Groomers work so hard during the Christmas season. I read posts on Facebook where people state they work for 10 or more days without a day off, most for more than 8 hours a day. They say they don't take breaks, even to go to the bathroom, certainly not to enjoy a meal. I'm here to ask you, why?
Oh sure, I've been there. I've worked too many hours, taken in every last long-overdue pet, gone home exhausted with nothing left to give to my family. Fortunately, I got smarter. But it took me a while.
This year I am working an extra day or two, but there are days off to be had. I am opening a little early, I am working a little late, but I will take time to eat lunch, and there is more. It may be too late for you this year, but if you are miserable, overtired, cranky, and finding yourself disliking the holiday season, please take note and do things differently next year. Here are some ideas:
- You know Christmas is coming. Start your holiday shopping in August. For most groomers, we make more money in the summer, so tucking some gifts aside then doesn't hurt a bit. Make lists to keep track of what you have purchased, and find a great spot to hide things away.
- While you are at it, buy some wrapping supplies and stash them, too. Tape, ribbon, gift tags and paper. Think how good it will feel to know you have these items ready and stowed away.
- Get your calendar whipped into shape. Plan ahead what days and hours you are willing to work. Decide while you are not under pressure and do not vary from what you choose. Do you have kids at home? They will not be little forever, there is only today to make holiday memories. It's fine to work longer hours, but not every day. If you are exhausted, you will not be doing your work as well as you should be. And you won't be enjoying the holiday.
- Starting in September, start making a double batch of a favorite meal at least once a week. Chili, stew, soup, casseroles, etc. Put them in the freezer so in December, after a long day making dogs and cats pretty, you will have a nourishing home cooked meal ready to heat and eat. A little extra work in the fall will make your life in December so much happier. And healthier. Eating take out day after day is just not a good idea.
- Plan some self care. Those are buzz words these days, but they are not bad ones. Self care can be making sure you have lunch every day, or so much better. Here is an example.
- I had a massage this weekend. It cost $80. One hour of an expert rubbing the tension out of my neck and shoulders. And my arms and hands. Oh my. The arm and hand massage? It was heaven. For the cost of a large dog groom, I had an hour that left me feeling rejuvenated. You can and should plan regular massages, especially in December.
- If you are on a tight budget, self care can be free. A hot bath with soft music, candle light and a door between you, pets and family can be a game changer. It just takes a little planning. If hot baths are not your thing, what is? Schedule that.
- Many groomers refuse to take on new customers in December. Chances are that people who call to get in before Grandma visits are not the type to have their pet groomed on a schedule. This means you'll be faced with a dog long overdue, and they probably will not become good, regular, clients. Pets that have not been groomed in a long time are more prone to irritation or injury. Not a good risk, especially during this busy time of year. One more thing: these are not the sort of customers that will appreciate you.
- Practice that handy two letter word, "No." You can make it nice... "No, I am so sorry, but my first available appointment is December 30." Or let your answering message do the talking, "Thank you for calling. Our next available appointment is __. Please leave a message and we will call you back."
- Upcharge- no kids at home? No family waiting for you to decorate cookies? If you are feeling tempted to work extra hours to increase your income, think about adding an up-charge. Some groomers offer to work extra hours/days at a price. And some people are willing to pay an extra fee to get their pet groomed before Santa comes to call. If they are, it's a win/win situation.
You only have to work as hard as you choose in December. I know it's tempting to take "one more pet" to increase your bottom line, but keep balance in mind. Tired groomers make mistakes. Tired groomers get grumpy at Christmas. Tired groomers don't do their best work. You don't have to be a tired groomer. Plan ahead and enjoy the holiday .