Years ago I faced a decision. I needed to either scale back on my volume of daily grooming, or I had to hang up my clippers all together. Faced with that final decision, I felt hanging on to my love of grooming at all costs was put into a more realistic light. I needed to really change the face of my business and dedicate my skills to not just the grooming that I loved, but dedicate myself to re-facing my business or I would have to give up all of it, and I wasn’t willing to do that. With that decision, I sat down and wrote out a new business plan. A new plan with new goals, and a new time frame. Only, there was a twist; the time frame actually had to be shorter than my previous business plan in order to keep moving forward. In essence, because I could only groom dogs of a certain size and had to get back on track from an extended absence, I actually had more to do, in less time. With that hurdle and a determination to figure out a way over it, I decided that the best thing for my business and my frame of mind was to re-face my current business. I started by giving my salon a facelift. I made many changes to the design of the salon and added some new equipment and marketed the salon aggressively in all of the local media that I could. I also got out and pounded the pavement and met with and talked with many people in all the neighboring towns in effort to get my salon name as well as my personal figure out there. Once my phone started ringing with a frenzy of new clients and new earning opportunities, I knew the light at the end of the tunnel was fast approaching. This gave even more steam to how quickly I could move ahead in my plan and that gave me renewed belief in the possibility of earning more from my current business without having to relocate or hire additional staff in order to make more revenue. So, from my business plan and what I saw as best for my business and my own fulfillment in my work, here are some of the additional services that I have implemented into my salon and spa and that have all have been tremendously well received. For those things that I cannot cover myself, I have a network of area sources to refer clients to.
Boutique or specialty retail items- if you don’t want the extra work of adding full line retail, or want to but lack the space, consider specialty retail. Be it at home grooming supplies (one of the most lucrative sections you can have in a salon), gourmet and healthy treats, nutritional and vitamin/mineral supplements, flea & tick care, quality collars & leashes, breed specific gifts, or seasonal supplies & gifts; give it a try. If you are strong in recommending the products you decide to carry, and you are carrying things that you know many owners could use or will need, then offering these things seems obvious.
Expanding Your Business- Do you have a knack for baking? Do you have an eye with the camera? Do you organize one heck of a party? Then why not appease your inner need and show your strengths and utilize them to grow your business? Add pet photography, or gourmet treats, or host play dates or pet birthday parties as a service at your salon. You can add to your business and offer more revenue sources all under the same roof.
Branding Your Business- I took my passion for supportive care and encompassing grooming and created my own line of skin & coat care products for dogs, Canine Spa Therapies. These are products that address skin & coat care issues that I saw so commonly in my own salon, and they offer all natural topicals for overall better health and enjoyment of a pet during a grooming session. So, I saw a need for something to address the care I couldn’t give, and I created tools to help bridge that gap. In that way, I offered care that no other salon in my area was offering. There is no better way to specialize in a service than to offer supplies and products that carry your own name and business credo behind them. No one will be able to get them anywhere else. And with creative and dedicated marketing, the products you believe in will be what your clients reach for when they care for their pet. Sell what you use and use what you sell. It does take time and money to brand your business, so do not enter into it lightly. Do your research and get the education you need to do it the right way.
Skin & coat care- think of all the problematic health issues we see every day. At many times, our grooming provides pet owners with a complete superficial exam more so than an average wellness check at a vet visit. Not that Vets aren’t thorough, but we cover every inch of that dog or cat’s skin and coat and we see things like teeth, ears, eyes, glands, and nails. Sometimes we notice blood in urine, or worms and parasites, or lameness. Not to mention all of the issues we see like suspect warts, lumps and bumps and sores. All of these things could be referred to a Vet, and some of them that Vet could in turn refer to us for supportive care. We should never diagnose or treat, but we can alert every owner and offer guidance to get the pet help. We should never overstep our scope of care or practice with regard to legal repercussion, but we have a duty to be sure that our clients’ needs and well being are addressed if at all possible. We also could have thorough education for ourselves to help give relief to the pet. We are offering professional services and there is no better way to raise your level or professionalism than to educate yourself. We should never be afraid to not speak up when we see something. We should speak carefully when we do alert clients, but if we let it fall through the cracks, no one gives a voice to the pet who cannot speak up for themselves. Also, some owners may decline to follow through with care, but at least we can offer relief to the pet at its visit and have them leave feeling relaxed and refreshed.
Massage Therapy, Aromatherapy and Hydrotherapy- once you get your formal certification and education under your belt, the possibilities are endless. I once was the travelling canine sports medicine therapist for a German Shepherd Schutzhund team, and I got to travel all over, including overseas, by caring for their animals. Not only can you add this to your existing business, if you ever cannot groom or want to change your career focus, this field is a wonderful one. It is very rewarding and genuinely gratifying work, and yes, a lucrative one as well.
Breed fun days- book all dogs of the same breed and have a meet & greet for the owners and a play day for the dogs. Offer seasonal treats and promo gifts that spotlight the breed. Offer add on services in the salon that are easy to do and can be offered at a discount or special price to promote the day’s events for owners.
Day Spa stays & Weekend Spa ReTreats- If you have the staff, or the time to do it yourself, and the space, look at adding day care and integrate that with client grooming visits. Many clients enjoy knowing their pet is at the spa getting pampered and in safe hands while they are at work or running errands. Look at offering your grooming clientele whose dogs you are familiar with that extended stay option when they are leaving on vacation. Not only will you have them in for grooming while they are gone, so their pet is not put on the waiting list- they won’t come in late for grooming and a matted mess from not being kept up, but you’ll also have added revenue from having them stay with you. No one will vacation more happily than when they know their pet is doing the same thing. Much can be done for “boarding” pets, without having to have a complete boarding facility. Be sure to have all of your bases covered for the best of care while they stay, be sure that your own pets are safe, and everyone is current on vaccines and interacts well with each other, and you’ll likely find through word of mouth that this service grows quickly.
Host a Grand Re-Opening- reinvent your business in the light that you want it to proceed in and then host a special day and advertise it actively. Whether it is a new coat of paint, a new set of services, or a total revamp and build out, be excited about it! Focus your energy into moving forward on a new path and in a new frame of mind, and you’ll see yourself & your business rewarded.
Remember that your business will grow in the avenues that you pursue. You can do it most of all by just your frame of mind. Deciding to turn your business around or to start new from the ground up takes great resolve and dedication, and if your outlook doesn’t match your business plan, neither can succeed.
~To learn more about the full line of Canine Spa Therapies skin & coat care products, visit www.ShowSeasonGrooming.com.