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August 2020

Why Words Matter

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"Handle them carefully, for words have more power than atom bombs." -Pearl Strachan Hurd

Like any industry, groomers have a vernacular that is understood within our ranks. But these same words may hold different meanings for our clients.

In some cases, our words may have a negative connotation.

The first example is outside our industry:

My husband worked with the same small crew of men over the course of 30 years. They represented the entire melting pot. So how did these men express their comradery and affection with each other? That would be in the most base and crassest manner possible. Clutch your pearls type of interactions. That’s all fine and well until people outside of that circle got a listen. Then the write-ups and the sensitivity training begins for all.

An example in our industry is calling grooming loops a noose. Nooses are associated with hangings. Do you really want clients to think that is their purpose? Nooses have a negative connotation, while loops sound professional. 

In other cases, our words, while clear to us, may be taken out of context by others.

Let’s start with outside our industry.

In business circles face time means an in-person meeting, but to the rest of us, it means having a face to face via our phones. Sounds the same, but means two different things. If someone wants to have a meeting with and mention facetime at 10. I’m going to think they’re going to call me at 10am. While they meant for me to come to their office. This person assumed I knew what they meant and now, I’m annoyed because I set aside time for this. They lacked the clarity I needed.

So let’s look at the phrase “I’ll do my best.”

To the groomer, it may mean that they might be able to do some wet shaving and finish off with a 4. And if they can’t, well this doggy is going to be naked.

Now the customer is under the impression that we must have this arsenal of tools and products that when they hear “I’ll do my best,“ they assume we meant that their pup will be fluffy. And will be unhappy because we were not clear on what we meant by doing our best.

It can be really hard to pay attention to how you express yourself when you’re so used to talking in that manner, but words matter. It can be the difference between happy and unhappy clients by the simple switch of a word.

 Mary is a business, wellness, and safety strategist who specializes in the pet industry. She has contributed to the professional pet industry as a consultant, speaker, writer, and progressive leader. If you are looking for your business to thrive instead of surviving, set up a free Am I A Good Fit For Your Business consultation, visit www.MaryOquendo.com.


The Argument For Full Ingredient Listing

The Argument For Full Ingredient Lising

But first, I’m going to share my recipe for chocolate chip cookies!  Yum! Here we go:

Thickening agents

Salt

Oil

Sweeteners

Protein Agent

Flavoring

Proprietary ingredients

 

My bad. That’s a category list. Let’s try it again.

Flour

Baking Soda

Salt

Butter

Sugar

Brown sugar

Eggs

Vanilla extract

Chocolate chips

Still can’t make those cookies. Does this help?

2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

1 cup (2 sticks) butter

3/4 cup granulated sugar

3/4 cup packed brown sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 large eggs

2 cups chocolate chips

Better, but not quite there yet.

 

PREHEAT oven to 375° F.

COMBINE flour, baking soda and salt in small bowl. Beat butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar and vanilla extract in large mixer bowl until creamy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Gradually beat in flour mixture. Stir in morsels and nuts. Drop by rounded tablespoon onto ungreased baking sheets.

BAKE for 9 to 11 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on baking sheets for 2 minutes; remove to wire racks to cool completely.

The point being, even with full ingredient listing you still can’t make those cookies without the proportions and direction. But, if you have an allergy to a common product, the only way you know its there is if the label states it.

A Safety Data Sheet (formerly known as a MSDS) only lists those ingredients that are known hazards to people. If you are personally allergic to chocolate chips, it will not be listed on the SDS.

Groomers are exposed to grooming products several times a day as opposed to pets in our care once every 6 weeks; give or take. As the professional, we should know what our products contain., so we can make educated choices that take into account the safety of the pet, as well as the pet professional.

 Mary is a business, wellness, and safety strategist who specializes in the pet industry. She has contributed to the professional pet industry as a consultant, speaker, writer, and progressive leader. If you are looking for your business to thrive instead of surviving, set up a free Am I A Good Fit For Your Business consultation, visit www.MaryOquendo.com.


How Many Clients Do Pet Groomers Need?

How Many Clients Do Pet Groomers Need_

There is no magic number as many factors contribute to the overall formula.

To determine how many clients you need, start with what you need to earn to meet your business expenses and live comfortably. Cost of living is different from one region to another, as well as are lifestyle choices.

Let’s say your target is $4,000 a week based on a 50-week year ($200,000 for the year.)  Prices for shop, mobile, and housecall can vary widely even within the same area. I’ve chosen three price points: $45, 65, and 85 an hour.

  1. Per week based on one hour or less grooms 

The formula is Weekly Target Amount/Hourly Rate. 

 

$45 = 89 pets ($4,000/45)

$65 = 62 pets ($,4000/65)

$85 = 47 pets ($4,000/85)

 2. Number of regular clients needed if on a 6-week schedule

Formula is: Weekly Number Of Pets X 6.

 

$45 = 534 clients (89x6)

$65 = 372 clients (62x6)

$85 = 282 clients (47x6)

Let's tweak that number for 4 vs 8 week clients:

$45 356 vs 712 (89x4 vs 89x8)

$65 248 vs 496 (62x4 vs 62x8)

$85  188 vs 376 (47x4 vs 47x8)

Your mileage may vary.

All figures are whole numbers, so either rounded up or rounded down. But you get the idea. You can see that there is a huge difference in the number of clients you need based on amount and frequency.

Being at the higher end allows you to work at a much easier pace with less stress on your body. Having clients commit to a more frequent schedule keeps the pets in more manageable coats reducing that wear and tear on you, as well as encourages a pleasant experience for the pets. Adjust the amounts and targets to suit your needs.

 

 Mary is a business, wellness, and safety strategist who specializes in the pet industry. She has contributed to the professional pet industry as a consultant, speaker, writer, and progressive leader. If you are looking for your business to thrive instead of surviving, set up a free Am I A Good Fit For Your Business consultation, visit www.MaryOquendo.com.

 


Are You Ready To Open That Business?

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One of the best business skills I learned came from my local SCORE office back in 2001. I was pissed when I made a deposit on a mobile grooming van and wanted to make sure I had the best leg up when starting my business. I needed to know if I was ready to go out on my own?

Even before I made it into the SCORE office for that appointment, I was given homework. My assignment was to do a SWOT analysis. SWOT stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats. 

This is an easy exercise. Take a piece of paper and divide it into four sections. Each square is labeled with strength, weakness, opportunity, and threats respectively.

Strengths

 

What are you good at? Do you have an area of expertise that would attract clients? This may include specialty trims, hand stripping, cats, or handling special needs pet. Not sure what your strong suits are? Ask your current clients what they love about you. My marketing strategy capitalizes on my grooming strengths.

What business skills do you possess? They are as important as your grooming abilities. Are you social media savvy, love accounting, or are very organized to name but a few? Jot them all down as nothing is insignificant.

Weaknesses

 

This can be something you need help with or simply don’t want to do. I hate accounting and suffer through it. If left up to me, I would never file my taxes. I am also disorganized. Weaknesses need to be addressed. If not, they can become threats. I hire an accountant and rely on to do lists and other organizational materials to run my business.

In the beginning, my weaknesses far outweighed my strengths.  But you can turn any weaknesses into strengths with education. My strength section now surpasses my weaknesses.

Opportunities

 

Is your local chamber of commerce offering free business classes? Maybe the shop down the street is thinking selling their business. You catch the mobile grooming van for sale ad as its being posted. Opportunities require you to pay attention and act upon them. If you think too long, it may pass you by. To take advantage of such opportunities, you need to be prepared to act as soon as possible.

Threats

 

This is not just worrying about the competition. What weaknesses have you left unresolved that is now negatively impacting your business? Have there been changes to zoning that could impact your bottom line? Are your business premises up to code or is a fire waiting to happen? What about neglected repairs to a shop or van? Detailing all possible threats may help to reduce their impact as it gives you time to deal with those issues.

 

A SWOT analysis is good place to see how ready you are or if you need to work on some skills.  I redo my SWOT analysis every year, as this is a fluid document. Circumstances can change from year to year and a SWOT analysis can help you navigate them.

Mary is a business, wellness, and safety strategist who specializes in the pet industry. She has contributed to the professional pet industry as a consultant, speaker, writer, and progressive leader. If you are looking for your business to thrive instead of surviving, set up a free Am I A Good Fit For Your Business consultation, visit www.MaryOquendo.com.

Or drop me a message or email her at Mary@PawsitivelyPretty.com


Why Should You Do Client Surveys

Why Do Client Surveys_

One of the tools in my professional arsenal is a survey. A survey can accomplish the following:

  1. Improves service by offering actionable insights. Your clients are taking the guesswork out by telling you exactly what they do not like. It identifies your weaknesses so that you can implement the necessary improvements.
  2. Measures customer satisfaction. You are able to recognize and capitalize on what makes you special, as well as identify your client advocates. Advocates are those wonderful people that you can get testimonials from.
  3. Increases customer retention. You are validating your client’s importance to your business. Your business is telling them that their feelings are valued. Clients who feel important are more likely to stay and tell their friends how awesome you are.
  4. Identifies new ideas for products and services. Be on the forefront of new marketing trends by offering what other facilities are not.

I keep my survey short and to the point. I prefer brief, easy answers as opposed to a number ranking. Number rankings do not give the entire story or offer the insight needed to effect real changes. However, written answers may not be filled out without some sort of hold (return of their pet) or small token (inexpensive gift or coupon.) My survey has five questions.

  1. What do you like best about my service? By starting out with a positive, it begins on a constructive, rather than a destructive note. Repeated words and phrases can be used for other marketing materials such as websites, ads, and brochures. If it is important to current clients, it will attract future customers. It also identifies those clients that are open to a testimonial. I chose the five most reiterated phrases when designing an ad.
  2. What do you like least about my service? This identifies where I can improve, particularly if several people mention the same thing. I have found that most of the time it is very specific to the client. One client didn’t like the shampoo scent. Another wanted the rear feathering removed. Some one else wondered if I offered weekend appointments. All very easily remedied resulting in very happy clients.
  3. What service would you like to see offered? This will identify upcoming marketing trends. Even if it is only a handful of people who request a new service, words gets around. I have added spa services, such as mud baths and paw treatments, as well grooming/reiki packages which have increased my bottom line.
  4. What products would you like to see offered? As I am mobile, there would have to be a sizeable demand. However, if there is only of couple of requests, I may send out an email to gauge a truer answer. On the other hand, a shop may have room to offer products that may not sell quickly.
  5. Any thoughts on how I can improve? This is rather open ended and a much harder question to answer. This is not always filled out, but those that do offer incredible insight.

As I am a mobile groomer, I hand the survey to the client when I arrive. If the owner will not be home, I email the survey along with their appointment and tell them I will pick it up when I arrive. I have 100% fill out rate.  Shop groomers can give it to the client upon pick up. Have them fill it out before you get their pet.

On average, I give my clients the survey every other year at the same time I ask them to update their information and re-sign waivers.

My business is exactly where I want it to be. I attribute that success to being able to pinpoint my strengths and weaknesses and making changes that correspond with the direction I want my business to grow in.

Mary is a business, wellness, and safety strategist who specializes in the pet industry. She has contributed to the professional pet industry as a consultant, speaker, writer, and progressive leader. If you are looking for your business to thrive instead of surviving, set up a free Am I A Good Fit For Your Business consultation, visit www.MaryOquendo.com.

Or drop me a message or email her at Mary@PawsitivelyPretty.com