Material for soundproofing your grooming business, even mobile vans or trailers

In our title Pet Grooming Floor Plan Concepts we discuss and illustrate ways to reduce noise. Grooming is noisy! We all know that and it brings up two big issues. Stress! Raising your voice over sounds like HV dryers the entire workday results in stress. The second issue is maintaining compatibility with tenants where you share walls. Some groomers have remodeled their garages into a grooming space and noise can travel to neighbors. Avoid that! 

Floor Plan Concepts discusses "sound closets" for machinery commonly used by groomers including central vacs, hv boxes, washer dryers, generators and clipper vacs. What about shared walls? Sure there are sound reducing materials that will help. Also we discuss silent rooms that can sometimes double as a cattery room for grooming cats separate from the canines.

We came across an amazing "space age" product that can reduce noise up to 100%. It comes in rolls and is about 1/8 inch thick. It's called Acousti-block and it works. Now you can truly sound proof walls, even sub-floors. Yes mobile groomers can reduce generator noise too! It's a must see. Here is a short YouTube demonstration.

Once you have viewed the video, visit their extensive website. The photo gallery with demonstrations of the product in use is very large and helpful. They have helpful videos how to cut the membrane material that come in rolls and apply to walls, floors and even freestanding frame standalone structures in which you may put equipment. Go to www.acoustiblock.com.


Easy new customer info in a social distancing environment - use intake forms online

We have been working with some groomers that work with us at Grooming Business in a Box®. Each is making up a new customer intake form that the new customer fills out before they arrive for their curbside intake. Customers can retrieve the form from the groomer's website and then submit it. The forms engine emails the grooming business owner a copy and stores a copy online for a period of time.

Do you want to take all of this new customer information over the phone? You need to groom! Why not create a new customer intake form that owners can complete and send to you electronically? If they cannot get to your website to fill out the form, email them a link to your form or attach the form in an email you send them. If possible ask them to send it at least 24 hours before their first appointment giving you time to review it, and save a copy too.

Forms information groomers often ask of pet owners includes:

Customer Contact Information
Their Veterinarian Information (contact)
Known Medical Conditions
Known Behavioral Issues (I know this one deserves some skepticism and humor, but good to show you requested it)
Names of pets and ages

OPTIONAL:

Attachments: Let pet owners submit at least 1 picture of each pet

Vax info: Optional for some groomers, but as we know some groomers legally must have some evidence from pet owners of the pet vax status

Authorizations: Here is an optional idea. On the intake form state your grooming policies and provide a release and hold harmless statement for your grooming services.

Next on the form add a conditional statement "By clicking here (check box) you (pet owner) agree the information provided is accurate to the best of your knowledge and acknowledge your agreement with the stated policies and hold harmless statement. ALERT! Remember this latter process should be reviewed by your attorney to ensure it is stated correctly to protect you and in conformity with YOUR state's consumer laws. EVERY state is different. You cannot have consumers sign away their legal rights based on consumer laws.

Online Forms Companies

There are many companies that automate this process but there is a monthly fee. Shop around. We do large volumes of forms with the PetGroomer.com Classified Ads and use Formsite.com. We pay about $24 a month but you probably don't have such a large volume as we do. Shop around for a lower price. If you have a WordPress website for your business, there are many plug-ins available to assist you and likely cost much less. Maybe a freebie is out there?


Converting Commission Wages to Equivalent Hourly + Commission Blend Wages - PART ONE

Some groomers and stylists don't know yet that there are places where states do not allow commission only wages. That's right, the old commission wages alone is gone. It may work for the federal tax agencies but not states. So what do employers do when they cannot pay commission wages ALONE.

Hourly plus commission. Sure some groomers keep their hours logged daily and also figure separately what they would have made in the "old days." Then they are paid the higher of the two at say the end of the week. Turns out some states say nope to this system. Hourly rate MUST be involved in the calculation in these states.

When commission only wages for full-charge groomer/stylists (W-2 employees) just don't work, or are no longer legal, what do you do? The goal is to pay the groomer/stylist the same gross wages whether paid by commission only, or hourly plus a commission.

If a groomer/stylist is currently earning 50% commission alone, the hourly can be minimum wage for all hours worked and then commission. However, the employer doesn't want to continue at 50% commission plus be paying hourly minimum wage on top of 50% commission. Adding hourly guaranteed wage to 50% commission would mean the actual cost for the employer would jump to perhaps the same as 65% commission. Today most employers paying 60% to W-2 employees are barely profitable when the business essentially sells only grooming services. They have employer taxes and contributions yet to pay which could easily add another 15% on top of the 65% commission, and they have not yet paid business overhead like rent, insurance, supplies, utilities etc. So if you are paying hourly now plus a commission, what is the new commission rate where the groomer/stylists make the same gross wage whether on 50% commission alone using hourly and adjusted commission.

Keep in mind these groomer/stylists are employees and not 1099 independent contractors.

Here is an example of just one possibility. Let's assume the following variables for one day in grooming salon for a groomer/stylist.

Hours Worked: 8 hours

Pets Groomed: 7

Grooming Fees: $45, $60, $55, $80, $56, $62, $44 for a total of $402 sales of grooming services.

Minimum Wage: $14 an hour

OLD SYSTEM 50% COMMISSION

50% Wage = $201 gross wage (before withheld taxes) for the groomer/stylist

NEW SYSTEM HOURLY PLUS COMMISSION

Note: Remember commission only no longer legal. Must be both in wage calculation.

Hourly Portion: 8 hours @ $14 = $112 gross wage (before withheld taxes)

Commission Portion: We have to calculate the commission rate first. This is tricky math to calculate.

$201 was the 50% commission only gross wage. Under the new hourly plus commission $112 is paid hourly, and the difference by commission. Therefore deduct $112 from $201 = $89 gross wages left to be paid to the groomer/stylist.

So what is the equivalent commission rate? Tricky, be careful. 

Go back to the $402 total sales of grooming that day. Divide that into $89 and you get 22% commission.

On this day the groomer/stylist's gross wages whether 50% commission "like the old days" or the new Hourly Plus Commission were $201 gross wages (before payroll deductions). See below:

Commission Only

50% times $402 sales = $201 gross wages (before withheld taxes) for the groomer/stylist

Hourly Plus Commission

Hourly portion: 8 hours worked @ $14 an hour = $112 gross wages (before withheld taxes)

Commission portion: 22% commission times $402 grooming service fees = $88.44.

Add hourly plus commission $112 plus $88.44 = $200.44

SUMMARY

This groomer/stylist made just 56 cents less working hourly plus commission versus straight commission. We could easily bump the 22% commission rate up to adjust the gross wages to $201 and compensate for the 56 cents difference.

The groomer/stylist once paid 50% commission is now making the same gross wages with hourly plus commission.

So everything is fine now? No. Not at all. What if the next day the groomer/stylist did the same total sales of services but only worked 7 hours? The stylist under hourly plus commission would earn less, $14 less actually which is one hour's pay.

Now what do we do?

In our next post, Part Two, we will look for a solution. Is it enough to always pay the minimum 8 hour wages for any workday?


Hourly Cost to Operate Your Grooming Business

In the Summer 2019 issue of PetGroomer.com Magazine we presented formulas and charts for time-range based grooming prices (see link below). What this means is that prices are set by 1) knowing the business hourly rate for grooming services (not shared with customers) and 2) multiplying that rate times the expected time needed for the grooming service. We will provide an example just ahead.

Most groomers never set their grooming prices equally fairly for all customers using time-range based grooming prices. Not only that we have found groomers are undercharging large dogs as a result, losing potential profit. Let’s do a quick review of the last article because we have another hourly rate to introduce in this follow-up article. (The original hourly rate for grooming prices was discussed in this blog post https://groomwise.typepad.com/grooming_business_in_a_bo/2019/08/using-the-time-range-grooming-price-system-worksheets-.html).

Whether or not they know it, every grooming business has an hourly rate built into their grooming prices, and ideally that rate should be equally used in setting literally all grooming prices quoted or printed in signs or price sheets. Careful, don’t get confused with groomers that “charge by the hour.” We are not talking about charging by the hour. Most customers want to know the actual cost they face before they return to pickup their pets.

All grooming prices you set and quote should be based on one business hourly rate for grooming services. It is easy! For example, Sandy’s base rate is $90 for a Standard Poodle and she figures the entire groom takes 90 minutes. Divide $90 by 90 minutes, and we see her price is $1 a minute for the Standard Poodle, or $60 an hour. Her business hourly rate is $60, and all of her grooming prices reflect the same method of calculation. Or so she thought.

Now wait a minute. Sandy’s price for a full groom Bichon is $50, and she figures 60 minutes to complete the service. Why is it $50 when at $1 a minute it should be $60? Most groomers provide price sheets that are way out of balance like Sandy’s. In fact, large dogs are often billed $10 to $15 less per hour. That is a big loss of income for some grooming businesses. It’s important to set a business hourly rate and to apply it evenly to all stated grooming prices.

Now let’s move on to another hourly rate, but it is not related to grooming prices. We have never met a grooming business owner that knew this hourly rate. What is the rate called? Your hourly cost of doing business.

Is it important? Indeed it is if you are to make a profit which provides personal income from the business for the owner, and staff if any.

Doesn’t it make sense that your business’ hourly rate for figuring grooming prices had better be higher than your business’ hourly rate of costs to operate. If not, how will you cover all operating expenses, and make a profit?

If your grooming prices are based on selling services at $60 an hour, your hourly cost of operating had better be well below $60 an hour. If not, you could be headed for financial problems or very low profit.

Knowing your business’ hourly cost for operating is not a difficult task to calculate. Certainly your accountant could assist you. Many of the numbers you need are available in your business tax returns. In traditional accounting terms professionals use the term “break-even.” We want to keep it simple here.

Generally the lower the hourly cost of doing business the more potential profit, yet quality and safety must be maintained. We are going to show you a way to calculate a general estimate of your hourly cost to operate your business. To make it even easier we will use an example for a one person grooming business owned by a sole-proprietor.

If you want calculate a truly formal financial break even projection, use Business Plan Helper, by Grooming Business in a Box®.

The first step is to calculate your annual business operating expenses. This includes rent, utilities, insurance, phone, supplies of all kinds including product and office, professional fees like a bookkeeper, sharpener, and license and fees too. Include interest expense on business loans too.

If you are already in business, the IRS requires you to annually list all operating expenses on the Schedule C you attach to your long form 1040. It is called the Profit/Loss from Business. Easy, check out the last one you filed for a quick answer to your total annual operating expenses. If you have never filed a Schedule C you can download a copy from the IRS forms site and fill one out. Now you know your annual cost of operating expenses. Hold onto that number.

It’s time to do another simple calculation. For the tax year represented by the Schedule C, how many hours were you (or will be) open for business?

For example, many businesses open Tuesday through Saturday throughout the year. That is 260 days a year (52 weeks times 5 days a week). If you were open 9 hours a day, multiply 9 hours times 260 days. The result is 2,340 hours of operation during a tax year.

Now refer to the Schedule C total cost of operating expenses. Let’s assume the total operating expenses were $42,500.

Divide $42,500 by the total hours of operation, 2,340 hours. The result is $18.16 an hour, rounded to $18 an hour. The hourly cost of doing business is $18 an hour. Remember this is a very general estimate. Well done.

Now it is time to compare the two hourly rates for the business:

  1. Hourly Rate (for pricing)
  2. Hourly Rate (for cost of operation)

In the last issue of PetGroomer.com Magazine the grooming business owner working alone set her prices based on a $60 an hour rate for pricing. Let’s use that figure here.

We know the hourly cost to operate a business was $18 an hour in the last example, and $60 is the business hourly rate for figuring grooming prices. What is most important is that the hourly cost ($18) is much less than the hourly rate used pricing ($60). That’s critical to earn a profit for a sole-proprietor owner.

Our rule of thumb for a sole-proprietor business is the hourly rate for setting prices should be 3 to 4 times higher than the hourly cost of operating the business. The $60 hourly rate is a little more than three times higher than the $18 hourly cost of operating. Right?

The $42 difference between the $60 hourly rate and the $18 hourly rate is the gross income for the sole proprietor. Remember the sole-proprietor groomer still has taxes to pay on the profit from the business. There may be additional costs such as loan principal to pay as well. If you want to calculate that formally, use Business Plan Helper.

However, our quick rule-of-thumb estimating here is a good quick indication if you are on the right track with both prices and costs.

Remember your business hourly rate for figuring grooming prices should normally be 3 to 4 times higher than your hourly cost of operation for sole-proprietor, one person businesses.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Members Only Grooming Businesses

You may have heard of grooming businesses offering programs, often bathing-related. Spend so many dollars a month and receive “x” amount of baths for your pets. These programs are different, and not indicative of “members only” businesses discussed in this article. In fact, there are no programs to describe here, just membership access.

“Members Only” means there is a membership (fee-based) required to access the grooming services of a grooming business. You become a member to shop at Costco, similarly you become a member to use the services of a members only grooming business.

If you are new to the grooming industry know that this modus operandi is uncommon. Yet these businesses do exist and as management consultants they surely interest us. We interviewed three separate membership-based business owners and by their request their names will remain anonymous. None are spokespersons suggesting their methods to others. All are very pleased with their choices, and emanate a sense of exclusivity that works for them. They do not desire to be objects of curiosity to groomers.

Are they “name” groomers known in professional circles, the competition rings and in trade publications? No.

Personally we sensed deep professionalism in how they handled the interview. They were thoughtful and focused on business, and spoke clearly and to the point.

On the next page there is a comparison chart of key aspects of their operations (2 shops and 1 mobile). All work alone except Shop 1 has a part-time bather. Their backgrounds include 7 or more years of experience as full-charge stylists/groomers. Two of them are certified by associations. None are competition groomers now or in the past.

Members-only-chart-1

All use a standing appointment operation with frequency restrictions. Two require all members to not go beyond every 6 weeks between appointments, while the third groomer allows intervals up to every 8 weeks.

The primary benefit for interval limitations is to keep pets always looking their best, and of course, easier to groom. If pets come in very matted their owners must either come in more frequently, or stop what is causing the matting.

For example, some dogs swim in pools and become matted when undercoat is not maintained. Another example, some owners bathe pets under similar circumstances producing mats. Training is available at no charge to members to remove undercoat between appointments.

Hand stripping availability is important. All agree pet owner access to professional hand stripping is a key reason for many of their clients to join. One said 45% of her clientele preferred some or complete hand stripping compared to alternative commercial clipping.

Annual membership fees ranged from $109 to $144. Average total sales of membership fees for each business was approximately $19,000 a year. Their comments included, “My business rent and utilities is entirely paid by membership fees. That’s a wonderful feeling.” Also, “My van payments and major maintenance is paid by membership fees. It is a great way to maintain services with the best vans today.”

None said their grooming prices were the highest fees in their area, but they are above average. The lowest price for a Bichon full groom was $79 and $110 including mobile convenience.

Consultation with pet owner members plays a key role in their grooming operations. As part of the membership fee there is an initial new customer consultation, and an annual review optional at renewal. On average, 55% percent of pet owners opt for renewal consultations.

Ongoing consultations during the membership period are available, and again a key factor for some pet owners to pay a membership fee. We asked what topics are most popular. It seems many of the clients use their groomers as sounding boards sharing what they read and hear about pet care, nutrition and pet ownership in general. Some clients discuss veterinary issues. The groomers understand they cannot diagnose but said members like us to listen to them.

They agree their approach is somewhat holistic in nature, but none use the word “holistic” to describe their services. They are well read including leading grooming trade magazines, Whole Dog Journal, Petfood magazine and two read veterinary magazines. Two sell health support supplements but no dog food.

All three groomers provide customers with a private business phone number. One said she always tries to answer that line immediately. All maintain a regular business phone number for the public and often allow it to go to voicemail knowing their members will use their private access numbers.

Two shops provide a postal mail or email newsletter every 3 months with seasonal reminders. The mobile groomer offers a free conference call instead because he doesn’t like to write. There is little in the way of Q&A sessions on these calls. Members can listen to free digital recordings of the calls on demand via Internet services. He said about 40 listen live. He discusses seasonal needs and trends for pet care and local pet activities. All three groomers make an effort to associate with local breeders and breed clubs.

None advertise for new customers. Yes, I did say none advertise. Only one has a Facebook page but not for her business. Advertising will only bring more new customer inquiries and at the time of their interviews none had any openings for new customers. When they do have openings for new customers, usually resulting from clientele moving out of the area, they send a notice to current members of the availability. That simple notice usually brings them new customers the same week.

Fascinating isn’t it? Perhaps you will consider a members only operation. 

Members-only-chart-2


Can You "Make a Living" as a Pet Groomer (AUDIO)

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This is one of the most popular questions of career seekers. Of course to established groomers they know it is possible. However, one of the worst references when you get down to money can be government figures showing most groomers in the $20,000's for annual gross wages. Sure there are groomers in that range but one of the reasons the government figures tend to stick in that range is that to them pet bathers and groomers are the same. Of course most groomers earn higher annual incomes than bathers, and by lumping them together it depresses the broader range of of gross personal incomes of full charge groomers. For this reason, PetGroomer.com conducts annual surveys of pet groomers and we separate figures by job position as well as mobile versus shop groomers, and by regions of the USA too. To see the latest results in early 2019 check out the report at:

https://issuu.com/petgroomer/docs/pgcom-magazine-v9-issue-1-january-m

Go to page 49 for a chart of results. We hope this will give career seekers more realistic information. Remember you are looking at ranges from low to high as shown.

If you are going to own your business and not be an employee, we strongly suggest you write a formal business plan. You might need one for landlords or leasing agents if you want a commercial location, and if you are seeking bank loans, business plans are almost certain. We have DIY materials to write a truly professional plan customized to the our industry, or let us write your formal plan you can be especially proud to present. Nothing compares to our product called Business Plan Helper and Sampler.

 


Let Groomers and Stylists Groom Uninterrupted in the "Zone" (AUDIO)

Fireside Chat:

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Here is a subject the Grooming Business in a Box® team led by Madeline Ogle, author of From Problems to Profits: The Madson Management System for Pet Grooming Businesses often presented a seminar topic and slide presentation. Here we present a casual chat about this critical subject on the business side of grooming operations. As our business grew we were able to hire staff to assist with client relations. That meant groomers / stylists were not asked to do anything other than their styling. No phone interruptions, no customer relations interruptions other than to say hello or wave at clientele. Some got so much in the "zone" (focus) we didn't want to suddenly bother them or they might jump. Their attitudes were better, much better and confidence higher in their work. No frustrations from duties beyond the art of grooming.

More formal use and instruction of this critical profitability factor is part of the Pet Grooming Business Plan Helper and Sampler (user guide and digital files) available at www.groomingbusinessinabox.com. Thousands of groomers (new and advanced) have written bank and investor ready professional business plans with this product and sought funding with them. It is the only grooming-specific product with 7 samples of "real" business plans with only the names and locations changed to protect client privacy.

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Sorting Through the Maze of Grooming Educational Opportunities (AUDIO)

Fireside Chat:

This post is for grooming career seekers figuring out which way among many to get initial grooming instruction. Today there are more choices. Many years ago it was onsite school training, or apprenticeship. Schools are still around, but apprenticeships are few. But there are more opportunities to consider.

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We also offer an extended written report online that answer many other questions of grooming career seekers.

https://petgroomer.com/career-start/


Client Relations That Make Them Come Back Again and Again (AUDIO)

Here is a subject the Grooming Business in a Box® team led by Madeline Ogle, author of From Problems to Profits: The Madson Management System for Pet Grooming Businesses often presented a seminar topic and slide presentation. Here we present a casual chat about this critical subject on the business side of grooming operations.

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You can learn more about managing professional grooming businesses at www.groomingbusinessinabox.com

 

 

 


Buying and Selling Pet Care Businesses (AUDIO)

Fireside Chat:

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Here is a subject the Grooming Business in a Box® team led by Madeline Ogle, author of From Problems to Profits: The Madson Management System for Pet Grooming Businesses often presented a seminar topic and slide presentation. Here we present a casual chat about this critical subject on the business side of grooming operations.

Did you know for over 22 years over 10,000 Used Mobile Grooming Vans and Pet Care Businesses have been sold in the PetGroomer.com Classified Ads. See www.petgroomerads.com (classic site) or www.groomerads.com (new site better suited to mobile devices as well as desktop). 

Many grooming business owners can benefit from planning to sell their businesses at least one year ahead before actually listing it. For most owners the sale of their businesses is a large contribution to their retirement. Let us guide you how to prepare to do just that. You may even want to write a formal business plan to provide to the new owner, especially if their buyers will require bank financing or investors. Business Plan Helper and Sampler can help you to do that (user guide and digital files) available at www.groomingbusinessinabox.com. Thousands of groomers (new and advanced) have written bank and investor ready professional business plans with this product and sought funding with them. It is the only grooming-specific product with 7 samples of "real" business plans with only the names and locations changed to protect client privacy. It just could help you to find the right buyer for your business.