The holiday season traditionally has been the busiest season for groomers. The majority of our clients want their pets to look nice this time of year. This can put a tremendous amount of pressure on us (and our staff) to take on as many clients as possible.Since pre-holiday and post-holiday times seem to be slow, we tend to want to take on the extra work. While this is enticing, it is important to keep in mind that we have our own holiday obligations to attend to also.So, how do you make money during the holidays, and still stay sane?
- Prepare for the season - Order early. Have all your clients holiday gifts and extras on hand in November so you can begin putting them together the first few weeks in December when it’s slow. Have plenty of supplies on hand to ensure that you don’t run out!! (Also, get prepared in your personal life and be sure to make time in your schedule to shop early and take advantage of online shopping.)
- Be careful what you book - at Wags we won’t take cats or large dogs (unless they are regulars, in good shape and well behaved), pets who have not been in for months, or new pets the week before Christmas. Resist the urge to take on more clients than you can handle.
- Add extra staff - college and high school students who are off for the holidays can be taught quickly to dry dogs and can do other tasks such as answering the phone and taking messages, checking pets in and out, putting bows, bandanas and collars on, etc.
- Try something different - reserve the last week or few days before Christmas for “tidy-ups” only - a brush, bath and blow dry with feet and face trim, holiday bow or bandana, cologne or glitter spray- remember, most of your regular customers will have just been there for grooming before Thanksgiving and will be in good shape. You can book them in for a groom appointment in January when it’s slower.
- Eat right - be sure to eat well, even if it is the holiday season. Try to have healthy food on hand so that you have it ready when things get busy. Clients tend to bring in cookies and candy during the holidays. One rule we do have our shop is to have only one food gift open at a time so that we can pace ourselves and our caloric intake.
- Take a break - take a day off for yourself before the mad rush. Get a massage, get some exercise and fresh air, even if it is just a short walk. Try to find time for yourself. Go have lunch with a friend or anything else that re-charges you.
- Schedule something fun for after the holidays. There’s a big dog show in town the last week of January, so I’m taking all my staff there and out to dinner afterwards. It gives us something to look forward to after all the hard work is over.
The goal of this post is for you to start thinking about the holidays in a different way. Even though this is a really busy time, it can also be a fun time, too. And, although you are going to have a peak season, our real goal is to have a steady income year-round. By keeping your energy up during the holidays, you will be less tired come January, and more apt to continue to build your business in a way that eliminates the slow times and allows you to have more consistent and steady income.
I’ll be going in to this more with upcoming posts but in the meantime, start thinking about the type of holiday season you want to have, and implement some of these changes Now :)!