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The Theory of Five Nominated – & Won – Barkleigh Book of the Year Award!

CMG Melissa Verplank’s The Theory of Five has been selected for Barkleigh’s New Book of the Year Award! Tune in to hear Melissa talk about the evolution of The Theory of Five – a method of grooming she developed to create reproducible results and systematic communication with team groomers and clients. From it’s early inception to the foundation it has become for dog grooming instruction, the Theory of Five has helped groomers around the world save time and make money.

If you’d like to purchase The Theory of Five, it can be found here: https://bit.ly/2ks0d3t

Want to learn to groom dogs on campus or online? Visit ParagonPetSchool.com and get $100 off tuition with code LUCKYDOG.

Want to keep your skills sharp? Subscribe to Learn2GroomDogs.com for access to hundreds of videos from top stylists. Use code LUCKYDOG to get 50% off your first month.


Scissoring Training Wheels

Struggling to master the use of your shears? In this FREE Spotlight, Melissa Verplank teaches you how to find the balance point on your shears and to create “training wheels” so your hand is always in the correct position.

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How to Set the Body Pattern of a West Highland Terrier

Want to know how to set the pattern on a beautiful pet Westie? In this FREE Spotlight, Courtney Ramstack discusses how to remove dead undercoat, how to establish the pattern lines on the body, and how to clip them in on this retired AKC Champion who is now a pampered house pet.

This excerpt is taken from a full-length feature available to members at Learn2GroomDogs.com – members can find it here: https://bit.ly/2k0VFkg

Not a member? Join Learn2GroomDogs.com today to access hundreds of great grooming videos designed to help you succeed. Use code LUCKYDOG for 50% off your first month.


Paragon’s Online Dog Grooming Program Welcomes Courtney Ramstack to Mentor Team

Paragon People bring passion to the art of grooming instruction to help our students succeed. That’s why we’re delighted to welcome award-winning competitive groomer and instructor Courtney Ramstack, CMG, to our DLP Online Grooming Mentor team! Courtney has trained more than 150 students throughout the midwest, coaching them through grooming competitions and successful salon management. Her own rise from bather to industry-leader came through her strong sense of style, attention to detail and outstanding customer service. We’re delighted to have her on board!

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The Importance of Thinning Shears to Blend & Soften on the Finish of a Guard Comb Trim

In this FREE Spotlight Session, Melissa Verplank discusses the importance of an indispensable part of the grooming kit: thinning shears. Join Melissa as she demonstrates how a good set of thinners can make all the difference.

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Plan Now for a Successful Holiday Dog Grooming Season!

Yes, we know it’s still summer, but in a blink of an eye the leaves will turn, snow may fall (if you’re in the northern states) and the sweet jingle of the cash register will ring out across the land. Are you — or your salon — ready for the holiday rush? In this excerpt, CMG Melissa Verplank outlines tips and questions to ask yourself to ensure a smooth holiday season. If you need to hire help, train them now with Paragon’s Distance Learning program, and you’ll be set to ring in the New Year with record profits!

 

Ten Tips & Questions to Help You Get Through the Dogs During the Holiday Season

  1. What are the pros and cons of working extra hours? Do you have enough staff to handle the volume?
  2. Should you take on new clients?
  3. Make sure all your regular clients have their holiday appointments BEFORE taking on new clients or ‘non- regulars.’
  4. Hiring extra help – is there something you can easily delegate with some basic training that would free you up to deal with clients?  Cleaning? Answering the phone?  Taking out the trash? (Or adding a bather/stylist who has completed level 1?)
  5. Have you worked out a system to maximize the types of pets you take per stylist?
  6. Work out a drop-off and pick-up schedule that allows you to stay focused on grooming pets.
  7. Stay calm, cool, and collected no matter what happens during the course of the day.
  8. Set realistic time goals that push you, but stay on target.  Use an egg timer if necessary or place a clock where you can’t miss it – no matter what.
  9. Use every speed trick in the book from prepping – to bathing – to drying – to trimming.
  10. When clients pick up their pet, are you offering a promotion to assist in re-booking 6 weeks down the road when it can traditionally be really slow?

Correcting Behavior During Grooming

Correcting Behavior During Grooming – Learn the 4 Keys to Successful Pet Handling

If you are a long time pet professional, you’ve probably mastered today’s topic. If you are fresh to the industry, you are probably struggling with it. How do you handle the dog that does not want to cooperate with the grooming procedure?

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Managing Your Schedule

How is your summer going? Busy?? Overworked? Feeling stressed? Not being able to ENJOY your summer because you are too busy?

Having too much work can be just as frustrating and scary as not having ENOUGH work. I get it. As groomers and service providers, we want to keep people happy. That’s how you build a thriving business. However, if the business is thriving – and you are not – how can that honestly be good for your business? How can that be good for your customers and pets in the long run?

We all have the same number of days, hours and minutes each year. Everyone wants to maximize their time to make the most out their lives. How you schedule appointments, how many hours and days you work each week and how much time you allot for yourself will contribute to how you feel at the end of the day.

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Fair Pricing – The Large Dog

In this video, Certified Master Groomer Melissa Verplank discuses the challenge of fair pricing. Do you sometimes feel like you’re not getting ahead, despite a full roster of grooms? How are you pricing you “big dog” jobs – the Standard Poodle and Doodles and other time-intensive grooms? Learn how to tweak your pricing structure to get ahead of the game.

Want time-saving tips on grooming the “big furries”? Check out Learn2GroomDogs.com for a robust library of instructional videos and business tips. (https://bit.ly/2Ysq3Ts) Use Code LUCKYDOG for 50% off your first month! Want to train staff to work efficiently, effectively, with reproducible results? Check out Paragon’s Distance Learning Program. (https://bit.ly/2WXQrTT) Use code LUCKYDOG for $100 off Tuition.

Transcript
Melissa V: Melissa V.: Hi, guys, Melissa here, and I want to talk to you a little bit about pricing. No matter where we go, what group of people we’re talking to, pricing is always a hot topic. I’ve been hearing about it recently. I’ve heard a lot of buzz out in social media, and I thought maybe it’s time to revisit this topic a little bit, and so I want to tell you a story that I had a number of years ago.

We had a couple of stylists, we were having lunch together, and this one particular stylist was frustrated, but as she was telling me about her salon, and she was really proud of the fact she was unbelievably busy, and she was booked out weeks in advance, she was cranking through a lot of dogs every single day, and all of that was really good, but she said, “Melissa, at the end of the day, at the end of the week, I just don’t feel like I’m getting ahead,” and I thought, “Okay, something’s not right here.”

If you are as busy as what you say you are and you’re doing as many dogs as you’re saying you are, you should be doing pretty well. When you’re running that hard and gunning that hard, this is where you make it sometimes to carry you over some of those slower time periods, so I thought, “Something’s not right here,” so I started asking her some questions.

Now, she was a really talented stylist, and she not only did competition level styling, but she was also showing dogs in the confirmation ring. She was a very knowledgeable stylist. Timing of doing the dogs really wasn’t an issue for her. She was being efficient with her time based on the type of trim she was doing, but I said, “What kind of dogs do you see a lot in your salon, and what do you really enjoy doing?” and she said, “Oh, I love Standard Poodles.”

I said, “Okay, I could understand that. You show them. It’s what you’re out in the ring with a lot in the pet grooming competition.” That made sense to me, and I said, “How long does it take you to do one of your Standard Poodles?” and she said, “Oh, depending on the size of the dog, the type of haircut and how often I see it, it could take me anywhere from two and a half hours to three and a half hours from start to finish, and that would include the bath, the dry and the haircut,” and I went, “Okay, and what are you charging for those dogs?” and she said, “Somewhere between 70 and $80,” and I thought, “Oh, okay.” That math wasn’t working out initially in my head, and I thought this potentially could be the trouble spot.

Like I said, she does a lot of these dogs each week. As I’m telling you the story, I want you to realize that we’re not just talking Standard Poodles. We’re talking any big dog. If that is your price point on any big dog, be it a Standard Poodle, a Doodle, anything else, and you’re running between the 70 and $80 mark, and it’s taking you two and a half to three and a half hours to do, there’s an issue.

I said, “Okay, let me ask you a couple more questions,” and I said, “If you were dealing with a smaller dog, say, a Shih Tzu and just a no-nonsense, but cute little trim, how long would it take you to do?” She said, “Oh, about an hour.” I said, “Okay, and what do you charge for that little Shih Tzu?” and she said, “$45,” and I went, “Mm-hmm (affirmative), there’s your issue,” and she looked at me like, “What are you talking about?”

I said, “Let’s take a look at this from a time standpoint. The Shih Tzu takes you about an hour to do, yet… and you’re getting $45 for it. Yet, the Standard Poodle takes you between two and a half and three and a half hours, and you’re getting somewhere between 70 and $80 for that dog. Do you realize that you could do two or three Shih Tzus in the same amount of time it takes you to do that Standard Poodle?” I think that light bulb went off in her head, and she went, “Oh.”

If you were doing two Shih Tzus at $45, that would be $90. With just two Shih Tzus, you’re already above the one larger dog that you’re dealing with, and if you were to do three Shih Tzus, three hours worth of work, you’re going to get about 135 bucks for that same timeframe, so my question is why would you want to do a larger dog that you’re only getting 70 or $80 for when you could do three smaller dogs in the same timeframe and get a lot more cash for it?

Basically, numbers don’t lie, gang, and so I’m going to really challenge you. If you are dealing with those dogs like the Standard Poodles, the Doodles, the big bathroom brush, the big furries, take a look at how long they’re taking you to do and think about it. If you could do three, two or three smaller dogs in the same amount of time, you should be getting at least equal the amount of money, and it’s going to fall through straight to your bottom line.

It doesn’t matter whether you own your own business or whether you work for somebody else and you’re getting a commission. It’s going to fall straight to your bottom line. It’s going to fall straight to your paycheck. It’s going to fall straight down to your profitability if you’re a salon owner, so, if you’ve got those larger dogs that aren’t priced appropriately, I’m going to really encourage you to take a good hard look at your pricing structure and raise those prices, and get them to the point where they’re fair, they’re fair for your salon, they’re fair for you or your staff member to do and, bottom line, gang, it’s fair to the customer.

Honestly, if you’re afraid to raise your prices because you’re afraid they’re going to go somewhere else, and especially if you’re already busy and you’re booked out weeks in advance, wouldn’t you rather do a smaller dog and earn more money for it? I mean, yeah, I get it that the Standard Poodles are really, really pretty and they’re fun to do, but at the same token, you got to pay your bills at the end of the day. We don’t do this profession to lose money. We need to be able to make a fair wage, and I don’t know any professional pet groomer that gouges or overprices for their services. If anything, we underprice what we do, and so put some value on yourself and put some value on the work that you do.

If you’re one of those folks that just doesn’t have anymore bandwidth to give, you’re running and gunning just as hard as you can, take a good hard look at where your pricing structure is, and if you want to reduce the amount of hours that you work while raising your profit levels, raise your prices, but really look at those larger dogs and make sure that they’re priced appropriately.


Doodles are Job Security

In this video, Certified Master Groomer Melissa Verplank celebrates the business-building blessing of the Doodle. These coat-carrying mixed breeds might be controversial creations among breed purists, but they provide an excellent opportunity to educate pet parents and help them understand the not-insignificant hygiene demands to make Doodles look and feel their best.

Want to learn more Doodle-Dos, like how to make them look like a Portuguese Water Dog? Join Learn2GroomDogs.com, the internet’s best groom instruction video resource and community. Use code LUCKYDOG to get 50% off!

Want to advance your Doodlin’ skills? Level 3 of Paragon’s Distance Learning Program will help you kick it up a notch! Use code LUCKYDOG for $100 off Tuition.

Transcript
Melissa V: Hi guys, Melissa here. I want to talk to you a little bit today about the Doodles. There are so many Doodles. They come in a wide variety of shapes, sizes, coat types. There isn’t a whole lot of consistency with a Doodle other than it is almost any purebred mixed with a Poodle. You can have the Labradoodles, the Goldendoodles, the Aussiedoodles, the Bernedoodles. Anything can be mixed with a poodle and it comes out as a Doodle, and with the Poodles, we’ve got such a variety of sizes with the Poodles, we are seeing the Doodles coming out now being small, medium, large. So, they really are running a gamut. But, what I want you to stop and think about, because I know a lot of time when people mention the word Doodle in a professional setting, it brings out probably not the best qualities of us as professionals. I see a lot of frustration, a lot of anger coming out when we start talking about Doodles. And I kind of take a little different stance on it, because I’m really thankful that the Doodle has become some popular. Because, gang, it’s a groomable breed. They require regular maintenance to keep the dogs looking and feeling their best.

If you take a look at the top breeds for the past number of years in the AKC in the United States, folks, most of the dogs that are in the top 10 don’t carry a lot of coat. They aren’t necessarily groomable breeds that require regular haircuts. Yes, the Poodle is in there. Thank heavens the Poodle is in the top 10. The Yorkie is also in the top 10, but I mean, come on. The Yorkie is a little tiny guy. At least the Poodle we’ve got the toy, the miniature, and the standard so we’ve got some variety going on there. But, the point is that, when we’re looking at purebred dogs and when you’re seeing so many in the top 10 that are short coated, and that is also transferring over to many of the mixed breeds. They’re short coated. They don’t require a whole lot of professional grooming in the form of haircuts. So, to have such a wide variety of Doodles with a lot of coat, it’s a blessing to us. I mean, honestly gang, it’s job security. Thank heavens we have these dogs.

But, what I will say is, where the frustration is coming in, at least this is my take on it, is the frustration is coming from the fact that breeders are really preying upon owners being gullible. They’re mixing anything with a Poodle and calling it a Doodle and they’re just riding this wave of this popularity craze, and that drives us crazy. Especially if you are used to dealing with purebreds and very conscious breeders that are trying to improve and enhance a breed. And breeders of Doodles just really don’t seem to ride that same wave. So, to me, that definitely is a frustration point. And I get it. You know, that part drives me a little crazy. It drives me crazy that owners are going to be so gullible and so naïve and they’re just going out and they’re not really researching what they’re getting. You know, you almost have to do more research, because not only do you need to research the Poodle, but you need to research whatever other breed these dogs are being mixed with because now you’ve got that combination of personalities. What are you really getting, and is it going to fit into a family lifestyle that the owners need it to fit into?

To me, that’s where some of the frustration points are. But, I also see it as being an opportunity, because the other thing that breeders don’t seem to do a really great job with consistently, and I’m not saying all breeders, but come on, we see it enough that it poses frustration from a professional standpoint, is breeders aren’t being totally honest with the new pet parent of what kind of maintenance that dog is going to take from a hygienic standpoint. From a brushing, a bathing, and a grooming standpoint. All of a sudden, they’re saying oh, they only need to be groomed once a year or twice a year and we know as pros that are dealing with coat that that is so far from the truth. So, now we’ve got a situation where who does the owner truly trust? The breeder that they just purchased the dog from or the groomer who’s telling them this dog is going to need to be groomed on a very frequent basis? And most of the time, a lot of the Doodles are good size, so this isn’t a small price point for them. And these dogs really need to be groomed every four to six weeks.

So, you got a little bit of an uphill battle, but if you approach it properly and with compassion with the owner and towards the dog, many times you can re-educate and you have an opportunity to turn the Doodle owners into phenomenal clients. Because, come on, these guys are furry. And, whether it be a wire coated type Doodle or a Doodle, I mean, the breeders are saying hey, they’re hypoallergenic. But, come on. You know, they don’t shed. Yeah, how many times have you heard that? Yeah, depending again what they’re mixed with, that’s not necessarily true. So, you’ve got to go in and really be open and honest and caring with the owner and make sure that they understand that you are looking out for the best interest of the pet and the best interest of the owner based on what their lifestyle is and how much they are willing to do in between groomings. I mean, this is no different than any other haircut breed that we do. So, take the time to educate those owners. Turn your frustration into an opportunity to help the pet, to help the pet parent, and be thankful that we are seeing so many Doodles coming through, because almost all of them truly need professional grooming to look and feel their best. And honestly gang, it is job security, number one, for all of us.


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