Call me old-fashioned. Call me a stick in the mud. Call me conservative. All of them are true.
When it comes to presenting a professional image appealing to our service-based clientele, I want simplicity. I want neat. I want clean.
Professional pet groomers have an image problem. As a whole, we are not seen as “true” professionals. We are not respected. Professional pet grooming is not commonly viewed as a credible profession. My father wasn’t thrilled about my early career move back when I was twenty. (He’s OK with it now!) What about your dad?
Unfortunately, this image problem is often well deserved. We are our own worst enemies. If we want to be true professionals, we need to look and act the part. Not just in how we present ourselves, but how we present our businesses, as well. Are we personally presenting a neat, tidy, and clean appearance? What about our salons and mobile vans?
If we can’t groom ourselves, how do we ever expect our clientele to view us as educated professionals? How do we instantly gain their trust? How do we build a long-term relationship based on respect?
None of this will happen if we don’t take pride in ourselves and our workplace.
Not allowing my team to wear blue jeans at work is my first line of defense.
We have less than 30 seconds to make a first impression. When a new client walks in the door, the impact is almost instant. What do they see? What do they smell? And what do they hear?
I’m not here to argue some people can rock it in a pair of well-fitted blue jeans. The problem is – most of us can’t. When I’m working with a large team of people, it’s much easier to require a basic dress code.
Dress codes don’t have to be complicated. They go a long way to set the first stages of creating a positive first impression.
- A dress code creates uniformity. Keep it simple. Matching attire goes a long way to create a positive impact on clientele. Black, khaki, or even white slacks, capris or longer shorts look professional, especially when teamed up with coordinating business shirts or jackets. Some pet service businesses find matching medical scrubs a simple way to unify their team. If you’re dealing with dog hair all day, matching hair-repelling garments make it simple to look stylish. Clients instantly know who is a staff member.
- It’s controllable. With a well-written dress code, it’s easy to get a consistent look within your entire team. Plus, it’s easy to enforce it.
- It minimizes risk. Dealing with dogs all day presents risks. You need to be stable on your feet and be able to stand for hours. Sturdy footwear is a must. Hooped jewelry poses a health threat to the wearer when handling dogs.
- It builds trust. Having a clean, crisp, and simple – but polished – dress code in place instantly builds credibility with clients. Trust is at the heart of all successful service based business, bringing clients back on a regular basis.
- It simplifies life in general. Today, we all have hundreds of decisions to make. By establishing clear boundaries with a dress code, you simplify your team’s daily decision-making process. By giving them direction on what to wear to work, they clearly understand what type of impression the company puts out to its clients and potential customers.
Some employers struggle with employees who believe they have the right to dress and groom in a way that represents their personality. This is true – outside of the employer’s business. However, businesses have rights to establish a dress code that aligns with their company and their target market. While individuals have a right to express themselves, so too do businesses. The way your employees dress sends intended or unintended messages to your clientele.
Suitable attire, along with basic politeness, cleanliness, and knowledge are a few of the most common threads within professionalism. Torn, sloppy, or ill-fitting blue jeans, in my opinion, do not convey the type of professional image I want to present to the community.
It’s human nature to form instant options of others. Personal presentation affects the perception clients have of you, your business, and your team. It is important to maintain a dress code which creates a positive first impression.
Never forget, the point of a dress code and professional conduct, at all levels, is to make others comfortable, including your clients. Its implementation ensures the instant impression a business is credible, trustworthy, and reliable.
P.S. I know this is a controversial topic. Let’s talk about it. I want to hear what you think. Jump on the Learn2GroomDogs.com Facebook page and tell me your thoughts.