It's a tried and true saying in any business that the customer is always right.
But what if a customer is wrong for you?
Some problem customers end up costing you more in time, money, aggravation and potential liability than they're worth. When that happens, it might be time to go your separate ways.
So what are some signs that a groomer-customer relationship is on the rocks?
If They Keep Coming Back for More (Re-Cuts, That Is)
Every customer has different expectations for how their pet should look after grooming, so there's always going to be some give and take with your work.
This is especially true with a new client, when your idea of a puppy cut might not be the same as theirs, or they might not understand the difference between a round and a bell-shaped bichon head. It's important to be flexible and to work with your clients to achieve the look they want for their pet.
But re-cuts become a problem if you start to suspect that a client is just complaining for the sake of complaining. Or worse, the customer is complaining just to get a discount on your work.
If you're giving the pet the same cut every time and the customer is always finding new ways to complain about it, it might be time to suggest another groomer.
If Appointments Become an Issue
Scheduling is a crucial component of a successful grooming business. It's important to block out your days so that you can get your work done efficiently and profitably.
Clients who are constantly missing appointments, showing up late to drop off their pets, arriving late to pick their pets up, or "dropping in" to get a grooming job without calling first may not be worth the time and the hassle.
Sure, you can be flexible with the client who misses the occasional appointment, and you might be able to work around a schedule snafu or two. You can even charge repeat offenders for the missed appointments.
But if there's a habitual no-show client who is interrupting the flow of your workday by missing appointments, or leaving their pet in a cage that's reserved for the next client, or occupying your time by insisting you groom their pet on a moment's notice, then it might be time to go your separate ways.
There are few things more aggravating then having to turn away the pet of a responsible customer because a the pet of a problem customer is taking up space in your shop.
If The Dog Is Too Dangerous, Too Difficult or Too Old
A difficult or dangerous dog can be another compelling reason to end a customer relationship. It's up to each groomer to figure out their comfort level working with difficult and dangerous animals.
- Do you feel safe grooming the dog?
- Do you feel that you can keep the dog safe while you're grooming?
- Is the dog disruptive or dangerous in the shop?
- Does the dog pose a threat to other dogs in your shop?
Since your hands (and back, wrists, arms and legs) are your livelihood, you may decide against grooming a dog if you think it will lead to a serious injury or a long-term disability. You can hurt your back trying to control a hyperactive big dog on a table, or get a nasty bite on your hand from an aggressive dog.
You may also decide that a dog is too old for you to safely continue grooming it. Senior dogs may be too feeble, too decripit, or too ill to be groomed. It may be hard to tell a long time customer that you can no longer groom their pet, but it could be the best thing for you and the animal.
When They Don't Pay
And last—but certainly not least—on our list of reasons to break up with a client: If the customer doesn't pay you. If you're always chasing a customer down for payment, or if a customer bounces a check or multiple checks, then it's time to go your separate ways.
Do you have a groomer-client breakup story you'd like to share with us? Send us an email at email@example.com or post your story on our Facebook wall.
Thanks and happy grooming :)