But to be a successful groomer, it's important to reach out to other pet care professionals and business leaders in your community.
Building a network of like-minded professionals—one that even includes your grooming competition—can boost your business in unexpected ways.
So who are some of the people that you should add to your business network?
A Nearby Veterinarian
While we all hope that every grooming job will take place without incident, accidents can and do happen. Whether it's a nick or cut that needs to be looked at, or a pet that's dropped off with a medical issue that requires immediate attention, it's important to have a go-to source for medical treatment.
Reach out to a nearby veterinary clinic or animal hospital to introduce yourself and your business. Let them know that you'll be calling them first in case of an emergency, and see if it's possible to meet the staff veterinarians face to face.
Once you develop a good working relationship, you can start referring clients to each other.
Groomers and dog trainers are a match made in business heaven.
On your end, a well-trained pet is easier to groom than one that's developed bad habits or has been allowed to romp around out of control. Plus, a trainer who works with dogs daily is in a great position to identify those that are in need of grooming.
On the flip side, groomers have first-hand interaction with lots of different dogs and are quickly able to identify the...ummm....problem children who could benefit from a little training.
If there's a dog that you dread seeing in your shop, perhaps it's time to tactfully suggest a trainer.
The same goes for local kennels, doggy day care facilities, or local pet stores. Any place where pets go is a great place to make friends!
Each community has different standards when it comes to the care and grooming of pets. Reach out to local officials to see what the regulations are in your town.
It's often better to take a proactive approach to compliance than wait for town officials to come into your shop on their own.
Town officials can also be a wealth of helpful information. Since they work with a wide range of business owners from across the community, they are often the first to know about the problems that other business owners are facing.
If you're on good terms with local regulatory officials, they may give you a heads up about a new law or suggest a best business practice that could save you alot of time, money and aggravation in the long run.
Although it might seem counterintuitive to reach out to someone who could be considered your competition, there are plenty of benefits to building relationships with other groomers in the area.
For one thing, you can help each other out when it comes to difficult clients.
If you know that a dog that's coming to your shop for the first time used to be a client at the shop down the street, you can call that groomer and ask them what to expect. You'll often get a more honest assessment from another groomer than you will from the pet's owner.
Networking with other groomers is also smart if you offer a special product or service. If you specialize in a certain kind of cut (terriers, for example) and the groomer down the street is great at grooming cats, you can refer business to each other and both benefit from the arrangement.
Networking with another groomer can also be a big help if you have to miss work due to injuries. Work-related injuries are all too common in the grooming profession, so it can be helpful to have someone you know and trust in the same business community.
If you can't groom your regular clients while you're recuperating, you can at least refer them to someone whose work and expertise you trust.
Now it's your turn to tell us: who are the people in your business network? Is there someone we missed? Do you have a story about a networking connection that you'd like to share?
Post a comment on the blog or on our facebook wall, or email your story to firstname.lastname@example.org
Thanks, and happy grooming :)