How Many Clients Do You Need?

There is no magic number as many factors contribute to the overall formula.

 

Target-group-3460039_1280

To determine how many clients you need, start with what you need to earn to meet your business expenses and live comfortably. Cost of living is different from one region to another, as well as are lifestyle choices.

Let’s say your target is $4,000 a week based on a 50-week year ($200,000 for the year.) Prices for shop, mobile, and housecall can vary widely even within the same area. I’ve chosen three price points: $45, 65, and 85 an hour.

The formula is Weekly Target Amount/Hourly Rate.

 

Per week based on one hour or less grooms 

$45 = 89 pets

$65 = 62 pets

$85 = 47 pets

Number of regular clients needed if on a 6-week schedule

 

Formula is: Weekly Number Of Pets X 6.

$45 = 534 clients

$65 = 372 clients

$85 = 282 clients

 

Let's tweak that number for 4 vs 8 week clients:

$45   356 vs 712

$65   248 vs 496

$85   188 vs 376

 

All figures are whole numbers, so either rounded up or rounded down. But you get the idea. You can see that there is a huge difference in the number of clients you need based on amount and frequency.

Being at the higher end allows you to work at a much easier pace with less stress on your body. Having clients commit to a more frequent schedule keeps the pets in more manageable coats reducing that wear and tear on you, as well as encourages a pleasant experience for the pets. Adjust the amounts and targets to suit your needs.


Yes, There Is A Cat Under That Towel

Yes, there is a cat under that towel.

IMG_6859

 

I’d introduce you to Henry, but he prefers anonymity. As long as there is a towel covering Henry, I can do anything to him, including bathing, drying, and brush out.

Needless to say, I go through a fair number of towels during Henry’s groom.

But Henry isn’t an unusual cat when it comes to grooming. As a general rule, I use a lot of towels while cat grooming.

How do I use them?

  1. To relieve stress. Cats will knead their paws or grip on to something to relieve stress. The soft towels are purrfect as they won’t hurt their paws or claws. Whether in the tub or on top of the table, the cat sits on a pile of soft towels.
  2. To establish boundaries. Cats take comfort from defined spaces. It’s why they like boxes so much. For much of the groom, I keep the cat close to my body. Even rolling some towels and surrounding the cat may have a calming effect. It’s why towel wrapping AKA Kitty Burrito works so well while drying cats. Let’s not forget Happy Hoodies. In addition to protecting their ears, they are snug against their heads.
  3. To reduce stimuli. The whole “hear no evil, see no evil, do no evil” in action. Or more specifically; inaction. In the case of Henry, as long as he is loosely covered, he is a wonderful boy.

Towels are an important part of my cat grooming tool kit.

Want to learn more about cat grooming? Check out these recorded cat grooming workshops: https://www.pawsitiveed.com/setting-up-cat-grooming-sales-page/ and https://www.pawsitiveed.com/you-had-me-at-meow-description/


Successful Cat Grooming- Client Education

Successful Cat Grooming- Client Education

 

I was sitting with one of my clients who happen to work at one of my local town clerk offices. We estimated the number of cats in a 4-town radius to be in the ballpark of 40,000.

That’s a lot of cats. I can’t groom that many.

There’s a lot that can go wrong with cat grooming which is why I designed this addendum to my normal Terms Of Service. I go over it with the client over the phone before I book their appointment. If it is unacceptable to the cat owner, then I’ve averted a potential problem.

After each point, I have the client sign rather than just initial.

 

Addendum To Terms Of Service For Cat Owners For Pawsitively Pretty Mobile Grooming Salon LLC 1. As cats are physiologically more

Point 1.

“As cats are physiologically more sensitive to grooming, Pawsitively Pretty Mobile Grooming Salon LLC will cease grooming when it becomes detrimental to the health of the cat.”

I pay attention to body language and signs of stress, which include heavy panting and drooling. If, as the professional, decide that continuing with the groom will cause physical harm to either the cat or myself, I stop. I want owners who are aware of their cat’s limitations and will work towards a solution that is beneficial to the cat.

Point 2.

“Minimum charges will apply regardless of completion of grooming.”

The amount is clearly stated in my regular terms of service, which is also signed by the client.

Point 3.

“In the event of matting or coat removal, Pawsitively Pretty Mobile Grooming Salon LLC will not be financially responsible for condition of skin or injury due to the stripping process.”

In addition to signing this, they are also given after care instructions and sign a more detailed matted release form.

I enjoy my cats as well as their owners. I attribute that to setting clear boundaries before they ever became my client.


Pet First Aid Kit Checklist

Pet First Aid Checklist

 

Want to know what’s in my pet first aid kit?

  1. Activated charcoal is used to absorb ingested poisons. Any item in my kit that is intended for poisoning will NOT be used unless directed by a veterinarian. Protocols vary and what will help in one instance can cause harm in another.
  2. Antibiotic cream for wounds. I do not use triple antibiotic as I groom cats. While it is rare, cats may have an allergy to such products. The combination of the three ingredients may cause a fatal reaction in some cats.
  3. Antihistamine and safety pin for minor allergic reactions. I specifically look for diphenhydramine gels with a liquid center. The safety pin is used to puncture the gel cap and squirt the liquid directly onto to the tongue of the pet. It is the fastest way for an anaphylactic pet to absorb the antihistamine. Consult a veterinarian for proper dosing. Not all pets can safely use antihistamines as it may interfere with other medications and medical conditions.
  4. Apps for smart phones. I have two that I like. The first is the ASPCA’s Pet Poison app. It’s FREE and will dial the number for the Pet Poison Hotline. As minutes matter in a poisoning, this is invaluable if you cannot reach a local veterinarian for instructions. The second is a veterinarian locator. This is useful if you are either a mobile or house call groomer and need to find the closest veterinarian.
  5. Baking soda to absorb topical poisons or chemicals.
  6. Band aids for myself. This is the one item that is replenished on a regular basis.
  7. Bandanas have multiple uses. They replace triangular bandages and can be used as slings to take the weight off of an injured limb.
  8. Expired gift cards are always saved. They are a perfect size to cushion pad injuries on larger pets. I place gauze on both sides of the card and securely wrap the cards and gauze to the paw with vet wrap. In addition, the cards can flick out bee stingers. Place the card at the base of the stinger where it meets the skin and lift up and out.
  9. Eyewash serves double duty. It can be used to flush out both eyes and wounds.
  10. Gauze comes in three varieties: gauze roll, gauze pads, and nonstick gauze pads. The gauze roll is wider and is good for larger wounds. The nonstick gauze is more expensive, but I will use it as the first pad on the wound and then place the cheaper gauze on top on it. The nonstick gauze will remove the scab when it is time to replace the bandaging.
  11. Honey packets for hypoglycemic pets. Stress, seizures, as well as an owner giving a pet too much insulin can result in low blood sugar. This is a serious condition that may result in the death of the pet. Signs include listlessness, staggering, tremors, muscle weakness, and seizures. Do not give the pet honey unless directed by a veterinarian.
  12. Hydrogen peroxide to induce vomiting in a dog. As this is used for poisoning, consult a veterinarian first. Dosage will vary. Vomiting is not a given for poisoning. If it is caustic, it will burn the throat on its way out. You cannot use hydrogen peroxide to induce vomiting in cats. Cats cannot metabolize hydrogen peroxide.
  13. Ice will constrict blood flow and slow bleeding. I do not keep ice in my pet first aid kit. If you have a freezer in a shop, then add ice.
  14. Liquid bandage is an asset if you know how to use it properly. Used incorrectly, it can damage surrounding tissue, as well as trap bacteria in the wound. Your veterinarian can instruct you in proper usage. I do not use superglue. It is not manufactured for medical use and as such, the manufacturer can change ingredients and formulation without consideration for safety on wounds.
  15. Muzzles are a must. If you need to use your pet first aid kit, this pet is likely in pain. Any pet that is in pain is a bite risk.
  16. Plastic baggies to collect a vomit or fecal sample. This may be necessary if the pet has been poisoned and you are unsure of what was ingested. When not in use, it can store smaller items for easy accessibility.
  17. Rubber gloves to protect you from any zoonotic and also to collect vomit or fecal samples.
  18. Sanitary napkins will absorb blood.
  19. Squirt bottle to deliver hydrogen peroxide down the throat of a dog.
  20. Styptic powder for use on nails only. It stings and this pet is already in pain. In addition, styptic powder is not sterile and you may introduce bacteria into the wound. There are newer products on the market that functions as a styptic powder and can be used for wounds as well.
  21. Tea bags contain tannic acid. It is effective in stopping bleeding. While sugar is effective, I do not recommend it because the pet may be diabetic or pre-diabetic.
  22. Vet wrap is wonderful. It keeps the wound secure and dry.
  23. Wound cleanser. You have a couple of options. The first is sterile saline solution, also known as eyewash. The second is a Chlorohexidine based cleanser. This is easy to find. Almost any store that sells first aid items carries it. Do not use alcohol as it stings. Do not use sterile, tap, or bottled water and it disrupts the salt balance of the cells and slows healing.
  24. Many of these items have expiration dates and should be checked periodically.

 

 If you would like a PDF version of the checklist, send me a message.


Important Numbers For Pet Groomers

Do you have a list of important numbers handy for your business?

 

Important Numbers pic


When faced with an emergency and our bodies are pumping adrenaline, having important numbers close by can get the help to us faster. The numbers I have on my list are:

  1. Animal control for each area I service. (I’m mobile.) Could be stray dogs on the road, a pet has gotten away from me, or the pet is what I would consider an abuse case.
  2. Veterinarian on record. While I have a locator app to find the closest veterinarian , the vet on record has agreed to answer questions and help when I need them. If you’re a shop groomer, this vet would also be your go to in the event of injuries.
  3. Utility company. In the event of a gas leak or lines down.
  4. Police Department. Non emergency number in the event of a break in or theft of service. 911 is reserved for emergencies.
  5. Fire department. Non emergency number for inquiries regarding fire safety. 911 for true emergencies.
  6. Insurance company. To file a claim.
  7. Pet poison control. I’ve included space for Credit Card information. This is not a free call. However, in the event a pet is poisoned in your care, this call may save their life. As it has CC information, I would not keep the list visible to clients.

I do write 911 in both the fire and police department slots. Seems like a no brainer, but when you’re in a panic your brain may not offer common sense as an option.

If you would like a PDF version of this picture, send me a PM.


Craft A What To Expect From Grooming Handout

How many times have we heard any of the following:

  • You aren’t going to hurt him are you?
  • Do you cut the nails?
  • You won’t get shampoo in his eyes, will you?

We roll our eyes and assure the owner their pet will be fine. But inside, it pisses us off. Why do owners do that?

Because they really don’t know what we do. They can only equate the experience to when they have bathed their own pet and the ensuing mess and general unhappiness all around. The questions they ask tend to be around the problems they had.

I just signed a building agreement for our home in Washington. They sent me a 111 page what to expect document. I kid you not. 111 pages. The hope is that we read it and don’t bother them with stupid questions.

What if we provided clients with a What To Expect From Grooming handout? I don’t suggest 111 pages, but something that would fit on a 8x11 piece of paper.

A sample:

“After check in, your pet will be treated to a gentle, hands-on experience to assess coat condition, as well as any overt medical/behavioral concerns. Then it’s off to the bath for a relaxing hydro-massage with appropriate shampoo and conditioner selection. Ear cleaning is done during the bath and nail clipping directly afterwards.

Your pet will be hand dried and provided with ear protection. Then the magic happens. Your pet will be combed, brushed, along with the agreed upon styling.

To finish off the groom, there is a selection of accouterments to choose from.”

 

You could add your logos and maybe something about the benefits of regular grooming. Change it up to reflect your shop’s routine. The owners would have a clear picture of what we do, rather than leaving it up to their imagination.

 

 

 

 


One Of The Best Free Trainings Ever

One of the best free trainings I have ever taken is CERT. Community Emergency Response Team. It was free through my local Emergency Management Office and overseen by the fire department. You get a nice certificate to frame and hang in your facility to let your clients know you are prepared for emergencies and disasters.

It was a full 20 hours and was broken up over the course of a week in the evenings and one Saturday.

 

IMG_6771

The program is broken down as follows:

  • Disaster Preparedness: Addresses hazards specific to your community. Helps you prepare for before, during, and after any given situation. As well as your responsibilities as far as local government is concerned.
  • Fire Suppression: This was fun! We got to put out a fire. Covers fire chemistry, hazardous materials, fire hazards and fire suppression strategies. The focus is on the safe use of fire extinguishers, controlling utilities and extinguishing a small fire.
  • Medical Operations Part I: Practice diagnosing and treating airway obstruction, bleeding and shock by using simple triage and rapid treatment techniques.
  • Medical Operations Part II: Evaluate patients by doing a head to toe assessment, establishing a medical treatment area and performing basic first aid.
  • Light Search and Rescue Operations: Learn about search and rescue planning, size-up, search techniques, rescue techniques and rescuer safety.
  • Psychology and Team Organization: Covers signs and symptoms that might be experienced by the disaster victim and workers, and addresses CERT organization and management.
  • Course Review and Disaster Simulation: Review and practice the learned skills.

Plus I got a backpack filled with equipment. It is so worth 20 hours of your time.


5 Things You Can Do To Prepare For Disasters

A couple of weeks ago as I was watching the rain fall in sheets from my deck, my phone’s emergency alert went off. SEEK SHELTER NOW TORNADO WARNING. At first, I was like: “Tornado warning, this is Connecticut, we don’t get tornadoes.” But then my training kicked in and I herded my dogs and myself into the designated safe part of my home. Within an hour I was getting the “Are you OK” calls. One of the tornadoes touched down about ¼ mile from my home.

Tornado-304745_1280

I knew what to do and here are 5 things you can do to prepare:

  1. Seek out education. Your local Emergency Management Office, Fire Department, or local Red Cross may offer CERT (Community Emergency Response Training.) It is a 20-hour program that is broken up over the course of a weekend or weeknight. It’s free. FEMA.gov (Federal Emergency Management Office offers free online workshop and manuals. Pawsitive Educational Training offers workshops as well (Not Free.)
  2. Have your local fire department come out to your home or business to show you how to turn out utilities and assess your risks.
  3. Set up a buddy system with a neighbor to evacuate each other’s pets in the event you can’t get to them.
  4. Identify the structurally soundest place in your business or home if you need to shelter in place.
  5. Plan a 4 directional route and note pet friendly hotels along the way in the event you need to evacuate.

It’s a proven fact that those who prepare for emergencies and disasters fare better than those who do not.

I can help your business weather the storm. For more information email Mary@PawsitivelyPretty.com.


Anyone Else Wishing There Was More Than 24 Hours In A Day?

I've been a bit absent lately. Maybe you've noticed and maybe you haven't.

This is what is going on in my life.

  1. I am moving from Connecticut to the Pacific side of Washington state. We bought five acres  a couple of years back  and are in the midst of building a home and trying to get rid of 30 years of accumulated junk. I am so tired of the winters in the NorthEast.

         Th

2. I'm making the transition from grooming to teaching full time and have just launched Pawsitive Educational Training.So, in addition to working grooming full time, its also been a full time job getting the website up, converting programs to an online format. 

 

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3. Something has to give, I need some sleep. LOL I will be MIA as far as this blog is concerned until the beginning of the year. My current plan to retire from grooming at the end of the year. And that will free up my time to write fresh material.

4. I can still be reached if you have any questions. All the ways to reach me:

Tag me in any of my groups on Facebook. Crystal Clear, Pet Groomer Town Hall, or Holistic Pet Professionals. 

The notification goes to my phone, so I will see it faster.

My website is PawsitiveEd.com. 

Oh, and there will be a grooming van for sale by the end of the year.

Cheers,

Mary


Pet First Aid Kits 2017

A pet first aid kit is not an optional item. You will use it, even if it’s on yourself. They do evolve over time as new products make their way to the market. This is a suggested list, as well as how to use each item.

 My own pet first aid kit has evolved over the years and currently contains the following.

  1. Activated charcoal is used to absorb ingested poisons. Any item in a kit that is intended for poisoning should NOT be used unless directed by a veterinarian. Protocols vary and what will help in one instance can cause harm in another.
  2. Antibiotic cream for wounds. Do not use triple antibiotic if you groom cats. While it is rare, cats may have an allergy to the combination of the three ingredients. If the cat has such an allergy, it is fatal. If you use natural products, ensure there are no essential oils if you groom cats as well. The National Association of Holistic Aromatherapists have put out new guidelines that state essential oils should not be used in any form around cats.
  3. Antihistamine and safety pin for minor allergic reactions. Look specifically for diphenhydramine gels with a liquid center. The safety pin is used to puncture the gel cap and squirt the liquid directly onto to the tongue of the pet. It is the fastest way for an anaphylactic pet to absorb the antihistamine. Consult a veterinarian for proper dosing. Not all pets can safely use antihistamines as it may interfere with other medications and medical conditions.
  4. Two apps for smart phones. The first is Pet Poison Helpline or pet Poison Hotline. There is a cost, but will dial the number for you. As minutes matter in a poisoning, this is invaluable if you cannot reach a local veterinarian for instructions. The second is a veterinarian locator. They are usually free. As mobile groomers are all over the place, being able to locate a veterinarian quickly can be a lifesaver.
  5. Baking soda to absorb topical poisons or chemicals.
  6. Band aids for you. This will probably be your most replenished item.
  7. Bandanas have multiple uses. They replace triangular bandages and can be used as slings to take the weight off of an injured limb.
  8. Expired gift cards. They are a perfect size to cushion pad injuries on larger pets. Place gauze on both sides of the card and securely wrap the cards and gauze to the paw with vet wrap. In addition, the cards can flick out bee stingers. Place the card at the base of the stinger where it meets the skin and lift up and out.
  9. Eyewash serves double duty. It can be used to flush out both eyes and wounds.
  10. Gauze comes in three varieties: gauze roll, gauze pads, and nonstick gauze pads. The gauze roll is wider and is good for larger wounds. The nonstick gauze is more expensive, but I will use it as the first pad on the wound and then place the cheaper gauze on top on it. The nonstick gauze will remove the scab when it is time to replace the bandaging.
  11. Honey packets for hypoglycemic pets. Stress, seizures, as well as an owner giving a pet too much insulin can result in low blood sugar. This is a serious condition that may result in the death of the pet. Signs include listlessness, staggering, tremors, muscle weakness, and seizures. Do not give the pet honey unless directed by a veterinarian.
  12. Hydrogen peroxide to induce vomiting in a dog. As this is used for poisoning, consult a veterinarian first. Dosage will vary. Vomiting is not a given for poisoning. If it is caustic, it will burn the throat on its way out. You cannot use hydrogen peroxide to induce vomiting in cats. Cats cannot metabolize hydrogen peroxide.
  13. Ice will constrict blood flow and slow bleeding. I do not keep ice in my pet first aid kit. If you are mobile, your clients freezer would be your go to.
  14. Liquid bandage is an asset if you know how to use it properly. Used incorrectly, it can damage surrounding tissue, as well as trap bacteria in the wound. Your veterinarian can instruct you in proper usage. I do not use superglue. It is not manufactured for medical use and as such, the manufacturer can change ingredients and formulation without consideration for safety on wounds.
  15. Muzzles are a must. If you need to use your pet first aid kit, this pet is likely in pain. Any pet that is in pain is a bite risk.
  16. Plastic baggies to collect a vomit or fecal sample. This may be necessary if the pet has been poisoned and you are unsure of what was ingested. When not in use, it can store smaller items for easy accessibility.
  17. Rubber gloves to protect you from any zoonotic and also to collect vomit or fecal samples.
  18. Sanitary napkins will absorb blood.
  19. Squirt bottle to deliver hydrogen peroxide down the throat of a dog.
  20. Styptic powder for use on nails only. It stings and this pet is already in pain. In addition, styptic powder is not sterile and you may introduce bacteria into the wound.
  21. Tea bags contain tannic acid. It is effective in stopping bleeding.  While sugar is effective, I do not recommend it because the pet may be diabetic.
  22. Vet wrap is wonderful. It keeps the wound secure and dry. Vet wrap is also expensive. The human counterpart, which is the exact same thing, is a fraction of the cost.
  23. Wound cleanser. You have several options. The first is sterile saline solution, also known as eyewash. The second is a Chlorohexidine based cleanser. This is easy to find. Almost any store that sells first aid items carries it. The third is Vetericyn products. Do not use hydrogen peroxide as it degrades surrounding tissue and cats cannot metabolize it. Do not use alcohol as it stings. Do not use sterile, tap, or bottled water and it disrupts the salt balance of the cells and slows healing.

Many of these items have expiration dates and should be checked periodically.

Treating injuries quickly result in faster healing with less pain. It may also reduce veterinary costs. Win –win for all.