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The Week Before Christmas: A Survival Guide for Pet Groomers

‘Twas the week before Christmas
And in all  grooming shops
Clippers were buzzing, dryers were humming
And busy groomers were pulling out all the stops"

For many groomers, this is the busiest time of the year.

The week leading up to Christmas is a time when you're booked solid with regular appointments and have lots of regular clients looking for last minute rush-jobs.

Plus, you get a lot of walk-in pet owners who have never been to your shop before but are desperate to get their pet groomed before the big day.

Yep, this can be a crazy week. But it can also be a hugely profitable one for your salon. It’s a great opportunity to close out the year on a high note, take steps to start the new year off right, and win some new customers, too!

That is, of course, if you manage to survive the hectic holiday rush without losing your marbles.

So here are some tips from our staff groomers on how to stay sane.

Call in the Reserves

It may be too late to hire a new groomer or bather, but you could bring in someone just for the week to answer phones and sweep up hair.

Keeping the shop clean and taking away the hassle of answering phones is one way to make things a little less crazy. Plus, hair can be slippery under foot and having someone to sweep it up can create a safer work environment. Injuries don't help when you're trying to beat the holiday rush.

If you have some extra folding tables tucked away in your shop, this is the time to get them out, dust them off and set them up. You’ll be surprised by how quickly that extra work space will come in handy.

Be Flexible:

This is one week that you might want to throw your regular shop hours out the window. If you’re usually closed on Mondays, you may want to open up to take in some of the overflow. You can also consider starting early and staying late.

Take advantage of the boom in business while you can. If the demand goes down later in the year, you’ll be glad you got the bookings when you did.

Take Short Breaks:

While you may not be able to step our for a leisurely hour-long lunch, you'll have a more productive and enjoyable workday if you take a few minutes to eat, breathe, stretch and drink.

It's always a good idea to have a drink on hand in the shop, but remember to keep a cap on it to keep the hair from getting in. It's not fun to find fuzz in your water.

Create A Team Atmosphere:

If you’re leading a staff of groomers, bathers and brushers, try to create a sense of teamwork in the shop and make each day fun.

You can give out a small prize each day for the worker who performs the best, or promise to take everyone out for pizza after the holiday craziness is over.

Even just taking time to say "thank you" for a hard day's work can go a long way toward building camaraderie as you take on the increased workload.

Call Your Customers Ahead of Time:

It’s a good idea to place reminder calls to all the customers coming in this week, even if it's not your usual practice. During the craziness of the holidays, it’s all too easy for customers to forget about a grooming appointment. You want to make sure that if you have space blocked out for an appointment, there will be a pet for you to groom.

Plus, if a customer can't make an appointment, it's great to know in advance because you can offer that space to one of your last-minute requests. You can keep a waiting list of customers to call if one of your scheduled clients can't make it in.

Don’t Forget to Rebook:

When customers come in to pick up their pets, try to book their next appointment before they leave, even if they aren't one of your regulars.

That way, you can keep their pets on a regular grooming schedule, which means their coats will be more manageable the next time they come in. This will also ensure a steady stream of clients during January and February.

Remember to Smile:

Sure, the last thing you may feel like doing on a busy holiday week is fitting in a grooming job for a first-time customer who shows up out of the blue. But this is an excellent time to grin and bear it.

If you’re pleasant and flexible and do a good job grooming the pet, you could win that new customer over for life. Add a holiday bow or bandana before sending the dog out the door, and you can make the experience an unforgettable one.

Your Turn:

Do you have a tip for surviving the week before Christmas? Leave a comment here on the blog, or post your suggestions on our Facebook wall. Thanks, good luck and happy grooming :)

Good luck and happy grooming :)


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