This type of service is very unique and knowing how to market it can be very difficult. I am by no means a marketing or advertising expert, but I will share with you what I’ve done that’s worked, and how I approach clients about my services.
Explaining House Call to Clients
The first and most important part is explaining house call to perspective clients in a way that explains what house call is and immediately addresses the first question that usually comes to mind: will there be a mess. I address this on the very first page of my website. Here is what I have:
“What is house call grooming?
House call grooming means that I come to your house and groom your pet in the safety and comfort of its own home. Many mobile groomers set up a shop inside of a van or truck. Instead, I bring portable equipment into your home, garage or any area of your choosing. No need to worry about clean up either. I do my best to make it look like I was never there.”
In this paragraph I have not only explained what house call is in a clear manner and answered the all important mess question, but I’ve also started on some of the benefits of house call with the “safety and comfort” portion. This leads us into the next part of marketing house call to clients: illustrating the benefits.
Whether you’re talking on the phone, in person, online or through advertising emphasizing the benefits of your service is paramount. There are many benefits to house call and certain areas will want to focus on certain things (ex: cage free), but here are a few that work across the board:
- Low stress environment for both pet and owner
- Personal service (the same groomer every time)
- Convenience of service
When you talk to clients about these benefits I find it important to not put down other styles of business to promote my own. You can easily discuss these without comparing them to a salon or mobile groomer and I think it presents you more professionally.
Let me share with you the type of advertising I do that has been effective in my area, along with some tips from fellow house callers via the new House Call Groomers group I’ve started on Facebook. The main advertising I do for my business is online. Along with my website, I have a Facebook page for my business and utilize free listing sites such as Google Places, Yahoo Local, and Find A Groomer Inc. I have also had great success with Craigslist, though this seems to vary from area to area. The number one suggestion for advertising from the group is either magnets for your car, or lettering for your vehicle so that your car becomes a mobile billboard just like a mobile groomer’s van. It’s hard to measure a success rate with this but it’s definitely an easy and affordable why to advertise.
Thinking out of the box is very important in advertising house call. One group member had an excellent idea that I never would have thought of! She posts fliers at her local RV parks. Her area has a large population that comes in the winter and she has gotten tons of clients by catering to them and grooming in their RV. Thanks for the great tip Rena!
Along those same lines, placing cards and fliers at elderly homes that allow pets is another great idea. I contacted all my local assisted living homes and found one that allowed pets. They were actually so excited about the idea that they asked me to do a small demonstration for their clients to let them know about the services! Apparently it has been very difficult for them to shuttle clients to and from grooming shops, and they do not have the space for a mobile van to set up so I was the perfect solution to their problem.
Another out of the box idea is to start a doggie play group for your area. Since I mainly cater to small dogs, I started a small dog play group for my area. During our meets I will give basic instruction on home maintenance grooming and many of the members have become very loyal clients. The best part is that I get to see these dogs even more often and if the owner has questions about in between care I am right there! This has also helped strengthen relationships I have with clients that found me a different way, and I highly recommend this to everyone.
We could spend pages and pages discussing advertising, and there will definitely be more posts about this, but for now I hope this has helped you with discussing house call to your customers and given you some interesting ideas on ways to advertise. As always, if you have any questions or would like to make a recommendation for a post, feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org .