Now that 2012 is here, it's a good time to take stock of your grooming business and make some plans for a profitable and productive year.
Since the months of January and February are traditionally slower than the busy holiday season, here are a few things you can think about as you gear up for the year ahead.
Taking A Break
Although it's tough for many groomers to admit they need a break, taking a vacation or spending a few days relaxing at home can go a long way to recharging your mental and physical batteries.
If going away isn't in the budget this year, you can always spend an afternoon getting a massage or relaxing at the spa. Even a quiet few days at home reading and catching up on errands can be a welcome change of pace.
This is also a good time to take a close look at your workload.
If you are a solo groomer who is working flat out (and we know plenty that put in 15 hour days), it could be worth your while to hire a bather/brusher for the new year. The time you save in doing these tasks yourself will allow you to groom more dogs, which could generate the additional income you need to cover the cost of an additional employee. It's worth a thought.
Besides, it's a pretty good feeling to start the day with a batch of freshly bathed dogs who are all ready to get groomed.
Taking Stock of Your Shop
Did the holiday rush reveal any shortcoming in your equipment or the layout of your shop?
Could you use an extra folding table or another force dryer?
Do your shears and blades need sharpening or replacing?
Are you low on shampoos, conditioner, disinfectant or finishing products?
When it comes to grooming equipment, are there any major purchases or investments that you're looking to make this year?
If you think you'll need a new grooming tub, a new electric or hydraulic grooming table, or new cage banks, now is the time to identify those needs and start saving. If you put aside a little money each week, you'll be ready to make a big purchase before you know it.
If major changes are not in the cards this year, you can take a look at adding some small, moderately priced items that will nevertheless be big time savers. Here are some of the small time savers that the groomers on our staff recommend:
- Our Turn and Trim Grooming Table or our Small Pet Grooming Table (above), both of which rotate to make it easier to groom small dogs
- Anti-Fatigue Mats to cushion your knees, legs and feet and make your workday more comfortable
- An Overhead Grooming Arm to provide an extra measure of control when grooming active dogs.
- A Grooming Table Support System to provide additional support for older dogs that have trouble standing through an entire grooming session
- Business Software to streamline your business operations.
Making Sure You Have a Backup Plan
A good way to start the new year is to give all of your equipment a once-over to see if there are any parts that need to be replaced. You should also double check to make sure you have a backup plan in case your equipment fails while your on the job.
We spoke to one groomer this year whose table broke down during the busy season. Since she didn't have a backup folding table on hand, she wasn't able to continue grooming while she waited for repairs to be made.
Make sure to have back ups for all clipper blades and shears. Have a contingency plan in case a clipper, a table or a dryer fails. If you haven't replaced the carbon brushes, blade drives, filters or other key parts of your clippers or dryers in a while, make sure you have the parts on hand so you won't have to wait for an order to arrive.
Boosting Your Online Presence
You may also want to start the new year by increasing your online presence, either by building a simple promotional website or starting a Facebook page for your business.
Facebook is a fun, informal way to interact with your customers. It's relatively easy to get started, and you can build your network of followers by handing out a card or a pamphlet with each grooming job.
Here are some ways you can use Facebook to promote your business:
- Give customers tips on maintaining their pets' coats between grooming jobs
- Post before and after photos of pets that you groom (a great way to showcase your skills)
- Make announcements about open slots in your schedule (a great way to cover cancellations)
- Provide updates about special sales and promotions
Connecting with your customers via Facebook helps to keep you fresh in their minds. If they see a post from their groomer in their news feed, they may remember that they're overdue to have their pet groomed and call for an appointment.
Seeing photos of other pets that look great after being groomed may also inspire them to call for an appointment. They'll want their pets to look that good, too!
So what are your business plans for 2012? Let us know by posting a comment on our blog or on our Facebook wall. Thanks, happy grooming, and best of luck in 2012.