The age old question in this industry seems to always be, “How many dogs can you do in a day?”
I always smile, and stay out of that conversation anymore because when I did tell people that I can do a LOT of grooms, I was told that I must be telling a lie or I must be doing sub-par work. Then I sit back and read the responses. 5 dogs a day was the latest average I noticed posted in response to that question.
I have to be honest with you. I have a bathing staff, and they are responsible for bathing, drying and fully brushing out all dogs in my shop and they will sometimes even wet-shave the dogs that need it. I usually have 5 dogs done by 11am. We start bathing at 8am and the first dog is dried by 8:20 or so usually. By 3pm I generally have 12-15 dogs finished.
Last Saturday, my son and I were the only ones at work and I dried dogs while he bathed them. I left 5 dogs for him to dry while I started finishing dogs and we managed to do 19 dogs, 15 grooms and 4 baths, between 8am and 4pm. I am VERY happy with the results of every dog we did Saturday, and would put them up against anyone elses dogs they have done in the same haircuts. I know, you don’t believe me. Well it’s true!
Today the shop did 22 dogs including a chow mix shavedown and a standard poodle in a Scandinavian trim. There were four of us. We were done by 2:30. My bather left at about 12:15.
How do we do it? Equipment. Timing. Well maintained dogs. Did I say equipment?
• We have a bathing system.
• We use strong dryers, not cage dryers unless the dogs will not tolerate hand drying.
• We use shampoos and sprays that facilitate drying.
• We have everyone arrive before 10am to make it easier for us. The bather knows that they can leave when done so they tend to bathe faster than if they were on hourly rate pay.
• I use a window unit AC in the drying area to remove humidity and facilitate faster drying, even in the winter.
• Because our dogs are in routinely they are in better shape and they are better behaved.
• We use table covers to absorb water that flies off the dogs.
• We use water strippers (flat dryer nozzles) to remove water faster. Those are some of the things we do to speed up our day.
We are also highly organized. Each station has the tools they need to do their job, including bandanas and all sprays they may need. We have shear holders, blade holders and drawers to hold the other tools we use. With everything right at hand, the grooming goes really fast.
I keep a refrigerator with sodas, water and food stocked for the staff. They never have to run to the store to get a drink, or go get lunch. His keeps people in the building and that means they get done faster. All of this is terrific advice and it all helps us get done faster.
The most important thing that makes it possible for me to do that many dogs though is with me everyday, 24 hours a day. My mindset. I do not allow myself to think that I cannot do something.
Now, that is not to say that I do not have limits, or that I take dogs after we decide we have as many as we want to take on. We do limit how many we do. BUT! I never tell people that they can only do XX number of dogs or else they will not be doing a good job. I NEVER limit their brains that way.
If you are told over and over again that if you do more than XX dogs a day there is no way you can do them well, you will never be able to do more than XX. If you are told, “You can do as many as you want to do”, or, “you need to do more than XX” then you will learn to do that.
I do not want you to think that I pressure people to do more than they are comfortable with because that is not it at all! I allow people to learn at their pace and groom as fast or slow as they want to. I pick up the pace and help them out. I just train my staff to NOT think that they are limited by anything other than the day at hand. If I had ever told Ashley that she could not do more then she would have a hard time doing that. But because I DIDN’T tell her that she thinks that its normal to do this many.
When you are told you cannot do them, you get it in your head that it should take 2 hours per dog, and it will take you that long.
I have said before, I do not understand how people can make money doing 3-6 dogs a day. I think its one of the reasons people get out of this industry. They are not taught how to work faster, do things easier and make money. If you don’t make money you won’t stay because it will frustrate you.
There are many things you can do that will speed up grooming without stressing or upsetting the dogs and believe me, they are actually better behaved since they are finished faster!
Many of those things have been discussed in my blog and more are coming! Once you have opened your mind and relaxed, believing you CAN do it, you will be amazed how much faster you can get and how fast it will happen.
Remember too, that just because you cannot do something does not mean that other people are not capable of doing it and doing it well.
I remember reading at one point someone saying, “The dogs do not know how fast my hand is moving when I clipper or scissor, so it doesn’t stress them out.” I agree 100%!
Open your mind and you will be amazed at what you can do. Never let anyone tell you that you have to be limited in what you can do. Its not true! I would love to be able to do 3 or 4 dogs a day, but its not possible to make a living doing that many. I want everyone to be able to make enough money to live comfortably. Speed and quality do not have to be mutually exclusive of each other. When you learn that, you will be successful in this industry.