Building Client Relationships

Adding Supportive Servces to Your Salon

 

We would all benefit immensely by being able to increase our salon revenue without having to wear ourselves out with grooming more pets.  We know that there is much more to owning a pet than keeping up on their grooming.  So why not consider providing more than just grooming for our clients and their pets from our current salon? 

There are many services and programs that can be easily added to your pet salon or spa that will require only a little change to your frame of mind and your appointment book.  Most all of the care and services you can offer in addition to grooming take less money to add to your business, but they do take time to add to your focus.  Dedicating some of your time to learning about and scheduling these services will take you much less time than figuring out how to possibly groom more dogs in your already busy day.  You should always know exactly WHY you are offering any service or recommending products and giving advice. This will shine through every time you counsel and talk with pet owners.  Or it will be your greatest hindrance in taking yourself and your business to the next level.  The worst thing you can do for yourself at any time, and especially when starting to make these changes, is to try to sell things just for profit and to not be able to treat your clientele genuinely and supportively.  You should work with the mindset that you are focusing on educating yourself first and sharing that education with great purpose to your career and your livelihood.  After all, time is money, learning takes time, and you don’t want to have your new plans and goals undermined by poor planning and not following through. 

 Remember to network.  One of the most important things we should realize is that we cannot do it all.  One of the most lucrative and business supportive things we can work on is to create a network of reputable and honest people who can offer the care for our clients that we cannot.  Of course, we want to maximize our business opportunity and to not turn clients to others that we could be caring for ourselves. But if there are things your clients needs that you just aren’t able to address, setting their course with someone who can, will still land you in a position of being the go-to person for your clients.  They will respect & appreciate your guidance, so they’re still going to value you just as much.

      Sources to look at networking with:

  • Veterinarians-

Work diligently and proactively to gain several Veterinarian sources that are supportive to your pet care ideals, and supportive to your services as well.  I believe strongly in Holism and Integrated Alternative care, so I have worked to find Veterinarians who offer their care with the same basis.  I do this because I understand and believe in this as a way of life, and I care for my own pets this way, so it comes natural to look at my client pets this way as well.  Networking with like-minded business people can take only help you in your own business.   You can also consider that most Vets in turn network for things such as dental care, internal medicine specialties, and surgery specialists, so it is only natural that we could as well.

Other pet care providers:

  • Day care or pet sitting
  • Pet Walking
  • Boarding
  • Behavioral Counseling & Training
  • Nutrition Counseling
  • Local Kennel Clubs and Class Sources- for activities such as agility, earthdog, dock dog, ground work and Canine Good Citizen
  • Contacts for living assistance programs such as LABS, Angel On a Leash, or TheraPaws, and for therapy dog programs that offer to train your clients’ dogs
  • Food and Supplement Retail (some may have no space for food retail in their salons)
  • Extended Pet Supply Retail (this is very important because you want to turn them to people who will advise them on purchases they cannot make with you, and not just sell them things they don’t need)
  • Massage or Acupressure, Chiropractic and Supportive Care
  • Emergency Vet Care (always have a list of Vet contacts near your salon phone)
  • Reputable Breeders
  • Rescue and Shelter Organizations
  • Pet Hospice Care
  • Pet & Owner Bonding & Communication Counseling
  • Pet Memorial or Remembrance Services and Grief Support Groups

~Just think, about all of the things “pet” out there, and work to either get your business involved, or have a source of referral for it for your clients.

I say give the extra time, give the extra knowledge, and by all means give that part of yourself that wants to consider those things outside of the average or the norm that a grooming salon offers.  We can only add to the longevity of our careers, add to the enjoyment and fulfillment we take from our work, and add to the healthy, happy percentage of well cared for pets in our area.  The rewards are immense, and the return comes in ways that are meaningful- not so much just as profit, but the pride and professionalism of our industry as well, and of being part of that positive progression.


Boosting the Revenue of your Salon (Without Grooming More Pets)

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 *Don't let anything stand in your way!!*

 

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.


Whether They've Been Naughty or Nice...!

Each year for my clients at Christmas time, I always take the time to do something special for them to show that I am thankful for their year spent with me, and all they do to assure the continuation of my thriving business.  I set aside a day or two just to work on a special project for all clients to receive.  And I make all of their gifts, then pack them up for easy access during the grooming day. If it is a fabric gift or a handmade gift, I use a plastic covered tub or drawer organizer to be sure that they stay hair free and organized.
This year I am doing homemade Christmas stockings for all of my clients who do not celebrate Hanukkah. For those that do, I will be making a separate handmade gift for them.  But for all clients, this is my chance to say a special thank you and to reward them for their patronage.
Below is a VERY simple template for a very pretty stocking that they can reuse year after year for their pet at home, and every time they see it, they will remember who gave it to them!
Remember that personal flair or adornments are an extra special touch to this basic template, so feel free to sew or paste on anything that pretties it up, adds a soft touch and doesn't take up too much time!  Things like adding their name with glitter glue (be sure it has a full 24 hours to dry!!), buttons, fancy fringe, gems or patches make each sock one of a kind!  The pocket on this front of each stocking can hold a pretty photo of their pet (my clients' personal favorite), or a business card, etc.  Or you can take that feature off and add a different one instead!
This year I have 500 of these babies to make, so I am glad they go so fast!  Along with the handmade doggie Christmas cookies I will make to put inside, I will likely spend a nice small chunk of time getting this project done, but think of all the time they have spent with you, building a long lasting relationship, and it doesn't seem like much time at all for all they do for you.  It also helps assure they know you appreciate them, and they will remember that!
Here is the very simple sewing template. And if you don't have a machine or cannot sew to save your life, Liquid Stitch or iron on hem will work just fine (only it won't last year after year!!).

This year I will be stuffing the stockings, and you can use your imagination on what treasure to put inside, just be sure to put in SOMETHING that is beneficial to your grooming business; a coupon, business card magnet, calendar, etc. so that this gift serves a multiple purpose!
Download Christmas Stocking Template For Grooming Clients

HAVE FUN WITH IT!!!!
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