs. Today, most of our four-footed clients share their lives, homes, and even beds with their owners. As we invited dogs indoors to share homes, their grooming needs increased.

Keeping them well-groomed on a regular basis is crucial to making them enjoyable companions.

So how does this translate into creating a thriving grooming business?

Focus on grooming frequency.

Check this out. I’ve factored in two weeks’ vacation time for you. I’ve also bumped the client up so they get primped for all holiday festivities (wink).

Here’s how the math works if all your clients go 6 weeks between appointments:

math 4
A busy groomer working full-time doing 6 dogs a day only needs 167 pets to keep their books full. Whoa! That’s not a lot of clients. Most of us could find that many clients just through friends and family!

But let’s take it a bit further. Let’s figure out the value of a client.

If you educate your clients (while providing quality service), you’ll keep them coming back. Repeat business is the heart of a thriving business. Don’t look at each pet as just a $50 appointment ($50 is just an example – use whatever price tag is best for you and your salon). It’s better to see the larger picture. Look at the value over a year, then push it out even further by looking at the value of a client over the lifetime of the pet.

Example:

Times per Year Annual @ $50.00 each Visit Over 10 Years
13 4-week client = $650.00 $6,500.00
10 5-week client = $500.00 $5,000.00
9 6-week client = $450.00 $4,500.00
7 7-week client = $350.00 $3,500.00
6 8-week client = $300.00 $3,000.00

Wow, right? With each weekly bump-up in frequency, you get to pocket an extra $50! Who wouldn’t want to work on a 6-week pet versus an 8-week one? Or a 4-week client over a 6-week client? Not only is it good for your bottom line, the grooming gets easier and easier on the pet. Plus, the more often it’s groomed, the pet is cleaner and more enjoyable for the family.Let’s kick this out even further. Let’s look as what happens if you increase the frequency while REDUCING the cost. I call this our Coat Maintenance Program. 

Coat Maintenance Program
17 @ $40.00 3-week client = $680.00 $6,800.00
26 @ $28.00 2-week client = $728.00 $7,280.00
50 @ $22.00 1-week client = $1,100.00 $11,000.00

Earning NEW clients always costs more than maintaining existing customers. Simply boosting the grooming frequency of your current clientele solves light booking issues and grows your sales.

Over 60% of owners think of their pets as family. What people love, they take care of. It’s up to you as the professional to educate your clientele about the hygiene needs of each individual pet based on their lifestyle.

The value of any grooming business is not in how large the client file is. It is in frequency level clients rebook their pets next appointment. And remember, sometimes having a higher average ticket price isn’t the best solution. Lowering the price and increasing the frequency helps everybody – the pet, the owner, … and the groomer.

Happy trimming!

~Melissa

MVpaw_no_Inner_whiteP.S. Has this helped? Let us know if there are other topics you’d like us to explore.  Jump on the Learn2GroomDogs.com Facebook page and tell us what would help you.

 

*2017-2018 National Pet Owners Survey, The American Pet Products Association (APPA)


 
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